Don’t Social Distance from Your Money
Create a plan to manage your finances wisely during these uncertain times.
I’m probably a lot like you. I’m a spouse, a mom, a daughter, a newly-dubbed work-at-home-r, a temporary home-school teacher and just a regular person that’s probably getting a little too accustomed to wearing sweatpants 24/7. I’m also concerned about the future, especially about my finances.
While I work at a bank, I’m not a financial expert. Luckily, I have access to bankers and information that I can share with you as we navigate these uncharted waters, together. These are six small things that you can do to help you keep a close eye on your money during these times.
1. Have a talk.
Conversations about money can be difficult. Sit down with your spouse and have the tough discussion about your financial situation. Ensure that both you and your partner have full access to all accounts, including logins and passwords.
Assess your current situation and make sure you both understand how much is coming in and how much is going out. When you understand the full picture, you’ll prioritize better and make more informed decisions.
2. Create a budget
The b-word! I hate it too, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. Find a budgeting tool and have the discipline to stick too it.
Ameris Bank has an excellent tool within online banking that lets you create a budget, view all of your finances in one place, and visualize your spending more accurately. You can learn more about our Personal Finance Management Tool here.
3. Find new ways to save.
Bulk up your savings by revaluating how you’re spending your money. Social distancing has completely changed the spending habits for most of us. For example, I’m spending substantially less on gas and working to add my monthly gas provision to my savings account. Also, since I am not able to rely on service professionals right now, I am saving money by doing many things myself; I haven’t cut my own hair yet, but maybe that’s next!
4. Minimize the cost of debt.
Interest rates are at near historic lows. If you have personal loans, talk to you banker about how you can consolidate your debt to save. You can also consider refinancing your mortgage to potentially lower your payment or extend your term.
Your credit cards deserve evaluation too. Consider transferring your high-rate cards to an Ameris Bank Visa Platinum Card. A longer introductory rate can help you save on interest as you pay down your balances.
Ask your banker or financial advisors about the best ways to reduce the cost of your debt.
5. Defer payments where you can.
Many organizations, from banks to utilities, are holding off on late fees and allowing customers to defer payments. Call the people you pay bills to and see what they are providing. This will give you a clearer picture of how to reallocate what you spend and build savings where you can.
Ameris Bank is offering hardship relief to customers for a variety of services. We want to do what we can to alleviate your hardships and ease cash flow pressures you may be facing.
6. If you are able, help your community.
These are difficult times for all of us, but also a good opportunity to help where we can. One way of doing this is by shopping locally. Small businesses are the heartbeat of our local economies. Before you click to make an online purchase, consider if your purchase supports a business in your community.
If you’re short on extra money, consider other ways to help your community, such as giving blood or cleaning your cabinet to support local foodbanks.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by these unprecedented times. I’ve found that when I focus on these six small things, I feel a little more secure.
Mandi Gilbert is the advertising and promotions manager at Ameris Bank. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband, James, and their two young sons. She enjoys family time, creative writing, relaxing walks, and indulging in her guilty pleasure, reality tv.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.