One of the sad realities of this health crisis is the fact that you might have lost your job as your company lets go of its workforce. It is not consoling but you are not alone as millions of Americans are affected by companies cutting back on operations. This is in response to the novel coronavirus that has swept through the nation.
It is true that in a bid to help flatten the curve or reduce the number of people who will get infected, businesses are taking a hit. Live Science shares that flattening the curve is slowing down the spread of the virus so as not to overwhelm the health care system. This has resulted in companies shutting their doors completely or asking employees to take on reduced hours or even furloughed. Others are not so lucky and are let go in the middle of the health crisis.
If you lost your job, you could start to feel anxious and stressed out. More than having to worry about your family’s health at this point, you are also thinking about your budget. It is challenging when you suddenly find yourself with no income coming in every month. If you are at this current stage in your life, here are a few things you can do to make it better.
Register for unemployment benefits
If you lost your job, this should be the first thing you do as quickly as possible. In New York, the sheer amount of applications is already causing a backlog. As the US Department of Labor, unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal program giving eligible workers cash benefits. It might be good to know that there is a certain level of flexibility when it comes to COVID-19 related unemployment.
This is a good time to update your credentials
If you lost your job, this would be a good time to look over and put in the necessary updates on your credentials. It might have been a while since the last time you have made improvements to your credentials. As you do this, it is also great if you can get in touch and tap into your professional network. This can be a good signal that you are open and looking for employment which can open doors for you.
Take care of your mental health
When you are let go from work, you will go through a myriad of emotions in the beginning and this is normal. You can feel a certain level of resentment and anger towards the company you worked for and even worry and fear for what lies ahead now that you are out of a job. Anxiety and stress usually follow suit when you start to be overwhelmed with all the emotions you are feeling.
It is challenging to be laid off from work but you should not let all these emotions guide your life and actions. Remember to guard your mental health to help keep you moving forward. You can start by getting enough rest at night, watching what you eat, and even getting some exercise to keep your body strong. These are just some of the things you can do to help you manage your mental health.
Revisit your household budget
You could have lost your job during this health crisis and you can take advantage of this time to rework your budget. In fact, this is an important step you have to make especially now that you are trying to manage and meet your expenses without a steady source of income. This is perhaps the most challenging part of the process and one you need to start working on immediately.
The idea is to find a way to drastically cut down on your expenses all while you are stretching whatever amount you have saved for emergencies. If you were let go at work, there is a big chance that you will see significant savings in your expenses. This can be financial savings from transportation, entertainment, eating out, and even children’s activities.
You can also use the time to reach out to lenders and creditors to see if they have any hardship programs they offer to clients. This can be anything from payment deferment to lower fees and interest on minimum payments. Take advantage of these offers to help you stretch your money even further and cover more payments.
Stop all non-essential expenses
You need to make some serious changes in your lifestyle if you lost your job in the middle of this pandemic. One way to do this is to put a stop to all non-essential expenses for the meantime. If you are paying for a gym membership at this point, you need to cancel it right away. Apart from the fact that most gyms are closed, it is not safe to go out and use your club with the virus still put there.
You could also be paying for multiple streaming services when you can make do with one or two. It limits your options but if you are trying to save money, you need to let go of some luxuries in life. One thing to remember is that this is not a permanent decision because you can add and take out services on a month to month basis.
Consolidate your debt
Now might also be a good time to consider debt consolidation because it will make it a lot easier to manage your payments. You can also take advantage of a lower monthly payment if you choose to pay back the loan over a longer period of time. Take note though that you will end up paying more in the end with a lower monthly bill.
If you happen to qualify and get a 0% interest card, remember that it comes with a specific promo period. Once that is done, your lender can revert your card back to its original interest rate. This is the reason why you need to make the most of the promo period. It can help you save a lot of money if you are able to pay everything off before the promo period expires.
Check your emergency fund if you lost your job
It is never easy when you lose your job. You start to worry about your finances because you do not have any regular source of income. To help you get through situations like this, you need to make sure that you have an emergency fund to tide you through. This is something you should be working on over a long period of time.
Your emergency fund is supposed to cover for your loss of income so you can continue meeting your monthly household expenses and payments. It keeps you afloat for a specific period of time so you can focus on getting a new source of income. When you are relying on your emergency fund, it is a good idea to try and stretch it for as long as possible. This means you need to look into cutting down your expenses while running on your reserve funds.
It is tough to handle your finances during a pandemic but you can manage it well even if you lost your job. You will have to rework your household budget intensively to be able to continue paying for essential expenses. At the same time, it is important that you look for a new source of income to help you provide for your family.