The National Credit Union Foundation has provided the following guidance to credit union members on how to handle payments as the first stimulus checks begin to reach Americans. The Foundation’s goal is to help people to use the economic impact payment safely and in a way that benefits their financial health and well-being during this difficult time. To that end, here are the six things to consider:
- Prioritize. Focus on the bills that keep a roof over your head, the lights on and food on the table. Check with your local jurisdiction as many utilities and communications providers are working with consumers to waive fees, keep the power on and your internet connection working.
- Talk with your credit union and other lenders. Many are offering low or 0% small dollar loans, skip-a-pay, loan modifications and other sources of help so you can use your payment for what you need now.
- Save Some of It. If you set aside even $100-200, that can provide a cushion for bills that are coming in a couple of weeks. America Saves has solid resources and information to help with access to food and unemployment benefits.
- Keep Your Cash Safe. Keep it in your credit union. It’s safest there.
- Protect. There are lots of people out there trying to use this crisis to get at your stimulus check and your money. Watch out for suspicious emails, texts or phone calls. Here’s a great article that can help you keep an eye out for these threats.
- Pay Your Taxes. The deadline for filing and paying income taxes has been extended to July 15. If you haven’t saved to pay your income taxes, you may want to consider using the economic impact payment to pay your taxes.