The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted the lives of millions as self-isolation has become a brief normal. With students and some people working from home, many folks have also seen a vast change in their finances.
The latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows increases in claims for jobless benefits for the week of March 14 with California taking the top spot with 58,208 claims, District of Columbia second at 16,120; Washington state third, with 14,846 and North Carolina rounding out the top four at 14,413.
As the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports, Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters the state received 80,000 unemployment applications last week. “We average about 2,000 unemployment insurance claims a day,” Newsom said. “Two days ago or three days, we saw about 40,000 applications. After that 70,000 applications. Yesterday, 80,000 unemployment applications.”
But each state, job, and situation are different. One thing that remains the same is staying ahead of your finances the best way possible. Hailing from a community who barely enjoys money talk, I know how hard it can be to work against the forces that include Sallie Mae, rent, credit cards, and UberEats orders. It’s why I indulge in the gift that is The Financial Gym. With a fitness-inspired take on finances, the company works one-on-one with each client to ensure everyone gets to one step closer to financial freedom.
Below are some tips from the gym as well as your favorite hip-hop songs to keep you accountable and financially healthy.
1. Scale Back On Extra Expenses
Non-essentials like to hide in plain sight. If there is a service you no longer need but still pay for, now is the best time to cut the cord and pad your bank account.
2. Create An Emergency Fund (If You Don’t Have One)
According to Finder, the US average of savings accounts in 2019 was $16,420 with the median savings account holding $4,830. It can be very difficult to keep a savings account due to unexpected expenses but it doesn’t hurt an emergency fund for rainy days.
“If you think we’re heading into a recession and you want to be extra safe, then you may increase your emergency savings to 8 months or longer,” suggests Shannon McLay, founder of The Financial Gym.
If this isn’t realistic, adapt to your salary and build from there.
3. Don’t Forget About D.E.B.T
If you have to adjust payments to fit your current situation, do so. The one thing that can harm you, is ignoring a bill. It won’t go away until you make it.
Also, check-in with your bank. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, banks have waived fees and other costs. For example, Ally Bank is waiving fees for overdrafts, excessive transactions for savings and money market accounts for 120 days with expedited shipping of checks and debit cards. They’ve also pledged $3 million to help the communities where their employees live and work, with special hometown locations of Detroit and Charlotte.
4. Have Some Talents? Use Them!
If kids can make millions on YouTube by playing with toys, imagine what you can do simply by funneling your other talents. Create a YouTube channel. Make a blog. Get into photography. Start making clothes. Don’t allow fear and panic to reduce your creative spirit. You might even make some money out of the deal.
5. Look Back On Life Goals
If you’re planning on taking a big vacation or making a big purchase, put it on hold. “If your life goals are between two and five years, then you may want to think about a more conservative asset allocation, depending on your risk tolerance,” says Shannon. “However, if you’re life goals are beyond five years out, then the best thing you’re going to do is avoid looking at your statements, watching CNBC, and doing anything rash like selling at the wrong time.” Sure her sentiments were for facing a recession but the gospel applies here.
6. Sell Gently Used Items Online
‘Tis the season for spring cleaning. While you’re at it, you should empty your closet and fill your pockets. From electronics to gently worn shoes, clothes or accessories, feel free to turn your possessions into gems for the next person.
Also a tip from The Financial Gym:
Since you want to avoid conducting pick-up arrangements, you’ll want to sell on a platform where shipping is the standard. A few places to sell your pre-loved items online include, eBay and ThredUP, buy-sell-trade Facebook groups, and Gazelle for electronics. Just make sure your listed price accounts for costs, like platform fees, PayPal fees, and shipping.
7. Purge Your Photo Library…For Cash
We take a lot of photos we never share. Instead of letting them collect digital dust, sell your images of that sunset in Bali or crowd photos from Afrochella to sites like Shutterstock and iStock Photo.
8. Take Online Surveys
9. Prepare For The Next “Pandemic”
Nipping the excess now only makes you a stronger financial warrior in the future. In addition to securing your pockets, accountability is a great quality you will likely spread to other aspects of your life.
10. Join The Financial Gym
The Financial Gym is currently offering a 20 percent discount to join. To get started schedule a consultation call here. All their events in NYC and D.C. are currently virtual experiences through the end of March.
Learn more about The Financial Gym here.