by Dana George | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on Sept. 14, 2020
Many or all of the products here are from our partners. We may earn a commission from offers on this page. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
If your finances have taken a hit and you need to make it without a second stimulus check, this plan of action should help.
It's been four months since the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion stimulus proposal. Since that time, the Senate has done little more than rename the package and cut it by approximately $2.5 trillion. So far, they cannot find the political will to pass a new stimulus package that would help millions of struggling Americans.
Our grandparent's generation liked to say, "Plan for the worst, hope for the best." In that spirit, just in case Congress can't get it together, now seems like a good time to plan for the worst. These four steps can help you manage your budget if there is no second stimulus check.
Tips and tricks from the experts delivered straight to your inbox that could help you save thousands of dollars. Sign up now for free access to our Personal Finance Boot Camp.
By submitting your email address, you consent to us sending you money tips along with products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.
If you're still collecting unemployment (or are unemployed without benefits), contact your employer. If business has picked up, there may be enough work to bring you back. At the very least, explore this possibility as you move on to the next steps.
Now is the time to pick up new skills. A new skill may not help you buy groceries today, but it can help you prepare for a new job or enhance your odds of promotion in the future. Reinventing yourself also provides a satisfying distraction from world events you cannot control. Here are some samples of how you can develop new skills:
Learn a new language: Visit your local library to borrow language books, CDs, and videos. You are never too old to become fluent in a foreign language, even if it takes you a while to become conversational. As the economy becomes ever more global, having a second language on your resume can open up a whole new range of job possibilities.
Make your computer skills marketable: Whether you're a semi-pro already or can barely turn on a computer without help, there are tons of online computer classes available. Not all are free, but if you're unemployed, you are likely to qualify for scholarships or grants. If you want to learn to program, code, or be the expert companies call on when their computers need repair, explore your options. A tech career is a great way to put money in the bank. Here are a few ways to get started:
Discover your passion: Consider what you would do with your life if money were not an issue. Would you be a photographer, care for pets, become a chef, or start an in-home business? There are online courses covering hundreds of careers. Find one and get started.
This pandemic may feel as though it came out of the blue, but life is full of uncertainty. Create enough streams of income that you never have to count on just one job to sustain you. Here are a few possibilities:
Flip "finds": Go through your home to find items you once loved but no longer use. Sell them online through sites like Ebay, OfferUp, or Sheepbuy. Once it's safe to go into crowds again, visit flea markets and estate sales to find products you believe you can flip for a profit.
Market your particular skill: Let's say you carve intricate wood figures, or sew draperies for fun. Get the word out that your services are available, and charge what your time is worth. The more you value your skill, the more others will be willing to pay for it.
Rethink your lifestyle: If your dream is to live a simpler life, now is the time to go for it. Get rid of stuff you have no need for, adopt a more streamlined way of living, and only purchase items you will use.
There are resources available to help you mitigate long-term financial damage.
For example, if you are a senior citizen, contact Meals on Wheels to get nutritious meals delivered to your home. Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible for these meals at no cost.
Early in the pandemic, many financial institutions extended relief to customers struggling to pay loans. If you're afraid of falling behind on your mortgage, private student loan, credit card, or other consumer loans, give your lender a call and ask about any relief programs they offer.
Even if Congress does get it together enough to send another round of stimulus checks, "preparing for the worst" can offer you a greater sense of control -- and given what we're going through right now, a sense of control is an invaluable gift.
If you have credit card debt, transferring it to this top balance transfer card secures you a 0% intro APR into 2023! Plus, you’ll pay no annual fee. Those are just a few reasons why our experts rate this card as a top pick to help get control of your debt. Read The Ascent's full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.