Living through a pandemic isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
By Sean Gordon
The world is facing one of the worst financial crises in history. As many of our nation’s citizens face substantial hardships stemming from pay cuts, furloughs, or lay-offs, finding ways to save extra cash is more important than ever.
Whether you’re one of the 10.4% of Floridians currently unemployed from COVID-19 or you’re just trying to limit spending until a sense of normalcy returns, we have some solutions for you.
If you have lost your job due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, you can apply for the state of Florida’s Reemployment Assistance Program through the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) website. There, you can apply for your state allocated funds for the weeks you have been unemployed. Florida grants those who qualify $275 weekly with a maximum benefit amount totaling $3,300.
Many major banks are offering certain programs to aid their customers during these financially unstable times. Programs will vary bank to bank but they commonly have fee waivers and deferred payments available. Also, many have the ability to set and manage a budget through your online banking portal.
You can set a monthly spending limit in categories such as bills and utilities, groceries, gas, entertainment (bars/restaurants), healthcare, and others. This may help you keep your spending in check and keep you under budget for the month.
Mortgage Forbearance and Rent Relief
For homeowners who are feeling the pressure of looming mortgage payments, you may eligible for mortgage forbearance. A forbearance is when your lender grants a pause or reduces your mortgage payments for a limited time. Keep in mind that these payments don’t go away, your lender postpones them to a later date and you can pay them over time. You should speak with your mortgage lender to see if this is an option for you.
For renters, now is a good time to discuss potential rent relief solutions with your landlord. But be sure to review your rental agreement before having this conversation. Oftentimes, lease contracts include “Force Majeure” clauses that protect landlords from “Acts of God,” such as the current pandemic.
In our current financial climate, it is important to stick to your budget and trim the fat on unnecessary spending. Apps available on both Apples App Store and Androids Google Pay Store such as Mint and TrueBill have been gaining popularity as they help people save money every month.
If your online banking doesn’t have a budget tracking function, Mint may the choice for you. You can link all of your accounts in one place to monitor spending habits, get bill alerts, and notifications for unusual payments. Then there is a TrueBill, an app designed to go through your accounts and find all of your monthly and annual subscriptions allowing you to cut out the ones you no longer need.
Saving money and spending smarter is one way to relieve yourself of quarantine-induced stress. Make daily efforts and allow yourself to grow through everything you learn. And remember: We’re all in this together.