With the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis including job loss, pay cuts, and stimulus checks — which may have already been deposited for some, while others may have to wait until September to receive their $1,200 — money management has become increasingly important for many. BECU financial educator Stacey Black has more than 25 years of experience in helping people manage their money. Here are her top tips on how people can help limit financial strain throughout the duration of this crisis:
Re-Evaluate Your Financial Goals: If you are currently paying off debt or saving for other big purchases, now is the time to hit the “pause” button and focus on preserving your cash as much as possible. In uncertain times, it’s better to have cash on-hand and delay your goals for better peace of mind.
Prioritize Your Expenses: If you’re having a hard time deciding which bills to pay first, make a list and prioritize essential expenses — think things like housing, utilities, and food. Go through each expense on your list and make a note of anything that you can delay payments on or change for a brief period.
Pause Your Debt Payoff Strategy: During times like this, it’s probably a good idea to put your plans to eliminate debt on pause and focus on paying only the minimum payment due. When things get back to a new normal, you can always pick up where you left off.
Use Your Resources (Example: Stimulus Check): If you receive a stimulus check, it’s important to think about how you will use the money. Now is a great time to start or add to your existing emergency savings fund, especially if your income has or may be interrupted. However, if you are already financially prepared, consider donating your check to an organization that can use the money. Anything you can do will help.