It’s been a rough 15 months or so of having to deal with the pandemic. Our health was paramount as something to deal with, but our finances were a close second. Many people lost jobs; others started working from home. This led to a major change in our economy; a lot of stores closed and aren’t coming back.
Unfortunately there’s little we can do about that. Many people barely had enough money for food, rent, mortgage and other bills. Luckily, many companies worked with us to help us get through the worst of it; so did many states.
As things are easing up, we have a long way to go to get back to as close to normal as we can. It’s time to talk about financial issues. Are you ready to move forward? Would you like some tips on what to concentrate on and how they might help?
That’s why we’re here; let’s go!
1. Income is number one.
In the order of importance, generating an income has to be at the top of your list. If you were still making money during the long shutdown, you’re a lucky person. If not, and you’re at home collecting unemployment, you have to start thinking about your next step because it’s not going to be around for ever; it’s not even going to be around long.
We’re hearing about industries, restaurants, and other employers having trouble finding workers. If you have certain skills and some money saved up you can afford to wait for a good opportunity. If not, it’s time to start generating income, and it’s good to get the good jobs before they’re gone.
Think about it this way. It’s possible you could be making less than you were on unemployment. What you lost is health care coverage, sick pay, vacation pay and other things making money gives you. All those other things put together means you’re actually earning more money than you were on unemployment. The long game is what you have to look at presently.
2. Are you behind in bills?
Many creditors helped people set up paying arrangements to alleviate the pain of loss of income. Mortgage lenders and credit card companies also offered a lot of help. Hopefully you took advantage of those opportunities while things were uncomfortable. Whether you did or didn’t, it’s time to think about any outstanding debts you need to address?
We’re not going to tell you who to tackle first because we don’t know what your needs are. What we are going to tell you is to pick up the phone and call everyone you owe to see if there are still deals to be made or ways to help catch up. It’s always better being proactive than waiting for the floor to drop from under you.
3. Have you delayed health care visits?
Whereas it’s true that many physician’s offices and clinics shut down for in person visits while the pandemic was raging, many of those offices are opening up again. If you put something troubling you on hold because you didn’t have enough money coming in, it’s a good time to think about seeing someone if you have any health issues.
The thing about health care bills is that almost all entities will offer payment plans to help you pay for services. Many will stretch your balance payments over periods as long as a year to 18 months. As with debt, it’s better to find out as early as possible if you have something critical going on or if you’re okay as long as you and your physician are keeping an eye on things. This includes dental visits.
4. Entertainment; not critical but probably necessary to give your brain some relief.
Whether you’ve received stimulus money, taken on a new job, or worked out some of your finances with your creditors, you deserve a break, even if it’s a small one. The malls are open again, which means you can venture out; even many restaurants are open, even if a few have closed for good.
Go ahead and have some fun, but make sure you can afford it. Many people might not be able to head to Disney for a week because it’s expensive. The best way to go about it is to decide how much you’re willing to spend and then stick to it like you would a budget.
These are just a few suggestions. You can come up with how you want to spend your money now that things are opening up on your own. But we recommend you start by taking care of your needs and then work towards what you want to do for fun.