If you are one of the 8 out of 10 Americans in serious debt, you are not alone. A recent poll showed that 73% of people that died went to the grave with almost $62,000 in debt. $62,000! There is so much advice to get out of debt out there that it is mind boggling. And, if most people were able to do it, they would not be in debt anyway. But if you dedicate yourself to digging out of debt, you will survive unemployment and get back on your feet financially.
If you read my “About” section of the blog, you would know that I am a stay at home mom. I do not work outside the home. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 11 years now. We have one son who is 11. My husband has been out of work for over 5 months at a time, 2 different times over the past 9 years. At the time of both layoffs, we had 2 homes. One in an upper middle class area of South Jersey and a mortgage free vacation home in Cape May County, NJ. Again, I was not working outside the home.
Recently we were looking back over those darker times. We began to realize if those layoffs did not happen, we would never be where we are now financially.
During my husband’s layoff, Dave Ramsey had a show on cable television. I don’t remember how we went about finding it but we are ever so glad we did.
If you are not familiar with Dave Ramsey you can go to YouTube here and find out. He has quite a few books on getting out of debt. But this one: The Total Money Makeover is the first one we read and we were hooked. This book will show you in “baby steps” how to get out of debt and build wealth.
How To Survive Unemployment and Get Back on Your Feet Financially
My husband’s initial layoff was in 2008 during the recession. This is how we were able to maintain a quality lifestyle while on severance/unemployment:
- Stop all UNNECESSARY spending immediately.
- Do a budget brain dump. Write down all your expenses and what you owe on each. If you do not have this month’s utility bills yet, look at the what you paid last month. Read this post about setting up and living on a budget.
- Control the Controllable Expenses. You cannot change the amount you pay on your monthly mortgage payment. But you can control what you are paying for food. Learn to shop smart at the grocery store.
- Take stock. Take stock of the food in your freezer, pantry and cupboards. If you have past grocery receipts, get a notebook and record the price of things that you buy on a regular basis. Build your meals around what you already have and just buy what it is on sale. Be aware that the items on the front page of the grocery store sales circular are your best bet for huge savings. For extensive savings at the grocery store, read The Ultimate Guide to Finding Grocery Store Coupons – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Once you utilize all the ways to acquire coupons that I outlined, you will become a pro at reducing your grocery budget greatly and eating well at the same time.
- Bare Bones. If you have certain expenses such as an expensive iPhone » downgrade to a pay-as-you-go or month-to-month plan. If you have pets and are feeding them the more expensive food brands » switch to a brand that is cheaper. However, if your pet is on a certain pet food for medical reasons, keep them on it. You do not want to accumulate vet bills right now. If you have 98 premium channels on your cable television that you are paying extra for » downgrade to basic cable. Basically, go through your budget with a fine tooth comb and see what you can eliminate.
There is something that you should ask yourself while your spouse is spending all their time interviewing and looking for a new job. Ask yourself this: What can I do right now to make money? The obvious answer is go back to work, especially if you have been a stay at home mom for some time. But most times that is easier said than done. Especially if you have to pick up your children from school or be their daycare on days when school is not in session. Particularly in the summertime.
I did ask myself this question and actually the first thing that came to mind was Ebay. There were quite a few things around the house that I let go of and I was able to bring in cash on a daily basis. There are so many other ways to make money as well. I will do a post on this at another time.
Just remember, after unemployment, you will be back on your feet again. In the meanwhile, prepare for the leaner times. Try to dig your way out of debt now and aim for financial freedom. Try to live on the least amount possible and challenge yourself each month to reduce your expenses even further. The best books around for helping you to save more money and helping you reduce your expenses are The Complete Tightwad Gazette and America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money. I have had them for years and still like to read them again to see if I can apply more of the money saving tips outlined in them.
Have you experienced a layoff recently or gone from a two paycheck household to a one paycheck household? What money saving tactics do you have for living well?
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