On Thursday, the partial government shutdown set a new record, 34 days, as the impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall continues. Unless you have a healthy emergency rainy-day fund, the choices you make to pay your bills now may have long term repercussions.
Here are a few tips that just may help you out.
Tony Steuer, financial expert and author of GET READY!: A Step-by-Step Planner for Maintaining Your Financial First Aid Kit, has devised an emergency plan listing the most important things to do if you’re facing financial strain due to the shutdown:
- Reduce your expenses. Not a fun suggestion, but it might be time to save your latte money. Cut out restaurants and any luxury expenses.
- Create other income streams. Because the shutdown has no real forcible end date, now might be the time to pick up shifts with Uber or Lyft or sell extra items on Ebay.
- Borrow wisely. When you have reached the limit on other income sources and cutting expenses, you may be considering borrowing money. As always, consider fees and interest rates. If you decide to do credit card 0% balance transfer offers or advances, be sure to add the offer expiration dates to your calendar so that you can pay off the balance to avoid deferred interest charges.
- File for your tax refund on time – shutdown or no. Anticipating a tax refund? File your tax returns asap to get that extra cash, which you can use to help pay off credit cards and other shutdown debts. Unlike in previous shutdown contingency plans, the IRS will issue refunds to taxpayers even if the U.S. government shutdown extends into the filing season.