The recent financial crisis has really hit everybody hard, especially the average middle-class American. My husband had a very good job working for a pharmaceutical until the company started to lose money, prompting lay-offs. While my job has more or less been secure, it’s still undergoing changes, mainly that our hours are getting cut.
In reaction to this, I took a step ahead of other co-workers and listened to my intuition. When everybody was saying things were okay, I already knew that they weren’t. I went ahead and started applying for part-time jobs at other places so that I could supplement my income and possibly get a foot in the door before the mad rush of job applicants beat me to it.
I also read the news and listened to advice from experts regarding job trends and the economy in general to figure out the best routes to take. I basically think the saying “better to be safe than sorry” is applicable here. Yes, while it’s true that we can always use unemployment if we become unable to work, it won’t last forever, and it’s better to get ahead while others don’t know or are in denial.
This may sound sneaky or devious to some, but I think it’s just plain old smart! You can’t live your life in denial and think that the problem will just go away. I also realise a lot of the reasons for not going out there and finding something is because we are afraid of change and have been comfortable with things as they are, but I’ve always been the type who thinks ahead during emergencies, and I knew I could not let this economy let me become another victim.
In addition to getting a head-start with finding alternative employment, I also have started trimming the budget even more so. I have inquired about different car insurance quotes, for example, before my current policy ends. I am shopping for the best deals in every area. I have already also tried to fix my credit card problems. I have budgeted at least several months ahead of time so that if there ever comes a time when I’m in really dire straights, I will know exactly what to do without having to resort to bankruptcy. Right now I’ve consolidated my credit card payments because of this in anticipation.
Another step I’ve taken is finding better places to purchase groceries. I’ve learned how to prepare healthy but inexpensive meals that fit my current budget and have thought about trimming off even more excess money by learning how to grow my own vegetables or stocking up on cheaper dry goods like beans, rice, and other legumes.
Since I also have a student loan to pay, I’ve learned to delay using a deferment unless it is a real emergency. I think it’s best not to defer anything if it incurs even more high interest later. It’s better to plan ahead and give yourself a deadline. When things truly do become impossible to keep up with, then I realise I might have to resort to deferment, but until then, I am just going to keep doing what I’m doing now.
While my husband keeps plugging away looking for jobs (his job field is really doing poorly right now), I will keep doing my own part. He helps by being the “house-husband” and understands that I’m getting burned out from working so much. He does 90% of the cleaning, cooking, and anything else that needs to be done. I usually like to cook with him on my days off and I enjoy cleaning sometimes too, but he does the majority of the work.
The best thing couples can do in times like these is to become even closer and work hard together. To be selfish or unwilling to give 100% to each other is not the answer right now, and I know that many women are working seven days a week while their husbands are not. It’s just a matter of survival, as far as I see it, and if you don’t swim, you will sink. I don’t mean to sound harsh, as I am hardly the person to believe in the sink-or-swim, “dog eat dog” ethos of our society, but as I mentioned before, I don’t want to become a victim, and I refuse to become a victim. I intend to come out of this economic downturn a survivor.