The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people out of work and created financial problems for families struggling to survive. The Courier Journal offers some advice for staying afloat:
- Make a budget. Sit down with a piece of paper or some budget software and analyze your monthly expenses—food, housing, gasoline, and the like. Track your spending to ensure the numbers are accurate. This will give you a good idea of what you’re paying for, and also what you can reduce or eliminate.
- Prioritize your bills. Generally speaking, your top priorities are food, utilities (gas, electricity, and water), shelter (rent or mortgage), and your vehicle. Pay those before you pay anything else.
- Ask for extensions. Many lenders, sympathetic to the plight of consumers, are open to delayed payment plans. Contact your landlord, mortgage company, credit card company, student loan provider, and other people and organizations you owe money to, and try to negotiate for better terms and rates.
- Cut costs and increase income. Look for sales and deals when you buy. Examine how much you spend on entertainment and look for saving strategies. Also, go through your home and look for items you can sell on Etsy or eBay to generate some extra cash.
- Don’t touch your retirement savings. You may be tempted to dip into your 401(k) or other retirement savings plan. Aside from possible tax penalties, you probably don’t want to take out money that you’ll need later unless you absolutely have to.