The sudden economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has many Americans thinking about their daily finances.
Money experts Andrea Woroch and Allison Kade shared their tips for making the most of your budget.
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“There is a lot of panic happening right now — from food shortages at grocery stores to health concerns to income and financial worries,” Woroch told FOX Business. “The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to make a financial plan to help you get through these tough times.”
1. Get your tax refund.
Tax season looks a little bit different this year because of the virus. The Trump administration authorized the deferral of $300 billion in IRS payments, although Americans will still need to file their taxes by April 15.
“This is helpful for those who owe taxes,” Woroch said. “However, if you are supposed to get money back, don’t delay. You can use your tax refunds to give you some cushion to help pay bills. Last year, the average tax refund was around $2,880 so that could really help a lot of people.”
2. Review recurring and nonessential expenses.
According to an NPR/Marist poll conducted earlier in March, 18 percent of households already reported someone being laid off or having hours reduced because of the virus outbreak.
Saving money could be as simple as canceling your Hulu subscription because you watch Netflix more, said Kade, who represents Fabric, a company that offers young families life insurance.
Woroch advises families to consider free alternatives to subscriptions like Audible and Hulu.
“You could potentially save hundreds when you review all the bills you’re paying,” she said.
3. Think about your savings.
Woroch recommends opening a high yield savings account and putting away as much as nine months of living expenses.
“This is a lot for the typical American though, so put away whatever you can realistically afford and keep contributing if you are receiving a regular paycheck,” Woroch said. “Or bump it up with each expense you cut or are not paying while in quarantine.”
Meanwhile, the FDIC, one of the nation’s regulators responsible for protecting U.S. bank deposits, assured Americans that their money is safe.
“Since 1933, no depositor has ever lost a penny of FDIC-insured funds,” the agency said a statement.
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4. Think about the future.
Many Americans put off drafting wills or health care proxies.
“This isn’t a bad time to think about creating or updating your will or health care proxy,” Kade said. “It’s less fearmongering that you’re going to die from coronavirus — that’s not a fair message. It’s something good to have on hand, and it’s a nice excuse get it done if you were to become ill.”
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