Apply for unemployment benefits from the State of Nebraska
Contact us at 308-872-8327 or [email protected] for our Free Reports, “How to Apply for Unemployment During Coronavirus” and “Coronavirus CARES Act Unemployment Benefits”
Review your monthly budget
Separate your spending into two categories, “needs” and “wants”. The needs are those bare necessities you have to pay every month, like food, housing, car loans, and utilities. Once you’ve added up the total needs, you know the monthly bottom line cost you have to cover. Next, determine which “wants”, those discretionary expenses you could live without, to cut from your monthly spending. While you may not have to cut them all, start with those that aren’t used all the time. For now, could you live without Amazon Prime, Netflix, cable or satellite TV, and eating out?
What necessary expenses can be reduced?
Can you lower your bottom line cost by buying less expensive alternatives? Tightening the spending belt isn’t any fun, but shop the sales, clip coupons, buy generic instead of name brand items. Consider pooling your resources with family or neighbors, and purchase items in bulk.
Negotiate with lenders to reduce loan payments.
sk your bank if it has any deferral or suspension programs to temporarily “pause” your payments. Home mortgage borrowers with a “federally backed” home loan are entitled to suspend payments for 180 days if they have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Similarly, federal student loans payments can be suspended until September 30, 2020. After September 30th, call your student loan servicer to request an income-based payment plan. Request a reduced interest rate from your credit cards and if they won’t work with you, consider a balance transfer to a zero interest credit card.
Prioritize your loan payments
If you are forced to choose between paying the mortgage/vehicle loans or the credit cards, make the home and car payment if you want to keep the property. This is about making the least harmful choice. If you fail to pay a loan secured by collateral like a home or car, the creditor will move to repossess that collateral. The car may disappear overnight because the repo agent took it! Usually there isn’t any collateral for credit card debt, it’s “unsecured debt”. If you fail to make any payment at all to an unsecured credit card for 3 months, a collection agency will start to harass you and eventually sue you. But, unsecured creditors don’t have the right to take your property until they get a judgment on their lawsuit. If you are facing this difficult decision, you should review your options. Contact Steffens Law to prepare a custom plan to protect you and your property.
Reduce your insurance costs
Contact your health insurance agent to see if there are any less expensive alternatives to your current plan. If you are generally healthy, consider a “major medical” policy instead of a more traditional policy. Consider increasing your deductibles in exchange for reduced monthly premiums. Ask your auto insurance for a rate reduction (the roads are much less crowded these days because of the Pandemic) or ask your agent to locate a less expensive policy.
Reduce wage withholdings to maximize paycheck
If your hours have been reduced or your spouse is still employed, consider pausing retirement contributions and education savings. If you always receive a tax refund higher than $1000, change your W-4 wage withholdings to send less money to Uncle Sam, which will result in a higher paycheck for you.
Consider new ways to raise cash, now
Did you happen to save for a rainy day? The economic fallout from Coronavirus may as well be a hurricane. Tap those savings to help meet your bottom line. Have a Roth IRA? The Federal CARES Act allows Roth IRA withdrawals without taxes or penalty. Consider a loan from your 401(k). If you own a home, take advantage of historic low interest rates and explore a home equity line of credit. Finally, think about selling assets you may not use much, or don’t really need. Yes, it will be painful to sell that boat, motorcycle, or camper, but the rent has to be paid, and groceries purchased. Unfortunately, desperate times call for desperate measures.
You Are Not Alone, Contact Our Experienced Attorneys For Additional Guidance
If you have questions about how the Coronavirus Pandemic has impacted your financial situation, contact the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Steffens Law Office, today. No office appointment is required, and the initial consultation is no charge. Call us at 308-872-8327 or fill out this short form to get started!