June 2020
Top Five Financial Wellness Tips During COVID-19 and Beyond
The coronavirus pandemic has created a great deal of financial uncertainty and many Maine families have been impacted by unemployment and loss of income. If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that saving for a rainy day and safeguarding our finances are critical steps to ensuring lifelong financial stability. Whether you have been impacted financially or not, focusing on the following strategies will help improve your overall financial outlook.
1. Review and Update Your Current Budget

Now is a great time to evaluate your income and expenses and make a plan for your money. Regardless of your situation, it’s likely that your expenses have changed. You’ve probably been spending less on everyday expenses, such as meals out, gym memberships, and entertainment. If you created a budget in the past, set aside some time to evaluate your spending plan and make adjustments. If you don’t have a budget, there’s no time like the present! FAME’s trusted partner iGrad® has created a helpful Budgeting Tool to help you get started.
2. Maintain Your Credit

Despite the financial challenges you may be facing, it’s important to maintain and manage your credit wisely, whether you’re using your credit card more frequently, researching loans to help bridge a financial gap, or simply being proactive about your financial health. Learn more about the factors that impact your credit score, along with tips for maintaining good credit, regardless of your financial situation.
3. Shop Around to Get the Best Deal

Many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. If that describes your current situation, now is a great time to dedicate any free time that you may have to conduct a thorough “check-up” of your finances to make sure that you are getting the best deal. Begin by reviewing all of your fixed monthly expenses such as cable, cell phone, internet, insurance, interest rates on loans, and banking fees to determine if there are a more affordable options. Contact each of your providers to discuss lowering your monthly bill. While this process takes some time and energy, you might find that some of your monthly expenses are negotiable. Taking these steps now might help you discover some “found money” which will help you kick start your savings goal.
4. It's Never Too Late to Start Saving

In a perfect world, everyone would already have 3-6 months of expenses saved in an emergency fund. If you don’t, you are certainly not alone! While it may feel impossible to save right now, setting aside even a small amount of savings can make a significant difference. Perhaps you start small; try putting aside $5 a week or establishing a savings goal of $100? While saving during this time might seem particularly difficult, many of us have experienced a reduction in our everyday expenses with less driving, fewer meals out, and more limited shopping. Consider whether the money that you’re saving on daily expenses could be diverted into a savings account? If your financial circumstances prevent you from saving right now, consider making it a priority in the future.
5 . Ask for Help and Seek Out Additional Resources

The federal government, as well as state and local agencies, financial institutions, and others are offering resources and financial assistance to those impacted by COVID-19. Whether you need advice on paying rent and utilities, accessing healthcare or wellness services, or assistance with your student loans, FAME and our partners are here to help! FAME recently launched a COVID-19 Resource Page to assist you as you navigate this unprecedented time. The page includes information for Maine businesses, lenders, and families, with specific information about navigating student loan repayment , as well as financial tools and resources .
Want more information?
Join us for this month's FREE Wednesday Webinar:

Financial Wellness During COVID-19 and Beyond

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 Join Mary Dyer, Financial Education Officer at FAME and Todd Woodlee, Vice President of iGrad for an overview of available financial wellness tools that are available to you, your students, and employees through FAME and through its statewide partnership with iGrad. During the webinar, participants will receive an update regarding new and existing financial wellness resources, including tips and advice for staying financially well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For additional helpful information and resources, find  previous issues of 5 on the 5th on our website.

FAME's College Access and Financial Education Team:

Mary Dyer , Financial Education Officer
Maria MacDougal , College Access Counselor
Floreka Malual , College Planning Advisor
Nikki Vachon , College Access Counselor
Jessica Whittier , College Access Counselor 
Mila Tappan , College Access and Outreach Manager
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