How to Survive a Recession on an Already Limited Budget

( – When your budget is already limited, the prospect of an oncoming recession can be terrifying. If your budget has every penny accounted for, you can’t stand to lose income. But with job cuts happening regularly and inflation rising, it’s a possibility. Regardless of income, it’s hard for any family to become “recession proof.” However, there are things every family can do to prepare for the uncertainty that lies ahead when recession news abounds.

Right now, it looks like a recession is imminent in the United States. The stock market isn’t stable, job security just isn’t there, and families are really struggling to get from one week to the next, especially as costs of everyday necessities rise. Eggs and cars, in particular, have risen exponentially. Everyday families rely on these things to keep going.

Bravely Budget and Get Creative

Just about every piece of advice will promote positive budgeting behaviors, but you have to go beyond that and get creative with your budget. Instead of taking the entire family out to eat every week, consider a family-prepared meal at home where everyone participates in the creation of the meal.

You can also check out free events in your community, which may be listed online and in neighborhood-specific groups.

Apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

If you haven’t applied for SNAP yet (formerly known as food stamps), you should give it a try — and if you don’t qualify, make sure you know about eligibility in case of job loss. During tough times, SNAP is a lifesaver meant to keep your family fed, and is specific to low-income households who need help.

To qualify for SNAP, your household has to meet specific asset guidelines and income requirements. However, if your income is above the threshold, medical expenses or dependent child childcare expenses could still qualify you. SNAP benefits can take a bit of time to go through, but it’s a gamechanger for families who need help with food costs.

Consider Applying for Energy Assistance Programs

Did you know that there are programs available to help families and individuals who have trouble paying their energy bills? When it gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer, energy costs can skyrocket. Fortunately, state and local governments provide financial assistance and even weatherization help to families who hope to mitigate high energy costs.

To figure out whether you qualify, start with your local utility company or your state-level government. They may ask for expenses and income and your documented need for assistance, such as your high energy bills.

Ask to Delay Mortage or Rent Payments

When you’re experiencing difficult times, you may be able to get some relief from your landlord, mortgage company, or even your auto lender. Some loan terms allow you to defer one or more payments (you skip a month, and it gets tacked on to the end of your loan, automatically extending it). Other times, lenders will choose to be gracious.

If you’re honest, most companies will work with you if you can explain why you need the assistance and show why it’s likely a temporary problem.

In addition to this, if you’re a two-car family, consider downgrading to one car to save on auto expenses and car loans. If your area has good public transportation, think about how you could fit that into your commute plans. Alternatively, pick up a side hustle to build an emergency fund or to prepare for a potential layoff from your main job.

Recessions are tough, but by staying ready and knowing about the available resources, you’re one step ahead of the economy.

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