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Lost your unemployment benefits as relief bill lags? Here's what to do

Ethan Rotberg
·3 min read
Lost your unemployment benefits as relief bill lags? Here's what to do
Lost your unemployment benefits as relief bill lags? Here's what to do

Special pandemic unemployments benefits for at least an estimated 10 million Americans expired early Sunday morning because a $900 billion COVID relief package remained in limbo.

President Donald Trump has been reluctant to sign the bill, primarily because it would give most Americans a direct payment, or "stimulus check," of $600.

"I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill," he wrote on Twitter Saturday morning.

Hours later, he followed up with another tweet: "$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China’s fault!"

Losing their extended and expanded jobless benefits makes it even more essential for families to use every trick available to cut costs. Here are five ways to get by until the matter is settled.

1. Cut down on monthly expenses

Sad woman with receipt from store, family brought food home. Focus on woman
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

Start by making a list of your monthly bills and expenses to find areas where you can cut costs.

With a little comparison shopping, you may be able to save $1,000 per year on homeowners insurance. Many people are also overpaying for auto insurance because they don’t think to check.

You can also save a surprising amount on food by preparing your meals at home rather than ordering in. And, download a special browser add-on that will help you find coupons and better prices every time you shop online.

2. Broaden your job search

If you work in an industry that’s been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, your prospects may seem grim.

You should consider looking for work outside of your chosen field if you’ve been coming up short with your usual search terms.

The idea of stepping out of your comfort zone may be daunting, but you could be qualified for all kinds of jobs you aren’t aware of. Certain job boards will even use AI technology to match you to new and interesting positions based on your skill set and experience.

3. Make extra cash with a side hustle

Top view of young busy worker typing on laptop
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

While you’re looking for your next full-time position, you can bring in a bit of extra money by picking up a side gig. Digital marketplaces will match you with eager buyers all over the country.

Another option to bring in some quick cash is to sign up for an online rewards program. You can earn money and gift cards by completing simple tasks like filling out surveys, watching videos and even playing games on your smartphone.

During times like this, every little bit helps.

4. Consolidate your credit card bills

If you’ve got high balances on multiple credit cards, trying to make minimum payments every month is hard without steady income.

One option that may help is a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate. You’ll be able to pay off all your existing debt immediately and only have a single monthly payment to worry about.

5. Refinance your mortgage

row of older houses in American suburb
Spiroview Inc / Shutterstock

Because mortgage rates cratered during the pandemic, homeowners need to take a closer look at refinancing.

More than 19 million homeowners have the potential to cut their monthly payments by more than $300, says the mortgage technology and data provider Black Knight.

Rates can vary wildly from one lender to the next, so be sure to shop around and compare a minimum of five quotes to get the best rates.