The loss of a job can cause panic and insecurity, but these tips for financial survival after job loss will assist you in assessing your situation and creating a plan of action. It can be tempting to give in to depression and hopelessness, but it is the worst thing you can do in a financial emergency. This is especially true if you have a family depending on you. These tips can help you handle things like a pro.
It seems like every day, the news informs us about another company downsizing. Suddenly, several thousand more people are out of work. Life can feel incredibly fragile and intimidating when you’re the one being downsized, especially when you have a family counting on you. Many of us are the sole provider in our households. And even in homes where there are two incomes, the loss of one of them can be devastating.
But the loss of a job does not have to be the end of the world. Take a deep breath. Relax. Let’s take a look at some tips for financial survival after a job loss.
6 Most Effective Financial Survival Tips after a Job Loss
1. Evaluate Your Assets
It’s hard to make a plan without a complete understanding of your financial situation. So grab some paper and pen and start listing your assets.
Document the balance in your checking account, savings accounts, Paypal account, your 401K, the $80 you have hidden away in the sock drawer for emergencies, and anyone who owes you money. Write it all down so you can see how much money you have, in hand, right now.
Once you’re done, take an inventory of your stuff. Think about things of value that you could sell or pawn. Think about things that you could list on Ebay or sell in a yard sale. If the amount of your cash in hand is of concern, selling your excess items is an excellent way to declutter while helping your family survive.
2. Get Clear About Your Budget
If you have not already worked out a budget for your household, now is the time. It’s vital that you know exactly what expenses you have and how much it costs you, per month, to pay your bills and live your life.
Write everything down – your rent or house payment, utilities, phone, car payment, car insurance, any other insurance, credit cards, and everything else you pay every month. Look at what you spend, on average, for groceries every month, and gas for the car. And yes, the beer you drink on weekends counts, too. Write it all down.
Once you know all the money you have on hand, and all the expenses you have to pay every month, you have a solid overview of the situation. If you find that you have enough money to survive a longer time than you believe it will realistically take for you to find a new job, seeing that in black and white can provide a lot of comforts.
On the other hand, if your funds are seriously lacking and replacing your job might take longer than you can afford, the sooner you know, the faster you can get a handle on the situation.
3. Formulate a Survival Plan
Now that you have your budget all laid out in front of you where you can get a good look at it, you are in a position of power. It may not feel like it, but I assure you that it is true. Once you have a solid handle on the money you spend, you are in the perfect position to think strategically and come up with a plan.
Grab that handy pen and paper again. Now it’s time to look at your expenses, one by one, and categorize them in terms of priority. This is not always as easy as it might sound, and you are the only one who can truly determine what expenses need to take priority in your life. But an example breakdown might look something like this:
You may wonder why I listed things the way I did. Why, for example, would I put “Rent” and “Car Insurance” in the Mandatory list and put “Car Payment” and “House Payment” on the flexible side?
This is where you have to really think about the payments you are making. Rent is in the Mandatory side because landlords are often very unwilling to work with you for long when you are late with the rent.
On the other hand, loan companies are often a lot more likely to work with you if you get behind on a house payment and most of the time, you can get by a full three months before they foreclose.
They really don’t want your house back. They lose money when they have to repo a house and resell it. It is in their best interest to work with you. So, depending on your current situation, you may have a lot of flexibility with some of your bills.
Store credit cards and furniture purchases you have charged can usually be safely put on the “Last Priority” list. Yes, missing payments will effect your credit, but when you are looking for practical ways to feed your children as long as possible, you can let the credit history stuff slide a little.
It is nearly the same as the big-name credit cards. It is certainly true if you have one that is already maxed out. Put that on the “Last Priority” list for now. If they have to live for a few months without your money, they will be just fine.
However, if you have a credit card with a large enough balance available that it could make a difference in your survival, pay that bill. Protect that asset, just in case.
Once you have all your items listed by priority, you have the beginning of a plan. You know what bills you must pay and you know the ones you can safely set aside for later.
4. Think Creatively to Reduce Spending
Save gas by doing as much job hunting online as possible. If you have to cut off the Internet, get online at your local library and combine the trip with other chores as often as possible. Simplify your grocery bill to basic staples and items you find on sale. Avoid convenience foods and snacks as much as possible.
5. Bring in Money Where You Can
If you need more money than you have, look for opportunities to earn. Collectible items and collections of books and other items often sell well on Ebay. Clear out some of your gently used clothing items, books, movies, jewelry, and other treasures you are able to part with while earning some money. There are also many great ways you can make money online.
6. Be Gentle on Yourself and Have Faith
It’s inportant you have faith. Every ending is a new beginning. That sounds like a trite “feel good” statement, but it really is true. Regardless of that, losing a job hurts – even if you weren’t wild about the job, to begin with. Rejection hurts.
Do what you can to nurture yourself. Take practical steps to give yourself as much time as possible to find new employment. Take positive steps every day, and one moment at a time, you can find your way.
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