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How to Manage Your Money (and Business Finances) During a Crisis

Whether you're going through medical issues, a job loss, a family emergency, or any other curve ball life throws your way, it can be hard to know how to financially get through it. 

But don't worry. We're breaking down what you should and shouldn’t do with your money during a crisis.

What Should I Do if My Income Is Stable?

  • DO keep right on working the Baby Steps like you have been.
  • DO pay your bills on time. This isn’t a free pass to skip out.
  • DO use your stimulus money to help you crush your goals—use it to speed up the Baby Step you’re on.
  • DO NOT pause your debt snowball!
  • DO NOT cash out your 401(k). You won’t even see the losses unless you take your money out of the market—so don’t!
  • DO NOT defer (aka delay) your student loan payments—keep attacking these with a vengeance.
  • DO NOT stop paying your mortgage.

What Should I Do if I Was Laid Off/Furloughed or if My Income Is NOT Stable? 

  • DO pause your debt snowball! You need all that extra money on hand right now.
  • DO make sure your Four Walls (food, utilities, shelter and transportation—in that order) are covered, then pile up cash as high as you can.
  • DO make the minimum payments on your debt (if you can swing it).
  • DO cut out all unnecessary spending from your budget (think need versus want).
  • DO look for a part-time job wherever you can find one!
  • DO use any stimulus money to cover your Four Walls and then toss anything leftover into your emergency fund.
  • DO NOT take out a payday loan! Run as far from these snakes as you can.
  • DO NOT get a HELOC (home equity line of credit)—it will only dig a deeper hole.
  • DO NOT stop paying your mortgage. Shelter is one of the Four Walls, so make sure it stays at the top of the list.
  • DO NOT cash out your 401(k) unless you’re facing foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Should I File for Unemployment?

  • DO check in with your state government to see if you qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • DO keep looking for work (even if you’re getting unemployment).
  • DO NOT file for unemployment if you can bring in at least 50% of your income by working another job (part time or full time).

What if I Run a Business or Church?

  • DO take advantage of the payroll tax deferment offered through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • DO NOT take out a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan! It’s too difficult to get them forgiven, so don’t mess with it.

We know there’s a lot coming at you fast these days, but step back and take a breath. You don’t want to make bad decisions with your money just because of a crisis. So calm down, think things through, and be wise as you take each careful step. You’ve got this!

If you want to learn more about managing your money through both good and bad times, check out Financial Peace University (FPU). This course will show you how to save for emergencies and pay off debt—so you're financially prepared for whatever comes your way. Even if you're going through a crisis right now, FPU will give you the tried-and-true plan and the hope you need to keep going.

Or maybe you just need someone to answer your questions and walk you through your specific situation. If so, you can talk to one of our trusted financial coaches. Get started with a free consultation

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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