SIP Extended: Now What?
As you might have heard, the Shelter In Place (SIP) order has been extended within specific counties in California. Originally SIP was set to expire this Sunday on May 3rd, however counties throughout CA are now making decisions on extending this date based on local COVID-19 data. For the Bay Area, six counties have extended SIP until June 1st. While details are still coming out, it is expected that during May some restrictions will be lifted and certain businesses will be able to reopen under new safety guidelines.
This extension, while not surprising, is still a difficult blow. I’m itching to get out, probably like many of you. I never knew I could be so busy and yet so bored at the same time. While Facetime and Zoom have helped me continue to work and stay social, it’s definitely not a complete substitute for being in someone’s presence. There is an energy to in person connection that “virtual connection” can just not replace. So while we all want to get back to normalcy and seeing our community, we’re just going to have to slow down a little while longer. Given this extended reality, how should you be looking at May?
May and your finances…
To get your finances through this continued uncertainty, keep doing these 4 things:
- Create your May spending plan now: Now is the time to get your May finances ready. To start, list out all of your May bills and payment obligations. It’s often helpful to group these into two payment time frames, May 1-14th and May 15-31st. This will give you a clear amount of what money is already committed to bills. Compare this to your income. If it’s not looking good, then start deciding now what you can cut or reduce. Most companies are willing to work with you but you have to be proactive and call them.
- Conserve your money: With jobs and income so uncertain, now is the time to conserve your money, even if you have a job. This means only paying the bills you currently owe. No extra payments, especially if you don’t have 6 months of bills saved. So if you’re servicing debt, now is the time to just pay the minimum amount due. It can also be helpful to talk to your landlord about paying your rent in 2 payments. This helps spread out your spending which can be particularly helpful if your income has dropped or if you’re waiting for unemployment.
- Communicate with your lenders: If you’re having trouble paying your debts or other financial obligations now is the time to call them and talk about lower payments or even payment deferment. Remember deferment is not the same as forgiveness. You can read more about cutting your monthly bills here.
- Save if you can: Since everything is so uncertain, now is the time to save if you can. Just because you have a job this month doesn’t mean you will next month. Use this time to save as much as you can. I’ve never had a client complain that they’ve saved too much.
We will get through this. The goal is really to come out of this with the least amount of bruises. If you have other questions or need more specific help you can always book a free 30 minute call today.
Stay safe and kind to each other
~ Tiffany Groode, Financial Coach