How to Survive Loss Of Income During COVID-19
I’m not used to being broke.
I like having enough money to pay bills, enjoy a little luxury, and even go on holiday every once in a while (who doesn’t). However, since COVID-19 hit, I’ve had to learn how to stretch my dollar and get creative to earn extra money to meet basic needs. Forget about the luxuries and holidays in 2020, I just want to be able to survive.
Obviously, I’m not the only one hit by the loss of income during these crazy times. On April 4th, the American Labor Department reported that at least 6.6 million people in America had filed for unemployment since the pandemic started. This means at least 10% of the workforce is out of work.
So, how can we survive the loss of income?
1. Take advantage of government benefits
I never in my wildest dream thought this day would come, but here we are. Even before tapping into my savings, the first thing I did was apply for unemployment benefits. This gave me an extra $600 a week before I could figure things out. It also extended state benefits by thirteen weeks, which to be honest, came in handy. Check your state requirement to see if you can include your kids for an extra $500 per child.
2. Downsize your budget
Medical and groceries were my top priority, but because what was coming in from the government wasn’t enough, I had to tap into my savings for this. I then reached out to creditors to delay some bills, mortgage, and car payments, which was a huge weight off my shoulder.
While I love being pampered at the salon, I learned how to do my hair and nails, saving me some cash. I have two girls, so you can imagine how much we spend on salon visits alone. I channeled this money to more important things, like medical needs which allowed me not to have to take such a huge chunk from my savings.
Perhaps the most crucial thing was chopping my credit card (oh the pain!), but if I couldn’t afford to pay for it in cash, it could wait. Here’s the thing: most of the things we think are essentials aren’t, so don’t sink yourself into debt trying to keep up with the standards you're used to. Not borrowing will also help you maintain a good credit score, which will come in handy when you really need a loan in the future.
I’ve been a part-time freelance writer for a while, and although I didn’t depend on my freelance income for major projects, at least I had something to fall back on. I know this isn’t everyone’s situation, but you can join the bandwagon and sell a skill you already have. Whether it’s writing, social media management, or whatever other skill, you can find a way to harness it online.
Reach out to people you have worked with in the past and offer your services. You may just be surprised.
If not, revamp your LinkedIn profile and start pitching. Just because your company downsized doesn’t mean all companies did. You may have to take a hit, income-wise, but you will be on your way to dusting yourself off.
4. Maintain a positive mental attitude
It wasn’t easy, and I honestly had to stop taking my kids to the grocery store because I couldn’t afford to buy anything extra. I could not stand their teary eyes and the mom-guilt for not being able to buy them stuff.
Maintaining a positive mental attitude helped me stay sane and have hope that things would work out. Sure, sometimes I would curl up with ice-cream and binge-watch TV all day, but I’d still get up and work on my stinking thoughts. At the end of the day, what you focus on grows, and when you are stressed, you are unable to use your creativity and imagination to come up with solutions. So, as hard as it is, try and relax.
I can’t say I’m out of the woods yet, but I focus on growing my freelance writing career so someone else can benefit from government assistance. Since we don’t know how long this will last, let’s gear up and do what we can to make ends meet.