In March, President Trump signed the CARES Act to help ease the financial pain from COVID-19. (Remember those $1,200 checks?) It gave the economy a boost, but experts – including Fed chair Jerome Powell – say Americans need more.
Here’s how to take matters (and your financial future) into your own hands.
Do you have student loans?
If Uncle Sam is your lender, your monthly payments are probably paused through December. You could use that money to pay bills, save or work toward another goal. Extra credit: keep paying your loans to make a bigger dent in the balance before the gov starts charging interest again in 2021.
If you have private loans, check if refinancing can save you money. Find out if your bank offers discounts for signing up for auto-pay.
Do you have other debt?
Call your lender and see if they’re following the gov’s lead by offering interest breaks on credit cards, car loans, and mortgages.
Ask what else they can do. Like waiving fees or extending your loan term to lower your regular payment.
Does your emergency fund need some love?
Trim your budget to grow it faster – so you’ll be prepared no matter what comes next. Canceling unused subscriptions and grocery-shopping smarter are good places to start.
Keep it in the right spot. As in, far away from your checking account.
Do you have more time (since everything is canceled)?
Are you struggling to pay the bills?
Look into state rental and utility assistance programs.
Go greener. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, running the dishwasher at night (during off-peak hours), and plugging your electronics into advanced power strips can lower your utility bills.
Hit up your cable, internet, and phone providers to negotiate a better rate. Or cut out “extras” (like premiums TV channels you don’t watch) to save.
Trimming your budget, earning a little extra, and asking for help where you need it can help you get some relief...on your terms.
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