By Katie Conroy
Of the U.S. adults who lost their jobs amid COVID-19, half were still unemployed during the month of August and 12.6 million were collecting unemployment benefits as of Sept. 12. Of those who had their hours and/or salaries reduced, 60 percent are still earning less money than they did before the pandemic hitaccording to an online survey conducted by Pew Research Center.
Whether you’ve lost your job, taken a pay cut, or had your hours reduced as a result of the pandemic, there are some steps you can take to make ends meet during this unprecedented time in American history. Check out these three tips from Rodney A. Brooks to learn about the different things you can do if you’re out of work or struggling to get by amid the pandemic.
1. Save as Much as Possible
Saving money may seem impossible when you’re out of work and relying on emergency savings to pay the bills and put food on the table, but there are ways to do it without falling behind on non-discretionary expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities. These include:
- Create a household budget. After starting or modifying your budget, find ways to reduce or eliminate discretionary expenses, such as TV streaming services, magazine subscriptions, hobbies, takeout, and paid mobile apps.
- Suspend student loan payments. If you have federal student loans, you can suspend payments until Dec. 31.
- Look for help in the community. Local community programs may offer help with things like food, groceries, and utilities. You can also contact 211 to learn more about your local options.
2. Try Online or Gig Work
Whether you’re unemployed or looking for a job that will allow you to safely work from home amid COVID-19, online or gig work could be worth pursuing. According to CNBC, several freelance jobs have flourished during the pandemic — including those in IT, marketing, financial planning, and web and mobile design.
And while freelance jobs in writing, administration, and virtual assisting have declined amidst COVID-19, it’s certainly possible to find work in these industries if you know where to look. Job search websites like FlexJobs, Upwork, Virtual Vocations, and Remote OK, for instance, can help you to find freelance and home-based employment opportunities in a variety of industries.
If gig work sounds like a better fit for you, you’ll experience the most success as a warehouse worker, moving van driver, loader, packer, or laborer. However, other types of gig work to explore include things like dog walking, pet sitting, delivery driving, and ride-sharing.
3. Start Your Own Business
If you have a great idea for starting a business, you could use this time to put a business plan into action. Amid COVID-19, different types of resources and support services are available to entrepreneurs and small business owners in need of everything from financial assistance and small business funding — to practical advice on running a business from home, hiring a team of remote workers, and adapting a business to meet pandemic demands.
Online platforms like ZenBusiness, for instance, can provide you with the information needed to launch your small business in accordance with local rules and regulations, secure financing for getting your business off the ground, and grow your business for future success. Even after launching your new business, however, it’s important to keep these online resources at your disposal.
A Final Word
The coronavirus crisis has likely affected your life in one way or another, but these three tips can help you to make ends meet as you ride out the remainder of the pandemic. Rodney A. Brooks has a plethora of other financial planning resources and articles to guide you throughout this difficult time, so be sure to review this website for additional assistance.