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Job loss is never easy especially when you aren’t expecting it. You may feel like you don’t know how you will survive it, but you can. Here’s how to survive an unexpected job loss.
How to Survive an Unexpected Job Loss
Apply for Government Benefits
It can take several weeks to get your benefits approved, so applying for government assistance should be your first line of survival. Usually, a job loss means you are not only going to struggle to pay your bills, but you will struggle to get food and you will lose your medical coverage. As embarrassing as it may be, government assistance is something you pay into when you work and is there to help when you’re not.
Call Your Bill Collectors
You may not know this, but many times a credit card company or another bill collector can put you under a hardship payment plan. This means that they may lower your payments, suspend payments for a time, or even wipe some of your balance. Call and explain the situation to your bill collectors and ask if there is anything they can do to help you with your bills. Even your mortgage company will be willing to help rather than not receive payment.
You can’t make a full income donating plasma, but you can get a good $200 extra a month just by donating twice a week. If you are down to the bare minimum, this is a great option to keep you afloat for just a little longer.
Talk to Previous Employers
Many times it is easier to get a job when you already have a job. This means finding and getting anything is better than the alternative of unemployment. Talk to previous employers about job opportunities. This is one of the easiest ways to get a job quickly. This is an important step you can take when an unexpected job loss occurs.
Look into Retirement Plans
If you have a 401 K, you may need to take some of it out. However, use this as a last resort. You don’t want to deplete your savings for the future. Only take it out for life-supporting bills such as your mortgage or utility bills.
Look for Financial Assistance Programs
Depending on your circumstance, you may be able to find financial assistance programs that can give you the little boost you need. Programs such as Veterans of Foreign Wars offer grants to needy families to cover expenses during hardship.
Have a Garage or Yard Sale
Get rid of things you don’t need. You might have a lot of items that are sitting around and collecting dust. If these items hold any value, you can sell them to your neighbor. Host a garage or yard sale where you’ll sell toys, household appliances, and any other items you might have at home. Be sure to advertise to let your neighbors and others know about the sale in advance. If you let people know, you’ll have a better chance of selling items you’re not using. When you make sales, you’ll have more money to get you by.
Related: How to Have Successful Yard Sales
Consider Trying One of Several Independent Contractor Gigs
While it might not replace the job you had, it’s a good idea to try applying for one or more of the independent contractor gigs that are available. You’ll have several options, including UberEats, DoorDash, Instacart, and Shipt. You can get paid to deliver food, shop for groceries, or deliver groceries to customers.
The great thing about these gigs is that it doesn’t take long to hear back from them. When you’re in a pinch and need quick cash, these gigs are great to have. Of course, you’ll need to reach certain requirements to get hired. You should have a reliable vehicle or method of transportation, such as a bicycle, to make your deliveries. It’s not always a perfect solution, but these side gigs can make it possible for you to get by while you’re looking for work after the loss of a job.
Start Clipping and Using Coupons
Spend the extra time that you’ll have looking for coupons and stacking them to get items for as low as possible. You can clip digital coupons, printable coupons, and coupons that come with the Sunday newspaper. You’ll find coupons for lots of items, including toothpaste, hair care products, snacks, and more. Never visit a grocery store or department store, such as Target, without clipping the coupons beforehand. If you need food or other essential items, you can save money by couponing. Why pay full price when you don’t need to?
Visit a Local Food Pantry to Get Much-Needed Groceries
When you’re worried about not having enough food for the family, visit a local food pantry. Many food pantries hand out assorted items, including pasta, rice, frozen meats, canned vegetables, and milk. You can get bags of groceries to take home with you and make meals for the family. It’s also possible to visit more than one food pantry at a time if you absolutely need to do so because of a lack of money.
Make Meals That Will Stretch
Start preparing meals that you can stretch out. For example, if you make a casserole consisting of pasta, ground beef, sauce, and cheese, you can make it stretch to eat it for both dinner and lunch the next day. You can consider making some meatless meals with veggies, cheese, and pasta, or rice, especially if you don’t have a lot of meat available to use. It’s still possible to make delicious meals while you’re on a budget and working with only specific ingredients. You’ll need to get creative when making meals, but your creativity will keep the family full each day despite the financial strain. Use reusable containers to store leftovers in to make it easier to portion out additional lunches and dinners.
When in doubt, look for the positive. Life will look up, and where there is a will there's a way, especially when you have an unexpected job loss. Use these tips to get through this difficult time. While things aren’t where you’d like them to be, things will get better in time.