These are obviously very strange and uncharted times. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of families are confined to their homes — nearly 24 hours a day — and a large portion of those parents are out of work. Stimulus checks are on their way, but how much are they really going to help. It’s imperative that you are carefully monitoring your budget at all times during this pandemic.

No matter your financial situation, budgeting and being careful with purchases should always be top-of-mind — especially during these wild times! Whether you’re a successful business owner or are living paycheck to paycheck, being careful with your money is essential.

Hopefully this will help. First, create a strict budget (and stick to it!). Next, make sure you have money in an emergency fund. Here are a few important things that you should be spending your money on and a few that you should avoid (at least for right now):

Medical Assistance

In the U.S. there are 472,560 primary care physicians who can offer all kinds of medical support. Thankfully, there are plenty of doctors who are still seeing patients through telehealth programs.

Medical assistance pertains to your mental health, as well. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety surrounding this virus or you’re one of the 5.5 million U.S. couples living together with an unmarried partner, if you think you need therapy — get therapy. Though you can’t exactly drive to a therapist’s office right now, you can still communicate via the internet. Start by doing a bit of research and read some reviews. Then, just simply have a conversation or two with a few potential therapists. Once you find one that you feel comfortable with, it’s time to get working on your mental health!

Additionally, you’ll have to make sure your children are getting any specialized care they need. The population of people with Down syndrome is decreasing by 30% as a result of prenatal screening — so make sure you are doing everything you can to monitor your child and working with professionals who can perform parental screening tests.

Pay Down High-Interest Rates

If you have any high-interest debt like a personal loan, consider paying off that debt right now, even if it means a short-term financial strain. As long as you are still receiving your regular income and didn’t have to file for unemployment, it’s a great idea to start working on high-interest debt.

Home Maintenance

Although you should probably wait to spend a significant amount of money on adding to your property, you need to make sure you have enough cash to address any serious household issues. If your roof is severely damaged, for instance, quarantine or not — you need to get that fixed. If you can handle that project yourself, great. If not, take proper safety measures and contact skilled professionals.

Here are a few things you should NOT spend money on — at least during the next few months:

  • Clothes — unless you’re completely out of clothes, buying new clothes can wait.
  • Hotels — sadly, we can’t go on vacations at the moment. Although you can still plan them, you should avoid spending any money on travel expenses.
  • ElectronicsIf you need a television, get one. But don’t drop thousands of dollars on high-tech gadgets just because you’re bored. We don’t know how long this quarantine is going to ask so make sure you save as much as you can!

Things are scary right now so take a breath, start working on your budget, and only spend money on essentials right now! You can get through this and hopefully you’ll have plenty of money saved to do something fun in the future!

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