Whether you are a federal government worker or a private sector employee, any disruption to your income can throw you and your household into a tailspin.
Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, according to a recent report from CareerBuilder.
When there is an interruption in income for any reason, here are the four things you should be doing:
Stop Any Unnecessary Spending
Brunches, dinners, and meeting for drinks come to a complete halt. You don’t know how long it may be before you get back to regular income, so all spending should cease.
Check what you have in reserves. Yes, this is when that emergency fund comes into play. If you have a few months of expenses saved, then great, just hunker down, wait it out, and consider yourself lucky, but if not…
Call Your Creditors
Let your creditors know what is happening. Offer to make a partial payment or set up an arrangement that will push the payment due date back a few weeks. Keep them in the loop and even submit a statement in writing if necessary.
Cut Out Anything That Is Nonessential
If you are paying extra on student loans or credit cards, stop it for as long as your income is interrupted. Any home upgrades, travel plans, and even birthday presents should be put off for now. You will need your cash. When grocery shopping, this is the time to leave the high end food items in the store.
The last government shutdown was in 2013. It lasted 16 days and affected 800,000 employees.
There were some that suffered a huge financial hardship because they missed an entire pay period. Thankfully, this shutdown was a lot shorter, but no one should be living paycheck to paycheck. Whether a shutdown will personally affect you or not, this is a good time to check your budget and financial stability.
Are you paying for things that you don’t need? Do you have money automatically coming out of your bank account for things you have forgotten about? Do you have access to credit for emergencies? Do you have enough money saved in an emergency fund? Right now, it’s the government shutdown; tomorrow, it could be something else.
It’s important to plan ahead so that when life happens, you are prepared.