9 money strategies to get you through the next COVID lockdown
9 Money Strategies To Get You Through The Next COVID Lockdown
As cooler weather hits the northern parts of the U.S. and people spend more time indoors, COVID-19 numbers are rising - and new lockdowns are being discussed to help control the spread of the coronavirus.
Officials in New York have already pressured parts of Brooklyn, Queens and two suburban boroughs where new outbreaks have occurred.
These more widespread lockdowns, which shut down millions of U.S. businesses in the spring, resulted in an unemployment rate of 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression.
Many Americans have returned to work, but new bans - even smaller, more local - could mean trouble for workers who still feel drained after the first round.
But you have time to prepare if Americans are asked to squat again. Here are nine things you can do to protect your finances from a second wave of lockdowns.
1. Continue to save
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When the first wave of the pandemic hit the country, the only financial advice almost every expert would agree on was that every consumer should build an emergency fund.
Apparently people were listening. In April, the personal savings rate - the percentage of disposable income people put aside for the future - rose to 33% in the US. This is the highest level since the Bureau of Economic Analysis began persecution in 1959.
If you managed to get your emergency fund during the initial freeze, try to keep contributing regularly. As long as they are stored in a high yield account, your savings will continue to grow significantly, giving you more access to it.
2. Basing your credit score
If a second lockdown puts your job at risk, you may need to take out a personal loan to cover your expenses.
However, if your credit isn't good, it is much more difficult to get a loan at a decent interest rate. The best way to make sure that your credit score is in good shape is to check it every month.
It's easy to see your credit score online for free, and many companies that can help you get a look also offer free credit monitoring services. You will be notified every time your score changes and given helpful tips on how to get your score back on track if hit.
3. Reduce debt
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Credit card debt can be difficult to manage at best - interest rates can be over 20% - but it gets tougher when a new lock disrupts your revenue stream.
If you start collecting interest on multiple cards and fail to make your minimum payments, your creditworthiness will drop and your debt will quickly spiral out of control.
It's a good idea to make larger-than-normal payments now, if you still have the means.
With a solid credit score, you could potentially save on your monthly payments by pooling your credit card balances into a single debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate.
4. Expand your job search
A second lockdown would almost certainly trigger another round of layoffs and vacations. If you are concerned that you will lose your job (or you are unemployed and still looking for a job) it is a good idea to make a habit of checking for new vacancies regularly, maybe even twice a day.
Some modern job boards offer you jobs that you never knew would fit your profile. They can even provide valuable information about these jobs, including the qualifications recruiters look for in a top candidate.
Before starting your search, make sure you have a professional, up-to-date resume that you can send out to prospective employers and upload to LinkedIn and other networking sites.
5. Take a side appearance
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Whether or not you are looking for a job, it is a great way to get extra income from a side gig to help cover your daily expenses.
Nowadays, online marketplaces can help you find buyers for all types of talent, from graphic design to blogging, screen reader to life coaching.
Best of all, most of these side gigs can be done from the comfort of your home.
Spending a few hours a week on your side can also help expand your network and build your resume. Either of these can improve your chances of getting a full-time job in the future.
6. Make sure you have health insurance
If you lost your job during the initial lockdown, you probably lost your health insurance as well. Families USA consumer group in July estimated the pandemic cut 5.4 million people from their reporting.
You may feel that you currently cannot afford to buy a new policy. However, if you or someone in your family incurs medical expenses while you are uninsured, it can cost you far more.
To get the best possible coverage at the best price, you need to shop around and get quotes from multiple insurance companies. It can be a chore, but you can compare prices online for free and find the lowest price in minutes.
7. Take advantage of online discounts
A second lockdown could put retail stores out of service and consumers would have to do most of their purchases online.
Shopping online is not without its advantages: you don't have to put on a mask or get up from the couch, and you can check prices in a variety of stores.
By installing a free browser extension, you can instantly compare the prices of anything you order, including shipping, sales tax, and availability. You will also find coupons and coupon codes that you can automatically apply at checkout to save even more money.
8. Keep your retirement plan on track
According to Fidelity Investments, the average 401 (k) balances dropped nearly 20% earlier this year when the virus first made its appearance. New locks could lower Americans' retirement savings even further.
If the coronavirus has derailed your plan for your golden years, then you should get in touch with a financial advisor to get your portfolio back on track.
Working with a consultant is cheaper than you might think, and nowadays it can be done entirely online. Even in the lockdown there is good advice nearby.
9. Watch your spending closely
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Unless you keep track of every dollar that leaves your account each month, you'll be surprised how much you can save with a few changes.
Make a list or table of your monthly expenses and identify any non-essential items that may be cut out of your budget during the lockdown. Do you really need to subscribe to multiple streaming services? Does brand name macaroni really taste better than the store version?
Now take this logic and apply it to recurring or automatic output such as: B. Your homeowner insurance. Look at how much you're currently spending, then compare rates from at least three other insurers to see if you can find a better deal.
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