Many of us are feeling anxious about our finances right now. A recent survey found that 60 percent of Americans are worried about money because of COVID-19.
If you’re feeling uneasy about your financial position, first, take a deep breath: Even during challenging times, there are steps you can take to gain control of your finances and set yourself up for success down the road.
Wondering where to begin? Here are a few starting points for taking control of your finances.
1. Create or revisit your budget.
If you don’t have a budget, there has never been a better time to create one. If that feels daunting, use a worksheet like this one from the Federal Trade Commission as a guide. By simply writing out your expenses, you might be surprised by what you find—and you may be able to quickly identify easy ways to cut back and save money.
If you already have a budget, now is a good time to make sure it’s still an accurate reflection of your spending. If you’re working from home while self-isolating, you might notice that you’re saving money on commuting, childcare and other costs. If you’ve lost work, you might find that you need to cut back on discretionary spending on entertainment and takeout in order to cover the essentials each month.
2. Build an emergency fund.
If you don’t already have one, you might think it will take years to build up an emergency fund. But every emergency fund has to start somewhere, whether it’s with $5 or $500.
Start your emergency fund today, and don’t let perfectionism get in your way. Every dollar you’re able to set aside makes a difference; even a few hundred dollars in an emergency fund can go a long way if you ever need it. Check out this article for detailed advice on how to build an emergency fund in the middle of a crisis.
3. Take advantage of deferred payments and other services.
If you’re worried you won’t be able to pay your mortgage, auto loan, credit card bill or other expenses, check with your bank or loan provider to see if they’re offering assistance during the pandemic. Many banks and loan providers are letting borrowers defer payments until the economy stabilizes.
For additional tips on managing your business and your money throughout the coronavirus pandemic, visit our website for the latest updates and information.