The global COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we live, work, socialize, and communicate. There are probably very few areas of our lives that won’t be different in the post-COVID world — including your personal finances.
Getting a solid handle on your money will make you better prepared for whatever life throws your way in the coming weeks and months. So what can you do today to begin preparing for your post-COVID-19 financial future?
Stretch your dollars
For many of us, the pandemic has meant staying home for weeks at a time and some have lost income during that period. Don’t panic. Instead, focus on finding ways to stretch your money farther.
Since you’ll be staying at home more, start thinking about ways to save money that would have been spent eating out and traveling in “the before times.” In addition to these potential savings, look for free or inexpensive ways to entertain yourself at home. For example, many libraries are offering both physical and online access to resources like e-books, audiobooks and more.
Supercharge your emergency fund
Chances are, we’ll all be at home more often than not in the days to come and saving on your normal travel and commuting costs. That means it should be much easier to resist the temptation of spending money on impulse buys and “special treats.”
One easy way to boost your emergency savings is to save your tax refund. If you haven’t spent the funds yet, consider stashing it away to help weather any storms that come your way.
Take a realistic inventory
Take a look at your current pantry, bathroom and cleaning supplies. If you already have what you need on hand, consider holding off on stocking up. You really don’t need ALL THE TOILET PAPER. Your wallet and your community will thank you. Learn more in our How to Grocery Shop on a Budget video. Watch now
Lenders can help
You might be surprised, but many lenders (like us!) are willing to work with you if you’re struggling to make your monthly payments. Most lenders will go out of their way to help you successfully navigate this difficult financial time, especially if you’ve consistently made on-time payments in the past. If you're struggling to make payments, give us a call and we'll chat with you about your options! 509.329.2900
Stay the course when it comes to investing
It can be extremely stressful to watch the value of your investment savings tumble. However, it’s likely that the market will recover. Most of us never planned to touch money invested in the market until retirement; don’t change that mindset now. Hold on for what may be a wild ride. Selling at a 20% or higher loss is not the answer.
Take advantage of low interest rates
If you have outstanding debt — a mortgage, a vehicle, or student loans — this is a great time to look into refinancing. You could save thousands over the course of your loan. Refinancing can involve a lot of time and paperwork, but you can do it from the comfort of your home and the resulting savings should be well worth the trouble. Talk with a Member Advocate about refinancing today. We have great rates and one of the best lending experiences you’ll find anywhere.
The bottom line
The COVID-19 pandemic has the world on edge, but that doesn’t mean your finances need to suffer. Look for opportunities to grow your savings. Put in the time and the rewards will come. We’re here for you through it all!