Having an unexpected loss of income is tough, especially when it’s outside of your control. It’s no surprise that the best way to weather the storm is by having an emergency fund and plan. (You can see how to make one here.)
But what can you do if you don’t have one already in place? What can you do if you need to pay bills, but you unexpectedly got laid off, or the government shut down? Living through emergencies like these is challenging, but there are things you can do to get through, and we’ll cover some of them in this article. And, if you’re specifically affected by the government shutdown, we have some different options for you to consider here.
1. Strip down spending to essentials only
It’s vital to have a stripped down budget that you can turn to during an emergency. Ideally, you’d have one in place before an emergency strikes so you don’t have to make tough budget decisions in the midst of hardship.
Here’s how to create a lean budget. Think about spending only on items that are necessary for living. Things like food, rent or mortgage, transportation and healthcare. You can return to your regular budget once things get back to normal. And if your stripped down budget requires you to dip into an emergency fund, or take on debt, be sure to have a plan in place to help you refill that fund or pay back that debt when things get back to normal.
2. Take advantage of services that help
You can cut out nonessential food spending, but that might not be enough to get your budget lean enough. One way to reduce food costs further is to take advantage of local food banks and pantries in your area. You can also seek unemployment benefits, which are handled through each state.
3. Look for short term work
The freelance industry is booming, and now might be a good time to partake in that. Finding just one freelance job could be enough to cover food or other essentials while you’re in between jobs and getting back on your feet.
4. Ask for help from friends or family.
While asking friends or family for financial might help might feel awkward, it could be a way to tide you over. If you have family members who are in a financial position to help out, it could be worth asking.
The Goodbudget Team