How to Survive Unexpected Unemployment

Planning & Saving
on December 19, 2012

Although the economy is recovering from the recent repression, many businesses are still struggling to regain their former glory. Unemployment rates are going down, but that won’t help you if your employer fails to recover and you become unexpectedly unemployed. While it’s not ideal, you can get back on your feet after losing your job if you follow financial tips for dealing with a loss of income.

Cut Down on Expenses
When you’ve got a job, you can afford cable TV and $5 lattes. When you’re employed, these expenses have to go. Take a look at your expenditures from last month and get rid of everything that’s not essential. You can eat out, go to movies, buy new clothes and enjoy the latest electronics when you’re employed. During unemployment, you need to save every penny you have. Take advantage of your new free time and discover inexpensive forms of entertainment in your city. Visit a museum, walk in a park or invite friends over for a board game night; get creative and you’ll find activities you’ll continue doing even when you’re back in the workforce.

Take Unconventional Jobs
Ideally, you’ll end up with a full-time job with benefits in your career field. While you’re looking for that perfect job, use temporary gigs to keep the bills paid. Online websites like oDesk and Elance are full of employers looking for short-term programmers, writers and data entry staff. The Gigs section on your city’s Craigslist is the perfect place to find one-day jobs performing manual labor, wearing a character costume or handing out product samples. It’s not glamorous, but it’ll help you survive until you land a real job.

Sell Your Stuff
Host a yard sale, post items on eBay or head to a secondhand book or video game store. If you’ve accumulated a horde of possessions, it’s time to decide which ones you really need. That jacket you never wear or that game you haven’t played in six months can get you cash. You don’t need to pawn off family heirlooms, but use your downtime to do a little spring cleaning. Your house will end up less cluttered, your pockets will be heavier and you’ll be able to survive a few more days of unemployment.

Use Government Programs
If you don’t have a savings account to fall back on while you’re in between jobs, you need to use the public safety net. Your taxes have funded government programs; now that you need them, it’s okay to use them. For example, file for unemployment as soon as you can. If you were fired through no fault of your own, then you’re entitled to receive a percentage of your former salary while you’re looking for another job. If you have children and you need to put food on the table, you can use food stamps for a few months. You could also qualify for assistance with your rent or utilities until you get back in the workforce.

These tips will help you stretch out your remaining cash and keep the lights on, but the ultimate solution to unexpected unemployment is to find a job. Don’t spend so much time on these strategies that you forget to send out resumes, pump your network for job openings and get back in the game.

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