At the time this article was written, most restaurants have closed their doors to the public and only allow customers to order takeout or delivery. With people bunkering down inside of their homes and opting for canned food, it means these restaurants are going to lose a lot of money. Since it’s important to stay inside and extend our food rations for as long as possible, you may want to support your local restaurants by ordering takeout. The more we order food from them, the longer these businesses can stay open.
Afraid to let people near your front door? Most takeout drivers have been instructed to wear gloves and be as clean as humanly possible. Restaurants that offer drive-thrus like Starbucks and McDonald’s are being instructed to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer once every hour, but some choose to do it more frequently. If you’re still scared, wear gloves before you interact with other people.
If you’ve recently lost your job and applied for unemployment benefits, there’s no shame in applying for help to receive free supplies from a local food bank. Many churches and community centers have programs that will help you get free non-perishable items like canned goods, pasta, and sauces. These’re usually already drive-up services where you can pick up the food and leave, and many of them are making accommodations for social distancing.
Some programs, like Meals on Wheels, will also deliver food to vulnerable elderly people with health conditions. Contact your local chapter to see if you qualify for assistance. And if not, ask if they are aware of any other local programs that might be able to help you.
In the UK, many homeowners associations can afford to give their tenants a “rent holiday,” or allow them to skip rent for at least one month. They’re able to do this because many estates in England are owned by old-money families who can afford to be generous. In the United States, very few landlords come from old money. Most of them were self-made. If they happen to be wealthy, they might be willing to let you skip rent for a month during this crisis, but don’t count on it. At the time this article was written, the government isn’t doing anything to help renters aside from the upcoming stimulus package.
Keep in mind that landlords are people, too. They need to pay their mortgages and bills with the money they make from renting their property. For some, this could be their main source of income they need to feed their families. Never assume that your landlord is “rich.” If you can’t afford your rent, the next tip might be right for you.
As cringe-worthy as this might sound, your best option during the crisis might be to move back in with your parents. The vast majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, so with this spike in unemployment, there are suddenly going to be a lot of people who need to bail out of their lease. Even if you get unemployment benefits, these only last six months and are just 60% of your income. The stimulus package may help to counter-balance your lost income. However, there are estimates this might last as long as 18 months before we can get back to life as normal.
Most people have leases that end in spring or summer. This is usually peak moving season, and many people are going to have to put their lives on hold. If you’re worried that you might lose your job, it may be better to hunker down at your home base. Your parents will probably be happy to have you. This will give you an opportunity to save money.
Saving during an outbreak may seem obvious, but it’s more important than ever to make a budget. Make a Google Sheet or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and lay out all of your monthly expenses. Divide your necessities like food and rent from non-essentials. If you have anything left after paying your bills, save whatever money you can and prepare yourself for whatever may happen in the future.
As much as the government is going to encourage us to spend money to help boost the economy, we need to look out for ourselves first and foremost. The only way to be prepared is to have a few months’ worth of expenses stashed away for emergencies.
In this time of uncertainty, businesses are going to reduce staff down to the essential crew members. One way you can improve your chances of job security is to make yourself more valuable as an employee. Ask yourself if your job is replaceable or if there are multiple people with the same position in your location. Try to do the best job you possibly can to prove you’re amazing. Go above and beyond to be a good, responsible employee. If your boss sees you as an essential member of the crew, you just might be able to keep your job during the crisis and survive budget cuts.
Even if you get laid off, it’s still important for you to increase your value. The job market is about to become incredibly competitive, so you’ll need to shine during interviews. Self-improvement is a huge part of why some of the most successful people in the world became millionaires.
They never stopped trying to become better in their field, and neither should you. We don’t have a lot of control in this situation and it’s easy to fall into self-pity. Take advantage of the things you do have control over, which is your own health and skillsets. You still have the ability to work on yourself, even if you’re self-quarantined at home for the foreseeable future.