Recently, I met with members of my financial wellness mastermind group, Coach Connections. We came up with this list of items and ideas to help with the financial implications from COVID-19. Some of these items may apply to you while others may not. This is not an all inclusive list, but items and ideas we came up with in a 30 minute session.
Feel free to share this information with someone you may know if they can benefit from any of the items.
1. With most restaurants take-out only or closed, you can reduce your eating out budget.
2. Working from home now? Lower your fuel budget.
3. Are you getting credit for gym memberships or other places shut down due to corona virus? If not, cancel your membership. You can always renew it upon re-opening. Also, find another way to exercise at home or in your neighborhood. Some gyms are offering online workouts.
4. Reduce or eliminate non-essential spending. Examples include entertainment (most theaters are closed) and sporting events.
5. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start saving today! If you have one that isn’t fully funded (3-6 months of expenses) beef it up!
6. Pay extra if you can on student loans. The Department of Education has announced that it will waive interest accrual for deferments and forbearances for the foreseeable future.
7. Prioritize spending. What is essential? What is a want? What is a luxury? Prioritize the essentials.
8. Revisit your monthly budget. If you need help to create a budget, Coach Connections offers an online 15 Minute Spending Plan course.
Additionally, my book Bite-Size Budgeting: Making Your Budget Work for You can help!
9. Don’t panic buy groceries. Yes, buy what you need, but a lot of people have food already in their pantries. Now is a good time to go through your pantry and make what you already have.
10. If you have credit card debt, reach out to the credit company to ask if they can lower your rate.
11. Don’t cash out retirement or investments. Unless you are about to declare bankruptcy or are facing foreclosure, don’t cash out your 401 or investment accounts. Yes, the value has gone down but it will go up once this crisis has passed. You only lose the money when you sell it. Until then, it’s only a loss on paper.
12. Adjust your W-4 if you get a tax refund every year. A tax refund is an interest free loan to the government. It’s your money and you could use it throughout the year.
13. If you’ve lost your job due to the virus, ask your bank for help. Many banks and credit unions have stated they are willing to offer assistance to people who face temporary financial hardship due to the coronavirus. These might include measures like being able to skip a payment, having temporarily lower rates, or getting fees waived. Make sure to clearly and politely articulate the reasons for your hardship.
14. Look into refinancing your mortgage. Rates have dropped.
15. Government assistance may be coming. But don’t count it. There may be qualifications or requirements to obtain assistance.
16. File for unemployment if your job has been furloughed. If you’re allowed to file in your state.
17. Turn off the news and wash your hands! 🙂
18. Check into any employee benefits that may be of assistance to you. Check with your HR manager.
19. Check your insurance and see if there’s anything that’s pandemic related that your policy covers.
20. A lot of creditors are waiving payments for 90 days. Check with your creditors.
21. If you rent, check with your landlord about rent payments. Some states are delaying/waiving rent payments for 90 days.
22. Check with your mortgage lender to see if you can defer a payment (if you need to).
23. Several companies are offering free internet with homeschooling kids. Check with your provider.
24. Some states are waiving state taxes. Check with your state and local taxing authority.
25. Meal prep and meal planning helps lower your grocery bill.
26. With school trips being cancelled, those refunds can be added to your emergency fund or added to other budget items.
27. Proactively boost your immune system. Fresh produce, Vitamin supplements, etc…
28. If you’re finding yourself feeling isolating or bored, finds ways to do group work or have a virtual coffee shop via Zoom, Skype, or your favorite online platform.
29. If you’re furloughed from your job, be creative on ways you can bring in income. Spring is coming and lawns need mowing. Dogs still need walked. There are literally thousands of parents at home looking for child care right now with schools and day care centers closed.
30. Be on the lookout for scams. Fact check things you read on the internet and/or calls that you receive asking for donations.
Feel free to add your ideas in the comments.