Welp, I guess it's safe to say that life as we once knew it has done a complete 180.
Quick sidenote: The correct term is 180 for when a situation is opposite from what it was, not 360. I'm tired of seeing y'all mess that up.
Anywho, back to business. In a time when there's more uncertainty than we've ever seen, one thing remains certain as hell: hard economic times soon cometh. You can be as blind as a bat and see that elephant in the room.
Many systematic and countrywide changes will need to be made to save the livelihood of many people, and unfortunately, we can't help with that. What we can do, however, is provide you with three quick, easy money moves you can make to begin preparing for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do a Subscription Audit
Granted, if there were any time to be using subscription services, now would probably be it. You're at home, half-ass working, aimlessly scrolling your timelines, and trying to think of anything that'll keep your mind off the fact that the world as we know it is in pure chaos right now.
We don't know what's about to happen exactly, but we know it won't be good. It's like that ass whooping you anticipate while you're at school when the teacher calls your parents and tell them you've been acting up.
While you're sitting around with nothing but food and time on your side, review all of your subscriptions. The easiest way to do this is to pull up your last monthly bank or credit statement and go through marking each charge that is from a subscription service. You'd be amazed at just how many subscriptions you have that you don't actually use.
You can justify Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and those streaming services that are keeping you sane during this pandemic, but it's time to be realistic about your other subscriptions. What may seem like just $10 a month eventually adds up to amounts you wish you'd have back in retrospect.
$120 yearly on a subscription may not seem like much, but when you think about the fact that Trader Joe's sells packs of chicken legs (5 per pack) for like $2.50, and you could get 240 chicken legs for that price, you start seeing how it really adds up. Mess around and have 2 or 3 of these worthless subscriptions, and you're wasting enough chicken legs to supply a Que cookout at an HBCU homecoming.
Prioritize Your Emergency Savings
I'm not going to act like one of those Twitter Financial Advisors and shame you if you don't have an emergency savings. Hell, half of Americans don't have $400 saved up for times like this. That $400 could be used for emergency car or home repairs, extra food to stock up for a rainy day, or eight combo meals at Five Guys.
If you're blessed enough to still have a job and getting your consistent paycheck, you may be confused as to how you should deal with your money right now. Let me help you out: Focus on your emergency savings. You will hear a lot of people talking about now being a great time to invest—and they're right—but if you don't have an emergency fund saved up, you might as well James Harden eurostep around investing and focus on what really matters right now.
If you're the only person you're responsible for, then you can get away with 3 months' worth of living expenses. If you have other mouths to feed, the goal should be to have 6 months' worth. For example, f you're single, have $1,500 in bills, but usually spend $2,000 a month, you should aim to have $6,000 saved, not $4,500.
When shit hits the fan (which it will), your emergency fund is your lifeline. Withdrawing from your 401(k) is expensive as hell, and it cost to sell investments. Having a savings account with money you can access immediately will save you cash and a headache. Trust me, *in my Hov voice* I went through that, so hopefully you wouldn't have to go through that.
If you stay ready, you ain't gotta get ready.
Consider a Balance Transfer Credit Card
There's a good chance that you currently have credit card debt. If you don't, salute; you're better off than the vast majority of adults in this country. But, for the rest of us, now may be a good time to get better interest rates on credit cards.
The Federal Reserve (Fed), which is basically the Big Joker of banks in the U.S., recently cut interest rates. Long story short, this means it's cheaper to borrow money right now. Credit card interest rates are tied to the prime rate, which moves with the Fed rate. As the Fed cuts rates, credit card APRs drop.
It may not work with your current cards, but you can apply for a low-cost balance transfer credit card that comes with a 0% APR introductory rate. This will give you 12–15 months of no interest payments on your credit card debt, allowing you to pay down the balance much quicker.
Once this intro APR rate is up, your new rate will still likely be lower than your previous cards. Your goal should be to pay it off before that 0% rate is up, though. Don't get caught lacking too much.