During these uncertain times, many are feeling financially stressed. With bills that still need to be paid, many are faced with job losses, a reduction in job income, and less job security.
Here are 6 tips to manage your financial stress during COVID-19.
1. Learn about the government programs that are available
It seems like everyday, you hear about a new business or individual financial support program that’s available due to COVID-19. It’s worthwhile to check out your local government COVID-19 support page to see what could pertain to you. Many of these programs require application so make sure you’ve properly applied; don’t assume you’ll automatically get the credit or cash just because you qualify for it. Don’t forget to check all of the pages reflecting the different levels of government. For example, your state or provincial programs will differ from your city or county programs.
2. Contact your utility, insurance and other providers
A lot of companies are offering support. You just have to ask to know what’s available. For example, I contacted my car insurance company and found out they’re offering a special rate for customers that are working from home due to COVID-19. If you’re working from home as well, you can reduce the daily work mileage you’re covered for under your auto insurance as you’re not driving your regular route to work.
3. Understand your financial situation
Now that you know what COVID-19 financial resources are available, you should circle back to your finances and understand your current financial situation. Layout all of the numbers (your monthly income, expenses, assets, and liabilities). Understand where your cash flow is going. When you know what’s happening, you’ll know where you stand and how far you can go given the current situation i.e. if you have emergency savings you can lean on through this crisis.
4. Limit non-essential purchases
While you’re stuck at home, it’s a good idea to limit your discretionary purchases. It’s easy to get caught up buying the latest and greatest products. You don’t need this season’s trendy sweater or the newest Apple iPhone. Your go-to sweater and current phone works just fine! Use what you have until it breaks down. Focus your spending on the essentials only.
5. Do a no spend challenge
A no buy challenge is when you don’t spend money for a certain period of time. It could be a weekend, a week, or a month. You can set rules to spend only on essentials like groceries or other allowances. The benefits of a no spend challenge are that it forces you to be creative with what you have. You also learn new skills to avoid paying for a solution. When you feel like you have no money to save, doing a no spend challenge can open your eyes to more ways to save and better ways to spend.
6. Get a side income
There’s only so much you can save as your savings is your income minus your expenses. What you can make is unlimited. During these times when you might have more time, you can work on getting an additional income stream like an online part-time job, stock dividends, or rental income. If you’re a mom and your time is particularly limited, here’s a list of work from home jobs for moms that are flexible and pay well.