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Now that the initial shock of the pandemic has started to wear off, it’s time to take a step back and really start planning. Everyone is living through an unprecedented time. The uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic is enough to rattle even the strictest saver. Things may feel that they are all out of your control, so focus on what you can control. First things first. Listen to healthcare professionals and follow guidelines to protect yourself and others. If you are financially impacted by Covid-19 for any reason, there are steps you can take to help minimize that impact.
Even if you have not yet been financially impacted by the current state of events, it is vital to either reassess your household budget or create one if you have not already. Involve your family in this as much as you can. Just letting your family know you are thinking about the crisis and how you will respond can be enough to help ease some of the anxiety around the unknown. When you are looking at your crisis budget, identify which expenses are absolutely necessary and which are not. It is best to make the hard decisions now, even if you have a savings account built up, rather than wait until you are forced to make those decisions.
Focus on your rent or mortgage first. You need to keep a roof over your head if at all possible. With a situation as fluid as this, it is important to realize that there are resources available to help if needed and that those resources could change. If you are ever in a situation in which you are unable to pay your rent or mortgage, contact your landlord or mortgage provider right away. Once you have the rent and mortgage covered, then move on to food, utilities, and down on to the more non-essential items.
In the event you are unable to make a debt payment, make sure you contact the creditor as soon as you know you will miss the payment. During this difficult time, many creditors are expanding the options available to those unable to make their monthly payments.
If you feel lost when it comes to making a budget, as many do, please reach out to a Certified Credit Counselor at Family Credit Management. Family Credit Management is a nonprofit credit counseling agency that has been helping consumers in difficult financial situations for more than 23 years. Reach out for a no-strings attached budget review from an objective professional by calling 1-800-994-3328 and selecting option 1.
For more in-depth tips and resources, please visit www.familycredit.org/covid19.