There are different factors that may make you worry about the ongoing global pandemic of the novel coronavirus. Some of the foremost causes of anxiety during these troubled times are the rate of spread of the disease and of course the fact that there’s still no official cure or vaccine for the infected. However, let’s face it. There’s only so much we can do as individuals to deal with these issues. Because of that, what worries us more is a factor that is closer to home: finances.
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First of all, not everyone has an emergency fund to rely on. Aside from that, we don’t really recommend dipping into your savings because there’s no telling how long this pandemic will last. Hence, we recommend that you consider the following tips instead:
Consider Various Assistance Options and Employee Benefits
There are different government programs right now that seek to assist individuals and families (even small business owners) financially during the pandemic. Aside from that, you might also want to explore options being provided by your company as well, like a cash advance or other employee benefits. The catch, though, is that they might take some time to get processed due to the high volume of applications being submitted and the skeletal workforce processing them at the moment.
Extend Your Due Dates
If filing for financial assistance is not an option, then you can check if you can scale down your current expenses. For instance, the government has announced that starting March 17, mortgage providers must offer their clients a three-month payment holiday. This means that you cannot be evicted due to non-payment for the next three months.
Creditors are also offering flexible payment options and payment relief benefits to consumers. All you need to do is to inform them of your situation and request a payment extension. They are also obliged to waive late fees and other penalties.
Student loan payments have also been suspended until September. Again, all you need to do is to reach out and inform them of your current inability to pay.
File for Unemployment
Getting employee benefits is great, but we understand that there are certainly some of us who have unconventional jobs, like those who freelance or those who work on a contractual basis. If that’s the case, what then? If the pandemic is preventing you from continuing your job, then a viable option is to file for unemployment. If qualified, you can receive a weekly allowance of up to $600 per week thanks to the coronavirus stimulus bill.
Cancel Unnecessary Expenses Immediately
Analyze your current cash flow. Estimate the income that you’re expecting to get, but we don’t encourage counting the funds that you hope you’re going to receive from your grant and assistance applications. Don’t count your eggs before they’re hatched.
Study about budgeting tips and implement those in your daily life. You can also use budgeting apps which could help you to manage your budget in a more effective way.
In the meantime, analyzing your current financial situation will definitely point out any expenses that have now been deemed unnecessary due to the current situation. For instance, do you have any plane tickets reserved for a trip? Check if you can get a refund for that.
Other expenses that you might want to cancel are home renovation projects and the purchase of big-ticket items. You can always adjust your plans once the quarantine has been lifted and the pandemic is over.
Prioritize Your Expenses
In relation to the previous tip, you should also reprioritize your expenses. For example, grocery spending should be at the top of your list. Your transportation or gas allowance would surely be minimized and should be put aside for now as a sinking fund for health expenses should the need arise.
This is also the reason why you shouldn’t touch your emergency fund for your daily needs. You need a safety net that you can rely on during actual emergencies.
Get a Side Gig That You Can Work on Remotely
For those who are looking for ways on how to increase their income during the quarantine, then we recommend getting a side gig that will allow you to work remotely. As long as you have a computer and a reliable internet connection, there are actually a lot of gigs that you can do online like the following:
- Content Writing
- Graphic Design
- Web Development
- Social Media Management
- Digital Marketing
- And more…
In fact, if you’re not skilled in any of the gigs we have mentioned above, there are even transcription and encoding jobs that require minimal computer know-how. The best way to do this is to simply sign-up and create a CV at an online job marketplace like UpWork or Fiverr.
Take the Opportunity to Invest in a New Skill
Since we are already talking about skills, we firmly believe that this is the perfect time to learn a new one. While this might not be able to assist you in your financial situation right now, it will certainly help you in the future.
If you don’t have any idea about what new skill to learn, then you can choose from the skills required in the side gigs we have mentioned above, or better yet, read up on personal money management.
Keep Calm and Reach Out
If you think that you have enough funds to float you through the crisis, then good for you. Other people are not as lucky. This is the reason why we also want you to consider reaching out and helping others who may not be as lucky within your community.
This is also an opportunity to broaden your network and shed a positive light on your company or organization if you have one. And most of all, don’t forget to breathe and keep calm. This crisis will pass.
By keeping the tips that we have shared with you above in mind, we’re confident that your finances will be able to survive through this pandemic. Getting on top of your financial situation will also give you a sense of control that can prove to be quite calming given the distressing situation. Keep safe and stay healthy!
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