How to Cope with Financial Concerns During the COVID-19 Pandemic
There is no doubt these are challenging times. The Coronavirus has not only had a severe and unprecedented impact on our global health, but it’s also affected our livelihood. Fear of impending unemployment is a universal sentiment these days and many people have already lost their jobs. In fact, more than 500,000 people visited the New York State Department of Labor website to apply for unemployment insurance just last Thursday. If you are among those who have either lost their jobs or are worried about being laid off in the near future, there are things you can do to help manage your expenses right now.
Save as much as you can
Whether you are typically a saver or a spender, now is the time to save as much money as you possibly can and being forced into social isolation certainly makes it easier. Even if you are going into work every day, you are probably still saving on things like gas, entertainment and travel. Put the money you would have otherwise spent on those things into an emergency fund. If you are working from home and have to upgrade your WiFi, see if your company will contribute, so you aren’t burdened with the additional cost. Make sure to get refunds for any events you had previously paid for, but can no longer attend and put that money directly into the emergency fund. Also, remember to cancel autopay for things related to your workday commute and put those expenses into the fund, as well.
Spend only on necessities
When stuck at home, don’t fall into the online shopping trap. Inboxes seem to be endlessly flooded with emails offering deep discounts and free trials, but just because there is a sale on your favorite website, doesn’t mean you have to indulge. Try restricting yourself to things you absolutely need while stuck at home, such as groceries and supplies. An occasional treat is, of course, ok, but try to keep it to a minimum. Don’t forget to freeze or cancel gym memberships and make sure you aren’t paying for subscriptions you no longer need.
Get creative with employment
Regardless of what type of job you currently hold or previously held, think about your skills and whether they could be useful in a new digital capacity. Many businesses have moved online and might be looking for help. Perhaps you can offer your skills as a service to others, such as teaching, tutoring, cooking or writing. The point is not to restrict yourself to the confines of your current profession.
If you can’t pay your bills
Be proactive and reach out to your creditors. Many organizations have been understanding during this time. Your landlord or mortgage company might allow you to skip payments for a few months, for example. It can’t hurt to ask, but waiting to discuss until you are contacted isn’t advisable.
This is the perfect time to reassess your budget and ongoing expenses to make sure you are getting the best deals possible. Are you overpaying for cable, phone or internet? How would you even know if you were? Companies commonly reserve their best deals for new customers, while existing customers tend to pay more for the same services. This is where Billshark can help you. Our experts will research the best deals and negotiate on your behalf to save you as much money as possible, so you don’t have to deal with long wait times and confrontations with salespeople. Contact Billshark to find out more.
Following the steps above will go a long way to easing your financial burden during the pandemic, so you can begin to enjoy your extra time at home.