I started university in the year of the Great Recession. When I graduated four years later, it took me a year to find a job. During that time, inflation was especially high in Jamaica, as it often is on islands because we import the vast majority of the resources we need. While not every millennial gets their start to adulthood in the Third World, we all have our stories of coming of age during an economic decline.
Now, just as we’re getting our feet into the careers we want, here comes another recession looming over the horizon. In just a matter of weeks, the U.S. went from record-low unemployment rates to 3.2 million jobs lost. California alone received 1 million unemployment claims in less than two weeks. Today, I received an email from one of my favorite clients; they decided to pause our services and close their doors.
Combined with quarantine limitations and the need to rely on ourselves for some formerly outsourced services, many of us are re-evaluating our adulting skills. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do have four tips to help you improve your post-womb life — not just for the COVID-19 era but our lives beyond that.
1. Get Supplemental Insurance
As I said in an earlier post, I lost my health insurance last year and decided to wait out the uninsured period until I could move to Nevada or California where my insurance quotes were as little as just $10 per month — yes; I’m serious. In Georgia, I’m looking at anywhere from $200 to $300 and refuse to pay that money monthly to then also have a ridiculously high deductible.
Then, along came Miss Rona! So, I got supplemental insurance. I bought hospital insurance for just $16 per month. If I am ever hospitalized, it pays $1,000 for every day up to 30 days. United HealthCare also has accident insurance, critical illness insurance and a whole host of others to choose from. *This is the link I usually use to check. Plans differ based on zip code.
2. Pay Bills Upfront
I know a guy in Metro Atlanta who pays his full lease upfront every six months to a year. He is not wealthy. He worked $12 an hour at a full-time job while in school and lived on the outskirts of the city. He saved to make those big down payments because it earned him a discount on his monthly rent and that was one less bill to worry about.
I do this for my car insurance and highly recommend it. Insurance companies might give you up to a 10% discount for deciding to pay your premium in full. I find that the savings stop after six months, so I never pay for the full year.
3. Wait for Holiday Deals
Some people say waiting for holiday deals is a waste of time because those deals always come back around. I keep things in my shopping cart and the best deals are on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas. This is the best time to get subscriptions and buy expensive tech gear.
I realize I may need a phone with more storage, but I am stubbornly waiting until Black Friday for the phone prices to dip again. The phone I want right now was selling for $300 off for Cyber Monday last year. I also got Hulu for $1.99 per month during that time, plus free Kindle Unlimited for 30 days and free YouTube Premium for 90 days.
4. Invest With Your Family
America is a very individualistic culture and families do not seem to share the same cultural values we do in the West Indies, Asia and Africa. In our societies, families are more likely to share resources over a longer period of time. For instance, I own family land in Jamaica, and my first home in America, I bought with my mom.
Again, I get that some people are not on good terms with their parents or can’t trust them. If you can, however, sharing resources can help to reduce financial stress and even new-parenting worries. No; I don’t mean you never contribute to bills or ditch the kids with Mom and Dad every Friday and Saturday night. I mean consistent mutual give and take.
The novel coronavirus is really doing a number on a lot of us, but I think it’s also the perfect moment to re-evaluate decisions, consider life choices for the future and pick up a few skills. I’ve taken up painting again and have plans to FINALLY try out the violin. So, what adulting tips would you recommend? Share them with me in the comments below!
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* I am not an insurance salesperson and cannot formally recommend any insurance policy to you. I’m just sharing what worked for me. I have no arrangements with United HealthCare and receive no commission or any other reward for mentioning them. I am a policyholder and have never made a claim.