Coronavirus Emergency Budget

Coronavirus Emergency Budget Worksheet – how to plan for Coronavirus budget for expenses with reduced income

This budget is “bottom line” serious.

Forget about wimpy “cutting back on your entertainment expenses” and recommendations to “set aside something for a rainy day fund.”


Here’s how to do it.

And what to do if your budget doesn’t balance.

Focus on: Shelter, food, transportation, medical.

Shelter – Housing

This is the biggest single expense for most of us.

If you can afford to, keep your house payment or rent current.

If loss of job means you have only enough for food, transportation and medical, then you have a serious problem and need to make some serious choices.
If renting, know that your landlord may or may not be able to file an eviction right now.
And, even if an eviction is filed, there may be a delay in getting a hearing.

Delay means more time for you.

But if your budget is tight, moving expenses need to be considered.

You could approach the landlord and discuss delayed payment plans.
If buying, you should know that some mortgage lenders are working with homeowners, some aren’t.

Some courts are still processing foreclosure cases, some are not.
Some counties have suspended foreclosure sheriff sales. But not all.

And, in Ohio, some sales are being conducted online, by Private Sale, bypassing the sheriff sale process.
Still, foreclosure takes months, and you might be able to work out a forbearance agreement with the lender once you get back to work.


Beyond housing, food is a big budget item.

It costs a significant amount to feed your family.

It’s cheaper to cook at home.
Stop eating any meals out.

Brown bag lunch if you’re fortunate enough to still be going to work.

No junk food, nothing but the basics. Buy sale items, in bulk if it makes sense.

Our basic budget amount is $250 per month per person.

Many of my clients have managed on less.

I have done it myself. Not fun, but doable.


Car payments should be kept current.
Foreclosure may take months, but repossessions happen overnight.

If you have used your car as collateral on a loan, for example, to One Main, call and request a deferral.
Larger lenders may also work with you.

Above all, you need your transportation.

You can’t afford a repo, unless you have a dependable backup.

If you have two cars with loans, and can’t afford to keep both, consider letting one go back to the bank.
Remember, however, that a “voluntary repo” will ultimately result in you owing a deficiency after the vehicle is sold at auction. But, this all takes time, and you can seek an arrangement with the creditor later, when you can afford it.

You have an immediate need now, and sacrificing a car to get out from under the payment may be necessary to manage basic living expenses.


Some insurance companies are waiving copays and charges for treatment for COVID 19. Most are not, however, and if you do need medical treatment, having insurance is important.

Even if you have to go uninsured because you cannot afford to pay your health insurance premium, you’ll still be able to be seen at the ER.
Prescriptions can be expensive. Call your doctor’s office and see if they can help. Some doctors know of ways to lower costs through coupons, generic substitutions and even giving out samples in some cases.

I have discussed medical situations with several of my clients and staff and it seems that doctors are more willing now to prescribe by phone, and not insist that you come into their office right now.

Financial Triage

This is an emergency.

A health emergency and also, for most of us, a financial emergency.

Time for hard decisions.

I don’t know a single person or business not suffering serious problems right now.

You need a plan.

The plan need several parts – what we do now will affect what happens to us, and what options we have open to us later.

Plan for the coronavirus disruption to last longer than you think.

How long?

I am planning on 2 to 3 months of reduced income.

The governor’s order has been extended to May 1 – it may be extended again.

For now, do your disaster budget.

And consider how long you can last under current conditions before having to make drastic decisions about what you can no longer afford to pay.
Then, ask yourself if you should make the drastic decisions not, before they have to be made, and how much money you will save by doing this, and how long it might extend your ability to “shelter in place” until things start to get better.

These are tough decisions.

By making this budget now, and thinking about tough times now, you’ll feel better – even if you suddenly realize that things are not as good as you thought they were – knowing where you stand.

And, more important than how you feel about it, you will ACTUALLY be better prepared, and you’ll make the tough decisions now, or at least when they need to be made, instead of sticking your head in the sand and pretending that things will take care of themselves.

Things might take care of themselves, but hope is not a plan.

You need a plan.

Make it now – Download here:

emergency budget worksheet