Nowadays, it may be hard to follow your budget, business as usual. That’s because business — whatever you do for a live — is not usual! The world is undergoing a massive change, and plenty of people can’t work because of it.
Whether you’re earning a percentage of your regular pay, earning barely anything at all, or just worried about the future, here are some tips for you.
Trim the Fat
Whenever something rocks your earning or spending habits, it’s a good time to check in with your budget. You’ll want to focus on stripping back on spending, so you can stretch the money you do have a little further.
So how do you decide what stays or goes?
Generally speaking, splitting your expenses into needs and wants will help. Your needs are the essentials you need to live, while your wants are the fun things you can survive without.
Needs get a pass, while wants see the door.
In practice, this may mean you keep groceries but skip out on takeout; you keep utilities but cancel subscriptions to magazines and most streaming services; or you keep housing costs but stop saving for a vacation.
On Borrowing Money
It would be easy to see a line of credit or installment loan as a shortcut to balancing your budget, but don’t skip the previous step.
As a general rule, it’s better to use your own money to afford things than the alternative. So try cutting out unnecessary spending first.
If you still don’t have the cash you need in an unexpected emergency, an online installment loan may help. Check out these benefits of an installment loan when you’re facing unanticipated auto repairs or medical bills. Installment loans work quickly to get the cash you need for expenses you can’t ignore.
Scrimp and Save
Now that you’ve stripped your budget down to the bare essentials, you may be spending much less than normal. But if an emergency significantly impacts your earning power, this still may not be enough.
Sit down with your remaining bills to see if you can reduce them even further.
Some, like groceries, may be easy. You might be able to lower your bill by meal planning, using these coupon apps, and buying generic brands.
But others, like utilities, might be harder. You’ll want to speak with your providers to see if you qualify for any forgiveness programs — whether that’s arranging a new payment schedule or deferring your payments altogether.
Boost Your Income
If your paycheck is a shadow of what it once was, it’s time to supplement your usual income.
Now might be a good time to see if you’re of the millions who qualify for unemployment insurance. If approved, you’ll receive one-third of your usual pay.
You’ll also want to see if and how you’ll receive a stimulus payment. Single people earning under $75,000 a year may receive as much as $1,200.
Besides these assistant programs, look into any side hustles you can turn into cash. Brainstorm which hobbies and skills you can pivot into a remote gig. It might not go anywhere, but it’s worth a shot!
We all hit rough patches sometimes, and sometimes, we hit them together. Rely on a loved you trust to talk about your fears and your goals. You can be each other’s accountability partner as you do your best to manage your money during these strange times.