There are times in our lives where we sit back and enjoy the ride. Things are beautiful and we have all our little ducks in a row (I mean, financially, for the most part). We’re planning our vacations, surfing the latest sales, and splurging on dinners out.
Then there are times like these. Unprecedented economical mess.
Pull the reigns on all spending
Many of us have been spending freely, stress shopping without thinking of the effect it is going to have on our budgets. It has to stop and be brought down to necessity only. If this means deleting certain shopping apps off of your phone, then so be it. Clearly learn and apply the definitions of “want” and “need” in your family. Spending right now should be focused on needs only, including not fulfilling your child’s “want” list just to keep them from being bored. If your child is old enough to understand this concept, then having an age appropriate conversation should be in order.
Access your subscriptions
I have several delivery boxes, subscription services and memberships that draft out of my account automatically every month. Many are small and go unnoticed mostly, but when every dollar counts, it’s time to notice. Grab your last few bank statements and see what’s actually coming out. Postpone, cancel or downgrade as needed.
List your bills out
Do this the old fashioned way. Force yourself to look at every bill and monthly note you have. Check each one’s website for postponement and delayed payment assistance. If you do not see anything then contact them! Explain your situation and ask for any help they can give you, even if it’s lowering your interest rate or changing your packages / plans. Worst case scenario is they say no, but you will never know unless you try.
Apply, Apply, Apply
Now is not the time to sit back and not ask for assistance. If you qualify and you need help, please apply. Check the Louisiana state website for links to the various programs available. Not sure if you quality? Apply still. Not sure how to fill out an application? Ask your friends to help you if they have experience. Small businesses and self employed individuals can also contact their CPA or banker for assistance with SBA loans.
Budget your emergency fund
If you do have an emergency fund, you should budget it as far as it will take you. Once you have adjusted your bills as much as possible, figure out what you will need for each month ahead. Once you have that number stick to it. Personally I like to move only what I need for one month at a time from my emergency fund to my checking account. Do not take advances from other months. Now is the time to live within your means.
Have a suggestion, tip or piece of advice to share on addressing the current financial strain on families? Please share.