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How to budget your money after suddenly losing your job

Dr. Michael Gutter with the University of Florida says the first thing you need to do is remain calm and focus on what you can control.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The bills are due and you need to buy food for your family, but you have no idea when you will receive your next paycheck. Unfortunately, this is the current reality for many people in our state and across our country who are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"There's a lot of things you don't have control over right now and you can only stress about those so much," Dr. Michael Gutter said.

Gutter with the University of Florida says the first thing you need to do is remain calm and focus on what you can control. You have to keep your financial and emotional health in check.

"The added stress of losing a job, looking for work, being furloughed is only going to add to it," he said.

Gutter says this is time to get organized, set priorities, and take a hard look at your budget. 

For example, write down your financial goals. What exactly do you want to achieve? Also, find out where your money is going.  What do you buy?  What monthly expenses do you have? Basically, figure out what money is coming in and what money is going out. 

"If there is something you still kind of need for sanity's sake right now, how can you cut back?" he asked. "How can you do it differently? How can you do it for less or do you need to absolutely eliminate it?"

Gutter recommends paying the necessary bills, like utilities and housing, and seeing what relief programs are available if you don't have the money.  You can use this calendar to write all your expenses out and come up with a financial plan. 

"Keep doing the things you can do proactively, so you don't get lost in the things that are of your control."

The University of Florida offers financial counseling, click here, for more information. 

For a guide to managing your money during this pandemic, click here.