During this time of uncertainty and a new “normal,” our Healthy Money Habits team encourages you to catch up on your finances and make a plan to move forward. In light of the social isolation protocols, many businesses have closed to stop the spread of the virus and as a result, many may not have the means to continue making regular monthly payments. So what can you do to make sure you stay ahead of this?  The list below is a compilation of tips offered by Nerdwallet, Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran, USA Today and Public Health Officials to help you manage this time in health and finances.

1. Focus on your budget. This is an excellent time to analyze your needs versus wants, make much-needed cuts to your expenses and save that money instead. By operating on an emergency budget – essentials only – you will focus on needs and leave out all discretionary spending. Also, do not become a victim of the Coronavirus shopping frenzy.

2. Make a plan. Plan how you will handle the next month or two financially and stick to your budget.  Make a list of priorities, shop smart to preserve your money and keep in touch with agencies that assist you like social services and such.

3. Ask for help before it gets too busy:  Reach out to your property owner and utility providers. If you have a mortgage, a credit card payment or a bill you cannot pay because you have lost your job, contact the company now and ask how they can help you through this time. Many companies are working with their customers; they are aware that the pandemic is affecting many people and are willing to work with you.  “Don’t wait until you start missing payments. Lenders are likely to become very busy in the weeks and months ahead with requests for help.”

4. Get started on savings – seriously. The importance of having an emergency fund is being highlighted by the circumstances surrounding the pandemic right now.  That being said, it is never too late to start. If you are someone who frequents places that are currently closed, keep that money in the bank or in your personal piggy bank. Saving a few dollars here and there will add up over time.

5. Follow recommendations; stay home and remain calm. The last thing any of us need during this time is a healthcare bill, so by staying home we can minimize our chances of getting sick and minimize our risk of an accident. Hang in there, “we will get through this together.”

With you in health and finances,

The Health Money Habits Program