COVID-19 isn’t fair! It ravages one person’s health and the next person, while infected, is symptom free. The same is true when it comes to financial health. One person loses their job or has reduced hours and income. Another person, in a critical vocation, is forced to work overtime and sees their income rise. One small business owner is forced to shut down and their income vanishes. Another’s product or service is now in high demand and they see profits soar. This also isn’t fair! But it is fact. If your financial health is being negatively affected, here are some ways to boost current income for essential expenses. If your financial health is good, there may be an opportunity to further increase income and boost your savings during a pandemic.
Here are six ways to increase and boost savings in this pandemic:
Adjust Your Payroll Withholding
The average taxpayer receives about a $3,000 Federal Income Tax Refund each year. Change your payroll withholding and start putting $250 per month in your hands now! This is one of the easiest moves to increase your income and boost savings or provide additional money for current expenses.
To ensure you don’t owe taxes next year, connect with a tax professional to discuss adjusting your W-4 to claim more allowances and go here for the IRS tax withholding estimator
Plan Now For Stimulus Round 2
A second stimulus bill is likely. Plan today for how you’ll spend or save your payment. Based on the House of Representatives Heroes Act, you may be eligible for the following:
- Individuals: An eligible person could receive up to $1,200.
- Children and dependents: Each dependent could qualify for a $1,200 payment.
- Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece.
Let’s say that a new stimulus act becomes law on Friday, August 7th. Following the CARES Act timeline, checks could go out the first week of September. Stimulus Round 2 is NOT a guarantee. But having a plan for the money in advance ensures you will use this money wisely for the purpose you have pre-determined.
Bank Your Forced Overtime
Many people who have retained their jobs during the pandemic are being forced to work overtime. It would be very easy to spend this extra money to reward yourself in the short-term with a splurge purchase. Make the harder choice to employ this money reducing debt or increasing savings.
Leverage Your Unemployment Benefits
It is possible you are receiving more money in unemployment benefits than you received from your pre-pandemic salary. The NY Times reports that “workers in more than half of states will receive, on average, more in unemployment benefits than their normal salaries.” Unless extended, this increased benefit will expire on July 31st. Use this money to beef-up your emergency savings account and pay down debt. You’ll want to be prepared if the economic downturn continues and unemployment benefits expire.
Declutter Your House & Fill Your Wallet
While many people are using the extra time at home for some long overdue cleaning and purging, others are on the prowl for a bargain. Online resellers are seeing a surge in activity. “We’ve seen two significant waves of growth in buying activity recently,” said OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar. “The first increase occurred around March 13. The second correlates to the initial distribution of federal COVID-19 relief checks beginning the week of April 13.” It’s easy to set up an account and sell items on-line. I set up an account with a resale provider, posted several items and made over $100 in just a few days. I posted the items as “porch pickup.” I didn’t even have to leave my home to make a few extra dollars. So that’s an “out of the box” way to increase savings in a pandemic.
How Can You Increase Income & Boost Savings?
Just as the virus affects us differently, so has its impact on our financial situations. If you find yourself in a better financial situation due to increased overtime, decreased commuting costs, or stimulus payments not needed for immediate needs; do not miss this opportunity eliminate debt and boost your savings. If you find yourself struggling due to unemployment or decreased hours; don’t give up hope. Do your best to increase your current income while employing your emergency budget to reduce expenses. There are non-profit, Financial Services Specialists available by chat, phone and video conference to help you navigate through this crisis.