1. Don’t panic!
2. Resist the urge to do a massive stock up.
3. Check with your state offices, businesses, banks, hospitals and loans for financial assistance.
4. Check with your local food pantry or Facebook group.
Never be so embarrassed to ask for help that you’d rather go short on feeding yourself. Although I know our local food pantry has closed because of illness, it absolutely can’t hurt to call around and ask local food pantries if they are open to giving donations. If you’ve never needed a food pantry and are not sure where to look, ask in your local Facebook group, call local churches, and call your county’s health department.
In fact, don’t be afraid to ask in your local Facebook groups if anyone has excess pantry items they would be willing to give you. The one thing about times like this is everyone is in it together and I have learned that there are some very generous people out there!
5. Talk to your kids!
If your kids have any understanding about money then it’s OK to talk to them about your financial situation! Don’t stress them out by being over worried or controlling over pennies, but be open with them about what’s going on. Show them it’s ok to have concern and be upfront about money without being fearful and causing doom and gloom!
Remind them that they still have a house to live in with food to eat and will still have fun but that things might shift a bit for a while and ask for them to be understanding about it. Stay positive! This works especially well for kids in the middle school / high school age range who tend to ask to go out more and spend more money.
6. Pause any unnecessary expenditures.
Do you have monthly grocery subscriptions? Magazines? Extra cell phones? Business expenses? Streaming services? Tighten down those hatches! Even if it’s only $5-10/month. Set aside a day or evening to take a magnifying glass to all of your expenses and determine what needs to stay and what can be temporarily paused. If you’re stuck at home can you pause your monthly cell phone bill? Maybe only pay for 1 or 2 streaming services instead of 3?
7. Creative entertainment.
If you can’t afford bills then you can’t afford expensive entertainment either which can sometimes lead you to feeling even more depressed about your situation! The one great thing about being home more is that the internet is FULL of a zillion things to do indoors! Seriously – there is NO shortage of creative entertainment both online and to do in your own house! If you’ve got kids then you’ll definitely want to join our Sensory Ideas for Kids Facebook group which will keep you plenty busy with ideas to occupy their time!
Our personal rule of thumb when we are running tight on finances and desperate for entertainment is that we try to spend $1 or less per person in the house no more than once (or twice if we’re desperate) a week! Whether that’s picking up a Redbox movie, buying ICEES, wood to build something, bubbles and chalk, $1 kites, dessert, etc.
8. Monitor Loan Options & Interest Rates.
I get it, you’ve got debt, and now you are accruing more debt. It sucks! Take a moment to research your loan options and be smart about your financial movements. First check to see if you can cut down your expenses in any areas. Then see if you can combine loans on a lower interest rate with one payment, etc. There are tons of financial articles out there so I won’t go crazy here with information but in the midst of all of this, don’t forget to keep an eye out for your best options where borrowing money is concerned. Interest rates add up SO fast and you can easily spiral your payments out of control if you aren’t careful.