The era of the average income being enough to fund a household is long gone. Even before the events of 2020, it was extremely challenging for a working couple to afford the classic family setup (a stable home, food on the table, money for entertainment), and even harder for one-income families to manage — and now things are so much harder.
Due to the broad effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries throughout the world have plunged into recession, and many thousands of professionals have been fired or furloughed. This has made one-income households significantly more common — and with no end to the pandemic in sight, it’s unclear if this will change in the near future.
Are there systems in place to help these families? Well, there may be government support, but that’s inconsistent and thus hard to rely on. Accordingly, people in that situation need to be proactive in protecting their finances, looking to find some extra cash wherever they can get it (within reason and the boundaries of the law, of course).
Are you in that situation? In this blog post, we’re going to set out some suggestions for where a one-income family can find some extra cash in this difficult time. Let’s get to them, shall we?
Review the available options for personal loans
Now, anyone thinking about taking out a personal loan obviously needs to be aware of the financial obligations it would bring, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth getting. It’s how you use a personal loan that matters. If you invest it in something likely to return value or to give you some breathing room to get through a tough time, then it’s going to be a major positive.
Accordingly, it makes all the sense in the world to at least consider the available options. It may well be possible to get a personal loan that suits your exact needs. You won’t know until you check, and you can line up some options without taking any if you decide against it in the end. If you do go for it, remember to plan your financial calendar carefully.
Check for other benefits and entitlements
It’s far more common than you might think for people to be unaware that they’re entitled to additional money from the government. If no one tells you that you qualify for certain benefits, you aren’t going to magically know about them. It certainly doesn’t help that many entitlement systems are complicated to use, often leading aspiring claimants to give up.
If you need some assistance, consider that there are services out there that can help you figure out what benefits you can claim (and help you successfully claim them). If you’ve served in the military, you can go to a service like VA ClaimPros — it’s run by veterans who understand how the process works. For general state benefits, you can use government resources such as the USA.GOV site to get an overview of available entitlements.
Look for freelance gigs through online marketplaces
You’ve surely heard of sites like Fiverr and Upwork, and there are many more like them. They all serve as online marketplaces for freelance gigs. If you want something done, you can post a description of it along with what you’re willing to pay — and if you’re looking to make some extra money, you can go on there and find some tasks that you can complete.
If you’re producing the main income, you can look for tasks you can complete outside of your working hours — and if you’re unemployed, then you can take on as much work as you can handle (which will depend on your skills, your level of motivation, your health, and how many suitable tasks you can find).
Start a limited-scale side business
Entrepreneurialism has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people becoming disillusioned with regular employment and wanting to go into business for themselves. If you don’t want to take on freelance gigs, you can start your own business, but one that’s small enough that it won’t totally destabilize your life.
Ecommerce is particularly popular now since you can run a store from home and ship products safely to your customers. Think about whether there’s anything you could sell. Could you design custom T-shirts? Create interesting masks? There may be a lot of competition, but if you can come up with something slightly different then you could get somewhere.
Managing as a one-income family during a pandemic is a huge challenge, but there are steps you can take to make some extra money to shield you from financial ruin. We’ve looked at some of them here, so think about them and remember to be proactive.
Get Financial Help
Staying financially fit during this crisis can be difficult, even if you have retained your job and are working full-time. With kids and parents home all day, you may be paying more for groceries and electricity, for example. Through our partnership with GreenPath, you can get help with budgeting, debt management, and more. See what types of financial assistance are available.
Economic uncertainty comes and goes. It’s easier to stay positive during the low points if you remember, this too will pass. Adjust what you can for the short term, stay focused on the long-term, and remember—we’re all in this together.