Develop a spending plan to prioritize needs
If you haven’t already, use this crisis as an opportunity to develop a spending plan. List every type of monthly expense and then categorize the list as essential (rent, utilities), then less essential (consumer debt payments, insurance), and then non-essential (cable TV, gym membership). Need help getting started? We’ve put together a list of easy-to-use resources to get you organized.
Look for ways to reduce expenses
It may be tempting to use the credit cards for expenses, but it’s generally better to try to reduce spending when facing a crisis. Here 8 ways to start saving:
- Explore Payment Options – Reach out to your mortgage lender, student loan servicer or auto lender to see if you can make an interest-only payment for a period of time. Remember secured debts (mortgage, vehicle payment) should take higher priority than unsecured debts (credit cards) if you’re not able to cover all your bills.
- Reduce Auto Insurance Costs – Contact your insurance agent to see if a better rate on auto insurance is available. If not, shop rates with other companies to see if comparable insurance is cheaper through another company.
- Look for Assistance Programs – Check with your utility company and internet provider to see if you qualify for assistance.
- Connect with Local Resources – If you live in Northwest Arkansas, create a profile on the HARK network to discover resources in the area, and connect directly with nonprofit agencies. Use the United Way’s national 2-1-1 service to find help in your area. Simply call 2-1-1 or go to 211.org.
- Reduce Subscriptions – Review subscriptions by checking your bank or credit card statements for recurring charges. Or use an app like Truebill to locate your subscriptions. Then prioritize and cancel what you don’t need.
- Buy Generic – It might be normal for you to purchase name brands, but you’ll save with store brands.
- Automate Routine Payments – Use online banking to automatically pay necessary expenses like rent, utility bills or mobile phone bills to avoid the costs of late fees.
- Use Your Library Card – Access audiobooks, movies and e-books through apps like Hoopla for free.
There are some who are trying to use this crisis to scare you into giving them your personal information. To keep your identity and financial security protected, take a look at the following resources:
- Forbes article warning of stimulus check scams
- Security and Exchange Commission’s tips on recognizing COVID-19-related investment scams
- Department of Homeland Security’s Alert Page
Need some help? Our caring financial professionals are here for you. Click below to schedule a free phone appointment.