Approximately 800,000 employees are living without a paycheck due to the government shutdown.
That means scores of people may be struggling to pay mortgages, keep up with student loans, or even put food on the table for their families. Even if you are able to survive on savings, the fear of losing income with no end in site can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep up with your financial obligations during this difficult time. Check out these three important tips:
1. Apply for unemployment
Furloughed employees are eligible to receive financial assistance during the shutdown. If you haven’t done so already, apply for unemployment benefits. You won’t receive your normal compensation, but some additional cash can help you pay your bills.
To learn more about what you can expect from unemployment insurance as a furloughed worker, visit this government resource.
2. Review your budget
With money being tighter than usual, it’s a great time to re-examine how you spend your cash. Most importantly, review discretionary expenses. Do you eat out often? Go to the movies or shop frequently? These are areas where you should cut back in order to keep up with loan payments and any other obligations.
You also want to avoid dipping into your savings if possible. The shutdown might go on longer than expected, and you may eventually need to access your rainy day fund for necessary expenses.
3. Consider temporary, part-time work
Depending on your situation, you may need income sooner than later.
It might feel awkward to start a new job knowing that you’re going back to your full-time position eventually. However, these days many people participate in the so-called “gig economy.” This refers to part-time jobs that you’re able to control on your own terms, such as driving for a ride-share company. It could be the perfect solution while you wait to return to work.
Being furloughed isn’t easy, but if you take advantage of your unemployment options, re-prioritize your budget, and explore temporary work solutions, you increase your chances of staying financially secure until you receive your regular paycheck again.