Dealing With an Unexpected Job Loss

My husband just lost his job unexpectedly. I work part-time, and we have a 3 year old son. I'm looking for any tips from others who have been through a job loss. Does anyone have any feedback on what you did day-to-day (financially) to help you get through until starting a new job? We are already pretty frugal - I use lots of coupons, we don't have cable TV, etc. Any tips or advice is appreciated! Thanks!

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Lisa from Kenosha, WI

October 26, 20060 found this helpful

Have you checked into help from the state? That is what things like food stamps are for. You are down on your luck and should take the help until your husband can locate another job. The same thing recently happened in my home and thankfully we have started the new job last week. Here is the website were you can enter your income level and dependents to find out what help is available to you.

https://access.wisconsin.gov/access/

BEST OF LUCK from another Wisconsinite.

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October 26, 20060 found this helpful

Hi Lisa, the unfortunate thing is that a lot of people are going through the exact same thing as you and your family are going through. When my husband lost his job it was very scary and I worried alot; I can tell you that worrying gets you nowhere so don't waste your time doing it! Start by having a positive outlook, like telling yourself how thankful you are that you have your part-time job. I definately agree with the post that says to check out what help your state will offer you. Anything you can get will be helpful. I don't know about your utilities, but here in Michigan they offer budget plans that have a set payment that you will know exactly what it is going to be and can put aside a little in an envelope each week to pay the bill when it comes. With the long winter months coming a budget plan might help for the winter heating bills. I also called our auto loan provider and told them about our situation and they offered a "hardship" arrangement that let us make half payments for a couple of months. I never knew about this arrangement but if you don't ask you won't know, so don't be afraid to talk to people and ask questions. There are a lot of churches that will help, or maybe your town has a food bank, ask around. I can understand how frugal you already are, there isn't much left to cut back on. People who have cable and all the pay channels can cancel it, or if they have multiple cell phones they can cancel them, but when you already are down to the basics you ask yourself what else is there to cut? The good news is that if you already are pretty frugal you are much more prepared for this than most people! If you have any charge cards with a balance on them you should call the companies and find out what help they can give you, maybe lower your payments, or arrange different payment dates that would be better for you, or maybe they could lower your interest for a little while. You said that use use coupons when grocery shopping, that is a good start. I wait to get the sale flyers and plan my meals around what is on sale that week, make a menu plan and a grocery list and stick to it! No expensive extras like chips, soda pop, cookies, ect. For snacks make popcorn at home, or homebaked cookies, you still need to treat your family to things so you won't feel deprived. I also plan meals that will have leftovers to make into another meal, fortunately my husband doesn't mind leftovers at all. We eat a lot of soup, stews, and chili because we can stretch it out for a long time. When my husband lost his job I found two part time jobs to help out. Maybe you could pick up a few cleaning jobs on the side, with the holiday season approaching there might be a lot of women that could use some extra help, you won't know unless you ask around. I wish you all the best of luck, keep your spirits up! Paula

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October 26, 20060 found this helpful

First check on all your government rights - like unemployment insurance, etc. & Food stamps & so on & see that you do all the paperwork & get them...There's no shame - that's what those programs should be FOR.

Then triage the bills - if necessary make arrangements to pay off in installments. Utility companies are open to negotiation more often than not, believe it or not - so don't let anything get cut off - (They have hardship programs, too.) The most important thing to pay is your RENT or MORTGAGE. DO NOT GET BEHIND on those. That's primary & food - & everything else should be negotiated. This is the time to go into the larder & eat up what's there.

Now is the time to call on your church/social organizations for assistance. Are you in a union or similar association? They often have hardship funds.

(These can be loans or out and out gifts.)

What can you make $ on? Recycling cans & bottles? Having a yard sale? Selling unused items? ( I have sold books, clothes, old broken gold, jewelry, art....) If you have a reputable pawn shop you can get a loan there - (beware they are expensive...) Now is the time to put your thinking cap on.

Then don't try to spend any $ on anything but what is absolutely necessary - as a thrifty person you already have leg up on most of other Americans. Good luck.

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October 26, 20060 found this helpful

Check out http://www.angelfoodministries.org/ Its a Christian organization that provides high quality food at a discount. The web site shows cities it is currently located in. If there is not one in or near the city where you live, they will work with any local church willing to host it to get a chapter started where you are. Its a great deal.

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October 26, 20060 found this helpful

My late husband was "down sized" several years ago. the very first thing we did was call the bank and talk to the president of the back about our mortgage. His "outting" was on a Friday. We were at the bank that Monday morning. The president of the bank re-did the mortgage and made it so we'd have tolerable payments. The next thing we did was get food stamps. Then, it was call creditors and make deals with them. All but one lowered the interest rate and the payment.

Outside of the bills, the only thing we spent money on was gas for the car and groceries. I started shopping very wisely. I would buy one can of a generic item and try it. If it was good, I'd continue generic. It ended up most of the food purchased was either generic or store brand. (I continue that to this day.)

I baked my own bread. It was healthier and better tasting than the store bread. Besides, kneading the bread got a lot of frustrations out of my system.

I cooked/baked everything from "scratch." Again, healthier and better tasting. Plus cheaper in most cases.

He had unemployment checks for six months. We scraped by on the seventh month. Early in the eighth month he got a job. It was 2/3 of his original job's salary but we were totally grateful. And, we had health insurance included!

Be upfront and honest with your creditors right away. It really helps! Best of luck!

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October 26, 20060 found this helpful

have you checked out the food banks in your area. i just came home from one that i get food at $.35 cents per pound. so i got canned foods and some meat and sweets and coffee. 20 lbs of food for $7,00 pretty good. look under your state for food banks. and emergency help.

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October 26, 20060 found this helpful

Lisa - my thoughts and prayers go out to you. My family went through this a few years ago. Below are a few things that we did:

Shop Aldi's and stick to a planned menu. Pancakes one night a week and our boys thought is was a treat.

I never used Angelfood Ministries but what I have heard, it is great. I would encourage you to try it.

Get your utilities set up on a budget. Use a programmable thermostat. We put an extra blanket on all the beds. I am not sure if a time of day meter would work for you but we made it work for us. The electricity that we use at night is about 1/2 the price as normal however the electricity we use during the day is much higher. We purchased compact florouscent light bulbs for all of our lights. Our electric company offered a rebate. Can't beat that. We cut our electric bill in half, literally, our bill currently runs about $60 a month and that is for 4 of us.

If you and your husband both have cell phones, get rid of your home phone. I know many people think this is crazy but it's not. We were paying for 3 cell phones plus a home phone. Realizing that in today's world, we use our cell phones more than our home phone. It was cheaper to add one more phone to our plan as a share talk than to continue to pay for a home phone.

Check on food stamps as well as WIC. I don't know much about them. I have a full time job and we didn't qualify for either.

Get ahold of anyone that you may owe and set up a payment arrangement. They will work with you.

If you have 2 car payments, consider getting rid of one of the cars and getting something that you can pay off or try getting by with one car for a while.

Don't be above Goodwill or thrift shops. This is the only place we shopped for 2 years. My sons who are now 12 & 17 found that Goodwill is a good place to shop. They often found name brand items that were like new at a minimal cost. At our local Goodwill, on Monday nights, certain items are 25 cents. Can't beat Gap and Tommy Hilfiger shirts for that price.

Check with the local churches to see what kind of food help they can provide. Some may also have funding to help you with utilities or mortgage/rent.

Check now with local organizations for holiday help for your son. I know here in Iowa, they are advertising that people can apply starting this Saturday.

Most importantly, be positive and patient with your husband. He needs your support now more than ever. Don't let your pride get in your way. Something good will come out of this.

Keeping you in my prayers

Leslie in Iowa

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October 27, 20060 found this helpful

You've received some very good advice so far. The only thing I can add is, if either you or your husband is a veteran, check with the VA to see if they have anything available to help you. You might qualify for emergency assistance. It's usually a small amount for just a few months, but every little bit helps at a time like this.

Best of luck to you and your family.

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October 27, 20060 found this helpful

How about a temp agency like Manpower? You don't make tons of money, but it would help. Good luck and God bless.

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October 27, 20060 found this helpful

Look into getting a job or sub with the schools -- as an educational assistant or as a custodian. In my area, they pay both those subs over $11 an hour and there is always the need for subs. Tha pay rate for actual hires is higher.

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October 28, 20060 found this helpful

Good Luck and God Bless! I have been in this situation for nearly 3 years and it has nearly ruined our family. I work part time and my husband has been out of work for almost 3 years. Check into every service that your county Family Services has to offer. They will turn you down for most but you never know what will be given to help you out. They have helped keep me going as well as the local food banks. I felt funny going to them at first until I realized how many people I knew that were in the same line. We live in a very small tourist town so everyone runs into this problem this time of year. Also check out the Salvation Army for any extra help you may need. They bought my son boots one year. Good Luck to you and your family!

Karen

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October 29, 20060 found this helpful

Please do not get rid of your land line telephone! Our land line telephone kept working as the land line phone lines were not affected during the huge storm we just went through. These lines are buried in the ground here. Cell phones did not work at all for several days. I would not take the chance.

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October 30, 20060 found this helpful

A lot of people mentioned Angel Food ministries - I know that there is not a location really close to Kenosha, WI. However there is another program that is similar that has a location right in Kenosha - check out http://www.sharewi.org/

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November 7, 20060 found this helpful

Don't be to proud to ask for help. A few years ago I was laid off from a very good paying job, I was a single mother with 2 kids (no childsupport). I went from $500.00 a week to $150.00 (unemployment).It wasn't easy.But I learned that there were things I could do until things got better. I shopped at yard sales & thrift stores, I refinanced my car to lower the payments, I got food stamps and signed my kids up for medicaid to cover medical cost. I went to DHR (I couldn't afford an Attorney) to collect childsupport and they helped me collect what my ex owed. I was glad I got the help I needed to get through that hard time in my life...

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April 12, 20090 found this helpful

I lost my job in Sept of 08. I have a friend who started working at a telemarketing research group about the same time, and because of that I have access to a lot of study's. Testing product, taste tests. Some times its a daily thing. Sometimes it can last for months.

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April 23, 20090 found this helpful

What is the fastest way to get help paying our rent due to a job loss-are afraid that the landlord will file eviction any day? We live in Seminole, OK. And have no other means to pay this. His job loss was due to slow period overall and not due to any personal mistakes.

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