Most of us are experiencing a new reality when it comes to work, working from home comes with many challenges, but it’s not the only new reality. Unfortunately, too often this new reality is one where there is less income coming in (layoffs, furloughs, pay reductions). I have now joined this group; we are now down to a single income where we had two and while we are fine a lot of people aren’t.
Claiming Unemployment Benefits
Today was a bit of a sobering day, I actually filed for unemployment benefits. The process was fairly painless and now I wait and see if there are any issues. My guess is that there won’t be any problems and the benefits will roll in. We as a family are in a position where we know we can weather this situation but it’s sobering none the less.
Will we have enough to cover our expenses?
I believe so, we have some savings and we’re reduced our debt load to only the mortgage. Additionally, I’ll be conducting a closer review of our spending in the next week or two to make sure there isn’t any unnecessary spending. Even if all of our expenses aren’t totally covered by my wife’s income and the unemployment benefits, we’ve got some reserves. Thankfully we’re in a good spot at the moment which does bring a lot of peace of mind.
Regardless it was a little stressful filing for the benefits. I can’t explain why but there was definitely more emotion to it than I was expecting. I can only imagine what it would feel like it we were in this situation without having a cushion, without options. This is what I’m sure a lot of people are feeling right now.
Expense Tracking – figure out the next steps
The immediate next step is going to be to review all of our spending and make sure there is no unnecessary monetary leakage. Yes, we track our expenses but we’re not always current with it and we haven’t looked at it from the lens of less income coming in in a while. I’ll share what I do for this in an upcoming post (mostly I want to finish the process)
This baseline will tell me the realities of how we’re spending our money versus what I think we’re spending. It’s a pretty important exercise – I think we’re fine, but I would like to confirm with actual data. For me, this exercise is important because I will know what the data says and not what I feel it should be.
Adjust as necessary
This is the part of the recipe that tells you to ‘adjust as necessary’, once we know what we’re spending we can see if we need to reduce anything or cut back on anything. This is a time where we might need to adjust how we spend, the unnecessary spending will have to stop, and the big purchases might need to wait.
Figuring out Next steps
I’ve started casting around for options but with the economic times, the way they are it might take longer than expected. In the meantime I’m trying to maintain a routine, fixing up the house, and spending more time with family.
I’ve always been a proponent of slowing down to speed up, I spend the last two years working really hard, so I am going to make sure to approach this next chapter a little slower. I have been meaning to write more, read more, and get some projects done. I will do just that.
I suspect there are a lot of people who are suddenly down to a single income, it’s a challenging time but remember it’s not always about the negative. There will be an end to this, you will get through it slowly, one day at a time.