The Coronavirus Pandemic has left millions without jobs. Unemployment claims are at historic highs. All over the world, people are struggling to make ends meet and provide basic care for themselves and their families. If you’ve been hit hard by the pandemic, you might be wondering just how you’ll get through it — how you’ll survive when it seems all hope is lost. But there are several things you can do to ensure that you and your family get through these uncertain times in one piece.
Because so many people are struggling with putting food on the table, paying their rent, and keeping up with other bills, I’ve compiled a list of 10 things you can do to survive the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. I wish you all the very best during this economic turmoil and hope you get all of the help you need.
1. Go to Your Local Food Pantry
While it might seem like a last resort to go to a food pantry for help, this is one of the best ways to get free food right now. If you’re strapped for cash and you don’t have any other way to feed your family, a food pantry can help keep your pantries stocked and your bellies full. Pride should never get in the way of feeding your family, especially during such uncertain times like this. Look up the address to your local food pantry and head down there when you can. Take whatever you can get and find ways to stretch out the food you have by eating leftovers and even repurposing some food items for more than one meal.
2. Start a Donation Page
There are plenty of people willing to help out those in need, including celebrities, philanthropists, and those who still have jobs. Jennifer Lopez and Diddy recently reunited just to raise money for those affected by Coronavirus. And recently, a challenge on Facebook was going around offering “essential” workers lunch money. Just know that there are people willing to help you and your family no matter your situation. Starting a donation page explaining your family’s unique situation can help bring in donations, which can help cover bills, medical expenses, and help you pay for things like food, water, or toiletries.
3. Ask Family and Friends for Help
If a public donation page isn’t exactly your thing, you can always go the private route and ask friends and family personally. If you have family and friends that still have some sort of income, don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you have small children. Even if they can’t do much, any little bit helps. So talk to your family and friends about what you’re going through. Let them know that you’re in need. How will they know you need help if you don’t ask for it? Ask parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, close friends, and possibly even neighbors.
4. Find a Side Gig
Finding a job during a global pandemic might seem helpless, especially when more than 6 million people in the country are without jobs, but it’s certainly possible to find a side gig that can help sustain you until the economy bounces back. Having multiple streams of income is more important than ever right now. So find a side gig you wouldn’t mind doing and get started. Whether you decide to deliver groceries with InstaCart or deliver fast food with Door Dash, Postmates or Uber Eats, you can find a side gig during the pandemic that helps you put food on the table and pay your bills on time. Just remember to wear a face mask and gloves when picking up and delivering food.
5. Apply for Assistance and/or Unemployment
Losing your job is never easy and you’re not alone. If you weren’t deemed an “essential” worker and you’ve suddenly found yourself out of a job, apply for unemployment and/or assistance from the government. While it might take a while to get unemployment, your state may offer emergency assistance if you’re in danger of losing your housing, you have children to feed, or you’ve recently lost your only source of income. Check out your state’s emergency assistance requirements and get the help you need.
6. Apply for the Stimulus Check
If you haven’t already, apply for the government stimulus checks. They’ve already started going out, according to my cousin, who recently got $1,700 ($1,200 plus the additional $500 she got for her child). Go to the IRS website to determine if you’re eligible for a stimulus check to help you get through this tough time. While it might not cover all of your expenses, it can help put a dent in what you owe. So, find out if you’re eligible and apply for the stimulus check directly on the IRS website. Even if you didn’t file taxes, you might still be eligible. You can find out by filling out this form.
7. Learn a New Skill
Dozens of companies are offering free training during the Coronavirus pandemic. There are tons of options when it comes to learning a new skill. You could learn a new language, tech skills, coding, design, photography, copywriting, and more. Browse Coursera, Class Central, Udemy, edX, and other online course sites to determine what kind of skill you’d want to learn that you think would be useful right now. Be practical, but have fun. The lockdown is expected to last for a few months, so learning a skill that doesn’t require human contact once you finish might be a good idea.
8. Take Advantage of Restaurant Freebies
If you’ve still got an income, that’s great, but it’s still wise to save as much money as you possibly can. Tons of local restaurants are offering residents freebies or discounted meals. For example, in my town, one of the local delis is offering free meals for school-age children every weekday. Burger King is offering free kids’ meals when you order online. DoorDash is offering free delivery when you order from local restaurants (as long as the order is over $15). Find deals in your area and take advantage of them.
9. Download Apps That Help You Save Money
The Krazy Coupon Lady is one of my favorite money-saving apps because I get notifications multiple times throughout the day on deals across the internet. Whether it’s $2 bath towels at JC Penney’s, bulk deals on baby wipes on Amazon (624-pack wipes for only $13.59!), or mystery deals at Kohl’s, there’s always something I can use to help save me the most money on things I use most. Consider downloading grocery rebate apps so you get some of the cashback you spend on groceries every few weeks.
10. Look Online for Freebies
Freebies are all around you. You just have to know where to look. Krispy Kreme is giving away free original glazed donuts by the dozen for healthcare workers. American Girl is offering free downloadable books to help keep your kids occupied during this quarantine. Searching for free samples online can net you tons of free sample-sized products like lotion, eye drops, disposable razors, weight loss snacks, dissolvable powder, primer, and more.
You might also consider becoming a tester for free drugstore beauty products. Take advantage of free trial offers for entertainment while you’re stuck at home, like a free month of Disney Plus, free HBO shows, and free children’s shows without the need for an Amazon Prime membership.
Bonus: Contact Your Service Providers
Call your credit card companies, your auto insurance company, your mortgage company, your landlord, your car loan company, and anyone else you might need to contact to let them know that you’ve been affected by the Covid-19 virus in some way. Make sure you let them know exactly how the pandemic has impacted you, whether it’s a complete or partial loss of income or the loss of a spouse or roommate who provided part of your income.
Many times, these companies will work with you until you’re able to pay. Some car insurance companies are offering a partial refund for the past few months since the pandemic has limited our ability to go anywhere. In some states, laws have been passed that require certain companies to refund or offer discounts to their customers because of Covid-19.
Find out what your service providers can do for you by calling, chatting, or emailing, but be aware that you might be on hold for longer than usual or you might not receive a response as quickly as you might have before because a lot of people are doing the same thing.
No matter what you do to stay afloat during this global pandemic, just remember that you’re not alone. We’re all going through this together, whether you’ve lost your income or your freedom (or both), remember that there’s always someone willing to help and every problem has a solution. And if you know someone who could use this information, pass it along, share it, post it. Do whatever you need to do to help your fellow human.
Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.MARIE CURIE