Whether you are still employed, furloughed, laid off or something else, now is the time to take a good look at your finances. Economic shutdowns are already having a huge economic impact, and it is not likely to return to normal anytime soon.

I do not have a crystal ball. So here are some worthwhile steps that you can take now to prepare for the future.

Take a good look at your income source(s)

Now is a great time to look at your income. How many sources do you have? How many are still producing at this time? Is it a good time to start planning for a change of careers or focus in the future?

There are a million different answers that only you will know.

But I can tell you about my situation and how I am handling it.

My biggest earning side hustles before this pandemic crisis were dog walking and ride share (Lyft). Both are nonexistent right now.

My solution? Shift focus.

I have taken some free training to develop a new approach to one of my other side hustles, selling Beautycounter products. I signed up to become a shopper and driver for Instacart.

My side hustles wouldn’t be the right fit for everyone. (Maybe hardly anyone, come to think of it..haha). But everybody has strengths that can be used to make money.

One of my strengths is helping people figure out ways to bring in extra cash. If you would like to chat about adding more streams to your income, send me a message and let’s chat.

I have found a way for my 81 year old blind Father to make some extra money, so I am sure I can help you, too.

If you will be receiving stimulus money, make a plan for it

By now you probably know that many Americans will be receiving a stimulus check in the coming weeks. If you have not seen the details of the package, this article does a good job of outlining the facts.

If you are getting a stimulus check, use this time to make a plan for the funds.

It’s so easy to get a chunk of money and buy something here and there, and the next thing you know…it’s gone. Make a plan for this money.

Do what you can to protect your credit score

I once got my credit score down in the 400s.

You want to know how? I lost my job, started collecting unemployment, quit paying all of my bills except for rent, and started making excuses about how I couldn’t possibly make any money just then.

We were going to move out of town in two months. I told myself I couldn’t be getting a job when I would just leave in two months. Ugh…how immature I was. It took YEARS to repair my credit score after that period that two months.

This situation is very different in that many, many people are unemployed and while there might be fewer opportunities for work temporarily, there are many more opportunities for assistance.

Here is the advice I would give my former self and you today if you are in an unemployed situation:

  • File for unemployment ASAP.
  • Make a budget for yourself – you won’t need as much money right now since you are staying home.
  • Start making calls to ask about deferment on any of your loans. Federal student loans are deferred without interest, but private student loans are not. You will have to contact the lender to request a deferment.
  • Many home and auto lenders are granting deferments if you are unemployed.
  • Many credit card companies will work with you, although if you don’t have an emergency fund, you may want to make the minimum credit card payment a priority. (See my blog here about managing your finances through this time)
  • Start looking for side hustles – there is work online, there are delivery services, there are people who need childcare, there are retailers hiring people to stock shelves.

Do Not Panic and Do Not Give Up Hope

This is a temporary situation. Help is available. I am one of many people available that can help you sort out your individual situation. Send me a message, or reach out to a friend or family member. Take it one day at a time. You’ve got this!