Tips and resources for coping financially with the pandemic

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In the past few weeks, Minnesotans have had to ask themselves how they are going to pay the bills. As Minnesota does its part to stem the COVID-19 outbreak, many people are struggling to keep their heads above water. The health and safety of Minnesotans are the state’s top priority during this time; however, that does not erase the financial struggles that people are going through.

The stay-at-home order put in place by Governor Tim Walz was officially extended through May 18, and there is no set timeline for the process of reopening the state once the order is lifted. There is no telling how long it will be before non-essential workers can safely go back to work. Stimulus checks from the IRS have come in, but for many Minnesotans, the funds they receive won’t be enough to cover their expenses.

So, what do you do if you find yourself in that position?

First, try not to panic. You are not alone.

Reach out to the companies you’re already familiar with. Financial institutions and credit card companies aren’t blind to what’s happening in the United States right now. They know that people are struggling to pay the bills.

Call your bank and tell them you don’t think you’ll be able to make your car payment this month. Odds are, they have something in place to help you. Let them know that you are struggling as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies have programs designed specifically for people suffering from the outbreak.

The same can be said for utility companies. Xcel Energy, one of the largest electric companies in Minnesota, has stated they will not disconnect people’s service until further notice. There is also a link on their website that customers can follow if they are struggling to pay their bill.Several other electric companies have followed suit. Check and see if your utility companies have put similar orders in place.

Metropolitan State University has a list of resources compiled specifically in response to the COVID-19 outbreak available for students on their website. Topics on this list include quick-stop information for Metro State, financial/basic needs and food resources.

Another resource linked by Metro State is, an online directory of resources for people struggling with things ranging from homelessness to finances. The site keeps things local, making it easy for you to access the resources you may need.

None of these suggestions are permanent solutions. Eventually, you will have to pay your electric bill and deferred car payment. This may at least give you some breathing room. It could be a while before many can get back to work, but these tips may help tide you over until the state and its residents can get back on their feet.