A sudden income loss can send a family into panic. Whether it is a government shut down, lay off, termination, or emergency a sudden income loss is a stressful event.
If you're facing a missed paycheck or income loss here are five things you can do right now to ease the stress.
#1 – Take Care of The House
Sometimes called the 4 walls, you need to take care of these four things and make them priority in your payment schedule:
Shelter means rent, mortgage and insurance on the property.
Food means buying necessary groceries.
Transportation includes car payments, insurance, and fuel.
When you think of utilities keep in mind some are essential, necessities and some are luxuries. You may need to suspend Netflix and Hulu but be sure to pay your heating and electric bills.
#2 – Make Phone Calls
As a former business manager and call center manager for a large energy company, I can tell you that being proactive with your creditors goes a long way. Make calls to let those you do business with. If your income loss is related to mass layoff, government shut down, or other well-known, wide-spread issue let them know.
Offer (or be willing to) provide proof and ask how they can work with you. Don't be offended if they ask for proof – you are honest but creditors deal with many people who will take advantage of these types of situations.
#3 – Look for Alternative Income Sources
Selling things may not be a pleasant thought but it may be necessary. What's in your attic, garage, basement, or storage shed that you can part with to help keep the house running smoothly?
Good with tools? Ask your friend if they have any work you can help them with. A friend in need of a babysitter? That extra $30 can put gas in the car or pay for some school lunches.
#4 – Skip Non-Essential Spending
During this time you want to focus on only the necessities. Cut back on magazine subscriptions, eating out, fundraiser purchases, Valentine's gifts, and other things that aren't absolutely necessary. You can even cut back your grocery expenses by buying more ingredients than food products and making meals that stretch. Making a whole chicken, or two, can feed your family at least 2 meals and you can make stock to use for future soups.
#5 – Create a budget
Thinking about a family budget might be the furthest thing from your mind but take this as an opportunity to praise God and gain control of your monthly budget. Create a temporary, emergency budget that will help you get a handle your current situation. It will also lay the groundwork for your future family budget when your income is restored.
Your sudden income loss may have been out of your control but what the enemy means for evil, God will use for good as you honor Him and steward your resources, current and future, wisely. Take control for now, and the future.