What Happens When Inflation Surpasses Your Budget?
Many Americans are struggling with inflation and have already reduced some degree of spending to better afford necessities like gas and food. But what happens when inflation surpasses your budget to the point where it seems there’s no solution?
See: What Is the Average Social Security Benefit at Age 62?
SNAP Benefits: How Long Do They Last?
Reevaluate Your Budget
First, revisit your budget to prioritize the essentials. These would be the expenses that allow you to live and work: your rent or mortgage, utilities, food, transportation to get to work, and childcare that permits you to work.
Negotiate with Credit Card Companies
If, until now, you’ve been able to make your credit card payments on time, it’s a good time to call your credit card companies and see if you can reduce interest rates. You might also request a credit limit increase while your credit is good. You don’t want to get in over your head with revolving debt, but if you have to use your cards to put food on the table or gas in your car to get to work, you’ll be glad you have them.
Apply for SNAP Benefits or Other Government Assistance Programs
If you aren’t already receiving help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, see if you can qualify. You can check the SNAP State Directory of Resources to find your nearest SNAP office to apply.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is another federally funded, state-administered program that can help low-income families pay their energy bills, including electricity and gas.
Seek Financial Help Locally
211.org connects people in need to resources within their community that can help. You can find free meals for children, directions to food pantries in your neighborhood, meal delivery programs and mental health services.
Representatives may also be able to guide you to resources to help pay for healthcare, prescriptions, and utilities.
Connect with Community, Neighbors
“Community is going to be major” to survive in these trying times, Dasha Kennedy — founder of The Broke Black Girl Facebook community — told The Epoch Times.
Use Nextdoor or connect with neighbors through Facebook. You may find items you need for free or cheap. You may be able to carpool to work or find a friend willing to trade babysitting at different times so you can each get things done.
Whether you join online groups or connect with people at local recreation centers or through library programs, try to be a good neighbor to them. Even if you’re struggling financially, you still have something to offer. Creating good will, building relationships, and helping others means you’re more likely to have a network to help you when you need it.
Look for Ways to Earn Extra Cash
It wouldn’t be unusual to ask for a raise right now. Your employer knows expenses are rising across the board. You may also consider asking for overtime.
There are also plenty of opportunities for gig work right now. But choose carefully and do your research before responding to an online ad. Experts say job scams are on the rise as of late.
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