Help with August

Howdy y'all, 

So Corona has made a huge impact on my finances and I'm unsure how I'm going to make it going forward? I used to bring home $3200/month but due to COVID-19 my pay has decreased to nearly $2450. I had no idea that was going to happen and my employer has made no notion when we're returning to our old hours where I'd bring in the $3200. 

So now I'm stuck in a bind financially where I can't pay because I was living off the old amount. I've cut back as much as I possibly can but I'm still sitting around $2600 for my four walls: shelter, food, transportation, clothing. 

Does anyone have any advice? How can I budget my cash without going into the next month? I'm struggling. I've got $500 in an emergency fund that I'm trying to rebuild after having a car accident back in May. So cash is VERY tight. I want $1000 EF ASAP. 

Thanks, 
Nathan

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  • If you really have cut to the bone, the sad truth is that you have to draw on your emergency cash or credit. While that sucks, prioritizing things that must be paid with cash in the budget is critical. After that, just try to minimize credit growth.

    I'd still try to cut further. You also might be able to generate income with odd jobs on the weekend or evenings. Also keep in mind that not all industries are equally impacted, and some are even hiring. Best of luck in this stressful situation.

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      • Nathan Dowlen
      • Pianist, Chemical Operator
      • natekittycat
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I may pick up more work. My girlfriend moved in with me and she's just waiting to get her drivers license in 2 weeks so she can start work. She has no way to get anywhere reliable and my hours wouldn't work well. I know we'll make it, but it's gonna be really really hard. 

      I'm low-key scared but I know we'll make it. 

      Like 2
  • Hi Nathan,

    I'm sorry to hear about your pay cut and uncertainty going forward. I'm throwing out some ideas you could try. It's my personal belief that option 1 is the harder of the two.

    1 - Increase your income:

    - Can you take on a side gig? Making deliveries with your car or bike, tutoring, Taskrabbit, mowing lawns, online marketing. Maybe there are odd jobs in your neighborhood if you ask around.

    - Do you have a spare bedroom you could rent out temporarily? It can be a little hard to get started, but people are still looking to move, and this is an excellent source of cash.

    - I'm told that donating plasma offers decent compensation in a pinch, and is really helpful for the medical community. You can do it up to twice a week I think.

    - Do you own your home? You could try taking out a line of credit on your house. Maybe not the best option because, more debt.

    2 - Reduce your expenses:

    - What are you calling your "four walls?" Have you optimized them from every angle?

    - Can you refinance your mortgage? Negotiate discounted rent with your landlord?

    - Can you eat at cheaper places or cook from home? Can you buy less red meat or better yet, no meat at all, and replace it with high protein grains, which are less of a money drain?

    - If you have insurance payments, can you call them and reduce premiums by increasing your deductible?

    - Are you making automatic payments on phone bills with generous data, which could be decreased?

    - Are you still buying clothes outside of those you absolutely need for work? Can you pause that for now?

    You will make it! I sincerely hope you don't take on more debt. Good luck!

    Like 2
    • Purple Panther Nathan Dowlen  Oh I forgot to mention selling things on ebay, Craigslist, or Facebook. Especially old gear, technology, collectible items, or houeshold furniture and appliances. That often works well for me.

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      • Nathan Dowlen
      • Pianist, Chemical Operator
      • natekittycat
      • 1 mth ago
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      Purple Panther 
      1. It is possible to pick up a side gig if things come down to it. I told my girlfriend that I'd be willing to if necessary. She's stressed herself but I believe she'll land income. I hope we can do it though in time. 

      We don't have a spare room to rent out. I live in a one bedroom apartment. 

      I've looked into donating plasma but I don't remember what all it takes to do so? If I remember correctly, you need a physical to be able to follow through. 

      2. Four walls are: Food, Shelter, Clothing, Transportation 
      I don't know if we can negotiate rent much? My landlord said we have a little more leniency since we've got another spike in COVID cases but rent should still be paid at a reasonable time. 

      Everything but maybe once a month is cooked at home. Red Meat is super expensive and I've already thought about buying more pork, chicken, etc. (I doubt my girlfriend and I would take up a vegetarian diet.) High Protein Grains could be a good idea. Last month we ate a lot of rice and beans. (Rice is super fattening. I feel it in my joints. lol) 

      On insurance, I've done what I can already to lower the premiums and I don't think I can budge them anymore. I will call my insurance company and find out what we can do? However, it's bloody expensive for two cars and two people under 25, (Well I'm 25. lol) 

      As far as clothing goes, I'm not. As a wall, clothing is kinda broad but its basically all the other necessities like toiletries. 

      We'll make it through. I believe in us. I don't wanna go into debt. If I did our budget right, we'll come out just under $2400 this month. Next month won't be quite as easy. We've already deferred our car payments to allow us to get an emergency fund built. Now isn't the time to be without one. 
       

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      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 1 mth ago
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      Nathan Dowlen 

      Nathan Dowlen said:
      High Protein Grains could be a good idea. Last month we ate a lot of rice and beans. (Rice is super fattening. I feel it in my joints. lol) 

       just a thought, brown rice is much more healthy for you than white, as it's a whole grain, and not as processed.  You might feel better on brown rice than white rice.

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      • Nathan Dowlen
      • Pianist, Chemical Operator
      • natekittycat
      • 1 mth ago
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      Bruce Just takes longer to cook... Is there a way to really season brown rice? 

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      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 1 mth ago
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      Nathan Dowlen 

      Nathan Dowlen said:
      Just takes longer to cook... Is there a way to really season brown rice? 

      It doesn't really.  Do you have a rice cooker?  Just put some rice and water in, push the button, and about 30-40 minutes later, it's ready.  I haven't noticed that it's significantly longer.  

      I like the taste of brown rice, especially with beans, but is also good with chicken.  seasonings...  maybe pepper, butter, even salsa, if you want to go with a more Mexican flavor.  There's lots of things you can do with it.

      A lot of times I will make a batch of brown rice, and my wife will make either lentil stew, or sweet potato curry, or some other concoction, and I'll put that on the rice, and heat it up for lunch at work.  (which these days is me walking up to the kitchen from the office in the basement, and putting it in the microwave) but when I'm at work, they have microwaves there too, so it's easy, healthy, and tasty.

      Like 2
    • Nathan Dowlen Last week I made some fried rice with the big batch of leftover brown rice from the fridge—just cranked up the heat high on the stove, used some butter, frozen peas, eggs, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. My boyfriend who only eats brown rice reluctantly as a health obligation said it tasted amazing.

      Also you can make a brown rice pilaf by sauteeing the raw rice with garlic and chopped onions, then cooking the batch in veggie/chicken broth.

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      • Nathan Dowlen
      • Pianist, Chemical Operator
      • natekittycat
      • 1 mth ago
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      Purple Panther I'm gonna have to get busy cooking I guess then? I'll have to push my amazing cook girlfriend aside and show her how its done. She doesn't like it all that much. I think if I can prove it to her, she'll be satisfied. lol I got her to try Jasmine Rice recently and she fell in love so.... 

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    • Nathan Dowlen  I make brown rice with chicken broth instead of water, and it tastes pretty good!

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      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 1 mth ago
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      Nathan Dowlen we (even the kids) love Jasmine rice! 

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      • Nathan Dowlen
      • Pianist, Chemical Operator
      • natekittycat
      • 1 mth ago
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      Bruce Jasmine is my favorite because of the sweetness.

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