- A strong economy and declining unemployment make a fourth stimulus check less likely.
- There are ways to cope financially in the absence of that windfall.
We may not see further stimulus aid. Here's how to compensate.
Will another stimulus check hit Americans' bank accounts this year? At this point, that's not looking likely. Not only has the unemployment rate reached its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, but the labor market is full of available jobs. While we are still grappling with a massive wave of COVID-19 cases, health experts are optimistic that it could be short-lived.
All of this makes another stimulus check unlikely -- and unnecessary -- in the near term. But that's not the news struggling Americans want to hear.
Inflation has driven the cost of living way up. Many people are struggling to make ends meet -- something a fourth stimulus check could really help with. But since that windfall isn't looking like it's going to happen, here are some essential steps to take if you're having a hard time keeping up with your expenses.
1. Get on a strict budget
When living costs rise, cutting back on non-essentials can become necessary. Take a look at your budget, or set up a budget if you don't have one yet, and see where there's room to slash expenses. That could mean targeting one large expense, like selling your car and getting by without one if that's possible where you live. Or, it could mean canceling things like your cable package and gym membership until money becomes less tight.
2. Get a better-paying job
Some employers are giving out generous raises in 2022 to both help workers combat inflation and retain staff at a time when so many people are quitting their jobs. But if you didn't get a raise, it may be time to start exploring outside opportunities. Do some research and see what options are available, because a new job could be your ticket to a higher paycheck -- one that could easily take the place of an absent stimulus payment.
3. Take on a side hustle
If you're not able to snag a higher salary at your main job and you can't or don't want to find a new one, a side hustle could be your ticket to better pay -- and more financial flexibility. There are numerous gigs you can take on that'll put more cash in your pocket, whether it's driving for a ride-hailing company, picking up weekend shifts at a local supermarket, or getting paid to blog from home.
Also, because so many people have shifted to ordering goods online, there's a lot of demand for warehouse and distribution center workers right now. You may be able to find weekend work in that area somewhat easily, depending on where you live.
4. Use credit cards strategically
Paying more at the supermarket and at the pump is no fun. But with the right credit card, you can turn those higher expenses into additional cash back. That's money you can use to pay other bills or pad your savings for a little more breathing room.
A fourth stimulus check may not be in the cards this year. And while that's a good thing from an economic standpoint, it may be a harsh blow for your personal finances. But don't just resign yourself to a year of struggles if that's the case. Instead, take steps to lower your spending and boost your income as best as you can.
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