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Memories of empty shelves are all too clear from the early days of the pandemic. Hot items included toilet paper, cleaning wipes, sanitizer, and foods with a long shelf life. This was fueled by the panicked headlines in the media about this and other matters.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security does recommend that we keep two weeks of food on hand and to maintain a stock of medicine and other health supplies. While these guidelines are sensible, there can be anxiety during this time of uncertainty to buy more for fear that there could be a run on a product. Often this means putting expenses on a credit card because amounts are outside the regular budget.

Be careful when making purchases

We all know that credit card balances are a slippery slope down towards mounting debt. Pair that with a volatile economy, and it could lead to real financial trouble. Experts recommend the following simple tips to combat these kinds of emotional purchases in uncertain times:

  1. Take inventory of what is needed before going to the store.
  2. Make a list so you get what you need.
  3. Pay off the credit card bill each month rather than pay interest on it.
  4. Consider transferring credit card debt to one with a 0% APR for a year or more if you cannot pay the balance. Also, look into minimizing fees on balance transfers.
  5. Stress shopping will likely not do the shopper any good, and some are finding that they are even wasting food, which defeats the initial purpose.

Financial safety is essential

Many of us worry about staying safe during these uncertain times. It is financial safety, however, that may become the biggest challenge. Those concerned about this financial well-being or see no solution for mounting debt serve their best interests by being proactive. It starts by speaking with a bankruptcy attorney who has experience guiding individuals and families through bankruptcy. They can help find useful solutions to tough financial challenges.