There comes a time in many of our lives when we are without work. It may not have been a termination. Maybe they laid you off. Maybe you had to quit because of unforeseen circumstances. Whatever the reason, you’re now staring at a cardboard box of successories posters and awards. If it weren’t for the box, you’d be staring at the stack of bills beneath it.
No doubt, tomorrow you gotta hit the streets to find a job. A couple of weeks ago we talked about how to turn your termination into determination. If you haven’t already, you might want to read that.
Meanwhile, you need a plan to make your supplies last until you land that job. In this world, it could months. If you haven’t already saved 6-12 months of savings, then you’d better get creative fast. Relax. We’re gonna help you.
It’s a simple matter of budgeting, prioritizing, and planning. To borrow from cliché, expect the best, but plan for the worst.
You have to immediately get your hands on how much money you have saved, how much you have coming in bills, then figure out which you must pay.
Unpaid credit cards may get you into hot water, but unpaid car payments could cost you the way you get to work. If you hang on to your car, it may be worth it. There are too many variables to make a rule, depending on where you live.
Write everything down. In fact, get a notebook if you don’t already use one. Plan to live in that notebook with your finances until you get back on your feet.
It’s there that you’ll track every penny going in and out of your budget.
You need to figure out what matters. In case you aren’t familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the first rung is physiological aspects of your life, things you cannot live without like air and food.
Unless you are floating in space, you likely have plenty of air. Food in the cupboards is a priority. You also need a roof over your head, so rent comes in a close second.
As far as that car goes, you may decide that is worth the loss if you have alternatives like public transport, especially if the payments on your car are high.
Look at everything that costs you money, then decide what you can let go. Turn down the heater. Turn off the air conditioning if you can.
Get lean on everything.
Prioritize Your Priorities
Get into the details.
If you’ve been eating out, you’re done with that for now. You don’t have to cook. Anyone can make salads and sandwiches. In fact, the cheapest items at the store are often the easiest to make. That includes staples like pasta, rice, and beans.
Drill down further.
Set a budget for the grocery store, then shop within that budget. It may surprise you how far $20 will go when that’s all you have to spend.
Sticking with the example of food, just eating at home won’t do the trick. If you’re buying nothing but processed food at the grocery store, you may be better off eating fast food to save money.
Conversely, if you can boil water, then you can cook grains, legumes, and pasta. This alone can save you from starving. For protein, eat eggs; a cheap, abundant source of aminos in most places.
This is how you make it. If you don’t have much in the way of savings, you’re gonna need some time.
Many creditors have provisions for this. Be as honest with them as you can. Tell them you’ve lost your job, that you are looking for a way to make the least amount of payment until you can resume normal payments.
The first goal is to avoid a default. If that is unavoidable, then don’t panic. You can still come back from this. It just may mean some damage to your credit report.
You won’t be the only person who has had to recover a bad credit score.
Essential reading: 6 Easy Free Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Bad Credit.
When all’s said and done, what you’re doing is boiling your life down to the bare necessities. People have been doping that since we lived in caves.
Don’t forget to maintain your health during this time. This is not the time to slack off your activities. If you can’t afford them, then switch to free activities. Everyone can afford to take long walks or jog. While hitting the streets, looking for a job you’re already doing this.
See? You’re already on the road to recovery.