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Hand writing home budget with calculator

During the past weeks, COVID-19 has disrupted life as we know it. In addition to making necessary adjustments to our personal and professional lives, it is just as important to take steps to protect our finances. Amid the uncertainty, we must continue to practice good credit habits.

Reevaluate Your Budget

Budgeting is the foundation of financial stability. Revisit your family budget. If you do not have one, now is the time to create one. List all income and bills, and account for any new developments such as loss or reduction of income or an increase in the need for necessities, such as groceries. Create a plan for your money to ensure that you make the best decisions for your family.

Know Your Options

Many companies that provide services such as utilities, cable, Internet and phone have options to help you stay on track. Contact them to make arrangements before your payment is due. In this global crisis, many creditors are offering assistance for those who find themselves in a financial bind. Contact your lenders to explore hardship options if you are unable to make minimum payments for your mortgage, credit cards or auto loans.

Continue Your Good Credit Practices

  • Keep credit card use under 30 percent of your total credit line.
  • Refrain from online shopping out of boredom.
  • If possible, make all payments on time, even if it’s just paying the minimum.
  • Place a freeze on your credit.
  • Check your credit report regularly.

Every year you can request one free credit report from the three reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, by contacting AnnualCreditReport.com. Stagger your requests and order a free report from one of the agencies today. Wait four months and order a free report from the second agency. Then wait another four months and order a report from the third agency.

Visit www.aces.edu to discover more financial information.

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