Personal Spending, Personal Budgeting, Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump

Personal Spending, Personal Budgeting

Don't simply count on a second round of stimulus checks—here's what to do instead

Don't simply count on a second round of stimulus checks—here's what to do instead. (via @CNBCMakeIt)

7/1/2020 1:45:00 AM

Don't simply count on a second round of stimulus checks—here's what to do instead. (via CNBCMakeIt)

Even if a second round of stimulus checks is approved, the amount likely won't cover expenses for every American. Rather than count on it, here are five steps you can take now to help pay your bills and get on firmer financial ground, according to money experts.

, may have formal financial assistance programs available at the moment. But even if they don't, it's worth giving these providers a call to try and negotiate down your current payment or delay payment until a later date.Research what assistance may be available to you and if there's any information or paperwork you need to gather ahead of time. Plus, take a look at your payment history — if you've had on-time payments for years, that's worth mentioning when you call up these businesses.

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You should also look at the alternatives available to you. Are there better cable bundles for new customers? Or credit cards withlower introductory APRs or 0% APR periods? If you currently have an unlimited plan with Verizon or AT&T, for example, consider switching to a budget carrier such as Visible or Cricket if your phone is paid off. Both companies, which run on Verizon and AT&T networks, offer plans that could save you as much as half of your current cell phone bill.

And take time to review your home, car and/or renters insurance. It might not be a fun task, but it could provide you with an opportunity to "squeeze a little more money out of the budget," Zohlen says.While it's important to make sure that your coverage and liability limits are appropriate for your current situation, it's also good to critically look at your deductible. If you have expensive homeowners insurance with a low deductible, ask yourself how often you make a claim on the policy. Probably not that often, Zohlen says. It could make sense to make some changes.

3. Prioritize your billsOnce you've cut back your spending and lowered your bills as much as you can, prioritize where the money you do have is going, Aliche says. To figure out which bills and expenses you need to pay first and which you can delay, Aliche recommends asking yourself two questions: If I don't make this payment, will I be unhealthy? If I don't make this payment, will I be unsafe?

If the answer is yes to either of those, pay that bill as best as you can. And again, if you haven't already, look intothe many assistance and payment deferment programsthat utility companies, cell phone providers, lenders and landlords may be offering.

"Lean into that help," Aliche says. It doesn't make sense to put all of your savings or your unemployment check toward your mortgage if you have afor six months without racking up fees or interest.4. Find ways to earn moreIt may sound odd with so many Americans currently unemployed, but there are still creative (and straightforward) ways to earn money right now, even if you've been laid off because of the pandemic, Sethi says.

For some, it may be starting an online business, or perhaps taking on work in an industry that hasn't been as impacted by the coronavirus shutdowns. It's also worth noting that there are several robust federal and state programs currently in place to help Americans get back on their feet financially.

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But you don't have to be an entrepreneur to earn some extra cash. Many shipping providers, grocery stores, food delivery apps and even retailers. Part-time work could help you bridge the financial gap while you search for a new job in your field or a related industry.

There are evensuch as recruiters, sales account executives, customer service representatives and computer support specialists that are seeing a surge in openings, according to online jobs site ZipRecruiter.5. Put any extra money awayUnsurprisingly, experts recommend to

save what you can. All of the money you've managed to cut out of your budget should go to pay essential bills or into savings. "Now, more than ever, having emergency savings is critical," Aliche says.Ideally, you should have six months worth of living expenses saved up. While that may sound like a big number, you can start small and gradually build up a savings cushion to help you weather life's unexpected costs.

Read more: CNBC »

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MakeIt BTFD!!

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