South Carolina’s unemployment rate rose for the 13th straight month in March to 11.4 percent tying a 26-year-old record. Nearly a quarter of a million people are currently out of work in the state and many households have shifted to survival mode financially.
Public Broadcasting System financial advice expert Jonathan Pond says persons out of work or people who think they soon will be should divide their expenses into three categories. Number one would be bills that have to be paid, followed by semi-discretionary bills which are those that you have to incur but you can cut back on, and thirdly those things that if push comes to shove you can eliminate.
Pond says while your temporary full time job is your search for a new full time job you must secure your housing and other essentials. “…the rent or the mortgage. I think you need to keep up with your insurance although there are ways cut back on your insurance coverage, your insurance premiums. You need to keep up with at least paying the minimums on your loans and you probably don’t want to pay more than the minimums at this point.”
Pond says if you know you are going to be late on a payment call your creditor before he calls you, explain your situation, and negotiate a payment plan.
Pond says most people view food and clothing as essentials but he places them in the semi-discretionary category because you can cut back on those items. “Buy generic products instead of brand name products. As for clothing, you can find very inexpensive sources of clothing. You need transportation but you can certainly cut back on that or carpool.”
Pond says if you own more than one car you may have to sell one of them in order to weather the financial crisis.
Pond says you may have to cut out several fun activities that require money like trips to ball games, the movies, or eating out. You may also have to pull the plug on your cable or satellite tv for a while. If at all possible Pond says you should find an economical solution to maintaining the family vacation.
“I’m not sure you want to cut out the family vacation necessarily but you can certainly vacation in areas that are close to where you live. As for South Carolina, a lot of us from up North like to come down to the coastal regions and there are some wonderful places to go there.”