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COVID-19 has taken over our lives. Most of us are out of work and those still working are risking their health to keep our communities running. I’ve been seeing a lot of social media posts about the lack of finances right now. Here are some sips on getting financial hep during this pandemic.
Where to Get More Information
First, please visit 211.org if you’re located in the US. If you’re in the UK, head over to Stepchange.org. There are resources out there that can and will help those that have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. A lot of companies in the US are paying their employees until the end of this month. After that, it’s up in the air buy layoffs will most likely happen if needed. Make sure you check what local resources are available to you in your community. You can always join your local Facebook group and ask as well if you’re having a hard time finding information.
Reach Out To Local Churches
If you’re low on food for you and your family or need basic necessities, check in with your local churches. A lot of churches have programs to help the community and offer food banks. Be mindful that they are most likely experiencing a lot of requests. If you have extra canned goods or other denotable items in your house, please donate!
Call Your Creditors
We all need to be proactive instead of reactive right now. Call your credit card companies and let them know you may not have an income in a few weeks and are unable to pay your debt. Most companies will work with you by either lowering your minimum payment or deferring your payment a few months. If you have a car payment, do the same. Let them know your situation, and likely, they will work with you. Make a list of bills you have and go down one by one. Some countries are waiving mortgage payments, but I have yet to hear of that in the US. Please, don’t just not pay your bills. You need to reach out! Also, these are your debts, so you will have to pay them eventually. Don’t think they will go away forever. Be mindful that wait times might be longer than usual and they might not have all the answers right now. Be patient, as everyone is trying to figure this out.
Contact Your Landlord
I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook about Los Angelos residents not having to pay rent during this time. That is not true. There have been measures put in place that will restrict evictions, but it doesn’t mean you can just stop paying rent. If you’re unsure if you will have money coming in, contact your landlord or property management company. Let them know your situation. Much like a creditor, they should be willing to work with you or help find a solution. If they are of no help, check to see if your country or state has issued an order protecting you. Document everything so that if you’re questioned in the future, you have proof and a record of all communications.
Budget Budget Budget
I can’t stress this enough, but budget! Sit down and write out a household budget. Anytime anyone goes to the store, stick to the list. Make sacrifices and learn to cook complete meals with little ingredients. There are so many recipes available on-line…you just have to look! Only buy necessities and if you have any subscriptions, put them on hold for the time being. This isn’t forever, but the more we can save, the less we have to dress about later.
Please reach out to your local city and county officials if you have exhausted your search for help. Someone will be able to point you in the right direction.
If you happen to find yourself in a good financial position during this pandemic, I urge you to give back to your community. You can donate money, food, gift cards, clothing or even cleaning supplies and I’m sure it will go to someone in real need.
Remember, we are all in this together and you’re not alone. Everyone is affected by this in one way or another, and you’re not the only one that may need a bit of help. Use the resources the government has created and don’t panic! Be proactive, document everything and most of all, stay safe and follow the advice of your local governments.