5 Tips to Help Manage Personal Finances During COVID-19
Video by Susan Collins-Smith and Michaela Parker
If social distancing measures and the shelter-in-place order have left you with reduced income or without a paycheck, we have some tips to help you take control of your finances.
Immediately review your budget and adjust your lifestyle: Analyze what cash or remaining income is available. Make a list of monthly bills and expenses. Then prioritize those bills and expenses by need and due date.
File an unemployment insurance claim: You should file a claim as soon as possible. However, recent circumstances have increased claims and the system is backlogged. Expect a delay in receiving benefits.
List debts: Include credit cards, student loans, car payments and medical bills. Continue to pay creditors if possible. But if making these payments is impossible, contact each creditor to negotiate a payment plan and get it in writing.
Pay for groceries and other necessities with cash or a debit card: Avoid using credit to replace lost income. Apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through the Mississippi Department of Human Services to get temporary assistance with groceries instead of using credit. Or seek out local community organizations that can help with food and other necessities until other benefits begin.
Watch out for unhealthy coping mechanisms: Spending money helps some people deal with stress. Be mindful of unnecessary spending.
Extension’s Managing Personal Finances during COVID-19 web page has more information about handling personal finances, protecting yourself from fraud, federal stimulus money, and other general financial information.
Extension Information Sheet 1867, “Take Control of Your Finances When Your Income Drops,” provides a road map for managing finances after income loss.
To learn more about managing stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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