- Focus on your emergency savings. In uncertain times, having liquid cash on hand for the unknown is the number one financial recommendation. It may be tempting to tackle your debt beyond monthly minimums, or to jump on sales you find, however determining how much emergency savings would give you piece of mind is an important first step. Consider using tax refunds this year as a time to start or grow your emergency savings.
- Prioritize Your Bills. On a piece of paper, draw a big line down the middle. On the left side, list all of your bill that are absolutely essential for your life. On the right side, list all important, but non-essential bills.
- Make two different spending plans. Budgets may not be sexy, but they are very helpful for planning your money. Consider mapping out two plans: (1) what you are think you are currently spending each month and (2) what you would need to cover your bare bone necessities. To complete number (2), you might just use the look to bill priory chart.
- Take account of your financial records & medical benefits. Now is the time to inventory about what is your work sick policy, your health insurance and other relevant policies. What is coverage? Extra time at home, it’ll be a good time to check and freeze your credit if you know you’re not going to access it anytime soon.
- Make sure student loans are in good standing. Take some time do an inventory on your student loans. Currently the government is not charging interest on deferment or forbearance. Need help? DevNW does student loan counseling.
- Lose income? At risk of default? Whether it’s paying rent, your home loan or any other consumer credit, contact your servicer. Options may be available when you’re in communication. Follow the recommended steps outline by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
- Watch out for scams. In times of volatility is when scanners thrive. Check out Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for current scams to watch out for.
- Dollar cost average. Or contribute through OregonSaves. We never know where the bottom of the market it, but as long as your time horizon is a handful of years, stocks could be getting close to fire-sale prices. If savings is challenging, even a little extra change, are cool apps like Acorns or Stash that will round up your purchases to index funds in a Roth IRA.
- Support neighborhood and small business. If you have any extra this month, you may consider buying a holiday presents today. Buying a gift certificate now can really help small businesses deal with cash flow shortages.
- Read. As we all self quarantine, here are two personal finance classics that can help you make sense of these times: You Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robbins, and “Index Card” by Helaine Olen and Harrold Pollock are two foundational books.
Our HUD-approved financial counselors are happy to help you develop a plan. We continue to offer web-based financial counseling..
Also check out the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for more recommendations.