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Ask a Counselor: My income has been reduced because of COVID-19's impact on the economy. How do I prioritize my bills? 

De’Shawna: When times are uncertain and your income is reduced, as hard as it may be, you want to try to stay calm, plan, and take action. Start by assessing your situation and make a crisis budget, where you will prioritize all expenses into the essentials and non-essentials. What items in your budget can be reduced, deferred, or supplemented? Remember, this is only temporary!

Once you have determined how much is available for paying your bills, it's time to prioritize. Secured loans (loans backed by collateral, such as a house or car) should be your first priority. Then, start examining how much you can pay towards your other unsecured debts, such as credit card debt. Most importantly, contact your lenders to find out how they can work with you during this time of crisis. Review and adjust your crisis budget weekly.

You do not have to be in a crisis to create a crisis budget! Being prepared can prevent a lot of stress and pressure in case of any future emergencies. Have a budget made for an emergency with dates and contact information about how much you have saved and what needs to be paid.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, schedule a free appointment with one of our housing counselors.

Do you have a question you would like answered in Ask a Counselor? Email us.


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