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COVD-19 has changed life as we know it, with over 26 million people having filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. Millions of more unemployment claims are expected over the coming weeks, and Americans who have been laid off or furloughed are seeking creative ways to save money during this stressful time.

The $2.2 Trillion CARES Act provided individuals making below $75K and couples below $130K, a one-time, $1200 stimulus check per adult, and $500 per child. It also granted states an extra $600 per week to pay workers on top of regular unemployment benefits, expanding coverage to include freelance and self-employed workers. While these programs are much needed and appreciated, systems are overwhelmed, causing massive delays in payments when people need them the most.

If you are waiting for your stimulus and unemployment checks to arrive, here are some ways you can save some extra cash:

1.) Get Rid of Subscriptions

According to a survey conducted in 2018, 84% of American families spend over $230 per month on various subscription services. That’s nearly $3,000 per year! Take a long, hard look at your monthly subscriptions to determine what it is you can live without. For example, if you are currently subscribed to an audio book service, your local library may provide audio book downloads for free, simply by having a library card!

2.) Meal Plans and Grocery Lists

While most people feel overwhelmed by the idea of planning meals and creating grocery lists, this is truly the time to do both. Grocery stores are limiting the number of people entering, as well as setting traffic patterns within stores. Having a list on hand is not only essential to avoiding unnecessary spending, but it will help you stay focused as you move through the store quickly (and limit the number of trips you need to make). Best of all, there are countless sites that will do this all for you, saving you the time and hassle!

3.) Banking / Financing Deferrals

Federal student loans have been deferred until September and banks are currently working with borrowers to help them defer mortgage, auto loan and credit card payments without penalty. Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moyihan said, “The idea is to defer the payment, defer the impact. We’re working with our customers who need help, who are losing their jobs. We have to preserve their ability to have cash flow.” Contact your bank, lenders and credit cards directly to see what plans are available for you.

4.) Lucrative Side Hustle

Finding opportunities to earn extra cash while on unemployment is difficult (since earned income can affect your ability to collect full benefits each week); however, if your partner or other family member living within your home is capable and eager to work, there are various opportunities available, specifically within essential services. Grocery store workers, warehouse employees, and delivery services (such as instacart or favor) are in demand, providing much needed income during this season of uncertainty.

5.) Limit Impact

Some Americans are in limbo concerning the sale of their home, a move, or an inability to travel. If you are currently in a temporary living situation, or awaiting financial transactions to go through, self storage facilities are offering exceptional move-in specials across the country. Some are even providing free rent and heavy discounts with short-term storage unit agreements, helping those who find themselves in challenging a situation to get through (without breaking the bank).

There are numerous projections being referred to, with most stating that social distancing measures must continue to be adhered to in order to prevent a more deadly second and third wave. Though no one knows what the future holds, one thing is for sure: We will come through this stronger than ever before. In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.”

For the latest on COVID-19 and what you can do to help flatten the curve, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Stay home, stay safe!