From the Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas
It’s no surprise that the pandemic has affected the economy as unemployment rates continue to soar, and economic output has plunged these past few months. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the U.S. has officially gone into recession. Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas (BBB) advises consumers to become fiscally savvy during this uncertain season.
“The recession is beyond our control,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President, and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas, said. “However, we can control our ability to be proactive when it comes to our finances so that we can survive and hopefully thrive as we move into the next year.”
Better Business Bureau provides the following financial tips to survive the COVID-19 recession:
Pay down debt. A high-resolving credit balance hurts your credit, and it could cause additional stress in an environment where many are losing jobs. Prioritize credit card debt, then focus on your other loans. If you have student loan debt, you may be eligible for a deferment during the current crisis.
Save as much as you can. The recommended best practice is to build up your savings account to have at least three to six months of income to carry you through unexpected rough financial patches.
Cut back on non-essential expenses. Making sure to keep the lights on is more important than catching the latest episode of a show. Separating wants and needs is crucial to determine a budget that works. Canceling less used streaming services, eating at home more often, and cutting unnecessary costs can go a long way in saving money.
Look for additional income. Take advantage of supplemental income opportunities in your area to build cash reserves. Jobs that offer minimal contacts, such as delivering meals or groceries, could be great opportunities to make extra cash. You might even be able to turn that hobby you love into an income-generating side hustle.
File for unemployment. If you were to be affected by layoffs or furloughs due to the pandemic, see if you qualify for unemployment benefits. Although it may not equate to your average income, a little bit of help goes a long way. For more information on filing for unemployment benefits, visit the Texas Workforce Commission website.
Seek professional advice. Expert advice can provide valuable knowledge for your finances. Consider making an appointment with your bank for resources on financial planning. Some financial advisors and firms may provide free advice. Also, search for free webinars online or listen to finance podcasts to give some fiscal knowledge basics. Find a trustworthy financial adviser or firm by going to bbb.org.
ABOUT BBB®: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more details. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, serving 19 counties and founded in 1985.