Who knew the global health crisis would have such a negative impact on personal finances? Close to a year after the coronavirus pandemic started, many people are hanging on by a thread. As if being self-sufficient in America wasn’t already strenuous, reduced hours and unemployment only added to the problem. Government assistance (though better than nothing) is minuscule compared to their rising expenses, leaving many to make poor financial decisions to survive.
Emergency savings and retirement accounts are all but tapped out. Robbing Peter to pay Paul has become the concept for paying bills. Credit cards (that you don’t have the means to repay) seem to be the only way to handle medical expenses, utilities, and groceries. Though these practices provide temporary relief, they come with consequences that will take years to recover from.
Turning Things Around
Though the coronavirus pandemic continues, failure to get your finances back on track now will only lead to more significant problems down the road. As difficult as these times are, you can start taking steps towards turning things around. Continue reading to learn more.
Take Advantage Of Assistance Programs
The stimulus package isn’t the only form of assistance available to Americans struggling amid the pandemic. If you haven’t done so already, look into other financial assistance programs. Whether you’re having a hard time paying your mortgage or you can’t afford groceries for your children, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are several options for those in need. Even if you’ve been turned down in the past, many programs have altered their eligibility requirements to accommodate those affected by the pandemic. The best thing you can do is apply as any assistance is better than none.
Re-Evaluate Necessary Expenses
One of the first things you learn about maintaining financial stability is being mindful of your spending. By reducing or eliminating unnecessary items from your budget, you can free up cash to use for essentials. As hard as you try, however, there are some costs you can’t (or shouldn’t) get around. For example, allowing your car or life insurance to lapse could leave you or your family with a financial burden in the middle of a pandemic.
Though these things are crucial, you don’t have to break the bank to have them. Review your necessary expenses to determine if there are ways to save money. Comparing insurance providers and using tools like a term life insurance calculator could help you find a more affordable policy. Using coupons or sales flyers when shopping for groceries can take quite a bit off food for you and your family.
Start Generating Cash
You may have a hard time finding a full or part-time job at the moment, but there are still opportunities to generate some extra cash. Whether it’s a few bucks or several hundred dollars, it can go a long way in helping you cover expenses, pay down debts, or boost your emergency savings. You can have a yard sale, help seniors in your neighborhoods with odd and end tasks, become a rideshare driver, deliver groceries or takeout, answer surveys, or start a small business.
If you’re in dire straights amid the pandemic, you may need to consider downsizing. Although not an ideal solution, it may be the only way to regain control of your finances. Review the equity in your home and the housing market to determine if selling would be lucrative. If necessary, move in with relatives or find an affordable place to rent. If you have a car you’re still making payments on; perhaps you should trade it in or sell it and use public transportation.
If you’ve made ineffective financial decisions amid the pandemic to survive, you’re not alone. Millions of people felt they had no choice. If you’re going to avoid the substantial consequences that come with making these decisions, now is the time to start. By implementing the strategies suggested above, you can begin the process of regaining control of your finances amid the pandemic and beyond.