How to Survive Financially After You Lose Your Job

Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Losing your job can be shocking and stressful. You can feel lost and unsure of how to spend your days.

You may worry that your savings account will run out soon if you don’t secure income.

If you have a mortgage to pay or a family to support, you may wonder how you’re going to keep everything afloat.

Right now, it’s imperative that you make your money stretch as far as it can until you’re able to find a new job or income stream.

How to Survive Financially After You Lose Your Job
Image Source: Unsplash

  • Find Out What You’re Entitled To

    Losing your job doesn’t mean you’ll immediately lose every single perk that came with it. It’s possible that you’ll be able to keep your health insurance benefits for a limited time or that your severance package will pay you a certain amount for the next few months. You also may be able to apply for unemployment. While you may not be able to piece together full-time income from these types of benefits, it will give you some padding that you can use as you search for a new job. Ask about what you’re entitled to and make sure that you get it.

  • Stick to Your Budget, and Adjust it as Necessary

    You should already have a family budget, so your first step is going to be sticking to it – this isn’t the time to add unexpected expenses, like a vacation, or to overspend on necessities like groceries. This is also a good time to take a close look at your budget and make cuts where possible. You don’t need a gym membership or cable, and even if you have to pay a cancellation fee, cutting services could mean saving more over the next few months. When it comes to expenses you can’t remove, like heat, electricity, food, and gas, figure out how to save. For example, you can unplug appliances when they’re not in use, clip coupons before going grocery shopping and carpool more to cut down on gasoline costs.

  • Make Your Home More Efficient

    There’s nothing worse than getting your utility bill and knowing you can’t afford it. You’ll wonder every day if that’s the day your lights will be shut off. Understanding how some of your appliances work and making small tweaks for a more efficient home can lower that bill to an affordable amount, though.

    For example:

    • Open blinds and curtains to let in natural light and to lessen the need for your lamps and overhead lights.

    • Ask your utility company if costs are higher certain times of the day. For example, you may pay more if you run your washer and dryer during high-use times.

    • Many people assume that closing doors to unused rooms will make an air conditioner more efficient, but it’s actually better for your wallet and air quality if you let the AC cool the entire space it’s intended for.

    Some of these practices and habits will carry over even after you’ve found a new job. There’s nothing wrong with saving money even when you’re not strapped for cash! In fact, that’s a perfect time to do it to always ensure you have money to fall back on in times of emergency and need.

  • Sell the Items You Don’t Want

    You probably have unused or unwanted items stashed away somewhere, or maybe they’re in random spots around the house, good as new. Hold a garage sale to make some money off the items you don’t get any value from.

    There are a few things you can do to make your garage sale successful:

    • If your location doesn’t get a lot of foot or car traffic, ask a friend in a better location if you can have the garage sale at their house.

    • Group items together in a way that makes sense. For example, if people are looking at your wine glasses, they may also want plates or cutlery.

    • Put breakables up high and on a sturdy surface. You’ll lose out on potential income if a child accidentally breaks a valuable item.

    While a garage sale will be a one-time income stream, it could earn you enough to buy a week’s worth of groceries or pay a couple of bills. When you lose your job, every little bit helps.

  • Open Up Credit

    Relying on credit is not the best way to survive a job layoff, but it is a better option than withdrawing from your retirement account, which will come with a high fee. If you know you’re going to be losing your job, pay off your credit as much as possible so that you don’t continue paying interest and so you can have more credit available.

    You may also want to open up new credit, preferably credit lines with 0% interest incentives for several months. You don’t want to rely solely on your credit, but it can be a life-saver if you’re faced with a bill you can’t pay or an unexpected expense, like car trouble.

Wrapping Up

Few things are more stressful or damaging to your finances than sudden job loss. If you know in advance you’ll be losing your job, there are steps you can take to make the transition as smooth as possible. Even if you get fired on-the-spot one day, you still may have the benefits and financial wiggle room to make it through the next few weeks or months until you find a new job.

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