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No matter where you are living right now in the US, it is certain that the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing lockdown has negatively affected many parts of your life. The coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on our lives including our finances. Hence, you must understand how to manage debt during coronavirus.
The credit reporting bureau TransUnion showed in its April 2020 study that at least 60 percent of consumers in the US have had their finances negatively affected from the coronavirus crisis. The troubling study highlighted the fears of consumers who think that they will be unable to pay their bills or loans in the coming weeks unless something is done soon. To avoid such problems, you should know how to manage debt during coronavirus.
It is good to see that the government has taken unprecedented steps to bolster finances of both consumers and companies with relief packages. Those who are without a job or earning less due to the pandemic can gain some support from these programs. Companies have also stepped in and are doing what they can to mitigate problems.
You should be proactive in order to manage debt during coronavirus. Here is what you can do about it.
Utility Companies Offer Help to Manage Debt During Coronavirus
If you find that the coronavirus crisis has hurt your finances, then you should make up a crisis budget. This budget will contain only spending that is essential for living. You will have to make major spending cuts especially on leisure and entertainment. This way, you can manage debt during coronavirus.
You should also look to see how you can reduce bills of all kinds including utility bills. First, you must begin with bills that are related to entertainment like satellite and cable. You must cancel these subscriptions while the coronavirus crisis drags on. This will also help you to manage debt during coronavirus.
You should also review your mobile phone subscription and downgrade it to a cheaper and more affordable plan that will have a smaller financial impact.
Making spending cuts for utility bills may not be easy because they are essential for living. Unfortunately, during the coronavirus crisis, you may find paying your utility bills on time to be challenging. But you should take note that utility and telecommunications service providers are providing relief options for their customers. You can take advantage of these to manage debt during coronavirus.
Some states like Connecticut, Texas and Indiana have made such relief measures mandatory. Even if you live outside of these states, you should realize that companies in your area may be willing to accommodate you and ease the burden of paying bills on time. You will have to be proactive and you should get in touch with your service providers to find out if they are planning to offer any kind of relief to their customers.
Here are some utilities that can help you manage debt during coronavirus.
This mobile services provider and internet company is assisting its customers in many ways. If customers request hardship assistance, then the company will waive late fees and extend the date for service disconnection.
Xfinity customers can enjoy free internet access for 2 months. The company is also providing free Wifi hotspot access even if you are not subscribed to Xfinity.
Duke Energy is one of the biggest electricity companies in the country. It has promised that it will not disconnect services to any customer who does not pay on time during the epidemic. The company is helping its customers to manage debt during coronavirus.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
It is one of the biggest suppliers of gas and electricity in the US. The company has announced that it will not cease services for late paying customers. Also, the company will reduce the bills of those customers who can show that their income levels have gone down as a result of the coronavirus crisis. If you are a customer of this company, you can take advantage of these measures as a way to manage debt during coronavirus.
How to Pay Your Bills to Manage Debt During Coronavirus
Although, utility companies have given plenty of time for their customers to pay back their bills, it means that you will still have to pay later on. Your bills might start piling up and become unmanageable. Hence, it is wise to pay as much as you can each month without substantially harming your finances. This is a better way to manage debt during coronavirus.
Contact Your Lenders and Creditors to Manage Debt During Coronavirus
Besides utility companies, you should also get in touch with companies that you have borrowed from to manage debt during coronavirus. Some of these lenders and creditors may have implemented assistance programs that can help their customers to manage debt during coronavirus.
Federal and state governments have mandated some of these relief measures while the rest are being done voluntarily taking into consideration that the current crisis has affected the ability of debtors to pay back on time.
The federal government has given a six relief period to borrowers of federal student loans. These borrowers will not have to pay interest or make any repayment during a six month period. No interest will be charged during this time. The relief period will last till September 30.
Under the CARES Act signed into law by President Donald Trump, borrowers who have taken out home loans will get mortgage relief. This applies only to federally backed loans.
You should reach out to your creditors and lenders to find out what assistance they have in place. Firms are now implementing measures designed to help borrowers manage debt during coronavirus. They have taken measures like deferred payments, forbearance and debt reduction to make it easier for their borrowers.
Credit card refinancing vs debt consolidation issuers are also providing hardship assistance programs to help their customers manage debt during coronavirus.
Before skipping any payment, you should first talk to your creditor. You may be surprised to discover that they are providing assistance so that customers like you can better manage debt during coronavirus.