Over the past few days, as we’ve watched industry after industry getting hit by closures, slowdowns, and collateral damage because of worldwide efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, we’ve also watched the economy tank in nearly every country. We’ve heard of “temporary” shutdowns, pauses, and already, many, many layoffs. And, while the government’s new economic relief package is supposed to help in cases where people lose their jobs, where they’re sick, or where they are taking care of someone who is, how long will it take for that “help” to actually funnel itself down to those of us who literally don’t have the money to miss work? Days? Weeks? Months?
Where does that leave you? How do you pay the car payment? The house payment? Buy medicine? Groceries? How do you live day to day until the “relief” is made available or until the virus is contained? And, since they’re only really talking about 2/3 of your normal salary, where do you get the extra third? Your normal bills aren’t going to just magically drop by a third, are they? So what do you do?
One thing that we’ve noticed in all this panic buying at the stores is that people are using credit cards to get those items that they’re buying that are out of the norm. Is this a smart way to handle the extra expense that all of this self isolation is creating? And what of the long term expenses? Is it smart, if you are one of those affected by the crashing economy, to utilize credit cards to make ends meet?
The answer is not nearly as simple as you might think. First off, how much credit do you have available? You might want to take stock of your available credit first off. Then, once you have that information, consider your circumstances. Are you in an industry that will likely be affected long term? If so, how will you pay back any of the charges that you create while we’re all in panic mode? Will your job reappear? Do you have savings to rely on? Are the things that you’re using those cards for directly related to actually surviving the financial crisis created by this virus or are they something that you wouldn’t normally buy, but you’re only buying now because you’re in panic mode?
These questions and the answers are very personal to each and every one of us, but they are things that you MUST consider. This virus will not last forever, but the financial decisions you make now will have an effect on your life long after this crisis has passed. And those of us here at Fresh Start Card Offers want to make sure that everyone is using common sense as we navigate through a worldwide pandemic, something that has never happened in our lifetime, and will likely not happen again soon.
Remember this, if you remember nothing else. The choices you make right now will have long term financial consequences, so make them wisely.