While coronavirus is threatening to upend entire economies, there are ways to safeguard your income and put together an emergency budget to see you through this uncertainty. It’s important to stay calm and avoid making any rash decisions with your money. You might see your investments take a dip, but always resist reacting to temporary market conditions and try to adopt a long-term perspective with all of your finances.
Here are a few short-term and long-term tips to help you get through the pandemic with your finances intact.
Don’t ignore your bank notifications about COVID-19
Credit card companies and lenders are taking action in the face of this unprecedented time. If you’re struggling with your money, one of the best actions you can take is actually calling up your credit card company to talk them directly. Your credit card issuer can easily do things like lower your interest rate, reduce your minimum monthly payment amount, and forgive late fees. It’s easy to negotiate with credit card companies because it’s in their best interest to retain you as a customer, even in times of distress.
Companies also recognize that the pandemic has had a widespread effect and many people have lost income during this time.
If you have federal student loans, there is a good chance that the interest on your loans is paused for the next six months. In addition, many student loans are in automatic forbearance. If you need an extension beyond the forbearance period, you can always ask your lender for extra time while you get back on your feet.
Leverage subscription-finding tools like Trim to figure out what recurring payments you’re currently responsible for. Then, cut out all the subscriptions you don’t use or need. It’s also a good time to end that gym membership you never used anyway.
Not only is hoarding not helpful, it’s an expensive panic-buying habit that can throw your budget out of whack for the long-term future. Instead, try to plan your meals for at least two weeks. Consider making bigger batches of meals that last beyond one day so you can eat leftovers at least one day after the main meal is made. Plus, this will help you avoid going to the grocery store and exposing yourself to the virus.
Support local businesses, but not if you can’t afford it
If you lose your job, it’s not a good idea to spend a large portion of your budget on dining out. Although it’s nice to support local businesses, it’s critical to take care of yourself first. However, if you still have a job and you’re working, consider buying food from a small business at least one a week. Not only will it give you a break from cooking, but it’ll help out local restaurants that might be struggling during this time.
Take care of your mental health
This isn’t specifically a personal finance tip, but it’s an important one, nonetheless. Make sure that you take care of your mental health during this uncertain time period. Feeling anxious? It might be time to turn to CBD. CBDfx makes safe, lab-tested CBD vape juice if you already have a vape. There are also plenty of CBD gummies and tinctures on the market as well, if you don’t.
It’s also important to get out and exercise if you can. Make sure you wear a mask and keep six feet of distance from others while doing so.
In addition, you should reach out to your support group and call up your friends. This is especially critical if you live alone. Self-isolation can be very lonely but there are ways to cope. In fact, many therapists are working in online channels like Better Help right now, so it might be worthwhile your time and money to chat with a counselor who can help you work out your feelings.
Takeaways: Don’t panic and save as much as possible
If you’re still employed, it’s important to give yourself a little extra financial cushion in case you lose your job or if your partner loses his or her job. If you’re unemployed, give yourself plenty of time to work through the unemployment website and stay patient while waiting for your stimulus check if you qualify for it. Avoid spending money unnecessarily and carefully track your cashflow. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to financial success.