It is hard to fully understand the changes to the world that is happening this year. The sudden and dramatic orders to close businesses and shelter in place for extended periods is shocking to the core. But beyond the deaths and illnesses, the inability to go to work and earn money is the most destructive part.
People need their jobs and the income that they provide. The importance of being able to pay for gas to get to work cannot be overstated. Before this crisis, as many know, a lot of people had to make hard choices between buying medicine or food. Now we are in another level of decision making.
What if you suddenly find yourself without a job and no money coming in for at least a few weeks until unemployment compensation starts? That is a tall order when you have bills that are due or overdue and maybe you have run out of available credit on your credit cards.
Here are my suggestions of some things to you can consider. I strongly urge that you seek professional legal or financial advice on big decisions before you do anything to which you are unsure of the consequences or repercussions.
- Rent or mortgage. This is often the biggest expense in a household. What if you run out of money and can’t pay this bill? Check the news about any government rulings or decisions about whether foreclosures or evictions are going to be delayed and for how long. I recommend that you do everything you can to meet your financial obligations, of course. Try and keep paying your rent or mortgage. Some suggest that you communicate with your lender or landlord if you are struggling financially.
- Water bill. Keep making payments on your water bill if you can, and certainly try to decrease your household use if it all possible. Not everyone needs to shower every day of the week. Baths and showers can be shorter than normal. Contact the water agency if you don’t think you can pay and ask if they can help.
- Gas and electricity. Do what you can to keep paying this bill and also simultaneously try to reduce how much you use every day. Try to find bulbs and appliances that use less electricity. Visit their website or call them if you can’t make your regular payments.
- Car loan. If you are making payments on a vehicle, then keep trying to make payments as best you can. Some people need their car or truck to get to work and without it they will not be able to make it at all. Contact them right away to see if they can be flexible with the payments.
- Credit card companies. Always try to make your payments on time to credit card companies and do the best to pay off your debt sooner rather than later. If you can’t, maybe your financial institution can help in some way.
- Family members. Make sure you communicate with your family if you need help, or even if you just need advice. A lot of people in families want to help each other in time of need and want to find a way to support those that they care about.
Above all else, make sure that you are communicating your needs. There are many companies, businesses, and institutions that understand the sudden changes that are happening in the financial markets and how millions of people are losing their jobs.
Remember that other people are often facing the same problems that your are experiencing. Waves of troubles and difficulties seem to be coming and going in every direction, with no end in sight.
We can get through this, but we have to keep a good mind and use our energy on finding solutions. Keep your attitude positive. Treat your household members with kindness. Wake up tomorrow with the strength and determination to find the light at the end of the tunnel.