Monday, 15 June 2020

Millions of young adults are furloughed, laid off or recently graduated with few career options available in the middle of a pandemic. If you're spending your days confined to a small apartment or in your childhood bedroom at your parents' home, you don't have to waste this time.

As you're waiting to get your freedom and your life back, binge-watching movies may be an easy way to spend the time. But you can also use the opportunity to take meaningful steps that will prepare you for a better life ahead.

Consider these five options for making lemonade out of pandemic lemons.

1. Learn something new

If you've always wanted to learn how to knit, play chess or take up a musical instrument, this may be the extra time you've been needing. With YouTube and online video tutorials, a personal instructor may not even be necessary. By spending some of your quarantine time watching tutorials and practicing your new skill, you can fight off boredom and enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing something new.

2. Start an online side gig

Does it seem like everyone you know has some sort of money-making side gig? Now might be the perfect time to join them. Being stuck at home means an online business may make the most sense—and there are plenty of options. If you're crafty, you might start an e-commerce shop selling your wares. Or, if you're a creative or technical professional, hang your virtual shingle as a freelance coder, designer, writer or illustrator. Launching your own side gig can be a valuable experience all its own, and you just might emerge from isolation with a new reliable income stream.

3. Join a virtual group

There's value in solitude, but too much of it can be challenging for anyone. Maybe you can't see your friends, co-workers or extended family members in person right now, but you can still interact with people and build worthwhile relationships online. Consider joining a virtual book club or community group for social interaction, or a professional networking group to continually improve your career prospects. Remember, building relationships online is similar to doing so in real life—focus on giving more than taking, and don't be afraid to let your genuine personality shine through.

4. Build a budget

If you've never had a spending plan, or if you've recently experienced a change in income, consider taking time to develop a budget. Don't be turned off by the word “budget," it really just means a written plan for spending your money. In addition to your monthly expenses, be sure to include savings in your monthly plan, so you can be prepared for future uncertainty. Armed with a budget that works, you'll be more financially prepared to face your post-pandemic life.

5. Start planning your next big purchase

Do you hope to buy a house, car or other large item? If so, it's never too early to start planning for that purchase. Consider using your extra time at home to research the cost of the item you want, the process for doing so, and develop a savings plan to get you on the road toward making that purchase.

Maybe your life, like so many others, has been interrupted for the time being. But that doesn't mean you have to put everything on hold. Use this time to take some productive steps that will set you up for a better life down the road.


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