30+ million Americans lost their enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week last Friday.
Here are 7 things you can do if you’re having trouble meeting your needs as a result.
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Review Your Budget
If you’ve been living on a monthly spending plan, this is the perfect time to review it.
However, if you haven’t been living on a spending plan, you’ll need to, first, print a copy of your last bank statement.
The first step is to list out all of the income you project for the next month. This includes unemployment, side hustle income, alimony, child support, or anything else.
After that, highlight all of your essential expenses.
By essential I mean things that have to do with your housing (like electricity, water, natural gas, and internet), your transportation, and food.
Once you have these expenses highlighted, add them up and subtract the amount from your income projection.
Doing lets provides a clear picture of your financial situation and insight into what you will need to accomplish to live comfortably.
Lower Your Expenses
If you find that you have a deficit, the first thing you should consider doing is lowering your expenses.
Have you kept paying your rent or mortgage while receiving the extra $600. Now could be a great time to reach out to your landlord or mortgage lender for assistance.
Another way you can save some money quickly is by getting a quote for new homeowners and auto insurance.
Doing this saved my wife and I almost $70 per month.
Make it your mission to find as much money as you can by just simply making phone calls and asking for discounts or by shopping with other providers.
Reach Out To Charitable Organizations
Many charities are in need of resources right now, however, there are several that are looking for people to help.
Food banks are an excellent source of help when you’re in need.
If you don’t live near a food bank, you can head to whyhunger.org to search for food pantries or meal sites in your area.
Whatever you do, please don’t be ashamed to do what you need to do to take care of your family.
These organizations exist to help so allow yourself to be helped if you have a real need.
Increase Your Income
The truth is we’re living in a pandemic right now and you shouldn’t have to choose between risking your life and feeding your family.
But that’s where we are so if you can safely do so, look for ways to increase your income.
Some people have taken on food delivery gigs, others have accepted positions at grocery stores and other places that need help.
We have personally made hundreds of dollars going around our house selling things we don’t use or need.
But hear me very clearly: do not put your life and/or long-term health at risk if you don’t have to.
This is not me trying to press you to get out and make money, but, rather, me presenting an option that you can weigh the pros and cons of.
If you’re in a tough financial spot and can’t really see your way out of it, consider raising your income.
Use Your Emergency Fund
Using your emergency fund can be rough. You put all that work into saving that money and now you’re watching your bank balance dwindle down.
But if you’re forced to use your emergency fund to cover essentials, remind yourself that moments like these are exactly why you have the emergency fund.
You may also need to remind yourself that this isn’t permanent.
There will come a time when you’re able to rebuild that emergency fund again.
With that said, don’t be ashamed to make a guilt-free withdrawal from your emergency fund to take care of your essentials.
Ask Family Or Friends For Help
Asking for financial help can be a huge hit to your pride.
However, if there are people in your life with the means to help you, consider reaching out.
Before you ask anyone for a loan, you should be clear on a few things first:
- How much you need
- How a loan will help your situation
- Your plan to repay
You can also ask for their advice on the situation before asking for money.
Read the room though. I wouldn’t ask the relative who has been talking about layoffs at their job on Facebook even if they personally haven’t been let go.
Withdraw From Retirement Accounts
Withdrawing from retirement accounts has always been a huge no for me.
However, that’s traditionally been due to the fees and taxes associated with taking money from them before a certain time.
When the CARES Act was passed, there was a provision added that allowed folks who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 to withdraw up to $100,000 from certain retirement accounts before reaching the traditional retirement age with fewer consequences.
Whatever you withdraw will be counted as income and taxed evenly over the next 3 years or you can just put the money back once you find yourself in a position to do so.
This is still a very last resort solution because although you’re not being hit with the usual taxes and penalties, you’re still costing yourself compound interest.
At the end of the day, though, if you’re in survival mode you have this as an option.
As a reminder, I want to be clear that nothing in this post should be considered investment advice or anything of the sort.
For advice specific to your situation, please consult a professional advisor.
I know losing the $600/week benefit was a huge blow to some of you- but remember to breathe.
This can be an extremely scary time and I want to remind you to not beat yourself up with the “I should have” or “I could have” statements.
It’s okay to reflect and think of how you can improve in the future, but definitely don’t beat yourself up over this.
Right now, your focus needs to be on getting you and your family through this situation. That’s it.
For those of you listening with resources to share, feel free to head over to the private facebook group and drop them in a post.