The economy is an iffy thing these days, and the government isn’t much better. If you’re faced with a lay off there are some steps you want to take to ensure your survival.
I’m approaching this from the “holy cow, my husband lost his job, what do we do now?” viewpoint. If you’re looking for specific information on negotiating severence pay and applying for benefits and such, be sure to visit this article from US News & World Report.
1. Make a list of things that you can change, then change them. There is going to be a lot of uncertainty and a lot that you can’t change in your future. If you let yourself dwell on those things you’ll drive yourself crazy, so concentrate on changing the things you have control over. For instance, you can cancel your cable television and Netflix accounts. You can change the way you shop & eat. You can change how you entertain yourself.
2. Check the state of your pantry & freezer. Starting now you will make use of every piece of food in your house, including those leftovers in the fridge. Make a meal plan out of what you have, and look on the internet for super frugal recipe ideas. Check out my $50 menu and $60 meal plan.
3. Prioritize how to spend the money you do have. You need a place to live, you need a way to get to job interviews, you need a way to clean your clothes & body, you probably need the internet to apply for jobs, you need food to eat, you need medication. You do not need cable television or Netflix.
4. Reassure your family. A good friend, also no stranger to job loss, told me something like “Whenever my husband is laid off we make a big meal to show the kids that it’s ok and they don’t have to be worried.”
Let your family know that things are going to be a little rough, but that it’s ok and you’ll all get through it together. Don’t shield your children from what’s happening, but make them your partners. It is reasonable to ask older children to forgo their allowance or any extra spending for the time being. If your children are younger you can even give them jobs, my oldest loved to have the job of “light switch flipper” and would race around the house ensuring all of the lights were turned off.
5. Keep your chin up. This will drag you down if you let it. I have been there, I have walked in your shoes. I have added up the numbers at the end of the night and lost sleep over it. This WILL be ok, you WILL be ok. Do the best you can, make the best decisions you can, and keep holding on.