In a word: Save it! Save it! Save it!

Don’t use your stimulus check this time around to pay down your debts. Pay the minimum amount due on your charge cards and save as much money as you can this time around. Why? Look around you. 2021 may just be the year everything collapses. The only thing that will be king or hold anything of value (even if worth less) will be your cash. You’re going to need it more than ever this time around.

Your first priority this second time around is to build an emergency fund. So says Suze Orman (and I agree with her!). Click here for more info.

“The most important building block, so that you can grow, financially speaking, is that you have a financial foundation you can stand on,”she says. “So when something goes wrong, it doesn’t collapse.”

In other words, “Would I be spending that money to pay down credit card debt?” she says. “No way.” Instead, “the first priority is save, save, save.”

If everything goes somewhat right with the government, we may be getting our second round of stimulus checks by next week. You may be tempted to go out and buy Christmas gifts. Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Please don’t do it!

Keep cash flowing and stay flexible

If money is tight, Orman says, working to pay off debt should be low on your to-do list. Instead, she says, “I would be paying the minimum payment due on all credit cards. And I don’t care what the interest rate is.”

That’s because, if you’re low on cash, and the money you have coming in is from government stimulus or unemployment benefits, you need to save as much as you possibly can, she says. And unlike, say, a mortgage or auto loan, in which the item you’re financing is used as collateral for the debt, “credit cards are unsecured debt. If you have to, you can always get them discharged,” she says. “Obviously, it would ruin your FICO score, but you would be able to continue to live your life.”