Financial troubles are common, even when there is no global coronavirus emergency to contend with. There are plenty of things that can and can’t be controlled during financial troubles. While that is the most obvious statement in the history of writing about such things, some of your options in each of these areas may not be so obvious. Do you know how to take advantage of the things you can control in a financial crisis? Looking beyond the immediate financial worries is the first step toward being a more effective decision-maker in times of need.
You cannot control whether your employer gives you a furlough notice due to COVID-19, or whether your company loses profitability and is forced to lay off people to weather the economic storm. What you can control is your reaction to the news. Do you have any advance warning of unemployment? Start getting your forms and applications together by looking at your state’s Department of Employment Security or similar agency that accepts unemployment claims.
But don’t stop there. Depending on your job, you may also qualify for emergency relief measures. For example, under the coronavirus economic stimulus programs offered in many states, there may be grants and additional money available for those in the hospitality industry, food service, artists, first responders, and more. Look first in your state government official site’s list of resources, but also search for private groups who focus on your type of employment for other grants or relief.
Beware of scams, and don’t respond to unsolicited offers of emergency relief you get on social media, via text, or email or even regular phone calls–always go directly to the agency’s official site (the main address) and double-check to make sure you are not being scammed.
It is crucial to prioritize your spending during financial troubles. Make smart choices starting with knowing how much any credit card spending will cost you over the next year. Why do we mention this? Those who use credit cards to purchase non-durable items that are consumed will pay for those purchase long after the food and toilet paper are gone.
If you can avoid this, it makes good financial sense to find alternate sources of cash to purchase consumable goods.
Sometimes that advice is simply not practical and you MUST use a credit card to pay for gas, groceries, etc. But as soon as you can stop doing so, it’s more financially effective for you to pay for those items without using credit.
Everyone knows how expensive it gets to schedule a doctor’s visit or even a trip to the ER. There is no practical advice you can give that will prevent an unexpected trip to a medical professional–accidents happen, people get sick, etc. What you should consider doing in the medical expenses area includes some long-term planning (ideally) by reviewing all your insurance coverage.
Consider the variables–the amount of your deductibles for some policies, how much your co-pays are, etc and see if it is possible to adjust the levels of coverage on ALL policies (not just your health insurance where applicable) so that you can actually afford to pay the deductible or co-pay when it is needed.
Some variables you cannot adjust personally but may find can earn a discount over time like being a ticket-free driver for auto insurance. Finding these “hidden” discounts or time-based rewards can help your bottom line.
Joe Wallace is a writer and editor from Illinois. He was an editor and producer for Air Force Television News for 13 years, and has served as Managing Editor for publications including Gearwire.com, and Associate Editor for FHANewsBlog.com. He is also an experienced book and script editor specializing in non-fiction and documentary filmmaking.