How to crisis-proof your finances fast

These are strange times for which few of us were prepared. That doesn’t mean all hope’s lost. In fact, there’s a lot you can do right now – today – to crisis-proof your finances for today, tomorrow and into 2021. See more below and get our step-by-step, crisis-proof your finances checklist here.

When you didn’t plan in advance

What?! Your emergency plan didn’t include staying locked in your home for 9 neverending months?

Few of ours did! Don’t beat yourself up about that or for those steps you should’ve taken in the past or those bad decisions you did take.

What we’ve outlined below are forward-looking steps you can take today. Some will provide immediate relief. Some will lay the foundation for future relief. In fact, with some of the simple steps outlined below, you’ll be able to continue long after this crisis is over. That’ll help you crisis-proof your finances for when life returns to normal and for when you’re faced with something – anything – in the future.

We have three basic steps outlined below, each with at least nine sub-steps. Don’t try to do them all at once. In fact, it’s better to start with one until it’s 100%, then take the next step. Also, not every step is for everyone. Do what’s right for you.

3 steps to crisis-proof your finances today

1. Take immediate protective measures

When we go into fight-or-flight mode, we narrow our focus on the immediate danger and possible solutions. Crisis-proofing your finances because of an emergency is no different.

Narrow your focus, focus on what can be done easily and immediately to protect yourself from any and every threat. The following nine steps can be done quickly and will give you the most results now.

1. Download digital apps for credit cards, banks, credit unions and other institutions

Cash is dirty and banks are closed (mostly). To easily stay connected to your money, download the apps offers by your bank, credit union, credit card company and other financial institutions.

You want to stay on top of your balances and transactions and easily be able to move your money in a hurry if you need it. You can’t just walk into a bank today and you don’t want to wait on hold for eleventy-thousand hours.

2. Avoid non-necessity purchases

If you’ve lost hours or lost your job, now’s the time to cut out on the expenses for all the things you don’t need. This is the true test of distinguishing between needs and wants, and everything simply isn’t a need.

We’re not here to tell you which of your expenses are necessities and which aren’t; that’s up to you. But the more cash and credit you can hold onto, the more you’ll have if things don’t improve fast or if things take a turn for the worse.

See all about our money-chunking tip to stretch those dollars further:

3. Ask lenders for forbearance or a delay on monthly payments

Nearly all lenders, credit cards, mortgage, auto and other companies are offering clients lower minimum monthly payments and forbearance on monthly payments. Having these negotiations has never been easier. Nearly all the members in our Credit Card Pay Off Plan had their monthly minimums waived or reduced for a few months. One member had a credit card company lower her expenses (annual fees, interest rates, etc.) three different times.

Make that call!

4. Put all online shopping into the cart and wait

Here’s a little trick we learned to save money. For those items that you have to make from an online retailer, such as Amazon or Costco, put items in your online cart, then wait for a few days to a week before making your purchase.

Retailers don’t like it when their shoppers don’t make a purchase and will occasionally either lower the price of the item or offer a discount. This doesn’t always happen, but it happens often enough to make it worth it. When you’re pinching every penny, it’s worth it.

Also, get the Honey browser extension added to your computer to get coupon codes on the purchases you must make.

5. Get online access to your emergency savings account

We usually advocate for keeping your emergency savings account an “arms-length away” from you, meaning keeping it at a bank or credit union where your everyday checking and savings accounts are. That’s to reduce the temptation of tapping emergency savings when it’s not a true emergency.

These aren’t normal times and traditional advice may not work best for everyone right now.

So, get online access to your emergency savings account and request check writing and debit card features be added to your account. Also, the bank where you keep your emergency savings can always do wire and ACH (automated clearing house) transfers if you need cash fast and don’t have access to your checks or debit card.

When things return to normal, reduce your access to these funds so you can replenish them.

Watch us explain each tip in further detail below:

6. Sign up for a 0%-interest on new purchases credit card

This also goes against our traditional advice.

If you don’t have enough or any emergency savings and you need money, sign up for a credit card that offers 0%-interest on new purchases. This perk typically only lasts between 12 and 18 months, but it’ll give you access to credit in an emergency situation and not increase the cost of those emergency purchases for up to 18 months. Get recommendations for these kinds of cards on our checklist.

Hopefully, by then you’ll be able to pay off the balance and not pay any interest.

Try our exclusive Debt Lasso Method if you’re still concerned with how you’ll pay off this card when everything returns to normal. The Debt Lasso Method is the fastest way to pay off credit card debt, saves you the most money in the long-run and will help improve your credit score. See more here.

Then, sign up for the fastest way to get rid of credit card debt here.

7. Add payment insurance to your credit cards

If you already have or think you’ll be out of work or have reduced pay, add payment insurance to your credit cards. This will ensure that payments are still sent if and when they’re required and you won’t take a ding on your credit report, nor will your account go to collections.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office found premiums for credit insurance on credit card balances ranged from $0.85 to $1.35 a month per $100 of the outstanding balance. On a $5,000 balance, that insurance could cost $44 – $67 a month.

You will eventually have to make your credit card payments. This is just a temporary Band-Aid.

8. Sign up for Telehealth

Shit’s stressful these days, and financial anxiety only adds to that stress. But your friends and family have their own stress to deal with, so you don’t want to bother them. But you can’t get to your therapist’s office, either.

The solution is telehealth. More and more therapists of all specialties are taking their services online. Think Zoom with your doctor who knows how to work their computer camera. Again, get recommendations for these on our checklist.

9. Donate to small businesses and charities

If your income isn’t and won’t be affected, add more money to your emergency savings and be generous with organizations that can help those in your community.

Remember, an open hand can both give and receive. A closed hand does neither.

Organizations to consider:

  • Your local small businesses (hair and nail salons, bars and restaurants)
  • Local centers that vet those in need
  • Local food banks, meals on wheels and other organizations that help with life-threatening illnesses

Hear us explain each tip on this special episode of Queer Money®:

2. Trim your budget and save money fast

After you implement immediate measures to protect yourself and your loved ones, it’s important to cut off and reduce the outflow of money as much as possible. We mentioned above about reducing purchases down to the most necessary ones. We’ll take this a little further with the next nine steps to trim your budget and save money right away to crisis-proof your finances even more.

These nine steps combined will save you between $60 – $750 a month.

1. Saving money on streaming television and movies

We all quickly “cut the cord” and opted for streaming movie and television services to save money on cable and since added so many streaming services we’ve negated the savings. Now’s the time to assess which streaming service gives you the most happiness and cancel the rest. For example, we canceled Hulu and stuck with Netflix. You might choose another option, but choose one and be done with the rest.

This step could save you between $10 – $50 a month alone.

If you’re afraid you’ll be bored, don’t forget about all three free content on YouTube. There are some amazing videos and series over there that can augment whichever streaming services you ultimately pick.

2. Saving money on streaming music

We get it! Hearing commercials between your favorite songs sucks and $1 – $3 a month is nothing – until now. Now, every penny counts. For music streaming services, such as Pandora, Spotify and Apple, sign up for the ad-supported free packages.

This step will save you between $5 – $20 a month.

3. Saving money on television cable packages

If you haven’t already “cut the cord,” as we mentioned above, why are you waiting? That’s an expense that doesn’t make sense during the fat times. It especially doesn’t make sense today, especially because ESPN isn’t showing anything new.

This step will save you between $10 – $200 a month.

See David explain how we saved $3,000 a year:

4. Cancel or pause gym memberships and still get your exercise

Most gyms and fitness clubs, such as Planet Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and Core Power Yoga, have already paused memberships or are crediting members for days they’re closed. Regardless, double-check or ask your gym to put your membership on hold or cancel it (preferably the former).

Also, if yours is a personal and not a global crisis, your gym won’t automatically put your membership on hold. If what your going through isn’t affecting the whole world, you’ll have to make this call yourself.

For free alternatives to stay fit, watch YouTube and Instagram. There’s a slew of fitness pros sharing their best at-home fitness programs. For more ideas, we share five fitness tips, including some stay-at-home options, here.

This step will save you between $10-150 per month.

5. Saving money on car insurance

Especially if you’re driving has cut back drastically, shop around for better car insurance offers for the same coverage you currently have. You don’t want cheaper insurance for less protection. You want cheaper insurance for the same or more protection.

For starters, contact your carrier and ask for a reduced plan. If they can’t help or to double-check that you can’t find better, shop for rates. One service we like is Gabi Auto Insurance.

On average, Gabi saves drivers up to $720. Learn more about cheaper auto insurance and Gabi’s mobile app by clicking here.

This step could save you between $10 – 100 a month.

Watch us explain each tip in further detail below:

6. Lower your credit card interest rates, fees and expenses

The Fed Funds rate, which dictates the interest rates we all pay for everything, has dropped. So, ask for your bank, credit card company, mortgage, auto and other lenders to lower your interest rate. Compare the interest rate anyone offers you to the rate shown on your last statement. This will tell you if it’s worth it.

As we said, because of this current, global crisis, lenders are more agreeable today than ever to negotiate rates with people, such as the case of one of the members of our Credit Card Pay Off Plan.

Whether because of this crisis or your own, personal crisis, this step could save you between $1 – 50 a month. Click here for the fastest way to become debt free, save a ton of money and get your credit score over 750.

7. Saving money on books

Turn off audiobook subscriptions such as Audible and switch to the free programs through your local city or state library by using the Libby App here. Libby is free and has access to thousands of free books.

This could save you between $5 – 15 a month.

8. Save money on groceries and reduce food waste

For most people, the quickest way to save the most money is to reduce grocery expenses and cut out dining expenses. Nearly every single person we’ve coached through our Spending Analysis finds they spend way more on these two categories than they ever would’ve estimated.

Our best tip for making this lifestyle change super-easy is to cook once, eat many. Buy and make cheaper meals that you can batch-cook, such as soups, chilis, oatmeal and frittatas. Then, all you have to do the rest of the week is heat your meals in the microwave

This will reduce your calls to Uber Eats, Postmates and other delivery services, and cut your monthly expenses by $1 – $100.

9. Save money on your cell phone plan

Renegotiate your cell phone and data plans by asking for reduced rates. If your carrier makes this hard, ask for the Customer Retention team and tell them what it would take to keep you as a customer.

Another member in our Credit Card Pay Off Plan did this and saved himself and his husband $80/month. This could save you between $10 – $100/month.

Hear us explain each tip on this special episode of Queer Money®:

3. Make money right now

Once you’ve implemented the immediate, crisis-proofing steps above, then trimmed your budget to reduce your outflow of money, it’s time to figure out ways to make more money. Whether your hours have been reduced or you’ve been let go or furloughed, one or more of these nine steps below will help you make some extra bucks.

Combined, these tips could yield you up to $1,000 a week.

1. Make money by teaching

Learning from home through virtual classes is more popular than ever. You could be a teacher for one of those classes. One such course some of the members of our Credit Card Pay Off Plan are doing is teaching English to Chinese students.

2. Make money selling yours or someone else’s products

Sell yours or other people’s stuff online at Etsy, Ebay, Shopify and Amazon. As the master of side-hustles taught us, this is super-easy to do.

3. Make money with high-demand and gig businesses

Gig businesses, such as Zoom, Home Depot, Anthem and, of course, nearly everything in healthcare.

Watch us explain each tip in further detail below:

4. Make money with delivery services

Apply to Instacart, Ubereats, Postmates and other similar businesses that are hiring. Apply at local restaurants, cafés & bars that desperately need delivery people. Companies such as Amazon, UPS, USPS and others are hiring en masse and even increasing hourly pay.

5. Make money playing games on your phone

Mistplay pays you to play games on your phone. It won’t make you rich but may pay for Friday night’s dinner. Get the link to all these sites from our checklist here.

6. Make money freelancing

If you have any experience with writing, whether from writing courses in college or being a hobby writer at some point during your adult life, know that publications such as, NerdWallet and others are hiring writers. Many of these same platforms need editors, too. We’re not hiring now, but we did recently hire a few writers for

For tips on how we grew our freelance writing business to $60,000 in one year, click here.

7. Make money by giving your opinion

Have an opinion? Of course, you do. Make money, just a few bucks here and there, taking surveys on SurveyJunkie.

8. Make money helping others

Want a more esoteric recommendation? Companies with “essential workers,” such as pharmacies, grocery stores, even Walmart, Target and Costco, need more help. In fact, Walmart recently announced it’s hiring 150,000 employees.

This isn’t to say that jobs are easy to come by, but there are businesses and industries hiring.

9. Make money at home in your PJs on your laptop

Another industry hiring is data entry. Companies such as Xerox, Westat and Zietcaster are also hiring, and most of their jobs can be performed at home. In your PJs. In bed. With your coffee and puppy by your side.

Hear us explain each tip on this special episode of Queer Money®:

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