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Reducing Expenses During Times of Crisis

Tips on how to reduce expenses when you are hit with job loss.

Nashville, Ark. – Are you experiencing job loss due to the recent announcement of the local plant closing? The financial hardships and stress caused by job loss can be overwhelming. Even though the projected closure date is still months away, there are some things you can do now to reduce your anxiety.

Did you get laid off?

Contact the unemployment agency to see if you qualify for unemployment benefits. Call the hotline 24/7. 844-908-2178. Apply online EZARC. Applicants can apply online or call the hotline.

For more information, visit the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

Let’s explore some changes you can make that will help you manage until things return to normal.

  • Reorganize – Look at your current situation. Accept that things will be different for a while and regroup.

  • List income - Start by listing all the income you have coming in. Is one spouse working? Do you have other sources of income? Are there things you might be able to sell? Are you willing to work temporarily at another job?

  • What do you owe? – Make a list of all your bills. List them from most important to least important. You may not have enough money to pay all bills. Read your credit contracts. What penalties, late charges, or risk of repossession are associated with them? Call the credit companies and see if they can renegotiate or if they will delay payments. Explain your situation.

  • Make a plan. Look at things you can do – not at things you can’t do. Make a new plan. Your goal is to find ways to live within your current situation. Face up to the fact that you can’t continue to spend as you have. Regain control by taking a hard look at your budget and finding ways to make ends meet.

  • Identify your basic needs. Food and shelter are at the top of the list. What else is essential for your family’s survival? It may be medicine. Discuss and prioritize those needs. Every family is different. The important thing to realize is what is a need (things you must have) and what is a want (things you would like to have). Wants can be put aside until your financial situation improves.

  • Make a budget – If you don’t know where to start, check out our fact sheet or call the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517 and I will be glad to mail a sample budget to you.

  • Stop using credit – While you are transitioning from one job to another. In today’s world it is super easy to get online and order stuff or wants. Remember, anything you put on a credit card must be repaid at some point! Use credit only in an emergency.

  • Communicate – Talk with all family members and explain the situation. Be honest about the situation. Work together to devise a new plan. They may be able to think of things you haven’t to help get through. If you have young children, talk to them about changes that will need to be made. Reassure them that you will take care of them. A basic need for children is the need to feel secure.

  • Rank bills and creditors according to the degree of risk involved:
    • Rent, house payment, food, utilities and insurance are first priorities. They are needs, those things you must have in order to live.
    • Your second priorities are minimum payment for credit cards and other outstanding debts. If you have been making more than minimum payments in these areas, you can find some extra money to use elsewhere to meet your obligations. Keep in mind, making more than minimum payments is ideal; however, during times of crisis that may be all you can do.

Managing the stress and hardship of a reduced income is not easy. There are no easy answers. Remember, you are the same person as before but with a reduced cash flow. You will get through this!

If you would like additional information and educational resources to help you through this time of financial crisis, check out our website or call the Howard County Extension office at 870-845-7517.

Recipe of the Week

This recipe was prepared by 4-hers at a recent Cooking Workshop. All the participants loved it! This recipe is easy to prepare and is perfect for busy nights when school starts. If you need help finding low-cost, easy-to-prepare recipes, check out the USDA Choose MyPlate website which has hundreds of tried and true, great tasting, low cost recipes.

Easy Lasagna

  • ½ pound lean ground beef

  • 28 ounces canned low sodium diced tomatoes

  • 6 ounces canned no salt added tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 8 ounces whole grain egg noodles

  • 8 ounces low-fat cottage cheese

  • ¼ cup reduced-fat Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Brown ground beef in a skillet.

  2. Drain off fat and return to skillet. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning.

  3. Bring to a boil.

  4. In a saucepan, cook pasta according to directions on the package.

  5. Remove and drain in colander.

  6. Add cooked noodles and cottage cheese to beef mixture.

  7. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

  8. Cover and remove from heat.

  9. Let stand for 4 minutes to melt cheese. Yield: 6 servings

    Note: Add different spices and herbs for additional flavor. Garlic and Oregano would taste great!


  1. Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories, 7g fat, 400 mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate, 6g fiber.


Looking for more recipes?

Check out our healthy recipes!


By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.