We collaborated with Chase to give you an essential resource for real talk about how to help make the most of your money, especially while life might feel a little more overwhelming than usual.
It's no secret that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has thrown a huge wrench into most people's financial plans. From income disruptions for some to bill paying and saving, it has impacted how everyone is approaching their financial future, both in 2020 and beyond. So it's more important than ever to be mindful about how you're spending and saving because, in some cases, traditional rules are kind of out the window. And we don't know how long the impacts of the pandemic are going to last, so being smart about your financial fitness now has the potential to have larger implications for the future you.
With so many resources out there, it's hard to know where to turn to get real talk about what you should do right now. Look no further than
Chase Chats, where you can find down-to-earth webcasts about making the most of your money. The videos — which can be watched on demand — feature open convos with a variety of guests (like Serena Williams) to break down tough topics around money.
We did some of the heavy lifting for you and compiled a list of handy tips passed down from a few of the past webcasts to help you make mindful decisions about your finances so you can finish out 2020 and prep for 2021.
Build Up an Emergency Fund
This is probably the most important thing to begin with right now, and into the future. Having an emergency fund or cushion for when you're in a bind (if you can) may give you peace of mind, and knowing you have money put away if you ever need it can help take away some of the anxiety of challenging times. If you're still getting a regular paycheck, it's often wise to decide on an amount you can take out of that check every time you get paid and move it over to a savings account. Many workplaces or banks have an automatic withdrawal program that does this for you so you don't even need to think about it. You can sometimes find help on your bank's mobile app, like the Autosave feature Chase customers can use. Tools like this are a great way to automate savings and you can choose how much money to save, how you want to save it, and when to make changes.
Think about things you can scale back on right now. Maybe that means pausing services you're not using for a couple months like commuter costs, or switching up where you shop for food or how much you spend on takeout. You could even consider reviewing the nitty-gritty of your bills, including things like renegotiating your cell phone plan, changing how much you're paying toward your student loans, or taking a look at your car insurance policy if you're driving much less than normal. Instead of spending that money, it may be helpful to put as much of those dollars as possible into your emergency fund, and focus on sustaining your essential needs.
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Have a Plan For Your Money
In the Chase Chats Webcast with
Serena Williams, she talks about how her father always instilled in her that once you have money, don't just spend it without a plan. Instead, think about how to make it work for you whether you are spending or saving. This is especially important right now, when the future may be a bit uncertain in terms of your finances.
Before spending money, it may help to take a moment to think about how that purchase is going to serve you in the long term — you may have been able to splurge on something big once a month before, but now, a more mindful approach may be needed. Sure, treat yourself every now and again to something small if you are able, but it may be time to transfer those funds to your emergency or savings account for now.
Having a plan for your money also means creating a budget — and right now, that budget may look a little different than it normally does. Remember that your budget can fluctuate depending on your income and responsibilities. In the webcast with entrepreneur and financial professional
Winnie Sun, she outlined what the most important aspects of that budget should be. First, try to focus on your crucial expenses, like housing, medication costs, and groceries — she said that if you have those three things covered, any other expenses may be able to be put on hold in a time of need.
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Have the Tough Conversations
Winnie also stressed the importance of overcommunicating right now — even if it's uncomfortable. This may mean having tough conversations with yourself and really making an effort to hold yourself accountable, or being real with your partner. It's important that wherever you stand in your financial health, be as transparent as possible. It can be helpful to have check-ins with yourself and with your partner about where you are with your money and spending, and tend to your financial fitness like you would any other part of your relationship.
Now may be the time to talk to a financial professional, banker, or even seek advice from a parent or friend on how to make smart money choices. And don't be afraid to ask for help! If you need to talk to your creditors, it may be better to reach out for programs and services that can help you, or move your due dates, rather than missing a payment.
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Be Careful With Your Credit Card
Do your best to avoid racking up charges on your credit card. It's very tempting to see your credit card as a source of funds, but it could come back and bite you in the butt in the long run. Track your spending to make sure you can manage your credit card debt and pay bills within your budget.
Winnie also advises that you check on your "leaky faucets," meaning all those charges that you may have set to automatically be billed to your credit card (think: subscription services and streaming services) and think about cancelling them or putting them on hold. She also said it can be helpful to reach out to your credit card company if you're having trouble paying off your bill, as they may be able to postpone monthly payments or help with fees. However, make sure to pay attention to the terms and conditions, since you might need to pay more interest later.
To keep learning about how to be smart with your money right now and beyond, tune into
Chase Chats Webcasts and follow @chase for updates.
Deposit and credit card products provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC ©2020 JPMorgan Chase & Co.
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