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Nine Tips to Help You Stay Financially Stable

by Hannah Smith

Though financial stability is something we always seek, the focus on it has become even more intense as we attempt to navigate this crisis. With unemployment at a record breaking high, pay cuts being issued, and even freelancers unable to take on client work, how we’re going to budget our money is important now more than ever. But, if you’re anything like me and have very little idea of what to do, it can be intimidating as f*ck – that’s why turned to two experts. Ahead, read some tips from Tiffany, the Budgetnista, Aliche, a personal finance educator who has helped people pay off millions in debt and even passed her own law concerning financial education and Nicole Lapin, an ex-news anchor, a NYT bestseller with books like Rich Bitch, and the host of both a podcast and reality show all focused on helping women gain control of their finances. Take it away ladies!

Go On A Cleanse

Not a food cleanse. But a news cleanse. I was a network news and business news anchor for more than a decade and, yes, I’m asking you to mute my former self. I used to get nightmares from the 24/7/365 nature of the headlines. It’s stress-causing, anxiety-provoking and not good for your overall mental health or decision making with your two most important assets: your health and your wealth. You are not a day trader. You are not one of those guys on the floor of the exchange screaming for orders. You are trying to keep calm during the chaos, like the rest of us, and the best way to keep your financial house in order during this is to put your news alerts and notifications blinders on. -NL

Pay What You Can

During times like these, I would prioritize my savings. If you have 6-months or more of expenses saved, then I would lean into paying more towards my bills. Always look for a discount. Just be mindful to make sure that the discount doesn’t increase your expenses later on down the line. For example, many private banks are allowing you to not pay your mortgage for 3 months. Unfortunately, that might make the full 3 months due after the 90-day grace period. -TA

Figure Out Your Noodle Budget

Right now everyone should be clear on what their Noodle Budget is. Your Noodle Budget is your baseline expenses, your necessities without the luxuries. Depending on where you are financially, everyone should be living closer to their Noodle Budget than their regular budget. Right now, it’s key to prioritize savings. -TA

Negotiate Everything

From your car payment to rent payment to utility payment…ask for all your bill collectors to work with you. We are all in a similar situation so the truth is, not all bill collectors will hook you up. But, what I do know for certain…the answer is always “no” if you don’t ask. I also know this for sure…no one is going to call you with a break in your payments (unless mandated by the government, of course) so you have to be proactive about getting bills and payments down. -NL

Use Your Resources

Lean into all of the resources available to you. Right now the Federal Government is giving an additional $600 a week if you’re on unemployment. Also, lean into your Noodle Budget if you don’t have an income (basically, pay your essential bill only). If there’s no money left over for savings after bills are paid, do what you can and prioritize your expenses that take care of your health and safety, first. -TA

Don’t Give Up on the Job Search

I don’t believe no one is hiring. There are a lot of jobs hiring, the key is to pivot to the industries that are thriving during times like these. For example these industries are currently hiring:  online customer service, medical and health, computer and IT and education and training. -TA

Create a Spending Plan

Normally, I suggest sticking to the 3 Es: Essentials, Endgame and Extras…with 70% of your gross take home pay going to the Essentials (food, housing, transportation, etc.) and at least 15% going to your Endgame (investments, savings, etc.). I also suggest to never skimp on allowing for something in the Extras category (latte, mani/pedi, nights out, etc.) because allowing for small indulgences will keep you on track and keep you from bingeing later on. But, we are in a new normal for the time-being at least where a lot of the Extras don’t make sense or simply aren’t even available if we wanted them to be or could afford them. With that said, I suggest limiting Extras to 5% of your overall Spending Plan, looking for lower-priced self-care options or free indulgences (hello hiking!). Then I would aim to cut down on Essentials (by negotiating and/or reining in costs) to 65% while aiming to squirrel away more. When the state of the economy comes back to normal (and it will), it might be a good idea to live below your means anyway, especially if you found yourself unprepared with an emergency fund for this crisis.

Keep Your Investments in the Bank

if you have more than 10 years until retirement, leave your retirement account alone. Typically, the economy will recover after a recession within the next 10 years and if you pull out your retirement money beforehand you will have locked in your loss without giving your money a chance to bounce back. Also, the money in your savings account is insured by the FDIC up to $250k, per account, per bank. That means if your bank were to close, you would still get your money back up to $250k. It’s safer at the bank then at home where it’s not insured. – TA

Support Small Business (If You Can!)

I believe that supporting small businesses is important because 48% of all U.S. employees work for a small business. They are essential for a strong economy. It’s really important that before your support your local small business that you take care of your necessities first: saving, managing your debt, investing and getting life insurance. -TA

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