By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting lives, many people are worried about their finances. Even with shops, restaurants, and gyms closed, money is going to get much tighter. The pandemic will affect a lot of people and their economic well-being. As establishments and markets close, doing business becomes harder. Being told to sit and wait it out certainly doesn’t help your stress levels. But taking practical money management steps can help you feel more in control of your finances.
Feeling more confident and in control of your finances can help bring a little normalcy back to your life. Stock markets are plummeting, and millions of people are losing their jobs. Even with government loans, it will be a long road back to economic health for the country as a whole. Money is going to get much tighter.
While some people will be more dramatically affected by the pandemic than others, it’s essential to take a smart approach to your money. There are moves that you can take now while in quarantine, to help protect your financial future.
Whether you’re a beginner budgeter or regularly review your monthly expenses, it’s crucial to develop healthy financial habits. These money management tips can help you get a better handle on your finances.
In 2018, 8.5% of people in the United States didn’t have health insurance. That’s 27.5 million people. Whether you’re looking to renew your health insurance or shop around for new coverage, make sure to review your health policy.
Up until COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus-related treatment costs were covered by most insurance policies. However, several policies are now excluding pandemic-related claims. Check with your current insurer for updates. You don’t want an unexpected hospital visit to cost you dearly.
Being sick is bad enough, but if medical debt stops you from seeking out help, that’s a big issue. That’s why it’s important to find affordable health insurance as you consider money management strategies. When looking for your next policy, here are some tips to keep the costs down:
Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, gyms, that gin subscription service you subscribed to a year ago; they all add up. Nowadays, everything seems to be on a monthly billing cycle. All those smaller monthly subscriptions start to add up.
Go through your bank statements and make a note of every monthly subscription you have. Then, think about whether you need it right now. Switching off subscriptions does not need to be permanent. However, you may find that you didn’t need it in the first place.
With many services suspended like travel and fitness studios, businesses are keeping customers updated on how they are handling business and potential refunds. Make sure to follow up and double-check your statements. If your gym membership is on hold, check that it’s reflected in your statements.
One of the best ways to manage your money is by creating a budget. Through budgeting, you create a spending plan. It means that you will always have enough money to do what you want. Taking the time to manage your money better now can pay off in the future. You can stay on top of your bills and save money each year. You can then use that extra money to pay off any existing debts, put them toward your retirement fund, or spend them on your next car or vacation.
To create a money management budget, start by calculating your expenses like grocery shopping, rent or mortgage payments, and insurance. Then, determine your income and set savings and debt payoff goals. Track your spending and progress. Remember to be realistic. Luckily, there are some financial tools to help you that are entirely free to use. Some of the best money-saving apps and budgeting tools are:
Review your investments, but don’t make a panic move. Simply look and review. When the market is plummeting, it’s human nature to panic and make a rash decision. Although no one can predict what’s going to happen in the short-term, the majority of investments tend to be mid- to long-term investments.
Whatever you do, don’t make panic-stricken decisions over your investments. Think with your head, and don’t let your emotions decide for you. Ups and downs are a part of the stock market. Always speak to a financial advisor before making any big choices.
The U.S coronavirus bailout includes stimulus checks, small business loans, and help for hard-hit industries. The U.S. government is spending trillions of dollars to support the struggling economy. Since mid-April, around 140 million Americans have received payments totaling $239 billion to aid in the management of money and debt. Whether you run a small business, or are worried about your job, investigate the type of payment relief you could be entitled to.
With rates going down, now could be a good time to get a better handle on any debt you have. If you have any high-interest debt like a personal loan, consider paying it off if your income hasn’t changed. Although it may be a bit of a squeeze for your finances right now, if something happens to your job later on, you may not be able to make regular payments. Paying down debt as much as possible in the present will always be beneficial in the long run.
Your financial well-being forms a part of your overall health and happiness. Debt.org has a number of free resources, information, and articles created by financial experts to help manage and understand your debt.
During these uncertain times, focusing on your budget and reviewing your finances can make you feel more in control. It’s essential to take the necessary precautions and adjustments when it comes to your finances.
The full global effects of the pandemic are still relatively unknown. As the country starts to open up again slowly, it’s a great time to get ahead and manage your finances. Although these are tough times, you can develop healthy financial habits that will benefit your economic well-being in the long-term.