Don’t rely on a second stimulus check: How to manage your money during the coronavirus pandemic – CNBC

Millions of Americans who expected to receive a second stimulus check amid the continued economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic may not see the $1,200 for some time, if ever.

With negotiations ending in a standstill as Congress left for summer recess until early September, Americans likely won’t receive any sort of stimulus money until October at the very earliest — and only if Congress and the White House can agree on a deal.

The House and Senate have another big piece of legislation on their plate when they return: the September 30 deadline for deciding the federal budget for the next fiscal year. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for coronavirus relief talks

Whatever happens, it’s not a great idea to count on receiving this windfall of cash. CNBC Select has rounded up some ways you can make the most of the cash you have now and even earn some more while we wait and hope for another round of stimulus checks.

Save any extra cash

Many financial experts advise that in times of economic uncertainty, the best thing you can do with any extra cash that you have on-hand is to save it.

Building an emergency fund is a lifeline if you ever have an unexpected expense, like a hefty medical bill or a sudden change to your income, including a pay cut or losing your job.

While conventional wisdom says to have three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved in an emergency fund, don’t be tied to this rule. The guidelines vary depending on your individual circumstance.

If you don’t think you can save months of living expenses right now, don’t let this discourage you. Any amount that you can put into a savings account will help you, and it adds up over time. For example, you can save $1,000 in a year by setting aside just $20 each week (less than $3 per day) in a high-yield savings account. Thanks to compound interest, which is essentially earning interest on interest, your savings will grow quickly.

Learn more: More than 1 in 5 Americans saved at least $1,000 during the pandemic, survey finds

Online high-yield savings accounts are better than the traditional savings accounts offered by your typical brick-and-mortar bank because they offer an higher annual percentage yield (APY).

It’s also important to find an account comes with zero monthly fees and no (or low) minimum deposit or balance requirements. A good place to start is with one of CNBC Select’s top-ranked high-yield savings accounts:

For savings beginners, Sallie Krawcheck, former Wall Street titan and CEO of digital investment platform Ellevest, says that her number-one piece of advice is to automate your savings by setting up direct deposit. This means that every month a certain amount of money from your checking account or paycheck will automatically transfer into your savings account. By scheduling a small, recurring deposit of a set dollar amount that you choose, you can quickly get into the habit of saving.

Tweak your budget

Managing your cash shortfalls during this economic crisis doesn’t have to be unbearable. In fact, there are a few mental tricks that can help you budget better during this time.

Mariel Beasley of Duke University’s Common Cents Lab, a behavior science lab focused on the financial well-being of low income people, offers strategies that financially strained families can use to organize their spending. Here are her top three budgeting tips:

  1. Use “mental accounting” by labeling and physically separating your money so you prioritize your spending and cut out expenses you don’t need.
  2. Build a monthly budget based on your spending, or cash outflow, rather than based on your income, or cash inflow.
  3. Plan for the worst-case scenario ahead of time so that you aren’t making dire financial decisions when you’re at your breaking point.

Learn more: Behavioral expert: 3 mental roadblocks that are stopping you from making hard financial decisions 

Earn more from home

With unemployment claims still at a historic high, it might not seem like the best time to go job hunting. Yet, there are some ways you can earn some extra cash even amid the continuing pandemic.

Many companies are hiring part-time employees right now, including grocery stores, food delivery apps and even some retailers. Some types of remote, full-time gigs are available for recruiters, sales account executives, customer service representatives and computer support specialists, online jobs marketplace ZipRecruiter recently told CNBC.

You can also earn money from your couch by getting creative.

If you have a laptop and access to Wi-Fi, download (for free) and use a browser extension like Qmee for all your searching needs. With each Qmee search result that you click on, you earn some money back into your pocket.

And if you have some down time, get paid to take surveys online through Survey Junkie, Swagbucks and Vindale Research. You don’t need to be an expert on the survey topics and there are tons to choose from, including answering questions about sports, new technology or providing your feedback on health and beauty trends, products and services.

For those who have use quarantine as an excuse to clean out their closets these past few months, Facebook Marketplace. The online store allows you to sell pretty much anything, from pet supplies to clothing, and posts your priced products to your surrounding community. Think of it as a virtual yard sale.

Spend your money wisely

Citi® Double Cash Card

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On Citi’s secure site

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  • Annual fee

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Apple Card

Apple Card

Information about the Apple Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

  • Rewards

    3% cash back on goods or services purchased directly from Apple (including Apple retail stores, the Apple online store, the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music and other Apple-owned properties) on Uber and UberEats, at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, on the Walgreens app and on Walgreens.com, in T-Mobile stores, at Nike and at Exxon and Mobil stations, 2% cash back on Apple Pay purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    10.99% to 21.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Information about the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

  • Rewards

    1.5% cash back on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    26.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Information about Apple Card, Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings, Ally Online Savings Account, Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings, Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account, and Varo Savings Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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