Strategies to Pay Bills During COVID-19 – MoneyWise
- September 2, 2020
- By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
Excerpt from MoneyWise looks at how to make room in your budget amid the pandemic.
Featuring Katie Bossler, GreenPath Quality Assurance Specialist & GreenPath Expert
The publication MoneyWise puts the spotlight on managing bills during a challenging time. They note that the ongoing coronavirus crisis continues to have a profound impact on the nation’s economy. Unemployment numbers are up, and so is the number of Americans unable to pay their monthly bills.
Plenty of Americans have bills coming due that they may not have the money to pay. The article outlines are some steps to take that can help.
Make contact with creditors:
Before you pay a single bill, reach out to your creditors and tell them you’ve been affected by the coronavirus and ask them what hardship programs they have available.
“You just have to call around and see who’s offering those programs,” says Bruce McClary, vice president of communications for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Understand relief options:
“Many relief options such as forbearance on mortgage payments are available during the crisis,” says Katie Bossler, a financial wellness expert with GreenPath Financial Wellness. This may not apply to all mortgage companies, but homeowners who have mortgage loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, along with V.A., FHA and USDA loans have been given relief through the CARES Act.
Some auto lenders and credit card companies are pausing payments as well, Bossler says.
These relief options are offered as a response to the ongoing pandemic. Those paused payments may help you get on some solid footing with your creditor, but make sure you understand the details of any arrangement you make. “Although there is help out there, know the details of the help,” Bossler says.
Explore options to manage medical, utility, other expenses:
If you’ve got medical bills related to the coronavirus, or if you’re not able to pay existing bills due to missed income during the coronavirus, you can reach out for payment assistance from your medical care provider.
For utility bills, find out what kind of hardship programs are available from your water and electric services. A couple of phone calls may be all that is needed to get some utility bill relief.
This may be a good time to trim your cable bill, cell phone or internet, which can be almost $300 a month for some households.
A budget can help with bills you can’t negotiate:
This is also a good time to re-examine your budget or create one if you haven’t already.
Are there bills you can trim or cut out altogether? Even if you temporarily have to do away with some goods and services, you can pick them back up again when life gets back to normal. “People are buckling down to the essentials,” Bossler says.
Have Questions About Managing Finances?
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Katie Bossler has been with GreenPath since 2003. She currently serves as a Quality Assurance Specialist and is based out of our Detroit office. Katie passionately believes everyone can achieve financial wellness and is grateful to dedicate her work in helping GreenPath remix the American Dream so it works for everyone.