Millions of Americans have been financially affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. This includes people who are sick or were laid off or furloughed from their jobs. If that includes you and your family, you should make a plan for how you’ll spend the government relief payment. Each household’s situation is different, but there are some priorities you should keep in mind that will help you make a plan:
Food & Medications
The most important thing you should spend your money on is keeping your family healthy. This means putting nutritious foods on the table and purchasing necessary medications. Be cautious going to grocery stores and pharmacies - practice social distancing and wash your hands regularly. Keep in mind that you should purchase fresh foods as well as non-perishable items, like rice, beans and canned vegetables.
Other Household Necessities
Next you should buy other items that you consider necessities. This includes hygiene items like soap, toilet paper and wipes. Cleaning products should also be considered necessities, unless you are fully stocked with enough supplies for a few weeks. Avoid purchasing supplies for too far out or buying items that you won’t use. You may be able to order some of these items online or you may have better luck arriving at a store in the morning when it opens.
Many utility providers have stated that they will continue to provide their services even if you are unable to make the payments. Some are extending the payment due dates and waiving late fees. However don’t take our word for it, check with your specific utility providers to learn about their policies. Avoid getting behind on payments and allocate some of the money you receive from the government to paying utility bills. If you’re stuck inside your home, keeping power and water on is a priority.
Your rent or mortgage payments are probably your biggest expense. You should contact your mortgage lender or landlord if you have been financially affected by Coronavirus and see if you can negotiate with them. If you have gotten behind on your housing payments and are unable to negotiate for a later payment due date, you should use the government relief payment for this after you have purchased the necessities. Many mortgage lenders are providing options to suspend payments for a period of time so call your lender and see what options are available.
Other Credit Payments
Contact all creditors and see if they are willing to provide some support due to the current financial situation. Many are allowing a suspension of payments or interest. However, you should still try your best to make your minimum monthly payments on all credit accounts.
If you don’t know the details of the Coronavirus stimulus package that was signed into law yesterday, learn more about what the relief payments mean for you and your family. The government will provide a one-time payment for qualifying workers as well as expand unemployment benefits. If you meet the income requirements, you should expect to receive a payment in the coming weeks.
Aside from the government relief payment, there are other actions you can take if you have been affected by the pandemic. Learn about applying for unemployment benefits and other ways to live with less income.
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