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Paying Household Bills During COVID-19

paying household bills

2020 has been a year we won’t soon forget. The year where COVID-19 threw the economy into a tailspin. People in many job sectors, and areas of the U.S. were laid off or experienced reduced working hours. For many families, paying household bills during COVID-19 became a challenge as reduced income impacted our everyday life.

Tips for Paying Household Bills During COVID-19

Paying household bills gets far more difficult when your income is reduced. Here are a few tips to help you continue managing your bills while still feeling the impact of the COVID Pandemic.

Gather All Your Bills and Expenses

It’s difficult to prioritize expenses when you don’t have a complete picture of what your needs are. If you don’t have a household budget that clearly lists your monthly expenses, there’s not a better time to start one! Create a list of all of your monthly bills and expenses:

  • Housing (rent/mortgage)
  • Utilities (electricity, gas, cable, water)
  • Car loans and insurance
  • Food and household supplies
  • Debt, including credit cards, student loans, medical bills and anything that you make a regular payment toward
  • Childcare or other monthly expenses

Prioritize Expense

As you evaluate your household expenses, it’s important to make sure your basic needs are met first: housing, transportation, utilities and food. If you find that there are more bills than money to pay them, make a point of contacting your creditors to tell them about the financial hardship you are experiencing and ask if they have any hardship programs available to help. Many creditors are offering programs and resources for those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, but you’ll need to ask to get the information. These programs may include temporarily delaying or adjusting some payments or avoiding interest charges. You could even avoid negative credit reporting if you enroll in a hardship agreement before you become late on your payments.

Make sure to get any changes or agreements in writing and keep thorough records. This isn’t the time to wait and hope the problem goes away -- proactive communication is your best course of action.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

There are resources and programs available to assist if you’re having difficulty paying household bills during this time. Your local is a great place to start looking for help -- options may include:

  • Food resources including SNAP and Food Stamps
  • Medical expenses
  • Unemployment resources
  • Utility resources
  • Eviction or rent protection resources
  • Home internet assistance
  • Mental Health Resources
  • And more!

Non-profit credit counselors are another great resource if you’re having difficulty evaluating your expenses and prioritizing payments. A credit counselor may be able to connect you with hardship or forbearance programs available through your creditors to help free up more of your income for necessary expenses during this time.

Are there state or local government programs that will help you manage your expenses during this time? Don’t be afraid to dig into every potential source of assistance -- they more help you can get, the more you will free up for paying household bills.

If you are concerned about the impact on your finances from facing the COVID-19 pandemic, we have gathered a list of helpful resources to aid you in protecting your finances during this time. Learn more by visiting our COVID-19 Financial Resources for Consumers page.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, CESI is here to help. Our counselors are available to assist if you are experiencing job loss, temporary loss of income, or financial hardship during this time. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.

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