Advance America on How to Budget if You've Been Laid Off or Furloughed

​​If you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s lost their job or been furloughed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, you might feel lost about how to keep your finances in order as we try to get through the next few months. This might be the perfect time to take stock of your financial situation and up your overall “financial literacy.” Here’s a few tips on trying to set up a budget right now, whether you’re starting from scratch or looking at a new financial reality.

Check what benefits are available

It’s important to remember that you’re not in this alone. Across the country the world people are hurting financially. There are bills being passed on the state and national level to provide different kinds of support to working people. The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act will bump up unemployment benefits and make it possible for self-employed people to get unemployment.

Look into what kind of relief is happening for your area and industry, and see if you qualify for food stamps or WIC. Making sure you get the benefits you’re entitled to can make or break you in a tough financial spot.

Take stock of ALL your expenses

You know you need to list out your expenses, and hopefully have a list of your essential bills like rent and utilities. But now it’s time to take stock of everything. Go through your bank statement for the past month and write out every category of spending — subscription services, clothes, food, and everything else.

Some things, like eating out, are going to be easy to avoid under quarantine. You might consider lowering your cell data plan if you can connect to your home WiFi instead, and make sure you aren’t keeping any memberships that you can’t use.

Break out your calculator

It’s time for the hard part. Add up any forms of incoming cash, and subtract the absolute essentials. Now you can add back in fun stuff, as long as you can keep it in the green. Try to think about your financial situation a month down the line, and plan for that. What do you have to pay so you don’t face long-term consequences, like bad credit, and where can you get away with minimum payments or even defer payments?

If you have to make hard choices, remember that your home, your car, and food should top the list.

Check out booming jobs

The current crisis hasn’t hit all industries the same way. See if you can pick up a temporary job doing delivery, working for a shipping company, or taking a shift at a grocery store. This job might not be up to your usual standards, but any positive income will help a lot to ease your budget.

This won’t last forever. Stay motivated and think through your spending plan, and you can get through this.

Source: Advance America

About Advance America

Founded in 1997, Advance America, the country's leading state-licensed consumer lender, seeks to help every customer achieve their version of financial stability through a variety of innovative, regulated and transparent small-dollar credit options.

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