Many Americans are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some have lost hours while others have been completely laid off. Losing your job because of the coronavirus is scary for most. It puts their financial well-being in jeopardy during a particularly tumultuous time.
Finding ways to pinch every penny is critical if you’ve lost your job due to COVID-19. If you want to know how to make the most of a tight budget, here are some tips that can help.
File for Unemployment Immediately
First and foremost, if you lose your job during the coronavirus outbreak, file for unemployment immediately. The vast majority of laid-off individuals will be entitled to benefits, but you can only get them if you apply.
By applying right away, you are reducing the amount of time between your job loss and your first unemployment check. That could help you preserve your savings and avoid debt, which is a critical step that could save your budget.
Reach Out to Your Lenders
Whether you have student loans, a mortgage, credit cards, or any other kind of credit-based account, contact your lenders right away. Many banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, and other lenders have launched programs designed to assist anyone who has experienced a negative financial incident due to COVID-19.
For example, federal student loans are temporarily set at 0 percent interest, and a six-month forbearance is an automatically available option. In some cases, mortgages are also eligible for forbearance, though that’s not universally available. But other mortgage-related programs may be in place with your lender, so reaching out is wise.
Certain creditors are also offering options for auto loans, credit cards, and personal loans. If you may struggle to repay your debts after your job loss, it’s worth discussing what’s available.
Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses
While having cable television, accounts with each of the streaming giants, meal delivery, and similar services might keep you entertained or be highly convenient, you might need to cut them if you lose your job because of COVID-19. By ruthlessly eliminating anything that isn’t genuinely essential, you can lower your financial obligations substantially.
Now, you don’t have to give them up permanently. The idea is to free up cash so that you can navigate your financial emergency. Once you get back on your feet, returning to normal is certainly an option.
After contacting lenders about programs and making cuts, look at what’s left. If your budget covers everything and you can afford other critical costs (food, gas, etc.), then you’re set.
If you’re still falling short, then you need to prioritize your expenses. Consider which bills or costs you legitimately can’t forgo, and make sure to handle those first. Usually, this includes housing, utilities, food, and any mandatory insurance. Then, look at your next tier of expenses that you’d prefer to keep up with, like auto loans.
Put your expenses in order, from most important to least. Then, allocate your money accordingly. Any that you may struggle to pay should be contacted. This includes insurers and utility companies, as they may also have programs to help those impacted by COVID-19.
By following the tips above, you can navigate a job loss with greater ease. If you’d like to learn more or want to find a new position quickly, the team at The Squires Group can help. Contact us today and see how our services can benefit you.