Money Planning When Income is Tight
The steps below are designed to help you create a financial plan and give you access to helpful resources.
1. List All Income and Expenses
Start by gathering your financial statements. Use those to create a list of all the money you make (after taxes) and the money you spend each month. If relevant to you, include emergency cash, tax refund and CARES Act relief payment (stimulus check).
2. Evaluate Priorities
Identify your needs vs. wants. Do you have enough money to pay for all of them? Calculate how long you will be able to pay your bills. This is when prioritizing, or deciding what bills to pay first, may be necessary. Shelter should always be top priority, followed by groceries.
3. Contact Lenders and Understand Relief Options
Contact your lenders to see how they can help. You may be able to skip a payment or find other forms of financial relief.
When contacting lenders, make sure you provide the following information:
Your current financial and employment situation
How much you can afford to pay
When you may be able to restart regular payments (also make sure to cancel automatic payments as you create new arrangements with lenders)
Your income, expenses and assets
Your credit information (ask the lender if any arrangements will affect your credit)
4. Re-evaluate, Document and Plan
Continue to monitor your spending plan. As additional funds become available through payment arrangements, make sure to put those funds toward other expenses or savings.
Re-evaluate your budget
Keep looking to your other service providers and reaching out for more relief options
Remember to record all details and save all documents about agreements made with lenders and service providers
Plan for when your loans go back to their regular payment and schedule
5. Ask for Help
If you are struggling financially, you are not alone! Don't be afraid to reach out with questions or ask for help. Ent’s financial coaching partner, GreenPath, can assist you with a plan and can speak to your creditors to find out if they have additional options to consider.