Helping Your Finances Survive Covid
This is a very challenging time in the lives of most of us. Never could we have imagined that a virus could have brought our countries economy to a screeching halt.
This is where we are at though and it is those who take action that will survive the Pandemic. If you have seen a reduction in income due to Covid, now is the time to act. But where to begin? Here are 15 great places to start.
- File For Unemployment
It might seem like a lost cause with so many states being backed up with applications, but keep at it. Don’t let your frustration or worse yet, your pride,keep you from getting the money that you deserve.
- Defer Loan Payments
If you have an installment loan, such as an auto loan, contact your lender and ask for a deferral. Many lenders are granting deferral requests instantly, all that you need to do is ask. Keep in mind that during a deferral, you do not have to make your monthly payment, but interest will continue to be charged.
- Look For Part Time Work
If you have lost hours or pay at your current job, look for part time employment. Even with record unemployment numbers, there are still part time income opportunities that need to be filled. Companies like Walmart, Target, Amazon and may other online retailers are still doing great business and need employees to help fill orders. Even if you can only pick up one shift a week, extra money should always be appreciated.
- Shop Your Car Insurance
You are probably driving very little right now and you should be able to save from this. Call your insurer and adjust your annual mileage. If they do not offer a discount for this, search for an auto insurer who will.
If you decide to look for a new insurance policy, shop your policy to at least 3 different providers.
- Move To A Cheaper Home
If you rent and are at the end of a lease, it should b a simple decision to move to a cheaper home if you are struggling. Even moving just a few miles away could save you several hundred dollars a month.
If you are stuck into a lease, compare the cost of breaking this lease to the potential rent savings before making a move.
- Do An Energy Audit
If you are working less, you are probably spending more time at home and this can prove costly with utilities. Take every action that you can to reduce consumption.
Turn lights off when not in use, raise the temperature of your HVAC in the summer, unplug unused electronics, etc. There are a lot of little things that can add up to big savings on your utility bill.
- Finally Dump The Cable Company
The average cable bill in this country is 100 dollars and many have bills that are nearly 200 dollars. If you have lost income due to Covid, this is a luxury that you can no longer afford.
Switch to cheap alternatives like the Hulu or Netflix streaming services. Even better, look into free options like Crackle an IMDB television.
- Make Money Online
If you are stuck at home, there is no reason that you can not make a little extra money online. Every dollar counts and monetizing your down time can have worthwhile benefits, even if you are only earning a few bucks an hour.
Take a look at websites like Fiverr that let you earn money from digital gigs or even earn a few dollars taking paid surveys with Swagbucks or a similar website. The rewards may be small but this is your down time that you are trying to monetize and the extra money may prove handy.
- Save Windfalls
A windfall is a large amount of unexpected money. This could be money from a stimulus check, an IRS refund or money from cashing out your 401K after losing a job.
Treat windfalls as separate money and place it into a savings account that is not directly linked to your checking. Then, draw from this money as needed. Having the money separate will help keep you from making foolish money decisions and allow you to remain frugal.
- Plan Your Meals
Meal planning is all the rage these days and for good reason. It allows you to buy just the food that you need and eliminate most of the waste, saving you money.
Of course, this means that you also need to start cooking all of your own food, but that is a good thing. The average family can save four hundred dollars or more a month simply from eating at home and planning their meals.
- Take A 401K Loan
The CARES act allows you to take out a 401K loan of up to 100,000 dollars without the typical penalties that usually come with early disbursements.
Contact your system administrator for details and recommendations as to whether this is a good solution for you.
- Cancel Your Subscriptions
Every dollar counts and even the most trivial of subscriptions can be costly. Cancel all of those subscription services for things like apps and gym memberships. If you are under contract, inquire about placing a membership on hold. Even if it costs you a few dollars, it could be better than stomaching the full monthly cost.
- Contact Your Service Providers
These are strange times and companies are taking unprecedented actions to help people get through it. Many, if not most service providers would rather work with consumers and get part of their money than no money at all. It also helps to ensure themselves a customer base when the economy rebounds.
- Don’t Make Shopping A Hobby
Down time often means time spent “window shopping” online. When you do this, it is all too easy to hit the order button.
Try to spend your free time doing something else other than shopping and if you do, at least erase your credit card numbers from your websites.
- Stop Paying For Simple Services
You have probably become accustomed to paying for services that you either do not want to do or thought were too difficult. Now is the time to change this.
Cut your own grass, clean your home and even cut your kids hair yourself. Saving 20 dollars here and 20 dollars there can really add up by the end of the month.
Some of the steps above might seem extreme and some might seem trivial, but they are all real ways to stretch your dollar during this challenging time.
Above all else, this list hopefully got you thinking. Take a look at your budget and make it a point to take action. Even if you do not see an immediate need, you still could be impacted. Be prepared.