Going into a new year has always brought a sense of hope and rejuvenation. However, 2020 showed us that each year is not the same, and sometimes chasing those dreams is on hold. With the approach of 2021, people want to fill their heads with hope again and dare to dream, but unemployment numbers and accumulated debt might put a damper on the things you want to accomplish.
If you grew your debt this year because credit cards were the only way you could feed your family and keep a roof over your head, you don’t want to continue to do that in the new year. To get your finances back to manageable, you first have to look at what looms ahead.
End of the Year Cliff
When the government passed the CARES Act in March 2020, it included a stimulus check for most Americans, expanded unemployment to include new populations of working people, protected citizens from eviction, and helped small businesses with forgivable loans. The eviction protections and unemployment expansion end in December, so if you rely on either of these to stay afloat, you need to quickly come up with a plan.
The Future of Stimulus
With a turbulent election in November and a Congress that hasn’t agreed on further help for Americans, no one knows when or if there will be a future stimulus. Whether Congress agrees on a package to help or not, your family can’t rely on the government to come through because time is running short, and you need a solution now.
The best thing you can do is to help yourself, and if relief does come, you can use that money to stimulate the economy instead of paying debts you’ve already accumulated. Using stimulus money to buy new things as a consumer gets the economy moving, which is the whole point of stimulus in the first place.
You Can Help Yourself
In order to help yourself, take an honest look at your finances and see where you are. If your income without stimulus help is enough to pay your bills, then you’re in good shape. But if there’s an imbalance or you have to rely on unemployment to make ends meet, it’s time to make adjustments.
Increase your income if you can by picking up a side job or pursuing another career, and decrease your expenses by eliminating services you don’t need. You can also lower your bills by calling your creditors and asking for lower monthly payments. Most of the time, companies will work with you and offer you specials just to retain you as a customer. And other companies are doing their part by allowing people to skip payments altogether, but you have to ask to get the benefit.
If you have credit card debts, you have to make a plan to eliminate them because they are a drain on your finances for the long haul. Johnson Funding offers debt consolidation, which could take all your eligible credit card debt and roll it into one loan. It won’t eliminate your obligation, but it will leave you with one payment, one interest rate, and a clear path to living debt-free in the future.
Stay in a Strong Position and Look Forward
Once you prepare your budget for what’s to come and have a plan to pay off your debt, you can live below your means. Doing so will reveal cash you already use for other things that now you can channel into paying off your debts faster, investing for growth, or saving for emergencies.
The most important thing is to avoid using credit cards going forward because that will put you in the same place you are now with growing debt to tackle. That way, you can move in the right financial direction without having the weight of obligations pulling you down.