By M Katie Helle, CPA

Our country is facing times of uncertainty with the current worldwide pandemic of the coronavirius – COVID-19.  Many people are finding themselves without work and struggling to pay their bills.  Here are some tips that can help you manage your money during an economic hardship:

  • Evaluate your current budget to determine if there are any areas that you can trim down. Can you reduce your weekly grocery expense?  Can you reduce the amount you are allocating for gas in your car?
  • Before you make a trip to the grocery store, try to plan weekly meals in advance. Although many of us are facing sparse shelves at the grocery store, planning and using creative cooking can help to save you some money.
  • Spend as little as possible on extras at this point. This can be easy for many with the current order to stay home many state governors are issuing.
  • If you have been saving money, now is the time to use that emergency fund. When this all passes, you can build it back up.

If you are still faced with challenges after implementing the above, there are still some options for you:

  • Talk to your lenders about your hardship. Many lenders are helping those who have recently been affected by COVID-19.
  • Unemployment may be an option for you if you have been furloughed or laid off. The government has increased the maximum amount individuals may be eligible for to help during this crisis.

If you are fortunate enough to not be seriously impacted by this pandemic consider giving back.  This might mean ordering a meal from a local restaurant to help them get through this hard time.  Or perhaps consider purchasing a gift card from your favorite service business that is currently closed to be used later.  Even consider making a donation to a non-profit organization, such as your local zoo, that is not earning revenue from ticket sales.  This kind gesture will help these businesses get through this hard time.

Above all, just know you are not alone!  We are all facing this hardship together.  There have been many amazing acts of kindness that are taking place to help everyone get through this unprecedented time.  Just know, we will all rise again.