Is there a second stimulus check coming? This is a question many of us have had over the past few weeks. When the CAREs Act was passed earlier this year, many Americans received some much-needed relief benefits including federal student loan deferment and also a stimulus check to those who qualified.
While the pandemic is still going on and affecting so many families and their finances, it’s only right to wonder if another stimulus payment is coming. Of course, there’s always the possibility that a final decision mat not be reached or that you may not qualify for the next round of stimulus checks.
Personally, I don’t like to count money before it hits my hands or bank account. If you’re wondering how to manage your finances if you don’t get another stimulus check, here are some actionable steps you should take.
Prioritize Your Bills
Aside from many other events and global changes in 2020 so far, this has been the year of cutting back. If you don’t get another stimulus check, it’s important to realize that you may not be able to afford all your bills. This is where prioritizing can come in handy.
Determine which expenses you can get by without and which ones you need to survive. For most people, their priority expenses are housing, food, transportation, and utilities. Everything else is pretty much extra. You don’t need it to survive each month so this should provide you with a little more wiggle room in your budget.
Dave Ramsey calls it covering your four walls. When you strip down your budget to just these 4 basic expenses, it reduces the financial pressure you may feel. Now, when it comes to prioritizing these important bills and expenses, you’ll need to get creative.
Ask your landlord or mortgage company if they are providing any assistance or relief options right now. Do the same with your utility companies. Even if you can only afford 50% of your house payment and utility bills, commit to paying something so you won’t have to do as much catching up in the future.
For transportation, see if you can downside to become a one-car household, carpool with a coworker, or make it work by driving less.
See What You Can Get For Free
Now is the perfect time to start couponing and seeing what free offers are out there. Using coupons is one of the best ways to save money on everyday expenses, but people often believe that couponing takes too much time. These days, there are many sites available to help you save money fast including CouponChief, Rakuten, and RetailMeNot.
You can also pick up a Sunday newspaper from the dollar store and sort through the coupon inserts while you’re watching T.V. Just cut out the coupons for items you may need over the next few weeks. If you know you’ll need hand soap and toilet paper, hold onto those coupons and use them before they expire.
When it comes to food, realize that there may be food pantries in your area and other charities that can offer meals. I used to go to food pantries years ago when my son was really young so there’s no shame in this. Times get tough and it’s nice that this assistance is available to you until you get back on your feet.
Keep a lookout for other free giveaways in your area to help you cut expenses. It’s back-to-school season and a lot of cities are hosting supplies giveaway events. These are often contactless events where you can drive through and pop your trunk so people can place new school supplies, backpacks, etc. in your car.
Leverage Your Skills For Stable Work Opportunities
Maybe you were laid off this year and have been collecting unemployment. Or, perhaps your hours were cut at your job and you’re wondering how you’ll make ends meet. It’s likely time to start leveraging your skills to see how you can earn the money you need to pay your bills. It’s been several years since I’ve attended any formal school, but my husband and I still try to keep our skills and experience levels up just in case we need to find work opportunities on the fly.
For example, if I suddenly lost all my client work, I know I could apply for a content writing or marketing position at a local company. I know how to write resumes and could also secure a part-time job at a local store in the meantime if it really came down to it.
My husband has several years of restaurant managerial experience. He could easily pick up a job as a drive-through restaurant as a supervisor or assistant manager if things ever came down to it. This wouldn’t be our first choice, but it would still help provide us with the money needed to pay our bills.
Ramp Up Your Side Hustle
This is always a good time to ramp up your side hustle. I understand that some people have pre-existing medical conditions or other limitations and may not be able to work closely around other people at this time. Luckily, there are so many creative ways to make extra money even from home. One of the quickest was to make extra cash is start selling unused items from your home.
You can also start freelancing, walking dogs, selling crafts and printables on Etsy, or delivering for DoorDash or Instacart.
Review your budget and see how much extra money you need to earn each month. Then, put an action plan in place.
While the idea of getting a stimulus check may seem comforting, it’s important to start thinking about what would do if you don’t get another stimulus check. Or, you may be waiting much longer than expected for the next stimulus package to get approved.
Regardless, try to focus on cutting back and reducing expenses. Prioritize your bills, see what you can live without, and try to earn extra money.