As a money coach, I always want to help my clients make good decisions about their finances. During the uncertain times, we are facing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic I want to share the following list of ideas to help reduce the impact on your finances.
Whether you have lost your job, are under shelter-in-place orders, or working from home some of the following ideas will help in the very short term.
If you are already well-positioned with your finances, be sure to check out the 5 Ways to Get Ahead during this time at the bottom of the post.
25 Ways to Reduce the Impact Covid-19 has on Your Finances
PART I: Reduce Expenses
1. Review all bank/credit union accounts and credit card statements to identify recurring charges, memberships, and subscriptions that you can cancel or suspend.
2. Call to request a waiver of payment or fees, or an extension on payments due on bank, credit union and credit card accounts.
3. Request a credit card limit increase and interest rate reduction on all accounts.
4. Request a credit or partial credit on memberships you cannot use right now (i.e. gym).
5. Identify cable and phone services that have crept up over time that you can renegotiate.
It’s a good idea to go through these things periodically as they can be a drain on your finances
6. Bundle your daily trips to 1 since we are all supposed to be at home anyways (i.e. bank and grocery store in one trip).
7. If you are telecommuting, you will already be spending less on fuel. Better yet, take a bike ride or walk to do any errands or outings if possible.
8. Meal plan for the week to minimize trips to the grocery store, cook at home and reduce eating out.
9. Don’t over shop. Many grocery stores are not providing refunds for over purchasing goods. Purchase only what you need.
10. Avoid in-app. purchases. They may not seem like a big deal at the time but they add up and can wreak havoc on your finances.
11. Use one or two streaming subscriptions instead of individual purchases or movie rentals.
12. Obtain library books online for free rather than purchasing.
13. Stream music from artist’s social media pages directly and support LIVE musicians with a donation.
14. Don’t forget to take into account season tickets to sporting events and sports activities. Request a refund if you have already paid for these things.
15. Some states are delaying or waiving rent or mortgage payments for 90 days. Contact your lender or landlord for relief.
16. Free Internet is available through Comcast/Xfinity for homeschooling families.
Increase Income: Creative ways to benefit your finances
17. Utilize what you are already good at. A teacher could provide tutoring or support with homeschooling for example, or neighbors may really appreciate extra support with babysitting, getting up and running with virtual meetings, grocery delivery, dog walking, yard work, etc.
18. Go online with your business: teach virtually, coach or provide counsel online, create a webinar, network via zoom, skype, etc.
Taxes and Loans
19. Do your taxes. Will you be receiving a refund? File for it now for cash in your account this month. If not, wait until the July 15th deadline to make your tax payment.
20. If you are an employee, give yourself a boost in the arm by temporarily reducing your taxes by adjusting taxes withheld via your W-4.
21. Be sure to watch legislation for government assistance eligibility. There are already many Disaster Relief programs available for small businesses impacted. You can learn about these through your local Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Development Center.
22. Check-in with your HR Professional to ask about what benefits are available for gap in pay.
23. File for unemployment if you have been forced to take work off without pay. The week waiting period in CA is being waived right now for eligible applicants.
24. Talk to your insurance agent about any benefits you may have covered by your existing policies that would help with your hardship right now.
25. Don’t forget to use funds for medical needs and supplies that are in your HSA accounts or other medical benefits accounts before taking cash out of your pocket.
5 Ways to Get Ahead & Thrive
- Student Loans: The Dept. of Education has announced it will waive interest accrual for deferments and forbearance for the foreseeable future. Make any extra payments against your principal as possible. It may mean the difference of paying off your loans by months or years.
- Emergency Fund: Establish one now or use this opportunity to beef up an existing one
- Refinance: We have historic lows right now. While mortgage rates are NOT at 0%, these are the best rates in 5 years.
- Look for Investment Opportunities: Keep investing as normal if you have regular contributions to a retirement account. Stock prices are down, aka discounted. Talk to your Financial Adviser you may have great opportunities.
- Be ProActive: Stay well and avoid medical expenses. Stay alert and savvy to potential scams. Here is an additional Disaster Preparedness resource to help reduce the impact on your finances from Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Don’t forget, as a money coach and financial wellness advocate, I’m here to support you. I am happy to hop on a call to brainstorm ideas to help that may be unique to your situation. Simply reach out to me for a free, no-obligation connection call.
Michelle Boss is a Personal Finance Coach and Certified Financial Education Instructor. She is certified through the NFEC. As a Professional Money Coach, Michelle helps successful women get smart with money so they can grow their wealth and finally feel financially secure. With Michelle’s Group and One-to-one Coaching Sessions, she helps take the Fear out of Finances.