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Prioritizing Bills During a Financial Crunch

By: Financial Education / 27 Apr 2023
Prioritizing Bills During a Financial Crunch

If you're one of the millions of Americans on furlough or without a job to return to, you may be struggling with upcoming bills and wondering where you'll find the money to pay for them all. Let's take a look at what we're advising, so you can make a responsible, informed decision about your finances going forward.

April 6, 2020 Prioritizing Bills During a Financial Crunch

Triage your bills; pay for essentials first. We recommend paying for your basic, essential needs first, including food, shelter, and medical needs, before any other bills. It's best to make sure you can feed your family before using your limited resources for loan payments or credit card bills. Similarly, your family needs a place to live, so mortgage or rent payments should be next on your list.

Housing costs

We understand it might be easier said than done to put your housing needs first considering you may have a smaller or no paycheck this month. The good news is that some rules have changed in light of the pandemic financial fallout.

As you may have heard, On March 18, President Donald Trump announced the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will immediately halt all foreclosures and evictions for 60 days. This means you'll have a roof over your head for the next two months, no matter what.

Also, in early March, the Federal Housing Finance Agency offered payment forbearance to homeowners affected by COVID-19. These loans, provided by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, account for approximately 66% of all home loans in America. The payments will eventually need to be made.

At the end of the forbearance period, homeowners can work with their servicer to repay all past due amounts and accrued interest. Homeowners unable to resolve past due amounts, or who need a lower mortgage payment, are evaluated for longer-term borrower assistance options such as a loan modification.

If you have a mortgage with us and are struggling to make your payment, give us a call at 800-388-3000 to discuss payment arrangements. If your loan is with another lender, ask about your options. A delayed payment on your mortgage during the economic shutdown can be a lifesaver for your finances and help free up some of your money for essentials. However, it's important to keep in mind that you'll still be responsible for any missed payments at a later time, and we want to help you make the right decision for your situation.  

If you're a renter, be upfront with your landlord. You'll most likely get a better response if you explain exactly where you stand rather than say nothing.

On March 29, Governor Sisolak issued a moratorium on evictions through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency in hopes of providing relief to those facing financial crisis during this time. Tenants are not free of the rental obligations, but landlords must not evict tenants and are obligated to uphold the basic provisions of their rental agreements. To learn more visit If you're unable to get the relief that you need after reaching out to your lender, email and they'll help you call your lender.

Paying for transportation

When normal life resumes you're still going to need a way to get to work, so we recommend putting car payments next on your list of financial priorities. If meeting that monthly payment is impossible right now, give us a call at 800-388-3000, or contact your lender and come up with a plan that's mutually agreeable to both parties. Many lenders are allowing payment deferrals, but it's best to call and ask rather than just skip your payment.

Household bills

In a perfect world, utility and service bills should be paid on time each month, but if you're on furlough or laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, these expenses may not even make it to your list of priorities. Rest assured, you don't need to worry about the power going out or your energy bill. NV Energy is suspending disconnects for non-payment and waiving late penalties if you're experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19. Visit for more details.

With good hygiene being a top priority for all of us during this crisis, water districts in Nevada have temporarily suspended water shut-offs if you're unable to pay during this time. We strongly encourage you to contact your provider to be sure you let them know if you're experiencing a hardship.

Unsecured debt

Unsecured debt includes credit cards, personal loans, and any other loan that is not tied to a large asset, like a house or vehicle. Although these payments might be last on your list of priorities during the pandemic, we urge you to communicate with us or other lendersyou may have and explain your current financial realities.

If you're struggling to make ends meet, we're here for you. Please give us a call at 800-388-3000 or visit our COVID-19 resource center at for a list of national, state, and local coronavirus info sites.

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