Pandemic

3 Ways To Keep Your Money Safe During The Pandemic

For a great deal of us, the pandemic has put us in some sticky situations as far as our finances are concerned. Between losing sources of income and debt piling up left and right, it’s not only important to rebuild what we had, but to protect what we still have.

Here are 3 ways to keep your money safe during the pandemic.

Be smart about how you handle your finances during the pandemic.

pandemic smart
Being “smart” about your finances simply comes down to doing what it takes to minimize financial instability and uncertainty.

Because a lot of us have already suffered some monetary setbacks during the pandemic, financial literacy is doubly important when it comes to rebuilding, saving, and protecting our assets.

At this time, it’s not necessary to focus on the more complex aspects of finances such as investing and trading. Instead, it’s a good idea to turn your focus to mastering the basics: creating a budget, managing credit, settling debts, and building an emergency fund.

    • Budgeting: Creating a budget might sound intimidating but it’s actually pretty simple. The first thing you have to do is figure out where your money comes from.Is your 9-5 job your sole source of income? Do you have multiple jobs? Are you self-employed? Do you receive disability or unemployment? Pinpoint where your money comes from when it comes, and how much you make in total.Now, where exactly does that money go? Make note of your bills and other expenses to get a clear picture of how you spend your money.You want to be as organized as possible here, so you should be logging and sorting your spending by categories such as housing, food, utilities, etc.

      This will show you all the ways you’re spending money that can actually go in the savings, like stopping to get coffee from a Starbucks every morning instead of making it at home, or making frivolous, unnecessary purchases every time you go shopping.

      Once you’ve figured out your income and expenses, create a calendar for your bills to ensure that your paydays align with your due dates. This way, you’ll know when and how much you need to save in order to pay a bill on time. This also gives you the opportunity to change the dates of reoccurring payments so that they better align with your income.

      Finally, assess the information you collected. Do you have enough money to cover all of your weekly and monthly expenses? Could you be saving more or utilizing more of your income to cover debts?

      Could you spend money on leisure and entertainment without breaking the bank? The answers to these questions should not only help you formulate the right budget for you, but they should also help you set new financial goals.

    • Settling debts: For most of us, the idea of paying off all of our debts at once and still being able to live comfortably is unrealistic. Luckily, the vast majority of banks and lenders don’t require you to do such a thing. However, you do need to develop a plan that’ll help you manage and pay off debt as quickly as possible. You don’t have to pay it all back the hard way, either. You can work out an easy repayment plan with your lender, apply to financial hardship assistance programs, and even protect your assets by filing for bankruptcy.
    • Emergency fund: If the pandemic proved anything, it’s how ill-prepared we are for both small and large scale emergencies. Most financial experts recommend we have 6 months or more worth of living expenses saved up in case of an emergency. However, studies show that the average American would not be able to cover an unforeseen expense of $400 or more. To keep yourself and your finances safe, make sure an emergency fund is comfortably incorporated into your savings plan.
  • Managing credit: Credit is important because it gives you the opportunity to get everything you need, even when you don’t have the means. A new car, an emergency loan, an apartment, and a credit card are just a few of the things you can get when your credit is good. Good credit can truly be a lifesaver in times like these because when money is short, you have a strong, reliable financial backup. Paying off debts, keeping your balances low, and paying your bills on time are the main ways to keep your credit in good standing.

Keep up with your bills.

pay bills during a pandemic
Many companies have taken it upon themselves to implement grace periods, relief programs, and flexible, long-term payment schedules in order to help customers pay their bills with ease.

This can be tempting to take advantage of if you’re looking to save a little more money in the short term. However, if you can pay your bills on time, by all means, pay them.

It’s better to keep your head above water and pay what you owe now because there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to pay what you owe in the future.

If you are one of the many people who are currently having a hard time keeping up with your bills, your goal should be to return to your regular schedule while also utilizing the programs and tools being offered. You have a couple of options:

  • For all loans (such as mortgages and student loans): contact your bank or lender and let them know you’re experiencing financial hardship. They may be able to work out a plan or solution based on your circumstances.
  • Debts (including credit cards and auto loans): Look into affordable repayment plans and relief programs. Also seek the help of a credit counselor to better organize your finances, build a budget, and negotiate with creditors.

Utilize a bank or credit union.

protect your money during a pandemic

Protecting your money can be a very literal task when you’re carrying cash. We live in a world where robbery and theft happen all the time and considering the desperate times we’re currently living in, we need to be extra vigilant about protecting our personal belongings.

Because of this, it’s best to skip the trips to the ATM and keep most—if not all—of your money in your bank or on your credit and debit cards.

If someone were to steal cash from you, there’s not much you can do to get it back. Even with filing police reports and taking other legal measures, there’s a very small chance that you’d get the money back or even be repaid.

With credit cards and bank accounts, you at least have federal protections that ensure debt from stolen cards will not fall on you and depending on the situation, may even be able to recover some money or receive compensation.

So go ahead and keep your money safe and sound in your bank or credit union, and limit your trips to the ATM for when you truly need them.

What steps did you take during the Pandemic to protect your money?

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