Although experts recommend that Americans keep at least six months of savings on hand in the event of an emergency, the reality is that many people live paycheck-to-paycheck and never get that opportunity. Not only that, but the ongoing pandemic has lasted more than five months, and many are finding their financial limits stressed by this point as a result.
So what you can do? First of all, don’t despair. You can still save money and there are other ways to help tide things over until the pandemic is over.
Yes, you can still save money and it isn’t too late to get started. Be honest with yourself about what you choose to spend money on and if some things are truly necessary. You’d be surprised at what will quickly become routine, even if it isn’t easy at first.
You should also consider selling any items of value that you don’t really need—those small items can add up quickly toward things that matter the most.
Although automating your savings is generally good advice, that isn’t always enough when it comes to managing your expenses. What you should really be doing is taking a hard look at your monthly expenses and pruning out things that can add up more quickly than you think. For example, if you have several streaming services, do you really use all of them?
And if you aren’t driving your car as often, do you really need the streaming music service at this time?
Another thing you can consider doing is to shift some of your long-term savings into short-term savings. This might lower the amount of money you’re putting toward retirement, but you can switch back when things are financially stable again, since the virus should only be temporary.
One thing many people don’t like to do is ask for help when they need it the most. If you’re feeling a financial pinch, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. This doesn’t have to mean family and friends—you can also reach out to utility providers, mortgage lenders, landlords, credit card companies, and other lenders.
They understand that a pandemic is going on and might be willing to help you out, since they understand that this is a short-term situation, especially if you’ve always been on time with your bills in the past.
Because of this, many lenders may be willing to work with you to lower your payments for a period or postpone them for a while so you can get back on your feet. It never hurts to ask.