BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo is reminding people stuck at home during the pandemic that this is a good time to take stock of your financial situation and plan an emergency budget.
Noelle Carter, President & CEO for Consumer Credit Counseling, said the stay-at-home orders are forcing people to see what is really essential when it comes to spending. "We are not sure how long we will possibly be out-of-work and continue the social distancing, and what impact that will have on our finances," said Carter.
Since some are predicting the covid-19 virus could make a widespread return later in the year, Carter said analyzing your spending now and planning an emergency savings could make a difference later on.
The virus crisis has created financial hardship for many, but it also shined a spotlight on the fact that many Americans do not have an emergency budget plan or savings. According to the Federal Reserve Board, 40% of Americans are unable to cover a $400 unexpected expense.
"I learned the hard way that sometimes you have to live within your means," said Jennifer Livermore from Depew. The single mother had found herself in deep debt but turned to Consumer Credit Counseling for help before the crisis to get her bills in line and create an emergency budget plan.
"It is very scary when you don't have yourself set-up to be financially independent," added Livermore, who said her emergency planning has greatly reduced her stress and anxiety during the public health emergency.
However, there are those who have no way of paying their bills or creating an emergency budget. To help, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo is offering free "Financial Checkups" and guidance in using the many programs and financial resources available to help people during covid-19 pandemic.
While there are several programs that offer accommodations and forbearance on payments, for things like mortgages, the fine print details for some of those could come as a shock later on. "You could go three months without making a mortgage payment, with an agreement with your servicer, but you could owe that full amount once that three months is over," explained Carter.
The sessions are done remotely and are open to anyone financially struggling during this time. Call Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo at (716) 712-2060 to make an appointment.