It’s no secret that times are tough and things are shutting down all across the world. It’s time for you to (calmly) regroup and get some things in order. The thought of being without a paycheck can be overwhelming. We want to give you sensible, level-headed actions to take. But first, step back and take a big, deep breath. Invite the Lord to give you His peace, which surpasses all understanding. (Phil 4:6-7)
Now let’s look at some things you can do to keep you on your feet—even without a paycheck.

6 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW

1. Get on a budget

If you aren’t already living on a budget, the time is now! Making a monthly budget will show you exactly where your money is going.
Without a budget, you really can’t make every dollar stretch because you might not even know how much money you have to work with. Plus, your budget will show you places where you can cut back and save money (more on that later). And you don’t have to rely on a yellow lined notebook to crunch the numbers. Here are some budgeting tools to help you get started:

www.everydollar.com
www.mint.com

If you don’t have any income right now, then make a budget based on the amount of money you do have. If you have $600 left to your name, budget out exactly where each of those dollars will go. It’s time to squeeze every last penny out of what you’ve got.
If you still have cash coming in from your spouse’s job or some other source, then adjust your budget to reflect that. Maybe the two of you usually bring in a combined $5,000 a month. But with the loss of one income, you’re down to $2,500 a month.
Adjust your budget to live off that one income for the time being. It might be tough to switch up your lifestyle, but you’ve got to make temporary sacrifices to get through this.

2. Take care of the four walls

When the going gets rough—like it is right now—you need to focus on the things you really need to survive. Ramsey Solutions calls these the Four Walls. Forget the student loan payment, the vet bill and the cell phone bill (for now). The Four Walls are your priority, so pay for these things in this order before anything else:

1 - Food

2 - Utilities

3 - Shelter

4 - Transportation

These are the basics you need to keep going so you can live to fight another day. And it’s really hard to fight when your family doesn’t have food, isn’t it? So if there’s no food in the fridge, don’t pay the cable bill.
If there’s any money left over after you take care of the Four Walls, make a list of what else you need to pay and tackle that in order of importance. When you run out of money—that’s it. Someone on the list isn’t getting paid, and that’s just how it goes. But it’s definitely not going to be the checkout person at the grocery store. Remember, that’s priority number one!

IF YOU RENT…
If you’re renting and having trouble coming up with cash right now, don’t stress out. Reach out to your landlord and be honest with them about what’s going on. They might be able to work something out with you for the time being, but they can’t help if they don’t know. Be up front with them and pray for the best.

IF YOU OWN…
If you own your home and meet the requirements, the government has issued a stay in foreclosure or eviction proceedings and has also established a forbearance program that will allow for mortgage payment relief for up to 12 months depending on your situation. As part of the Coronavirus relief and stimulus package being passed in multiple phases, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have directed mortgage servicers to halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend those already in progress until at least mid-May.
The HUD order applies to single-family homeowners who are unable to pay their Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages. There are 8.1 million active FHA loans. It also applies to loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which covers about half of the country’s mortgages or about 28 million borrowers.

Even if you aren’t in foreclosure, you may qualify for payment forbearance, which would be a significant help to weather this storm. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allowed the companies to establish a forbearance program allowing borrowers affected by the coronavirus to skip their mortgage payments for as long as a year. The Federal Housing Administration has a similar forbearance program. Even if you don’t think you qualify, call your lender and explain your situation. Many lenders will be willing to work with you.

3. SELL STUFF 

Get radical. This is the time to sell what you can to bring in some cash. Maybe that’s your jewelry, clothes, baby items or even the extra car sitting in your garage. If you know you can part with something and get extra cash in your hands—do it! Well, within reason.

4. Get a temporary job or start a side hustle.

If you’re out of a paycheck because of the coronavirus (or your business is taking a serious hit from it), that’s a real thing. But you don’t need to freak about it—just go get some part-time work.
With so much being shut down right now, there might not be as many traditional ways to make extra money out there. Your local hotels, movie theaters and restaurants probably aren’t looking for help. So think about who might be hiring more right now. Look into driving for Amazon (hello, doorstep toilet paper deliveries), picking up takeout food for Postmates, or dropping off grocery orders with Shipt. Amazon is projected to hire over 100,000 people and Walmart is projected to hire over 150,000 through the end of May. It is reported that Amazon’s hiring process, from submitting an application to starting work, can take as little as seven days and involves no resumes or interviews.  
Visit https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/ to see what the CA “Shelter in Place” order means and what you can and cannot do. Specifically, look for the updated list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers to view the sectors and positions that remain at work during this health and economic crisis. Begin looking for positions within those fields so you can be sure that even if the Covid-19 lockdown continues, you’ll be able to work and receive a paycheck.

5. Look for things to cut.

This is the time to cut back on any unnecessary expenses that you can. Tighten it up. Stop or pause your subscriptions (think Netflix, Hulu, meal delivery kits, specialty makeup boxes). They aren’t going anywhere, and you can easily pick them back up once everything blows over and you have extra cash to spend again.

Car Payment Deferral: If you have a car payment, many lenders are suspending payments for 60 days or more. Call your loan provider to see what options you may have.

Also, don’t forget to call your cable, internet, and cellular providers to see if there’s anything they’ll do to work with you during this time. Utilities may also be open to work with your situation. For example, SoCal Gas has temporarily suspended all service disconnects and has committed to helping residential customers with paying their bill. Be open and honest; let these companies know your situation. You’ll never know that assistance is available unless you ask!

We know making sacrifices like this can feel like adding insult to injury when you’re already hurting. But keep reminding yourself: This is not forever. We’re going to make it through this! You’re making temporary sacrifices to tread water until this storm passes and you’re back on your feet again.

6. Take Advantage of Federal Relief and Stimulus Efforts

Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Checks): Many have already received their checks from the government. If you need to research your status, here is the link to the IRS. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments
Tax Day Deferment: The filing deadline for your tax return has been pushed from April 15th to July 15th. The change gives individuals and corporations an additional three months to file and pay before they would owe interest and penalties for late filing. Many states have also delayed their filing and payment deadlines.

Student Load Deferment: To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose. https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus

Paid Family Leave: Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, workers are temporarily entitled to two-thirds of their wages for up to 12 weeks of qualifying family and medical leave for a broad range of COVID-19-related reasons. The revised version of the bill will only provide such leave when employees can't work because their minor child's school or childcare service is closed due to a public health emergency. Workers who have been on the payroll for at least 30 calendar days will be eligible for paid family leave benefits, which will be capped at $200 a day (or $10,000 total) and expire at the end of the year.

Paid Sick Leave: Under the same bill, many employers will have to provide 80 hours of paid-sick-leave benefits for several reasons, including if the employee has been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19. Employees could also use paid sick leave when they have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis, if they are caring for someone who is in quarantine or isolation, or their child's school or childcare service is closed because of the public health emergency. Paid-sick-leave benefits will be immediately available when the law takes effect and capped at $511 a day for a worker's own care and $200 a day when the employee is caring for someone else. This benefit will also expire at the end of 2020. *Note: There are some restrictions based on size of company and number of employees, so check with your company HR department to make sure.

Unemployment Benefits: The legislation boosts unemployment benefits, with nearly $1 billion in state grants to cover processing and paying unemployment insurance. It also raises the amount of assistance to states with high unemployment for those who have exhausted benefits already. Visit the CA EDD website https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/UI_Online_File_a_Claim.htm to file a claim.

Local Food Resources

Meal Relief Program: Sponsored by Lake Elsinore Storm, reduced prices on prepared meals for adults and kids. Visit www.diamondtaproom.com to order. Pick up at Storm Stadium or have delivered.

School District Meals for Students: Most Unified School Districts are hosting drive-thru distribution of prepared meals free of charge for students and their immediate families. Visit your child’s school district website for details.

Western Eagle Foundation: Non-profit organization and food pantry. Project Food Box offers a box of daily necessities such as milk, eggs, bread, vegetables, fruit, and snacks for only $16. (while supplies last). Check the Western Eagle Foundation Facebook page daily to see an updated list of items included in the Food Box. (No income requirements)