Being Unemployed Doesn’t Have to Mean Going Broke

Perhaps the most painful aspect of sudden unexpected job loss is the hit to your wallet. No one likes to have to watch every penny they spend, or worse, lie awake at night wondering how to pay the electric bill. Financial experts suggest having at least 8 months of living expenses in cash to safeguard against financial ruin if unemployment strikes. Many people react to this as laughable, but having a solid foundation of reserves is important. So if you’re not saving enough, now’s the time to start.

If you’ve lost your job, finding a job becomes your new full-time job until you land your next opportunity. And you’ll likely have to invest some money in your job search at a time when you can least afford it. A scary place to be, no doubt, but the good news is with a little fiscal discipline, you’ll be surprised at how little you can live on.

Take these three important steps to stretch those precious dollars:

1. Take stock of your current finances. List all your expenses and income from all sources available to you. Don’t be surprised if the outflows exceed the inflows!

2. Look for places to cut expenses. Be prepared to make painful decisions.

•For most, dining and entertainment is one of their biggest cash drains and it’s likely your best place to reduce expenses. We all like to dine out and go to the movies. Remember, you won’t have to give these pleasures up forever!•Stop other discretionary spending. Each time you’re temped to spend money in a retail store or browse EBay, ask yourself “Do I really need this…or do I just want it?” You’ll find there is very little you actually need. If you have a penchant for shopping, make it easier on yourself: stay out of stores!
•Too much credit card debt? Negotiate a new minimum payment or reduced interest rate. Consider consolidating balances to the card with the lowest interest rate and most favorable payment terms. Be wary of organizations offering to absolve you of your debt for a fee.
•Give up shopping at that boutique food market and begin comparison shopping. Find coupons at and the websites of your local grocery store before heading out to shop.
•Host a yard sale to make a few bucks, and reduce your clutter in the process!
•Carpool, use public transportation, or Rideshare
•If things are still too tight, it’s time to make hard decisions and part with some of your toys….like those jet skis you bought for the lake that rarely see the light of day.

3. Last but not least, create a budget and stick to it. This is a good practice regardless of our employment status, but few of us summon the discipline. Look at this time as your opportunity to become more fiscally responsible. You’ll look back one day and be glad you did!

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