Smart Money Moves While We Social Distance

Find out about membership refunds, payment deferrals and more!

March 18, 2020
iStock/Getty Images

iStock/Getty Images

Since most of us are staying home (due to COVID-19 / Coronavirus safety) there's a good chance we're saving money by not being out and about spending! There are some more ways for us to save money tho that you might not even realize!

Check out these reminders and tips below to make smart money moves while everything is "on pause"...

1) METRA MONTH PASSES

For train riders that purchased monthly passes and then their work/schools closed down, it hurts to think all that money will be gone - not true!

Metra is issuing a refund for those unused days! 

If you purchased a March 2020 Metra Monthly pass just do the following to get your money back:

Metra riders using the Ventra app should request a refund by sending an email to refunds@metrarr.com (PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS AFFILIATED WITH YOUR VENTRA ACCOUNT AND PHONE NUMBER.)

Metra riders with paper tickets, with the exception of those participating in Transit Benefit programs, may request a refund by going directly to a Metra ticket agent or downloading this form and mailing it to the correct address below or dropping it off with an agent:

For all lines except UP Lines:

Metra Revenue Accounting Department

Attn: Refunds

547 W. Jackson Blvd.

Chicago, IL 60661

Union Pacific customers should mail the form and tickets to:

Union Pacific Railroad
Revenue Accounting Department
2 N Riverside Plaza, Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60606

*10-rides and daily passes (printed) don't expire. If you purchased them on your VENTRA app they typically expire in a few months. Keeping a positive attitude  - let's hope things will be back to normal soon and you'll use them. For questions about purchased passes from Metra, find more info here: Metra Ticket Refunds

Also, for those still using Metra to get around they are taking extra precaution to keep things extra clean and safe. Read about their added work here: Metra Coronavirus Response

If you are a CTA/EL rider: Passes and VENTRA cards do not expire so you don't have to worry about that. They want to let everyone know tho, that they are taking extra steps to keep riders and employees safe as well. Find out about their extra efforts here: Chicago Transit

 

2) FITNESS MEMBERSHIPS

For all of us who have been working so hard on our fitness/wellness this makes me sad. All gyms and fitness centers are closed. While some have a pending date to re-open (or a pending date to "revisit" re-opening) make sure if you have monthly memberships that you are being compensated! Even if you signed-up at the beginning of the year (ahem, New Year's resolution lol) and never went - if they are closed- you couldn't go anyway! Most places (check your junk e-mail) have issued statements that they have suspended fees until they re-open. Also, most establishments have also offered free workout sessions on their apps and on their websites/Facebook pages for you to do at home/virtually. 

If you have a gym membership and have not heard any info, be sure to check-in to see what's going on so you don't get charged.

 

3) COM ED / PEOPLES GAS

Here is probably the most important - worrying about your electric bill. For those of us who have jobs that, "if you don't work, you don't get paid" (like service industry) this is one that hits close to home. You have XX amount of money and now you have to decide if you pay your light bill, or buy food. THERE IS HELP!!

Both Com Ed and People Gas are not going to be disconnecting due to lack of payment at this time! 

Now don't get it twisted this is a service provided that you will have to pay for at some point, but with the hardships people are dealing with because of the quarantines they understand.

While your service will not be shut-off, please know you do have to call and let them know (so you won't be charged late-fees, etc).

For Com Ed customers get more info here: Com Ed Hardship Help

For Peoples Gas customers get more info here: PG Hardship Help

**Same goes for your water bill. Cities are NOT suspending for lack of payment. Just like the gas companies tho, CALL THEM so you will not be charged a late-fee.

 

4) CREDIT CARDS BILLS, ETC.

Similar to what electric & water companies are doing, credit card companies are following suit.

When you sign-up for a credit card/department store card most of the time there is a monthly fee for insurance for situations like this, but because it is a national ordeal most credit card companies are offering forgiveness.

If your credit card payment is due and you struggling trying to figure out how you are going to invent money and make everything work - give them a call. While they will never make what you owe magically go away, they can extend dates and wave late fees = money saved on your end. Even if you've already exercised your '1 grace-period/freebie' - this is an unusual sitiutaion and that does not go unrecognized.

 

Hopefully some of those helped! We all work hard for our money and with so much going on, those are some things that might have gone over-looked.

Stay safe, wash your hands and remember to smile! We got this :p

 

IN NEED OF FOOD/ SUPPLIES?

If you, or someone you know if struggling finding things you need (toilet paper, bottled water, etc) or are having money issues and can't afford food, please call the Northern Illinois Food Bank. It's confidential, they will let you know the closest place to you to get what you need and it's free. Share the info with people who need it as well <3

Northern Illinois Food Bank online: NIFB

Or call: 1-844-600-7627

PS- If you are a parent struggling to find diapers and formula for your babies, call the 800's on the back of the packaging and companies will allow you to buy directly from them and they will ship.