Three Ways to Manage Your Money When You’re Not Working
It’s no question that the pandemic has really messed with a lot of our lives. Whether you lost your job💼, were furloughed, were forced to take a gap year, or had any other disruption to your work situation, your money💵 is probably not in the place you thought it would be.
Even though disruptions like these are probably hurting your wallet right now, there are still some things you can do to manage the coin you do have and get it working for you in the best way possible!
🔍 Know your Limits
If you haven’t checked in on your bank account recently, it’s time to take stock of what you’ve got. Find out where all your money is living right now whether that be in a savings account, checking account, venmo balance, or elsewhere.
Consider consolidating any money you don’t immediately need this month into a savings account and leaving the rest in checking.
Once you get an idea of what you’re working with, figure out how long⏰ you need to go without income, divide your funds by the number of months you need to make it last. This is how much money you have to work with each month.
Here’s an example:
Say you have $2000 in savings, $1000 in checking, and $300 in Venmo. Your total balance is $3300. If your monthly expenses are $1500, you have $3300/$1500= 2.2 months until it runs out.
Ask yourself if this is enough to get by. If not, it’s time to start looking👀 for other forms of income.
💰 Find a Way to Make Some Money
It’s pretty likely that your cash stores won’t get you through long periods of unemployment. If you’ve already exhausted cost-saving measures like living at your parent’s house🏡 or cutting out things like take-out or shopping🛍, increasing income is the next step.
When you think about increasing income, don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to replace a full-time salary😰. Hopefully, this period is temporary for you, so your goal should be to get by for as long as possible. Breaking down the number makes it a little less scary🙀.
Consider the previous example: an extra $600/month could help extend your cash stores an extra 1.4 months. This means that instead of running out of cash in 2.2 months, you will be covered for 3.6 months. $600/month is only about $150/week. Finding a job that pays $10/hour for 15 hours a week easily gets you to this figure😎.
First, you can consider applying for traditional unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, this system is tricky for recent grads or people that didn’t have a traditional job to begin with. Restrictions on who can claim unemployment tend to leave out these unique situations even with expanded eligibility under the CARES act. Head over to your state’s unemployment board website to see if you’re eligible for benefits.
If applying for unemployment benefits fails, consider applying to part-time or temp jobs. With companies and stores gearing up for the holidays🎅🏽, many places are hiring customer service agents, data entry personnel, and seasonal workers. Sites like Indeed are a great place to start.
Lastly, explore your options with informal employment. This could include babysitting or tutoring children who are learning from home. Reach out to your network of family or friends to see if there are odd jobs you can help with. If you have a specific skill, try monetizing it through freelance work on sites like Upwork or Fiverr.
✅ Give Every Dollar a Purpose
Once you’ve figured out what you’re working with and found ways to bring in a little extra money, it’s important that you mindfully put that money to work.
Figure out your exact expenses for each month. When is each bill due? Will you have enough cash in your account to cover everything?
Create a way to keep yourself accountable and track what’s going on. Whether it be by inputting everything into a spreadsheet or using a budgeting app📱, make sure you’re not making unplanned purchases because those could be detrimental to your budget.
If you find yourself in a slightly more comfortable position and aren’t worried about meeting the bills, don’t be afraid to still set some financial goals for yourself. Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you can’t start saving for retirement👵🏼, paying off your student loans, or building your emergency fund.
An easy way to do this without getting overwhelmed is to set small, but achievable goals. For example, you can make a goal to transfer $10 to savings every time you get a direct deposit. Or you could send an extra $20 to your student loans every time you make a payment.
To Wrap it Up
Many of us have been hit hard by the pandemic 😷. Being out of work or between-work can be scary and nerve-wracking. In order to alleviate the stress, it’s important to create a plan for your money so that you are aware of the gaps that need to be filled.
Action Items 💪🏾:
Take stock of your money by adding up all your funds from different sources.
Calculate your survival number: Amount of money available/monthly expenses= # of months until it cash runs out.
Find small ways to increase your income: apply for unemployment if eligible, find a part-time or temp job, or perform odd jobs for people you already know!
Make sure every dollar has a purpose: figure out if you can meet your bills every month. Still pursue financial goals like saving, investing and paying off debt if you have room in your budget.
About the Author
Julia is a recent graduate and the creator of the blog Two Cents With Julia. She also runs the Instagram account @twocentswithjulia and enjoys sharing her learnings about money as she's learning the best ways to manage her own finances.
Disclaimer: The content on Young, Not Broke is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.