Right now, the only certain event seems to be the increase in coronavirus cases. This has led to an exponential increase in unemployment, with about 1 in 4 in the United States have lost their jobs since the economy nosedived in March following prolonged lockdowns and shutdown of daily activities everywhere. The federal government is working for people hand in glove to ease the panic prevailing among the people by providing financial assistance including unemployment benefits, mortgage, and student loan forbearance as well as stimulus payments.
While these measures are trying to keep the financial gaps within limits, the actual fear that is haunting the people in the absence of an emergency fund is how to stretch money to its fullest?
Expenses Are Tailor-made
The first step towards making your money stretch is to zero-in on the expenses that you need to pay when all the sources of income are shutting down.
The plan is to attend to immediate expenses by deciding on the financial possibilities so that you can buy more time until things get back to normalcy and continue with the selected options. As for those staying puts, this is a great opportunity to hang on to something that can reap benefits in the near future.
When we say basic expenses, the first three things that strike your mind are utilities, housing, and food. The expenses translate to keeping up with payments, rent or mortgage, water, electric, or gas bills, and groceries from whatever funds are left.
Beyond The Basics
Time and again, the point to be noted is that, in addition to basic expenses, there are others too that need to be contained as part of your monthly budget costs including:
- Food Takeaway
- Online Streaming Services
The rules have changed and it makes sense to realize, adopt, and adapt to existing options and situations quickly before it’s too late. For instance, if food is eating up your budget then probably meal planning and the related shopping can optimize spending. In short, cooking in your home will be the norm.
Do You Need Quick Cash?
Going short on cash these days isn’t surprising, even though unemployment benefits can come to the rescue, it might take days or weeks before you actually start receiving payments. Till such time, look out for other ways to boost your cash flow during the crisis.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Contractual jobs
- Connect with the gig economy
- Apps that pay you money
When you are busy finding ways to save money, the COVID-19 crisis has shown the path to control your spending habits. The stay-at-home restrictions have helped you curb pilferage of money. Wondering how? Because you stopped:
- Eating out
- Forced buying at the store (grocery)
On an average, if you were normally spending around $200/month eating out, now that cooking happens at home, say, for two months, that’s $400 in savings!
Tighten The Strings
The riskiest thing you can do during a cash strapped situation is to do nothing about managing the COVID-19 crisis. Being ignorant and not settling the bills will only make things worse. Instead, brainstorm to handle the bills and iron out the expenses as much as possible because that’s the only way out to brave the financial storm until the COVID situation passes.