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If you have been laid off, like I have, hopefully you are lucky enough to have been granted a severance package from your past employer. I have a friend who worked for the same company for 15 years and got nothing. Talk about cruel! I was fortunate enough to have received a package, but sadly, the time period has lapsed and I’m looking at filing for unemployment.
I’m sure there are many people reading this post that at one time or another have been on unemployment. I’m not attempting to be boastful. I’ve just been fortunate, until now, to not be among them. So, I’m only talking from my naïve experience here.
Preparing to file for unemployment isn’t something that I anticipated doing, even after losing my job. I thought for sure that I could find a job in a month, two at the most. We’ll it has been three, and I’m a bit disillusioned. The economy really is bad and unemployment across the nation is almost 10%, and I haven’t been counted among that 10% because I was still getting a pay continuation.
So the harsh reality is starting to set in. We had cut expenses immediately when I lost my job, but now the belt is going to be tightened a couple of more notches. We’re going to go from having allowed ourselves a few luxuries, like Cable TV, to "life support," such as resorting to the government sponsored converter boxes to pickup any over-the-air stations. For my wife and kids, it’s going to hurt. For me, not so much, because I don’t watch very much broadcast TV. I tend to watch movies. Instead of paying $3-4/movie at Blockbuster, I’m starting to rent movies at the library. Granted, they aren’t the latest releases, but you can’t beat the price, FREE!
My advice is set up a hard budget. Make a spreadsheet of fixed costs, things that you HAVE to pay, such as mortgage, car, food, utilities, etc. Then add to the bottom the things that you can do without or in moderation. The important step is track your expenses and make adjustments in your spending habits accordingly.
I’d love for you to share your comments about how to cut expenses and manage your home budget during tough times.
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