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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Financial decision making during difficult times

If you are having difficulty paying bills as a result of COVID-19, ask yourself these questions and use the Spending Plan worksheet to figure out your income and expenses before you make any big decisions.

  1. How much income can you count on each month?
  2. Where are areas that you can cut costs?
  3. What are your essential expenses? Write down the name of the companies and their contact information (you can find that on your most recent bill).
    • Housing
    • Utilities (electricity, gas, water and garbage)
    • Food
    • Transportation expenses (bus fare, gasoline, car payment)
  4. How much money is needed to cover your essential living expenses?
  5. What will affect your family’s health and security the most?
  6. How long is your present financial situation likely to last?

Once you’ve considered these questions, read through the suggestions below or download the fillable form (pdf) to gather information about CARES Act programs that could help you financially.

Typical expenses




For more budgeting information, see our adjusting to income loss web page or watch the video.

Questions? Contact Sharon Powell at spowell@umn.edu

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