The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for just about everyone in one way or another. Whether it was the lack of social interaction or working for a company that was forced to shut its doors due to a lack of sales, it has been a struggle, to say the least. Luckily, while the response wasn’t perfect, the United States government stepped in to assist those who were hit the most during the pandemic with a couple of checks to help us along and extra support for those who have been without a job during this difficult time.
However, it appears that those benefits may be coming to an end. There has been talk of ending extended unemployment benefits in September, and if that is the case, many people who are still without a job may be looking for answers when it comes time to pay rent. Luckily, there are some tips and resources that you can follow that may provide the extra funds you need.
Budgeting And Resources
When the latest stimulus law was put into place, it extended federal unemployment programs until Labor Day. Many Republican-led states are using this deadline to make a case to cease the federal programs this summer, and in recent remarks, President Biden has verbalized his approval of the expiration of these weekly checks. The problem is that there are still those who are legitimately out of work, and without the extra money, they may not have enough to pay rent at the end of the month.
If you live in one of these states that are ending the unemployment benefits on Labor Day or sooner, then you will want to be prepared by creating a budget. By getting a view of your whole financial picture, including what money you do have coming in and all of your expenses, you can see what needs to be done before the end of the programs. Getting rid of unnecessary expenses will be very important. Can you cut down on extra cable channels? Can you make coffee at home instead of going out? What monthly subscriptions do you have that you no longer need?
If your budget shows some wiggle room, then you may be okay when the benefits end. If not, then you can look at other options, and one of them is reaching out to organizations that can provide rent assistance. For instance, you could reach out to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and ask about their rental assistance programs. Other organizations like The Salvation Army can sometimes offer one-time assistance for rent and also supply food and clothes. Modest Needs is another program that can offer you a grant for unexpected expenses or monthly bills.
Freelance or Side Jobs
In addition to applying for financial assistance, you can also try earning some extra money by working a freelance or side job wherever you can. Right now, many restaurants are working with delivery drivers and there is also the opportunity to work with Uber or Lyft if you have a suitable vehicle. If you are limited on time, you could also work as a dog-walker in the mornings or you can make the extra money you need for rent by doing surveys online.
There are many freelance jobs that you can try that you can do on your own time that won’t have you relying on a company giving you the hours you require. Think about the skills that you bring to the table and search online for a freelance opportunity to match them. If you are an expert on a certain subject, you could tutor students online. If you have a flair for the written language, then you could be a freelance writer for any number of online companies and websites. If you like to cook, you could be a caterer on the side.
If you do decide to do freelance work, there are some considerations that you will need to keep in mind. For instance, you will need to keep track of your taxes and pay them at the end of the year. Plus, you will have to constantly reach out to clients to have consistent work. On top of all that, you will also want to ensure that you are paid correctly. You can get paid and keep orderly records by sending out personalized invoices. Send these as soon as the work is done and be sure to follow up if you aren’t paid promptly.
Sell Items You No Longer Use
Although you love your apartment and everything inside of it, there could come a time when you may have to sell some belongings to get the extra cash you need for rent. If you need quick money, certain items may sell faster, such as furniture, clothing, and sports equipment. You can bring your items to a pawn shop or sell them on websites like Amazon and eBay.
There are some items that you may have lying around that could be worth more than you realize. For instance, Disney VHS tapes are still in high demand and can fetch you a few extra bucks. Many retro video games are also selling for hundreds of dollars on auction websites, especially those for the GameCube and Nintendo 64. If you no longer wear it, you could also consider selling older jewelry. If your rental agreement allows it, you can even sell space in your home as an Airbnb.
While you can sell many of your belongings online, there is money to be made by throwing a garage or yard sale. For the most success at your sale, scheduling is key, as you need to pick a time when the most people may be out and about. Weekends are the best, but if you want to get the most foot traffic, join a community sale event in your neighborhood. Also, take the time to research everything you are selling to ensure that you give it a proper price so you are not shortchanged.
The recent arrival of COVID-19 vaccines is promising, but that doesn’t mean we are out of the woods quite yet. If you know that rent will be tough this month, consider the tips above to hold you over until the next opportunity.