The pandemic continues to be a stressful time for many of us. Especially, if you've experienced a job loss or a reduction in income, the added weight of managing your finances can make things even more difficult. Below are some helpful tips for managing your finances during the pandemic.
Track and Prioritize Your Money
Deciding which bills to pay during the pandemic can seem overwhelming, especially if your income has been reduced. The importance of bills is different for everyone but food, housing, utilities, medicine and transportation are typically the ones that should be paid first.
Focus on your needs and make a list that tracks the highest priority expenses. To ensure success, encourage everyone in your household to track expenses related to immediate living needs. You can use a budgeting calculator like this one to help you get started and stay on track.
Take a look at your budget and see if there are any discretionary expenses you can cut right away, such as take out and subscription services, or items you might be able to reduce costs by changing habits, such as water and electricity usage. Rework your budget where you can and keep checking your progress weekly.
Understand Next Steps to Take After Income Loss or Income Reduction
If you have lost a job due to the pandemic, contact your state unemployment office online and apply for benefits. Even if you don't think you qualify, it's still smart to connect with the unemployment office. Unemployment income can help you meet your daily expenses.
Those with reduced income due to the crisis might also be eligible. For example, benefits are now available for those who don't normally qualify, such as contractors who are currently unable to work.
If You Can't Make Ends Meet
If you are having difficulty making ends meet, and are having trouble paying your bills, like utilities, reach out to those companies and explain the situation. They may be able to find alternative payment plans until you get back on your feet.
If you're not sure you can make a mortgage or car payment, reach out to your lender as soon as you think that's going to happen. They will work with you to come up with a plan to help. This could include things like skipping a few payments, or refinancing loans for lowering payments or debt consolidation. The sooner you seek out assistance, the easier it will be to get on track.
Get Help Managing Your Finances During the Pandemic at First Alliance Credit Union
Trying to manage your finances can be stressful even in calm times, but it can be extra challenging during turbulent times like the pandemic and job loss.
If you need help managing your finances, you can take advantage of several products First Alliance Credit Union offers when you become a member today. You can rest easier knowing that your money is safe in traditional savings accounts, or talk with our lending advisors about refinancing loans. You can also use our online and mobile banking app to keep track of your finances for free.