If you can take in a roommate, however, you could save money on rent or offset your housing costs. You could negotiate with your landlord, offering to do maintenance work or find tenants to fill empty units in exchange for reduced rent. If you’re a renter, you might consider moving to a cheaper place or even moving in with parents or other relatives during you time out of work. If you own your home, the problem is tougher since mortgage lenders typically want timely payments. During a emergency like the Covid-19 pandemic, government programs might allow you to miss rent or mortgage payments temporarily without facing eviction or foreclosure, but that’s a temporary and not terribly effective method of dealing with the problem.
Reduce energy consumption to save on utilities. If it’s summer, raise the thermostat on the AC. In winter, wear sweaters and lower the temperature. You can also turn down the thermostat on your water heater and take shorter showers, which will cut both electric and water bills. For information on energy saving, contact your utilities or a government agency that offers conservation tips.
Food is an area where most people, when pressed, can find tremendous savings. Eating out? Forget about it. Americans spend almost 40% of their food budget eating out. Stay home. Wipe off the stove top and clean the microwave, because you’ll be using them more than you have for a long while.
Another way to save money on food is to check if you qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known informally as food stamps. SNAP can significantly lower your grocery bills, though restrictions apply to what you can buy.
Make sure you consider health insurance. If your former employer offers an affordable extension of your work plan, consider that. The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows the newly unemployed to continue their group coverage, but usually without the company subsidy that made the insurance affordable. If COBRA coverage costs more than you can pay, consider looking for a plan through .
You’re going to need wheels to get to job interviews, but you might be able to save money on auto costs by enrolling in your auto lender’s temporary hardship program. If your car payment is unaffordable, you can surrender it and look for an inexpensive used car, though that option is drying up fast. Used car prices were up 30% from . The values of some used cars actually have increased in the past year, something that hasn’t happened in most people’s lifetime. Still, used cars can be more affordable that driving one that was new a year ago so look around.
Phone and Cable
You need a cellphone for job searches and morale-boosting talks with family and friends, but you might not need a plan with unlimited data and international calling. See if you can cut back options. Even if you are locked into a contract, you might qualify for a hardship plan with your carrier that suspends expensive proceed this link here now options while you are unemployed. Also, ditch your land-line phone if you still have one.
The same goes for cable TV. Consider cutting the cord and watching streaming videos instead. You might discover removing TV from your life will mean more time for what matters, like finding work. If life without cable seems unbearable, drop the premium channels. Save money on internet by applying for a low-income subsidy.
Services, Subscriptions and Other Expenses
Suspend household services and do the work yourself. You have extra time when you’re out of work, so mow that lawn and clean the house yourself. If you have a pool, learn how to maintain it. Trim subscriptions. Suspend the newspaper and ax the premium subscription to Spotify or Pandora until you have an income again.