With the world in the midst of a pandemic, the fallout has hit businesses and personal finances hard. Many are out of work or are trying to figure out how to make ends meet so they can make payroll not to mention the monthly bills that keep coming. Maybe you’ve applied for financial help being offered by the government, or maybe you don’t qualify. Either way, there are ways to hold on and maintain your credit or even boost it in the middle of the financial chaos.
When finances are in turmoil, fraud is often nearby. It’s very important to be vigilant in keeping an eye on your bank accounts and credit card statement to look out for suspicious activity. Also, be very careful not to be too quick to click on links sent through email. Remember that you will never be asked to pay anything upfront for funds received by the CARES Act. Before you do anything, log on directly to the government site always making sure the padlock in front of the website is present and locked or that https in front of the URL name.
Know what’s coming in and going out
Sit down and make a list of what you owe and what you have in your bank account. Compare it to what you are expected to have coming in, if anything. Sit down and take a good look at your budget, and reallocate finances that would have usually gone to gasoline or entertainment expenses that you are not using now, and apply them elsewhere so you can make sure you have money available for the important bills that you cannot miss. Some find budgeting apps that track money very helpful.
It never hurts to ask
If you cannot make a payment, contact your mortgage company, auto loan company, or credit cards and ask for a deferment or those late payments be waived. Many companies are waiving late fees and deferring interest and minimum payments for a couple of months or more during the pandemic crisis.
Get help monitoring your credit
As diligent as you are, you cannot be everywhere all of the time. It’s a good idea to use a credit monitoring and identity service to protect and monitor your credit. The peace of mind these companies offer may be just what you need to sleep at night. Some even offer insurance for cleaning up a mess if a breach does occur.
Since very little or nothing is coming into your finances anytime soon, make sure as little as possible goes out as well. Don’t go on a spending spree, and don’t panic buy above what you need. Use wisdom before you allow any money to go out. Is it something you need right now? Is it something that will save you money in the long run? Can I get it for less or for free elsewhere?