Review Your Budget:
We immediately looked at our outgoing debt, and began to red line anything that was not a vital need. TV was canceled, cell phone plans reduced, kids allowances put on hold, and no entertainment fund. We had to recreate our budget to bare bones. You can visit my post, 10 Steps to Creating a Budget, if you don't have one in place. Highly recommended that you do!
Apply for Assistance Programs:
As soon as we found out he was going to be laid off, we applied for unemployment through the State, food stamps through Social Services, heating & cooling programs through our Electrical Company, and contacted our mortgage company for payment options. Now whether or not we would actually end up needing all of this would be determined by how quick my husband found a job. The key is to get the process started before you actually need it, as some of these programs can take weeks to get an approval on. This step was hard for me, as I have a hard time receiving from others. It is very humbling to request help. But, don't be embarrassed or ashamed to do so. Your need is just as great as anyone elses!
Plan on spending your new free days searching jobs on the computer, newspaper, and stopping by potential job prospects. Print off several updated resumes and carry them with you at all times. Follow up with an employer, once you have submitted your resume or application. That helps get your name out from underneath the stack.
Re-evaluate Grocery Lists:
We had to adjust our life style a lot here! In an effort to stretch our food allowance, we had to temporarily give up our Organic eating habits, and go for the cheapest food possible. Let's just say, my kids were introduced to pre-packaged TV Dinners during this time frame. We did not by anything above and beyond breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I utilized coupons and paired them with weekly store specials to get the best price possible. For tips on how to get started couponing, visit my Tips for Newbie Couponers.
Look for Side Work:
Since my husband is a Master Electrician, he put those skills to work, during our layoff. He was able to bring in additional income, by doing side jobs for friends, family, and anyone who needed it! He charged significantly below the price a company would, but volume of work added up quickly. Whether you do computer work, managing, or a specific trade, there is always a need in the community for side work. Consider getting a part time job in the evenings, delivering pizza or something, since most business offices are closed at that time. You need to consider yourself in survival mode!
Make people aware of your circumstance. The only way people can help you and keep their ears open, is if they know your situation. Don't be ashamed to share your needs with others. I had posted several times on my social media outlets, that my husband was looking for work, and we got a lot of replies with leads. Plus, we even had some great family and friends help us out financially.
Prepare Yourself Mentally:
Don't keep assuming you'll have a job next week, therefore you are doing nothing about it right now. Look at this from the perspective of a longer term, even though the ideal situation would land you something much sooner. By looking at it in a longer time frame, you will be able to make adjustments from the get-go and will adapt much easier. Also, make plans as if you will find a job paying less than you were originally making. Again, we hope that is not the case, but it is good to be prepared for the worse case scenario, yet hope for the best. Check out my Reality Check: 10 Lessons, Peeves, & Eye-Openers During a Job Loss.
Find support during this difficult, challenging time--spouse, family, friends. My husband and I kept open communication during those three months, expressing fear, frustration, excitement, bitterness...the range of emotions will take you on a roller coater! If you are married, be sure to show your spouse that you support their decisions, and encourage him/her during this degrading experience.
We really trusted and relied on God to direct our decisions during this process. At one point, toward the middle of the third month of unemployment, my husband was actually offered a job. We both knew in our heart or hearts that God was telling us to hold off. It was a HUGE step of faith, refusing work when you need it most. But, sure enough not even two weeks later, he was offered a position with better pay, benefits, and with a company that really cares about its employees!
Needless to say, in October he was hired on with a wonderful company. Despite our $20,000 income loss per year, we continue to move forward financial, as we make further adjustments to the needs and wants in our budget. It is amazing how much you can actually do without, when you can't afford to have it! Below are some of the posts I wrote, during our three layoff. Reading them back, I can see my emotional roller coaster in action!
Have you experienced a layoff? I would love to hear what creative things you did to make it through! Leave a comment below!