Unemployed or Underemployed :: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help

There are times in our lives where we sit back and enjoy the ride. Things are beautiful and we have all our little ducks in a row (I mean, financially, for the most part). We’re planning our vacations, surfing the latest sales, and splurging on dinners out.

Then there are times like these. Unprecedented economical mess.

Most financial experts say you should have 3 to 6 month living expenses saved in case of job loss, medical event or major home/car repairs. But statistically, according to Bankrate, 4 of every 10 Americans would have to borrow money to cover a $1,000 emergency. So where is this economic disaster leaving most families? I don’t know that there is a household in this nation that hasn’t been untouched by this event and certainly for more than a $1,000.
Many people were not prepared for a financial hit this hard. They’ve comfortably lived check-to-check never thinking that they could lose their job or be told not to work for an extended amount of time. Some households are facing zero income because both partners’ work has been affected or totally cut out. People who have never filed for government assistance are trying to wade through red tape and confusing applications. Times are uncertain and credit cards are coming out to cover basic necessities.
So if this is your family, then it’s time to take a step back and build a plan of what you can do right now to find immediate relief.

Pull the reigns on all spending

Many of us have been spending freely, stress shopping without thinking of the effect it is going to have on our budgets. It has to stop and be brought down to necessity only. If this means deleting certain shopping apps off of your phone, then so be it. Clearly learn and apply the definitions of “want” and “need” in your family. Spending right now should be focused on needs only, including not fulfilling your child’s “want” list just to keep them from being bored. If your child is old enough to understand this concept, then having an age appropriate conversation should be in order.

Access your subscriptions

I have several delivery boxes, subscription services and memberships that draft out of my account automatically every month. Many are small and go unnoticed mostly, but when every dollar counts, it’s time to notice. Grab your last few bank statements and see what’s actually coming out. Postpone, cancel or downgrade as needed.

List your bills out 

Do this the old fashioned way. Force yourself to look at every bill and monthly note you have. Check each one’s website for postponement and delayed payment assistance. If you do not see anything then contact them! Explain your situation and ask for any help they can give you, even if it’s lowering your interest rate or changing your packages / plans. Worst case scenario is they say no, but you will never know unless you try.

Apply, Apply, Apply

Now is not the time to sit back and not ask for assistance. If you qualify and you need help, please apply. Check the Louisiana state website for links to the various programs available. Not sure if you quality? Apply still. Not sure how to fill out an application? Ask your friends to help you if they have experience. Small businesses and self employed individuals can also contact their CPA or banker for assistance with SBA loans.  

Budget your emergency fund

If you do have an emergency fund, you should budget it as far as it will take you. Once you have adjusted your bills as much as possible, figure out what you will need for each month ahead. Once you have that number stick to it. Personally I like to move only what I need for one month at a time from my emergency fund to my checking account. Do not take advances from other months. Now is the time to live within your means.

Have a suggestion, tip or piece of advice to share on addressing the current financial strain on families? Please share.

Carlie
Carlie is a divorced mom of five. She moved to Lafayette 22 years ago from a small town in-between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She has four young adult children from her first marriage that ended after 19 years, Christopher, Cara, Clay and Cade. She has a one year old daughter, Poppy Mae with her significant other, Joey. She is a work-at-home mother who is a freelance writer and photographer/owner of Carlie Anne Collective. Organized chaos and tons of lists are her style. Carlie loves to workout, travel, visit with her friends, bike with Poppy Mae in their neighborhood, attend outdoor concerts, eat out at local restaurants, walk aimlessly through stores looking for good deals and swing in her hammock while chatting about her BST addiction with her online friends. She keeps an active Instagram account as a photo journal of her days.