If you are among the millions of individuals who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, your levels of cash flow may be low. Unfortunately, bills do not take a back seat even when you are at your lowest.
You might not be in a position to postpone or ignore your bills, but there are a few ways to manage while you look for other employment opportunities. Here’s how you can go about it:
Where to Get Money
If you have a severance package, this money can help you pay for bills for a few months without touching any of your savings. You can talk to your employer to know how much you will receive if the money is yet to hit your account.
While many countries have low to no employment income benefits, some states offer this benefit. According to the International Labour Organization, about 75% of the 150M unemployed population in the world lack unemployment insurance. However, countries like Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, and others offer generous benefits.
If your state offers unemployment benefits, confirm if you qualify and how much you can get. It might not be as much as your paycheck, but it might be enough to cater to your necessities.
In most nations, it is possible to access your retirement benefits before attaining the retirement age. Although it’s usually not possible to access 100% of your benefits, you could get a part of your employer contribution. If you had an individual retirement benefits account, there is a chance to access all your pension.
However, it’s good not to withdraw all your retirement benefits. You can access a portion of your retirement benefit for short term survival and probably change your retirement plans.
If you haven’t maxed your credit cards, you can use them to cater to necessities like buying food. In case you have multiple credit cards, start with the one with the lowest interest. The goal is to survive but also focus on not accumulating a lot of debt along the way.
If you previously had a side hustle, focus on making it into a full-time job to earn more income. If you didn’t have a side hustle, you could start building one through online platforms or monetizing your hobbies. For example, if you have an extra room in your home, you can turn it into an Airbnb room.
Managing Your Bills
The next step is to prioritize your bills to ensure you meet the basics and find ways to manage high expenses like rent and loans.
Your landlord might be suffering from the current situation as well but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them. Some countries have orders against evictions, and some landlords are understanding the situation you are going through. If you do not have enough savings to cover rent, talk to your landlord, and ask for a reduction in rent.
You can also move to a more affordable area where you can manage to handle the rent while you look for another source of income or explore getting a second job.
Since you cannot survive without essential utilities, like food, gas, water, or phone, you can find ways to reduce your utilities to match your current cash flow situation. You can start by having home-cooked meals and reduce take out and lowering your cable and phone bills.
Talk to Your Lenders
You should approach your lenders to explain your situation before things get out of hand. Many financial institutions have allowed borrowers to defer payments, so one has a few months of no repayments. If this is not possible, ensure you meet your minimum repayment amount.
Remember to talk to your insurance company, too. If you won’t be able to make your premium payments, you need to be prepared. Does the insurer allow you to postpone the premium payments? If not, have a plan to ensure you are still covered.
Consider Debt Consolidation
In the event you have many loans with varying interest payments; you can try to consolidate them into one loan. This means you end up with one loan with a more extended repayment period and probably lower repayments. In the long run, this might be a bit expensive, but in the meantime, it will offer you relief while you sort your cash flow.
Losing your job could put you in a difficult situation but it is not the end of the world. With proper planning, you can manage your bills while looking for another source of income. Whatever strategy you use, ensure you minimize your debts and try to increase your cash flows.