The IRS has been releasing stimulus payments over the last few weeks to help give a cushion to millions of Americans during this time of crisis. While this will undoubtedly offer some help, it’s also important to look for ways to save and cut back on expenses until things become more certain down the road.

There is relief out there, but in many cases you have to know what to ask for. Here are five things you can do to get started:

  1. Credit Card Payments – Some creditors are considering requests to postpone monthly payments or lower them. This will likely be a case-by-case action depending on each individual circumstance, as well as the timing of the request.
  2. Recurring Payments – Payments to companies such as gyms are typically withdrawn automatically from the bank each month. Some of these companies are pausing payments while they are unable to render services, but others are not, making it necessary to act on your own behalf much of the time.
  3. Auto Insurance – Many insurance companies are returning a portion of their customers’ premiums due to the fact that most people are working from home and driving less. They want to keep their customers, so they are doing all they can to help. Be sure to reach out to your auto insurance company to confirm or request any discount.
  4. Rent – If you pick up the phone and call your landlord, in many cases you are going to find someone reasonable to talk to. If they are thinking long-term, they want to keep you in their unit, so they may do all they can realistically do to find a way to keep you put while you navigate through this crisis. Whether it’s a reduction on rent or merely pausing payments, it’s worth making a call before you fall behind.
  5. Utilities – Do all you can to be efficient with your utilities, running the AC only when needed, or at a higher setting, turning off unneeded lights, etc. Have a plan with your family as to the expectations while things are tight, and call your utility company if you can’t seem to make the payment.

There are many ways to receive help, but many of them require effort on your part. Making a proactive phone call and being reasonable to the person on the other end of the line may go a long way towards helping you get any needed assistance.