Boom we made it! 2020 is over! On to better years.
Yesterday, a friend of mine texted me that he just got his $600 stimulus check direct deposited. I was like “Oh dang, I wonder if we got ours.”
Sure enough, we did.
That spurred an idea for a good blog post: A reminder of financial priorities during a crisis such as Covid-19.
Americans have been losing their jobs for months now. I don’t doubt people know the importance of some bills over others. However, in a crisis where everything feels like it’s closing in, it may be difficult to pinpoint how to prioritize expenses.
So, let’s get started! Here’s what you should do first with your $600 stimulus check (if you received one).
First thing’s first: The Four Walls
As a financial coach, Ramsey Solutions taught me how to help people with their finances while they are going through a crisis. 2020, what a crisis, am I right?
Though if you’re watching this, 2020 is now in the past.
Congrats! We made it!
What we were taught is that goal number one is to protect the 4 walls.
If you are in crisis mode right now, this is where your focus needs to be with the your next stimulus check. And focus on it in this order.
Wall 1: Food
Make sure you feed yourself and your family! I make a lot of jokes about chocolate milk here and on the YouTube channel. Maybe this isn’t the top priority during a crisis but ensure you have all of your basic food needs met.
Chocolate milk can wait for a little bit. Though I think we can all agree 2021 needs to have more chocolate milk in it.
Wall 2: Utilities
Make sure your water keeps running, your lights keep lighting, and your furnace keeps heating. A shelter is only about as good as the utilities that are available. So keep paying those utility bills.
We like it when utility companies are happy.
Wall 3: Housing
The third of these four figurative walls you need to protect is actually your physical walls: housing. You need to protect the roof over your heads.
My recommendation is that if you can at all afford it, make sure you pay your rent or your mortgage payment.
The government has set up rent protection and mortgage forbearance to help people like you get through this crisis. But, this doesn’t mean you get off scot free. Sorry! As things are currently set up, it means that you don’t technically have to pay right now because no one is allowed to evict tenants or foreclose on homes due to the hardships that are occurring.
This won’t last forever, and when the protection ends, mortgage companies and landlords will be allowed to take your housing away from you if you have not been paying. That is a bad situation you don’t want to be in!
Protect your housing.
Wall 4: Transportation
The last wall is transportation. You need money for protecting these four walls so if you are still blessed to have a job, make sure you prioritize the gas and maintenance necessary to get wherever you have to go!
Just make sure ol’ Mater is still up and running.
The four walls are A-Ok. What next?
What if you have these four walls taken care of already?
Here’s some suggestions:
- Pay off consumer debt with it! Generally speaking, this is going to be a suggestion I make for any extra cash you have.
- If you’ve paid off debt, put it towards your fully funded emergency fund! (This is 3-6 months of expenses).
- Put it towards your kid’s college savings (did someone say 529?).
- Put it on the principal of your home mortgage.
- Stimulate the economy. I understand this argument given the difficult situations many restaurant owners are in right now. However, please remember it is easy to justify spending just to “stimulate the economy.” This can be a dangerous argument if you just want to spend. Consider this: paying off debt is also stimulating your own, personal micro-economy.
- Give it away! I know someone who is doing just that because he and his wife don’t actually need it. They’re sending it straight to organizations who are helping those who need it most right now.
What will Bailey and I do? Probably a combination of giving and home renovations. Our house looks like a construction zone right now. Dust. Everywhere.
Where will you put your stimulus check? I want to hear from you in the comments below! I’ll respond to every comment.
If you found value in this, hit the like button. Check out the YouTube channel as well to stay up to date on financial videos!
Remember, money doesn’t have to be confusing. You can control your finances!
Like what you read? Give the blog a follow in this little box below.
Are you overwhelmed by debt and feel like there’s no way out?
I can help! I’m a financial coach trained by Ramsey Solutions to guide people in their financial lives. Set up a free consultation below and I’ll listen to your situation and guide you on the right steps forward. First session is completely free and there’s no commitment.
Money doesn’t have to be confusing. You can be the master of your own finances. But you have to start today.