Nearly seven months after the coronavirus was declared a national pandemic, many American families find themselves struggling to survive financially. Millions of adults have found themselves working fewer hours or unemployed. Trying to accommodate a full house (more food, electricity, etc.) has put a strain on most budgets. Not to mention, the increased demand for essential products and services has caused a spike in prices.
Even those who considered themselves financially savvy have found it exceedingly difficult to manage their money during these uncertain times. Though it’s easy to see how the pandemic has caused an undue amount of financial pressure, surviving requires efficient planning. Below are some suggestions on how to get and keep things in order.
Everyone is hurting right now. As a result, there are a lot of programs and opportunities for assistance. If your income has significantly decreased or you’re finding it difficult to afford the things you need, there is help available. You can apply for unemployment benefits or look into government programs that offer assistance with rent, utilities, health insurance, and groceries. There are also local food banks and clothing drives you can turn to if you’re in need.
Stick to a Budget
Budgeting is an excellent financial management practice that is commonly overlooked. An efficient budget provides you with a clear picture of your income and expenses. Essentially, this helps you to make informed decisions as it pertains to your household finances. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to create a budget and stick to it. Financial management apps make it easier to stay on track.
Eliminate Unnecessary Spending
Whether you’re working with a reduced income or not, eliminating unnecessary spending is essential to surviving the pandemic. The more money you can invest in things you need (or set aside for a rainy day), the more secure your future is. Take a look at your bank accounts, bills, and invoices, to see where you can cut back.
Find Ways to Save
After you’ve eliminated all unnecessary spending, the next step is to find ways to save on things you need. For example, if you’re paying rent, your landlord might be willing to reduce the monthly rate if you’ll cover the cost of minor maintenance and repair jobs. When it comes to buying groceries, using coupons, and purchasing store-brand products can cut your bill in half. Lowering your energy and water bills can be as simple as weatherizing your house and investing in conservation devices for your toilets, showers, and faucets.
Stay On Top Of Your Bills
Keeping up with your household bills is likely challenging, with so many other things on your plate. Fortunately, many companies are doing what they can to accommodate their customers during these trying times. Some have frozen accounts for a few months while others have avoided shutting off services during the pandemic.
Despite the many accommodations provided to local residents, your bills are still your responsibility. Before you allow things to get out of hand, contact your service provider to discuss your options. They may be willing to set up an arrangement, eliminate late fees and interest to make it more affordable for you. If you don’t have the funds upfront, you could look for Missouri installment loans or loan providers in your area. This way, you avoid falling too far behind and suffering the consequences later.
Find Ways to Earn
The jobs may be limited, and the competition steep, but that doesn’t mean you can’t earn additional money during the pandemic. You can sell any items that you no longer have use for, look for lucrative side hustle opportunities, or start a small business from home. While each of these options comes with initial expenses, they produce a generous return if done effectively.
The necessary but unfortunate changes resulting from the national pandemic have caused financial difficulties for everyone. While there’s nothing anyone can single-handedly do to return things to “normal,” you can safeguard yourself and your family by getting and staying prepared. The financial management practices discussed above are sure to help you create a solid foundation for your family to weather the storm, no matter how long it tends to linger.