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Furloughed At Christmas

I've heard from a lot of my friends that they plan on making the most of this Holiday Season. While I desperately want to, in reality, it's been a lot harder for me to accomplish than I thought it would. I've been working 6-7 days a week, and just recently found out that my husband will soon be furloughed come the first of the year, for about a month. He was already furloughed earlier this year, and that was a huge financial strain on us, and now we're faced with a second round of furloughs.
I know that this has been a reality for many working adults this year, and if it hasn't been furloughs, then it's been layoffs. For my family, finances have been extra tight this year, and it really got me thinking of ways that families might be able to save money this year and hopefully help to still provide for their families. Maybe even still celebrate the Holidays, social distancing, of course. 

If you own your own home, one thing to look into is a Covid-19 Mortgage Forbearance. Many mortgage companies are offering their customers anywhere between 3-6 month loan forbearance, which doesn't affect credit scores, and most won't accrue late fees or raise interest rates. This is a great way to help save a large chunk of change without worrying about losing your home. This will extend your loan by the forbearance period, but it's worth looking into. 

Many credit card companies are offering programs to help with percentage rates and forbearances. Call the customer service number to find out what options might be available to you. Some of these programs will prohibit the use of your credit card while you are enrolled in these programs. 

Utility Grants. Some cities are offering utility grants to help pay your utility bill. This could be a one time amount to help get you caught up or could be a program for a specific length of time. Many companies also offer an average program, where they will average out your utility bill, and this can sometimes lower your payment by more than half of what it normally is. I have taken advantage of this program with my local electric company, and it has saved me close to $70 a month. 

Shop around on products and policies. A few years ago, it was time for us to renew our homeowner's insurance, and our policy was pretty pricey. We sat down with our insurance agent and realized that if we switched and bundled our car insurance in with our homeowner's insurance, we'd be saving several hundreds of dollars a year. It saved us close to $70 a month when it came to our car insurance, and we ended up with a way better policy than what we had with a competitor. 

Meal plan and budget your meals. This one is hard for me, but I do tend to save money when I grocery shop by sticking to a meal plan. I also shop at Aldi, and that helps me save an average of $40-60 a week on groceries. With the cost of food skyrocketing this year, I've had to make sure that I stick to my meal plans and that I make time to meal plan. We've been doing a lot of crockpot meals that will have a fair amount of leftovers for lunches the next few days. This saves us money on eating out and saves us money on our grocery bill. Look for local discount stores where you can get the best deal on meat and produce. 

There are so many ways to help save money on your monthly bills, and hopefully, help make this Holiday Season a bit easier. I know for many out there, this is a hard time of year, I know that good and well. Please don't give up hope, things will get better. We're all in this season together and we care about you. God Bless You! 

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