A financial crisis can mean a lot of things to different people. While a global crisis is something that affects us all at different levels, there are also more individual experiences people go through throughout those tough times, and the less financially fortunate you are, the more likely you are to experience economic turmoil and need help to survive it.
If you are rich, you should be helping poor people during financial crises. This might seem like a bold claim to some, but I think it should be a given. If you are in a position where you can help those in need during tough times like now during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should be.
I’ve come up with some easy ways you can do so that will hopefully inspire you to adjust your habits and use your money in a helpful, smart way during this time.
Make donations to the right places
This might seem obvious, but a great way to help those in need is by donating to the organizations that are ultimately supporting them during financial struggles. Despite all the closed doors we’re seeing, non-profit organizations are still striving to do their best and support their communities.
Local food banks everywhere can always benefit from donations and support. This would be one of my first recommendations in terms of where to donate any extra funds you have! Try to seek out any other reputable organizations that focus on helping with providing food, shelter, medical supplies, and healthcare to those in need.
Support local businesses (and tip them well)
Most business are either choosing to close their doors, or being forced to. Regardless, you can still promote healthy and safe social practices while contributing to these businesses.
Most restaurants are offering delivery or pick-up options. This is a great way to show your support while maintaining the advised social distancing measures. But, what is most important when showing support in this way is leaving a tip. Business is decreasing everywhere and many workers rely on tips as a large portion of their income. So consider leaving a little extra cash than you normally would. It might just change the course of someone’s week.
Have your groceries delivered, or deliver groceries!
Grocery delivery services are providing work to many who have been laid off and had to resort to new means of income. Not only that, but the less people we have filling the aisles of grocery stores, the better. This is another opportunity to provide work (and leave a tip) for people. Not only that, but offering to do shopping on behalf of those you know who are at higher risk both in terms of health and finances, is a good option too.
Don’t stockpile items
While having an emergency fund of stuff is great, you shouldn’t be overly stockpiling on things unnecessarily. Limiting trips to public places is important and I can definitely understand the worry of product shortages, but you have to keep in mind that not everyone can splurge on an entire survival kit of toiletries and food at once like some can.
It’s important not over-spend (and over-indulge) on your stock pile considering those who live paycheck to paycheck are likely making trips to the store for essentials more frequently. And the last thing they need is to be greeted at the store by empty shelves.
Support rent strikes
Many tenants are petitioning for landlords to accept delayed payments during this time. It is important to support rent strikes regardless of your own housing circumstances.
People are struggling to afford rent given so many lay offs and general reduced income. Even if this isn’t a position you are in, you should be reaching out to those striking to see if you can help their cause in any way.
Support people’s creative endeavors and side hustles
If your go-to businesses are closed, try to seek out those who are monetizing their hobbies and abilities as side hustles and freelance gigs right now. Working remotely and trying build your own brand or “product” so to speak is something many of us are doing right now. It provides a good chance to support people. Whether it be through utilizing their services, promoting them, or even making referrals that you might not have prior to this situation.
Check in on your loved ones, stay healthy, and if you have a lot of money, give it away!
I want to sum this up by sending out this message: the true best way you can help those experiencing financial stress right now is by giving them money.
You should be checking in on those you care about and caring for yourself during this time. But there are plenty of other people who could use your help and if you’re able to, there is really no excuse to not.
Like I said, if you have a lot of money, give it away. This is probably one of the most responsible and ethical ways you can manage your finances right now.
Of course if you can’t, it is understandable. But there are endless people who need support financially and if you can do so even in the smallest way you can make someone’s life, during such a tumultuous experience, a little (or a lot) better. And frankly, you should.