You never know what can happen the next minute. It’s not uncommon that unsuspecting people going about their lives are hit with a sudden crisis in life. When that happens, one goes into survival mode and a lot of thoughts that aren’t related to the problem at hand end up being pushed to the side.
A crisis isn’t the time to be wondering if your credit card bill is paid. However, the credit card company isn’t going to know or care that you may have missed the payment deadline because you were dealing with personal issues. The same can be said for the number of other bills and dues that you need to pay every month. The unfortunate reality is that these late fees and charges can have a snowball effect, ultimately spiraling so out of control that you end up in debt that could take years to get out of.
The last thing you want during a crisis is to add on financial woes as well. One way you can prevent that is by spending a little time today so that you can protect your finances if that disfavored day ever comes by. The good news is that you can do it right from your phone and it won’t even take more than 15 minutes!
How, you ask? We don’t need to tell you that there’s basically an app for everything. Along with downloading and registering on digital apps from your banks and lenders, you can make use of several other apps on your phone to help keep a firm hold on your finances.
Here are 4 things you can do to protect your finances from a crisis through your phone:
Make an Extensive List
Give your previous bank statements a once-over to identify and make a list of all the bills and payments you need to make every month. You may think that you don’t need it written down because you’ve got that information lodged in your brain, but human memory isn’t always as reliable as we’d hope it would be – especially when you are also dealing with a crisis.
Along with a list of your expenses and incomes, you should also make sure you have stored important information such as your vehicle registration renewal or credit card membership fees so it can help you jog your memory.
You’ll also want to have a list of all your bank accounts and credit cards – even the ones you don’t use regularly. Since you’re likely to always have your phone on hand, such information can prove to be vital at times of crisis.
You can use the notes app that comes pre-installed on your phone or opt for something like Evernote for more privacy. Or you can download apps that are specifically designed to help you keep track of your finances.
Create a Budget
Ask any financial expert or anyone who knows anything about managing money and they will tell you that a budget is one of the most important tools you need to have in your corner. A budget helps you keep track of all your finances so you know exactly how much money is coming in and how much is going out every month. It helps you weed out unnecessary expenses and make changes when necessary.
One reason why a budget is important is that it helps you save money, which can go towards a rainy-day fund if you do not have one yet. Another reason is that since you have a list of all your monthly expenses, it can be as easy as going down the line one by one to make sure you haven’t missed out on any in case you are dealing with personal issues and do not have a clear mind.
There are a plethora of budgeting apps out there and you can choose one based on your personal preferences. There are even apps that follow different budgeting strategies like the 20/30/50 method or the envelope method!
Register on the Official Apps
Everybody has an app these days, whether it be your bank, credit card company, mortgage lender, or student loan servicer. It’s always better to use the company’s official app because it will give you the most amount of access to your information as well as the quickest access to your information.
This can be very important during a crisis because you probably are on a time crunch. Having that information and access handy can mean the difference between letting bills go unpaid or staying on top of your finances. It can also save you in a literal life-or-death situation in case of a medical emergency where you need to access your finances or contact your lenders immediately.
Lots of lenders even let you apply for relief packages through their apps, and it can be as easy as a click of a button, depending on the provider. This saves you the time and hassle of searching their website or contacting them for this information.
Lastly, it is important to make sure that you’re being safe while downloading all these apps. Do not repeat the same password, in case one of them gets breached, and make sure to save your usernames and passwords in a secure place so you don’t end up forgetting them.
Automatic Payments and Other Features
If you have yet to automate recurring bills and payments such as rent, mortgage, electricity, etc. – do it immediately! These are essential expenses that need to be taken care of every single month. Having them done automatically isn’t just going to save you during a catastrophe, but it can also provide you with much-needed mental relief during ordinary times!
But it is especially important when there is a personal tragedy at stake. The last thing you want during an emergency is to have the power cut off because you forgot to pay the bill!
Along with setting up automatic payments, you should also sign up for spending alerts and limits from your bank accounts and credit cards so you can avoid overspending and overdraft charges. Most finance apps also come with several other features such as allowing you to check your credit score. Some banks and credit unions offer to check deposit features through their apps so you don’t have to physically visit the location. You can even lock a lost or stolen credit card through the provider’s app!
The Bottom Line
It is up to each one of us to take control of our finances. If the past two years of living through a global pandemic have taught us anything, it is that things can change dramatically in what seems like the blink of an eye. You don’t want your finances to suffer because you failed to take action!
What we discussed above are just a few things you can do to protect your finances with your phone. Once you download the needed apps, take some time to fully explore them so you know all the features that are available to you. So that if there ever comes a situation where you may need them, you know what to do!