Most of us in the country have been ordered to “stay at home” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And this has been difficult in myriad ways, no doubt sending the economy into recession for some time to come. But oo matter how long it lasts and no matter when we get back to “normal” we can move forward now – albeit a little at a time.
What can we do now?
Apply. If you have lost your employment apply for all the help currently on offer. Many of us never imagined filing for unemployment but this is no usual circumstance. File as soon as you can for unemployment and even food assistance. This is what our tax dollars have been going towards – to take care of us when we need it.
Reach out. If your income has been affected by the pandemic reach out to your creditors. Many are offering a reprieve from payments and are willing to work with you if you’ve gotten behind. Not only landlords and mortgage companies, but credit card and other lenders are offering flexibility on payments right now. That is not to say any of your debt will be forgiven, but the requirement to make an immediate payment will be delayed.
Make a budget. Even if you never have before, now is the time. But this is not a ‘want’ budget, this is a ‘need’ budget. Include the absolute bare minimum of what you need to stay afloat, stay healthy, and get through this period in time. So, eating out, Starbucks, new clothes, new pillows to spruce up the living room, may all have to be left off this budget for now. Knowing exactly what you need to survive the era of coronavirus can give you some peace of mind and a target.
Where you can, shop local. Though the CARES Act has made funding available to small business, not all businesses will be able to avail themselves of the funds. Already banks are overwhelmed with applications and starting to halt acceptance of new applications. So, your dollars going to your local mom ‘n pop retailer or restaurant may make a difference in them being able to make it to the other side of this pandemic still in business.
Get online savvy. Being familiar with current tech has always been important to our work lives but never more than now. If you have never taken a class online maybe now is the time? Maybe there is some skill you can add to your work arsenal, or a hobby you have always been interested in knowing more about, or history. If you have never had a FaceTime chat with your kids, or gone to a Zoom meeting, learn now. Even calling your friends on the phone can be heartening and a welcome distraction to the grind of news and boredom.
Be flexible. If you are a business owner or an independent contractor now is the time to plan how you will get back to work in the era of coronavirus. Until we have treatment and a vaccine we will likely have to continue some level of social distancing. How will your business be able to adapt?
Rethink. Much that we can’t foresee will change during and after the pandemic. This may be the time to rethink priorities and what is important and mostly where we are spending our time.