It’s no secret that small businesses are taking a devastating hit due to the effects of COVID-19 and sheltering in place; the financial impact could be lasting, and possibly even crippling. The service industry as a whole -- including your favorite places to shop -- are hanging on by a thread. So while in-person may be on hold, online shopping has become even more crucial when it comes to supporting these smaller businesses through such a difficult time.

You may be thinking: I want to help, but at the same time, look out for my own bottom line in this time of uncertainty. And you’re hardly alone in that thought process. Many of us are attempting to determine ways to stimulate the economy and keep our favorite small business afloat, while still keeping personal budgets -- and distancing! -- intact.

Who says you can’t do both? We’ve rounded up different ways you can contribute to small businesses while maintaining both personal financial budgets and social distancing recommendations.


Take Online Courses

Want to learn how to be your own CPA? Or perhaps you’ve long-wanted to get your real estate license? Use social distancing to your educational advantage by learning new skills and earning degrees online. Not only will it help aid inevitable stir-craziness by keeping your mind stimulated, but it will also ensure you’re both prepared and more competitive in the job market -- leading to the potential of additional income. Speaking of income, these courses can be paid for on your own timeline to ensure you’re not overwhelmed by the cost.


Buy gift certificates to use later

Many online retailers have the option of purchasing gift cards. This not only helps stimulate business when they need it, but allows you to treat yourself to something special later. (Or even now by using our payment plans.)


Interact with your favorite businesses social media

Engagement always helps, but right now, shout outs to your favorite small business by commenting on an Instagram post, live stream, or sharing on Facebook can truly go a long way. Simply reminding others why you appreciate a certain service or business and what they provide can promote others to check them out as well. And here’s the best part: it doesn’t cost you a dime.


Make a future shopping list

Are you remodeling your home? Have an event for which you need a new ensemble? Is your friend or family member having a baby in the coming months? Planning to pop the question when the craziness subsides? Make a list of the occasions for which you need certain items and your budget for each one. That way, whether you buy now or later, you will have your favorite small businesses top of mind and a tentative payment plan you can put into place with to pay for them.