Losing your job can be a scary time in anyone’s life, the emotion alone can set people on the road to depression or making irrational decisions. It is important to get a grip on your finances quickly and maintain this stability through out your brief time of unemployment.
1. Get the full picture, start a budget and stick to it.
When one is used to a steady pay check it is easy to lose focus of where the money goes, we know that in two weeks or payday the supply will be replenished again. Now is the time to sit down, pull out the paper and pen and put it all out there. Start with your necessities, housing, utilities, food and transportation. These items should be put at the top of your list, total them up and then you can list the things that you think you can not live without but probably can.
2. Cut the Fat, Clip those coupons
Once you have all the items down on paper and you see what actually goes out each month, you can then analyze how to cut the costs. Housing is a set price with little or no negotiation, so unless you plan to move to a cheaper place, there is really no room for discussion here. However, you can trim the cost of all the other items on your list.
Utilities can be trimmed by simply following a few simple rules. For the electric bill you can do simple things like using lower wattage bulbs or energy efficient bulbs, use your items that require more energy use on the “off peak” hours, these items are your dryer, your hot water tank and other appliances that use some type of heating element. Stop by or call your electric company for a list of energy saving tips, they will be happy to supply you with one.
Food can be one of your biggest cost saving items on your list, by taking the time to clip the coupons and looking through the sales ads you can save a lot of money. Look for the double/triple coupon sales and take advantage of it. Find the in store promotions and save more. Seek out the stores that offer the extra incentives, like fuel perks or extra coupons printed at the check out counter on the items that you use most. Doing a little research and shopping the ads is a little time consuming but you will be amazed when you figure out how much you will actually be saving.
Fuel prices are at an all time high, getting your vehicle tuned up and keeping the proper tire pressure will give your vehicle better gas mileage. Consider carpooling, if this is not possible for work then consider it for other activities, such as the kid’s activities, buddy up with another parent and take turns taking the kids to those after school activities. This will also free up some time to let you do the things that need your attention, like job searching.
3. Stick to the budget
Once you have established a budget, have a full view of what your financial picture actually is, stick with it, it won’t be easy, but with time and patience it will get easier.
4. Don’t pass up opportunity
Don’t pass up opportunity to save or make a little extra money.Be aware that you may not have the opportunity for full time employment right away, taking odd jobs to supplement your unemployment or just to make any money at all will make it easier to deal with.
5. Stay positive
Keep a good mental mind set during this time, it will enable you to stay on track. Once you are working again, put away an emergency fund for the future.