9 money strategies to get you through the next COVID lockdown
9 money strategies to get you through the next COVID lockdown

As cooler weather hits northern parts of the U.S. and leads people to spend more time indoors, COVID-19 numbers are rising — and are prompting talk of new lockdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials in New York already have clamped down on parts of Brooklyn, Queens and two suburban counties where new outbreaks have been surging.

That more widespread lockdowns that shut down millions of U.S. businesses during the spring pushed the nation’s unemployment rate to 14.7%, which was the highest since the Great Depression.

Many Americans have gone back to work, but new lockdowns — even smaller, more localized — ones could spell trouble for workers still feeling drained after round one.

But you have time to prepare if Americans are asked to hunker down again. Here are nine things you can do to protect your finances from a second lockdown wave.

1. Keep saving

money, home, finance and relationships concept - close up of couple with piggy bank sitting on sofa
Syda Productions / Shutterstock

As the first wave of the pandemic swept over the country, the one piece of financial advice that just about every expert agreed on was that every consumer should build an emergency fund.

Apparently, people listened. In April, the personal savings rate — the percentage of disposable income that people are setting aside for the future — in the U.S. soared to 33%. That’s the highest it’s been since the Bureau of Economic Analysis began tracking it in 1959.

If you managed to preserve your emergency fund during the initial lockdown, try to keep making regular contributions. As long as they’re stashed in a high-yield account, your savings will continue to grow at a significant rate, leaving you more to fall back on.

2. Shore up your credit score

If a second lockdown puts your job

a person wearing a hat and a body of water: Mum-of-three Paula says staying at home has been good for the family finances

© Paula A
Mum-of-three Paula says staying at home has been good for the family finances

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the global economy hard, but some people’s personal finances have never looked better.

Since the US shut down en masse in March, mum-of-three Paula, who lives in New Hampshire, has paid off some $20,000 (£15,270) in credit card debt the family had racked up in the aftermath of an unexpectedly expensive work relocation.

The 35-year-old’s job as an analyst ended in June, but her husband is still working and she benefited from a temporary $600 boost to weekly unemployment payments Congress approved in response to the crisis.

She put coronavirus stimulus cheques from the government towards the credit card payments, as well as thousands of dollars the family has saved since their children are not attending day care, preschool or summer camp. Already frugal when it came to eating out, the family has become even more so, she says. Their one big splurge has been bicycles.

“The quarantine has been very helpful to save money for us,” she says. “We were at home, which was madness, pure madness but… I think it saved us financially.”

Savings surge

The personal saving rate in the US – an average that reflects the share of income people have put away after spending and tax payments – nearly quadrupled between February and April, when it hit an all-time record of 33.6%.

Though lockdowns have eased since then, savings remain unusually high, boosted by government coronavirus assistance. In August, the personal saving rate in the US was 14.1% – greater than any pre-pandemic time since 1975.



The rise helped Americans’ household wealth rebound to a record high in the three months to July, while overall debt declined for the first time in