Making It Through Layoffs and Short Time

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A layoff or job loss is a difficult experience for anyone, no matter how prepared you may have been.  Many Piedmont Credit Union  members have experienced some type of short time or layoff over the last few years.  There is a good chance that you know at least one person who has involuntarily lost their job temporarily or perhaps permanently.  Here is a list of 18 ideas that will hopefully be a help for those facing a reduction of income.

  1. If you don't have a budget already then make one.  Write it down on paper.  Then stick to it.  For many people just having a plan is enough to significantly alleviate the stress of job loss.
  2. Once you have a budget, review it looking for places to cut expenses.
  3. Prioritize your expenses.  Most of us have four main expenses: Utilities, Housing, Food and Transportation.  Make sure these are paid first.
  4. Reduce your cable television service to the "poor man's package".  Many cable and satellite TV companies offer a bare bones plan which they do not advertise, usually about $12/month.
  5. If you are locked in a cell phone contract consider disconnecting your home phone service.  Otherwise consider disconnecting the mobile phone service or use a prepaid service.
  6. Find out how much it would cost you to cancel your mobile phone contract.  With the monthly cost of modern plans it may be worth it to cancel and pay a fee.
  7. Ask your landlord if you can temporarily reduce your rent payment.  Be cautious here and make arrangements in writing.
  8. Get connected with the jobs networks in your area.  These groups will help you with skills such as interviewing, budgeting, and networking with potential employers.
  9. Don't be ashamed to tell your friends that you are looking for work.  You never know who they might know.  Most job postings are filled by people who had some type of connection to the employer either through a friend, colleague, or family member.
  10. Get organized and stay on top of things like unemployment, child support, or social security benefits.  It is not uncommon for paperwork issues to cause a lapse every so often in unemployment.  Set aside a little money ($10-$20) every time you receive benefits just in case there is a lapse in the future.
  11. If you have some money either in savings or some kind of severance pay, hold on to it.  There is no more important time than now to have an emergency fund.  Try to get by on whatever income you have be it from part time work or unemployment benefits.  Save the savings for when you really need it.
  12. Find odd jobs to do or look for a part time or seasonal job.  I have a friend who made hundreds of dollars shoveling snow for his neighbors this past winter.  Take advantage of every opportunity and do good work!
  13. Avoid debt management or credit repair offers!  Many of these are a scam which only serve to further hurt your credit and make off with your money.  If you think you need a service like this contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to find an authorized credit counselor near you.  1-800-388-2227 or at www.nfcc.org.
  14. Watch out for scams that prey on unemployed people.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
  15. Review your debt situation yourself.  Contact your creditors and let them know about your situation.  In many cases they will be willing to work with you by reducing or deferring payments.  Piedmont Credit Union regularly makes such arrangements for laid off members.
  16. Stay in shape!  Regular light exercise such as walking or jogging can help reduce the stress caused by financial turmoil.
  17. Ask for help.  Seek out advice from individuals who have been in your situation before or from individuals who have proven to be wise with their finances.  They may see something positive in your situation that you have overlooked.  (In other words... don't rely solely on the advice of your broke friends unless you want to be like them!)
  18. Keep your hopes up!  Keep yourself up!  A positive attitude is a very important weapon in the battle for gainful employment.
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