We know how uncertain things feel today because of the coronavirus outbreak. We also know uncertainty about health can lead to uncertainty about finances.
Here are some ways you can manage your money effectively in the coming weeks as the world continues to react to the global health crisis.
Budget carefully: Decide where your money is best spent. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Be smart about where your money is going, especially if your income could potentially take a hit due to the virus.
Shop online where you can: Banks and retailers are encouraging customers to use online banking or buying to manage their money and get the stuff they need. This is all part of a concerted effort to minimize person-to-person interaction and limit the spread of the virus. As panicked shoppers continue emptying store shelves, buying online might be the best way to snag your necessities for the time being. Just know that delivery services are taxed, so you may experience some delays.
Safeguard your savings: Because we don’t know how long this outbreak will last, it’s best to keep a tight grip on your savings if you can. If you need funds, connect with lenders offering personal loans that can help you cover short-term costs.
Use credit wisely: Credit cards with low fees and even better rates can come in handy right about now. Find low- or no-interest cards that help with last-minute purchases or rewards cards that help with online shopping.
Panic less, plan more: Speaking of panicked shoppers, do your best not to be one of them. The frenzied rush to the grocery store or the impulse to sell your shares if you’ve invested in the stock market can lead to more complications than solutions. Instead, focus on developing an action plan for how you’ll maneuver if you’re forced to stay indoors for a while. If you have children at home, planning for the long haul is especially going to benefit you more than purchasing a truckload of toilet paper you may not need.
Eliminate some debt: Now could be a good time to ease your debt load. A balance transfer credit card can move high-interest debt off your plate, but so can choosing a personal loan or debt relief.
Grab some cash while you can: As states announce more school and business closures, it wouldn’t hurt to have some cash on hand. We don’t know if bank branches will start to close (hopefully not!). Withdraw some cash now so you’ll have it to spare, just in case.
Boost your emergency fund: Times like these prove why an emergency fund is essential. If you’ve struggled to build one, get a high-interest earning savings account that can help you multiply your money quickly. Online savings accounts typically offer higher rates than traditional banks, so you stand a better chance of saving a lot more money over a shorter period of time.
Seek help if you need it: There’s no shame in getting help if you need it. Although several states and counties have suspended evictions and late utility payments during the pandemic, people still need to live day-to-day. Use this guide to government benefits and assistance programs that can help you weather the crisis.