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It’s been nearly 10 years since my husband lost his job in 2010. When he lost his job we didn’t think it would last long. During that time we learned how to budget. These are the first items needed to cut from your budget so you can pay your bills.
Life in the world has had major changes this week with the coronavirus and how the government is responding. We have school closings, many companies telling people to work from home and sporting events being canceled from the NBA to the MLB and the NCAA, just to name a few.
I recommend you read about what happened when my husband lost his job.
Now it looks like there is another recession on the horizon and my family has already started to slash things from our budget just in case something happens.
There are definitely some changes coming our way and I wanted to encourage you during this time.
Ask for Wisdom
The very first thing I recommend you do is to pray and ask God for wisdom on how to proceed. God will help you discern what you need to do.
I know without a doubt that God was with us during unemployment and He is with us now. He wants to help and He will help when you ask.
After you pray, then you will need to assess your finances. You will need to look at how much money you have coming in and how much money is going out.
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Once you have your list of expenses you can take a look at what you can cut from your budget.
Take action: items to cut from your budget
Here is a shortlist of what you can do right now to free up money!
All those bags of stuff that are sitting by the door that needs to be returned, take them back!
Cancel your subscriptions
Netflix, Apple Music, Disney+, Spotify, Panera Coffee, Prime, Hulu, membership groups. They all add up after a while. Cancel them now so you can have that extra money to budget elsewhere.
Pause your gym membership
There are a lot of free workouts on YouTube that you would be able to do without your membership. You can walk, run and bike (if you have a bike) for free too. On Pinterest, you can find free workout infographics that you can use too.
Cancel your kid’s activities
Let your kids know for a short period of time you need to adjust your spending and you don’t know how long you will be able to support their activities.
Downgrade your internet/cable subscription
I know you are going to be home a lot more by not having a job, but you can downgrade your cable and internet. If you have a landline, cancel it. Also, you can cancel any of the extras like HBO, ESPN package, etc to decrease your cable bill.
Stop dining out
Dining out is a nice way to get out of the house and forget that your life isn’t normal right now. However, eating at home is cheaper. Instead of meeting friends out, have a dinner party and invite your friends over for drinks and a meal.
Stop all delivery services
If you have anything that is a delivery service, you can stop those subscriptions examples: magazines, Stich Fix, meal delivery service.
Since you will be home more, now is the time to decide if childcare is a need. You can save the money you spend on childcare and use that to pay a bill.
Refinance the house or sell the house
When you looked at your budget and saw how much you were spending, if you are unable to pay your mortgage or rent consider moving. If it will help your finances for the short term, consider it.
Consolidate your credit card debts
Credit cards can be very helpful but they can also be very stressful while unemployed. If you find yourself in a place where you are struggling to pay the credit cards, you can try calling and ask for a rate reduction. You can also apply for a zero percent card and transfer balances to that card.
There are many options with credit cards. I do not work for a bank or financial institution anymore, so I recommend you call and ask your bank what they can do for you.
Call your insurance company and ask for a reduction.
When we were trying to reduce our spending, we called our insurance company and saved a hundred dollars a month! When you call your company if they can’t help you, call a different company, get their rate and then call your company back and see if they can match it. If they can’t match it, then switch companies.
Sell your stuff
There is some stuff that you can sell that can help you make some quick cash. Kids toys like basketball hoops, indoor slides, tables, furniture, etc. Look around your house and see what you could sell. Post it on a Facebook garage sale site and see what happens.
Reduce your grocery bill
When we were unemployed, I learned how to use coupons. I got a lot of our groceries for half price because of the coupons.
Groceries is the very first place I look to save money when I am cutting our expenses. There is always a less expensive store you can shop in. Be sure and make a meal plan and a grocery list so you know exactly what you will need. There are more grocery shopping tips in the following posts:
Final thoughts about items to cut from your budget
I know you can Google and find even more ways to cut your expenses, but this is the starting list that my husband and I would use.
I know job loss is scary and humbling. I remember how humbling it was when I got my food stamps card.
I remember the fear and wondering where the food would come from, what would happen if our children got sick.
There were days we had five dollars to our name, and we didn’t know if we were going to be able to pay our bills. When you have nothing left to cut from your budget, the fear rises even more.
I remember wondering how long it would last as days turned into months and then months turned into a year.
Thankfully we had our relationship with God and His promises. That is what we clung to during that time.
Hopefully, this short list has given you a little hope during this season you are walking through. I would love to pray for you! Sign up for my mailing list below and reply to the email. Tell me what you are going through and I will gladly pray for you!
Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.