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The post How to Still Pay Your Bills During a Layoff or When You Miss A Check appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
More than 800,000 Americans are currently affected by the government shut down. And, while it would make sense to force our congressmen and senators to also not get paid during that time, it just won’t happen.
Even though you may not be working and getting a paycheck, it doesn’t mean the bills stop.Â You still need to feed your family and take care of yourself.
The truth is that a layoff or furlough can happen to anyone at any time. And, if you already struggle to live paycheck to paycheck, not getting paid will certainly increase your stress level.
WHAT DO DO IF YOU MISS A PAYCHECK
First off, if you aren’t getting paid, you need to take a deep breath. I know it is stressful and you are struggling, but it is all going to be OK.
Your first instinct may be to go take out a second mortgage or unsecured loan.Â You might be tempted to get some additional credit cards.Â And, that retirement account may be calling your name.
Don’t do that.
All you are doing is adding more stress by increasing your debt or tax liability.Â Then, when you do start having paychecks again, you end up with more bills to pay.
It may be a short term fix, withÂ long-term consequences.Â Just don’t do it.
Go ahead and have a good cry.Â Then, wipe your tears and create a plan.
1. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BUDGET
If you don’t have a budget, there is no time like the present to make one.Â A budget is not going to restrict you from spending money.Â In fact, it is the opposite.
Your budget shows you where you spend your money.Â And, more importantly, where you might be able to cut back. It could mean stopping your gym membership and not dining out.Â It could even mean canceling your cable service.
A traditional budget will show the income you bring in.Â But, if you don’t have any regular paychecks, how do you do this?Â You make your budget with the money you do have.
Don’t include the amount you normally make, but rather, just the amount currently coming in.Â If there is no money at all, then create your budget with the money you have on hand.Â You need to get everything out of every penny you make.
Your budget is crucial to surviving a layoff, furlough or government shut down.
2. COVER YOUR NEEDS
If you look at your budget, there are wants and needs.Â A want is cable.Â A need is housing.Â When there is no money coming in (or less than usual), you must cover your needs.Â Â This means making sure you pay for:
Look at your budget and cover these expenses first.Â Don’t pay yourÂ cable bill if you can’t put food on the table.Â Cable is not important right now, but you must feed your family.
Once you cover your basic needs pay other bills in order of importance.Â Don’t worry about the credit card bills right now – but pay your utilities.
You can’t pay everyone.Â There is no getting around that.Â Pay those you need to in order to protect your family.
3. SELL THINGS
A simple way to generate some quick cash is to find things you do not need and sell them.Â The added bonus is that you get a chance to clean out the basement or the garage.
Use sites such as LetGo or Craigslist to sell big items.Â If you have clothing check out ThredUp or Poshmark.Â There is always someone who needs something.
4. STOP PAYING OFF DEBT
If you are in the midst of getting out of debt, you’ll have to stop — for now.Â Getting out of debt can’t be your priority at this time.Â You have to make sure you are taking care of your family.
Once your income returns to normal levels, you can pick up your debt snowball right where you left off.Â And, if that means the balance had to increase in the shortÂ term, so be it.
5.Â CUT BACK
When you struggle financially, it’s time for some big changes.Â The first thing to do is look at your food bill.Â See what you can cut from your spending.Â Do some searches on Pinterest for very cheap family meals that you can make.
You may also want to check out different grocery stores.Â For example, if you live near an ALDI, make a trip there to shop.Â You’ll find almost everything you need, at very low prices.Â You aren’t sacrificing quality.Â You are just making the most of every dollar you spend.
Take a deep look at your budget and get rid of things such as monthly subscriptions like Hulu, gyms, etc.Â You can always start these up again when you increase your income.Â Once your income returns, you get to add these back in.Â These are temporary cut backs just to help you survive this time.
6.Â MAKE SOME CALLS
It is important to reach out to all of your providers and lenders to let them know you are part of the government shut down, or in the midst of a layoff.Â You don’t want to risk getting service shut down due to lack of payment.
While many of them may not be able to make any concessions, they might be able to give you an additional month to pay or not charge a late fee.Â But, you will never know unless you ask.Â What’s the worst thing that will happen?
Note that during the winter months, utility companies are not allowed to discontinue services, but they can during other times of the year.
7. GET A SIDE HUSTLE OR TEMPORARY JOB
When there is no money coming in, you’ve got to find a way to change that.Â It may be time to add a side-hustle. It could mean working fast food or getting a job at Walmart.Â You just have to find a way to bring in money during this short period of time.
If your layoff or furlough is temporary, you may not be able to get another job. It could be part of the terms of your employment, so it is not an option.Â That means you need to try a side-hustle.Â It might mean you are an Uber driver or even tutor kids.
8.Â ASK FOR HELP
Check your local food pantry or church to ask for help.Â These organization can provide food and even money to help cover your bills.Â Â You may also have family members who are willing to help by paying for your groceries or covering your electric bill.Â But, you have to ask.
You have a family to provide for, so you can’t let your pride get in the way of getting them what they need.
WHAT DO WHEN YOU START GETTING PAID AGAIN
Once you are back at work and your income is back to what it was previously, don’t just go back to your spending like before.Â You don’t want to struggle again should you find yourself in this same situation.
The most important thing to do is to work on building your emergency fund.Â The idea is to build it up to have at least 3 – 6 months worth of living expenses covered.Â I know it sounds like a lot.Â And, it probably is.
You won’t build it up all at once.Â It will take time.Â But, you can do things such as sell more items or get a second job.Â Even if you start saving just $10 a week, you’ll have saved more than $500 in a year.
The post How to Still Pay Your Bills During a Layoff or When You Miss A Check appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Parents all over the United States have had to make lofty and quick adjustments due to the pandemic erupting the daily routines many of us havenât had to change in quite a while. Feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion, and sheer confusion have consumed many; leaving the evergreen thoughts about how to best accommodate our children while simultaneously completing remote work effectively. If you have been struggling with finding a balance or could use some extra pointers to smooth out this process; see the tips below and breathe a little easier knowing thereâs additional help available.Â
Wake up at least an hour earlierÂ
I know, this is probably the last thing you wanted to hear fresh out of the gate. However, take this into consideration â you can use this uninterrupted time to knock out some tasks, enjoy your cup of coffee or breakfast before the day truly begins. Rushing (especially in the mornings) tends to set a precedence for the day, causing your mind and body to believe that a pace of hurriedness is expected; generating feelings of burnout very easily. Crankiness, low engagement, and minimal productivity doesnât serve you, your work, or your children well. Use this solo time to still your thoughts so you are able to be fully present for all things the day holds. While this may take some time to get used to initially, youâll thank yourself when you have the energy to handle any and everything!Â
Set and abide by a clear routineÂ
Comparing your childâs school schedule in conjunction with your personal work obligations very clearly can showcase what needs to get done and when. Reviewing this every evening beforehand or once a week with your children creates new, positive habits that become easier to follow over time. Not only does this mimic physical in-school setting, but it also generates responsibility and a sense of accomplishment for your little ones. If necessary, communicate with your manager if there are time periods you need to be more present to assist your children with any assignments.Â
Designate âdo not disturbâ time periodsÂ
Depending on your work demands, there are conference calls and online meetings that may have to happen while the kids are completing their individual assignments or classroom time. To make sure everyone fulfills their tasks with minimal interruptions, create time periods that are dedicated to completing the more complex tasks that require a more intense level of focus. To avoid any hiccups, give some leeway before the blocked time to address any questions or concerns. While this doesnât guarantee that nothing else arises, it establishes peace of mind so that your thoughts can be directed to the tasks that lie ahead.Â Â Â
Plan out all meals for the week
If meal prepping wasnât your thing before, it definitely should be now. Having lunch and/or dinner already prepared not only saves you time (which is a necessity) but also helps to normalize the growing grocery bill that seems never-ending. Planning not only avoids confusion and lengthy food conversations, but it also sets a routine the entire family can abide by. Easy food items such as tacos, burrito bowls, sandwiches, and an assortment of fruit provide a healthy balance â while avoiding ordering fast food or takeout multiple times a week.Â Â
Establish a âlessons learnedâ listÂ
Similar to an end of year job evaluation, you and your family can take a personal inventory of the things that have worked effectively â while taking note of the things that didnât. At the end of every week have a very candid conversation with your children. Ask them what worked for their schooling and also self-assess the positives during your remote work. Remember to keep an open mind! Instead of automatically responding with frustration, consider how much of an adjustment this is for kids. Theyâre accustomed to a multitude of settings and environments, which develops their reasoning and comprehension skills. If they identify something was less than satisfactory, ask what can be done (within reason) to improve their new learning environment. These notes can take place on sticky notes, a large whiteboard, or a simple notepad. This doesnât have to be a serious sit-down conversation; it can almost be presented as a game. Keeping track of these items will help you all make tweaks as necessary while finding a solid sweet spot.Â Â
Give yourself (and your children) graceÂ
Life as we knew it switched in the blink of an eye. The busyness of going into the office, dropping the kids off at school, and shuffling them to extracurricular activities stopped more abruptly than any of us could have imagined. As we all know but donât like to admit, every day isnât a good day. There are many nuances that happen throughout the course of time that can derail our plans, leaving us to feel defeated. But before going off to the deep end, remember this â every day serves as a chance to start over. If the food wasnât prepared ahead of time itâs okay. If the workday didnât go as smoothly as expected, itâs quite alright. Take a deep breath and remember we are all doing the best we can with what we currently have. Learning to navigate new waters such as this is only achieved through trial and error.Â Â Â
Celebrate the small winsÂ
Letâs face it â this is new for all of us! While online learning and remote work have been in place for more than a few months, we have to grant ourselves grace. So, if you havenât already â give yourself and your children a pat on the back! Plan safe outings you and your family can enjoy such as picnics, movie nights, or any outdoor activities. Getting some fresh air for at least 30 minutes during the day can help boost productivity and the moods of you and your children! Each week may not be easy, but it is rewarding to know that the effort youâve put forth as a parent is a positive contribution to your family.Â Â
One question that we all need to ask ourselves is-will we ever gain this amount of time with our families again? Letâs embrace this moment with learning and lasting memories.Â Â
The post How to Work from Home While Schooling Your Kids appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Though the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in widespread fitness center closures, many Americans still want to stay as healthy as possible. Depending on the level of services and equipment required, staying active can affect peopleâs budgets in a variety of ways. For now, virtual exercise classes and home gyms are the route most people are taking. Eventually, though, gyms will reopen at full capacity, and everyone will be able to reestablish his or her normal workout routine. When that happens, some places will be more conducive to jumping into a full-on fitness frenzy, and SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find where they are.
To locate the most fitness-friendly places for 2021, we compared 301 metropolitan areas across the following metrics: percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments, the percentage of restaurants that are fast-food establishments and the average wage of personal trainers. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAssetâs seventh annual study on the most fitness-friendly places in the U.S. Read the previous version here.
- Western and Midwestern metro areas populate the top. For the second straight year, cities in the Midwest and West dominate the top 10 of this list. Six metro areas are in the West and three are in the Midwest. Western metro areas do well in terms of fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments â all rank within the top 8% of study for this metric â and they also rank within the top 14% of the study for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work. Only one metro area in the top 10 is not in either of these regions â Ithaca, New York.
- Fitness-friendly cities are light on the drive-thrus. On average, across the 301 metro areas in our study, fast-food establishments represent 45% of all restaurants. Though fast food is popular, convenient and inexpensive, it tends to be relatively high in calories and low in nutritional value â making it tougher to be healthy if you eat a lot of it, regardless of your exercise levels. In the top 10 of this study, all but three metro areas have fewer than 40% of their restaurants serving fast food, so there is less temptation to go for an easy-but-unhealthy meal that can ruin all your hard work. The metro area with the lowest percentage of restaurants that are fast food is Wenatchee, Washington, where it is just 27%.
1. Missoula, MT
The Missoula, Montana metro area is the most fitness-friendly place in the U.S. for 2021. There are 131 fitness establishments â including places like gyms and sporting goods stores â per 10,000 total establishments in Missoula, the third-highest rate for this metric in the study. There are also plenty of fitness professionals living in Missoula, 59 per 10,000 workers, placing it sixth-best for this metric. Residents in Missoula also get plenty of exercise simply by walking or biking to work: 7.1% of residents choose to do so, the 17th-highest rate for this metric across the 301 areas we studied.
2. La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
The La Crosse, Wisconsin metro area, which also includes parts of Minnesota, has 130 fitness establishments for every 10,000 total establishments, the fourth-highest rate for this metric. The metro area finishes in the top quartile for three other metrics as well, ranking 28th for fitness professionals per 10,000 workers (with 42), 33rd for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work (at 5.2%) and 64th for the percentage of restaurants that are fast-food establishments (around 39%).
3. Bend, OR
The Bend, Oregon metro area cracks the top 10 for two of our metrics. It places fourth in terms of fitness professionals per 10,000 workers with 61, and seventh for fitness establishments per 10,0000 total establishments, at 116. Bend can be a bit pricey of a place to stay in shape, though. The average hourly wage of personal trainers is $18.72, placing Bend at 176th out of 301 for this metric.
4. Ann Arbor, MI
There are 67 fitness professionals per 10,000 workers in the Ann Arbor, Michigan metro area, the second-highest rate for this metric of the 301 metro areas we analyzed. For their commutes, 7.4% of residents walk or bike to work, the 15th-highest percentage in this study. There are also plenty of fitness establishments in the metro area if you prefer to work out in a dedicated space: At 112 per 10,000 residents, this is the 10th-highest rate of the 301 places we analyzed.
5. Bloomington, IN
Folks in the Bloomington, Indiana metro area might have more of an opportunity to get a workout in during their commute, with 8.0% of residents walking or biking to work, the eighth-highest rate in the study for this metric. Bloomington has two other metrics for which it finishes in the top fifth of the 301 metro areas of the study â fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments (ranking 48th-highest, with 93) and average wage of personal trainers (ranking 49th-lowest, which makes it cheaper for the consumer, at $14.53).
6. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
The metro area around Santa Cruz, California finishes ninth overall for its relatively low percentage of restaurants that specialize in fast food, at 33%. Santa Cruz also comes in 12th for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, at 7.5%. If youâre looking for help getting in shape, though, itâll cost you. The average wage of a personal trainer in the area is a steep $20.59, ranking in the bottom third of this study.
7. Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, Arizona has the third highest percentage of residents who walk or bike to work we saw in this study, at 11.5%. There are also 109 fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments, the 14th-highest rate we observed. Flagstaff is hurt, though, by its price: The average wage of a personal trainer in this metro area is $22.27, in the bottom sixth of this study.
8. Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins is the first of two metro areas in Colorado to rank in the top 10 of this study, and it gets there on the strength of having 113 fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments, ranking ninth of 301 metro areas for this metric. It also scores in the top 15% of the study for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work (5.2%) and fitness professionals per 10,000 workers (46).
9. Boulder, CO
Boulder is the second Colorado metro area in the top 10, and it has two metrics for which it finishes in the top 15 out of 301 in the study overall. It comes in 11th for fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, at 53, and 12th for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, at 7.5%. Its final ranking is dragged down a bit due to its bottom-10 finish for the average hourly wage for personal trainers, at a pricey $27.25. However, it still ranks in the top 20 of the study for fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments, at 105.
10. Ithaca, NY
A whopping 14.5% of residents of Ithaca, New York walk or bike to work, the second-highest percentage in this study for this metric. Ithaca finishes eighth in terms of fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments with 114. It is very expensive to get help with fitness in Ithaca, though. The average hourly wage for a personal trainer is $29.30, finishing third-worst out of 301 metro areas in this study for its high cost.
Data and Methodology
To find the most fitness-friendly places in the country for 2021, we examined data for 301 metro areas across the following five metrics:
- Percentage of residents who walk or bike to work. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Concentration of fitness professionals. This is the number of fitness professionals per 10,000 workers. Our list of fitness professionals includes dietitians and nutritionists, recreational therapists, athletic trainers as well as fitness trainers and aerobics instructors. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics and is for May 2019.
- Concentration of fitness establishments. This is the number of fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments. Our list of fitness establishments includes sporting goods stores and fitness and recreational sports centers. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.
- Concentration of fast-food restaurants. This is the percentage of restaurants that are limited-service establishments. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.
- Average hourly wage of personal trainers. Given the limited availability of direct data about the cost to consumers for personal training services, this metric acts as a proxy to indicate the relative affordability of hiring a personal trainer in a given metro area. Data comes from the BLS and is for May 2019.
First, we ranked each metro area in each metric. Then we found each placeâs average ranking, giving all metrics a full weight except for concentration of fast-food restaurants and average hourly wage of personal trainers, each of which received a half weight. Using this average ranking, we created our final score. The metro area with the highest average ranking received a score of 100, and the metro area with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.
Tips for a Fit and Financially Secure Life
- Find the right financial fit. No matter what your fitness goals are, financially you want to make sure you are secure, and a financial advisor can help. Finding the right financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If youâre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Consider the health of your budget. If you live somewhere where fitness is expensive, make a budget so that you can work the price into your monthly spending.
- Making bigger money moves? If youâre considering moving to one of the places we listed above, use SmartAssetâs tool to find out how much house you can afford before you make the big move.
Questions about our study? Contact email@example.com.
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The post Most Fitness-Friendly Places for 2021 appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.