Unemployment is something that strikes fear into the hearts of families everywhere. The idea of one spouse being out of income is an extreme pressure on all families. However, we’re making it through. Here are 5 ways we’re surviving unemployment, and possibly even thrive in it — financially.
1. Find other sources.
First off, I have to call a miracle when I see one. My blog went from maybe 10 bucks/month income to averaging over 2k in about 18 months. A spade is a spade, and for us that’s a miracle. But I am pushing it. I’m finding other sponsored posts and I’m networking. I’m working hard to make that miracle work as well for us as it can. And we are blessed. What ways can you bring in other income? Think of things you already enjoy doing. Think how that can become income.
2. Start eating the food storage.
We had a ton of food. LOTs of chicken, canned goods and all sorts of tasty vittles and we are eating it down. Now, we still live in the fantasy world that we are moving sometime soon. BUT, until then we are saving a lot on groceries by making do with the things we have on hand. I almost make it a game to sit in front of the pantry to figure out how to best use up those cans. This isn’t to say that we’re not grocery shopping, we are. But it’s probably about 1/2 the cost it was before we were relying heavily on food storage (and obviously, not building it up).
3. Stick to the budget.
Now, if money is a serious concern you may want to shrink that budget, but for us the budget has been REALLY nice. We have a nice cushion of savings and sticking with our original budget has been freeing that I don’t have to feel destitute. Once the fall comes and the reality of a lower income hits we may need to adjust the budget, but until then having a budget is freeing. Also, we currently are able to cover the budget. I can’t live in fear of what will happen next month, so I’m sticking with our budget. **Be aware, our budget was pretty bare bones to start with, so I’m still pretty frugal, but it’s nice to still have some date money.
4. Spend the money to stay together
Speaking of date money….. My husband and I really need to get out of the house to talk about what our future plans are. Almost weekly it’s a NEED. I am using that. It is a HUGE amount of pressure on both of us. And we need to see what page everyone is on frequently.
5. Don’t let your kids feel it
Our kids already live in fear of us uprooting them at any moment. We have still bought school clothes like any other year and went on a back to school date. They were budgeted but I felt they were important. I’m not saying that they don’t understand that we need to be frugal. But I’m not cutting out the big things, at least not right now.
6. Check out your insurance options
Obama Care has made getting your own insurance MUCH cheaper than cobra. Because my husband left his job he was able to get on my individual policy. If we had done cobra we would’ve paid over 1k/month as compared to the $140’ish it’s costing us now. Phewsh!
7. Pay tithing
God is watching out for us (see #1), and we continue to pay 10% of our increase to the church and I have faith that will pay back in countless blessings. Not the least of it being the peace that we’ll be OK.
8. And if you’re currently employed SAVE NOW.
The only reason these 7 things can keep us together is that we do have a cushion of savings. We were hoping to buy a car with cash in the near future, and while that isn’t happening, we don’t feel the pinch as much as we might.
A few other tips, less financial:
- Don’t nag — I’m the type that wanted 400 applications filled out yesterday, but that’s not how my husband works and it’s frankly just not possible. A friend reminded me that my job is to support him. Not to be his mom
- Keep the faith. WE’re still attending church, paying tithing, looking for opportunities to serve. That makes me less likely to dwell on myself when I’m dwelling on others.
- Don’t over-do it. This summer I tried to pick up every shift that was humanly available and it took me to the edge. I need income, I don’t need to run myself into the ground. Having a budget, and a target income comes in handy in that area.
I know the average time to get a new job is around 4 months, from what I’ve seen on the internet. We already have that in our rear view mirror at this point, but my husband is pretty specific in what he wants. We feel hopeful, and by doing these things I hope we can remain hopeful. 🙂 Now it’s your turn. I know most families survive unemployment at some point in their life. Tell me YOUR tips!
Find out more about our job hunt journey here:
I was put into a position where I needed to leave a very well paying, steady job back at the end of March. At the time, I was around 6 months pregnant with our first child. I hadn’t wanted to leave my job as I had been with the company since it started about years ago, but when upper management is gunning for you, it isn’t always up to you.
I started looking for new positions right away, trying to stay within certain fields and geographical locations. After a few interviews that led no where, I signed up with a temp agency. I eventually found a position through my own efforts, but the temp work was a nice way to bring in some money without dipping too far into our savings.
Temping is a great idea! My husband has a part time job lined up at the Community college.
Thanks for sharing, once again it seems we are in the same boat! I’m currently on unpaid maternity leave and we are trying to make it work on just my husbands salary with the hope that when my time is up I can quit my job safe in the knowledge that we can definitely manage….but it is hard! I’m so used to earning my own money and having more than enough so budgeting can be hard, but I’m slowly getting better! My downfall is shopping, either for groceries or clothes, so I’ve simply decided that I won’t go anywhere near a store unless I have a list and a budget! It’s working 😉 Plus full day meal planning at least a full week in advance really helps.
I do think that going to the store as little as possible is a HUGE money saver. In fact, I’ve stopped going to Walmart as often beacuse there’s SO much to buy. I’d rather get in and out of the grocery store and get on with it.
I fully agree that if you are currently working, plan now and save now. I cannot tell you how much that helped our family. When I got hurt and ended up on disability and during that time my husband got downsized ( I guess is the best way to describe it). With those 2 changes going on, our budget and savings helped. What also helped is that we made spending changes immediately. We referred to it as our budget being on lock-down and we would remind ourselves that this will be temporary. That helped us not become so frustrated. Having a home that was well stocked with food and backups of essentials like soaps, toiletries, toilet paper, shampoo, razors, etc helped out a lot also. Before all of this transpired, I had shopped sales and did a little couponing and that helped so much during this time. I did not have to go out very much with my injury/surgery and it helped when we cut the budget to bare bones. Having savings to fall back on gave us peace of mind. I am so glad that we had made that a priority. I am still on disability, my husband did get a new job (it took him 4 months) and now we need to adjust to a different household income. Oh, one other thing I did was read financial blogs. Reading about others who were going through some financial hiccups and how they were dealing with it made me feel less alone and gave me hope when I read about how others made it through. That’s how I found Pulling Curls. Great post Hilary!
Haha… well, the good news is that you FOUND me! I feel lucky to have you. And that is all good advice. It’s important to realize it’s temporary. 🙂 I try to be excited for what our future holds. I emphasize try. 🙂
This probably falls under extra income, but sell stuff! I think most Americans have stuff they don’t actually use anymore, and it can add up. We took the time to go through all our belongings and figure out what we don’t need. We took extra clothes to a consignment store and sold larger items on Craigslist, such as bikes, TV’s, random pieces of furniture, and other electronics. As a result, our house is much cleaner and we have some extra money.
Oh, TOTALLY true. I’m such a fan of giving it to Goodwill…. but I could sell it if I had more will. 🙂