Few things in life are as difficult to recover from as a job loss. It’s hard enough to save money for car repairs and appliances, let alone to have enough to sustain you when you’re unemployed. If you’ve ever been through something like this, you know how depressing it can get, especially when you can’t find work right away. Here are some financial strategies you can use to make the process easier.
Develop a Plan
The first thing to do is create a plan. Would you like to remain in the same field or have you been waiting for an opportunity to do something different? If the former applies to you, then you should already know where to begin applying for work. If the latter has been on your mind, this may be your best chance to switch careers. Look into schools that align with your alternate career choices and jobs with flexible schedules. You may have to downsize a bit, but there are plenty of students who make it work between school, financial aid and their restaurant jobs.
File for Benefits
Don’t be so embarrassed about your situation that you are reluctant to collect unemployment benefits. It’s understandable to have some pride in working for your money but remember that your employer contributed to this fund through their taxes. Regardless of why you lost your job, this is your last chance to get something from them and it will help lighten the burden until you find a new job.
Contact Your Creditors
The worst thing you can do when you’re out of a job is lean on your credit cards in an attempt to catch up. There’s no way to know how long you’ll be unemployed and you might end up with a job that pays less, only to have incurred additional debt. The best thing to do is get in touch with your creditors and see if there’s anything they can do to help. If you have a mortgage or some school loans, you may be able to reduce your payments temporarily or establish an agreement for a long-term payment reduction plan. If you’re lucky, you might even qualify for a suspension of payments until you find employment.
Create a Budget
Second only to finding a new job is guarding the money you do have access to, whether it’s in the bank or arriving in the form of unemployment benefits. Even if you are receiving benefits, it won’t be anywhere near as much as your previous salary. You’ll have to create a budget to ensure that there’s enough available for the basic necessities. Track every expense, so you’ll know where your money is going and cut every non-essential expense you possibly can.
Think Outside the Box
When it comes to earning money, take advantage of any opportunity that comes around. At a time like this, you can’t afford to turn down a few bucks someone might offer you for an odd job, such as mowing their lawn or walking their dog. You might even have to sell some things you don’t need or no longer use. This can be difficult, but remember that the situation is only temporary.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a rich uncle to lean on during difficult times. However, the strategies above can go a long way toward helping you get back on your feet. Remember that being both positive and proactive can make all the difference in how much “luck” you can create for yourself when times are hard.