Today we will ask…
What should you do if you were not prepared for a layoff? Have you suddenly found yourself in an immediate financial crisis?
Even though you’ve applied for unemployment benefits, there is normally a waiting period before you will see your first check. This is the time to kick an emergency plan into action, and funnel all resources into your basic needs before any other bills.
1. Take care of your four walls first. You must do all you can to keep the roof over your head. Scrape up the money to pay your mortgage or your rent for the next month.
2. Call your utility companies to see if you can apply for a discounted rate. Be candid about your situation. Normally, they will send you a form to fill out and return to them. Getting approval doesn’t take very long, so don’t delay. You may need to send along proof of your financial situation. Make copies of necessary paperwork at your local library. Start a folder to file everything in. It will come in handy if you find yourself in a long-term unemployment situation.
3. Do your best to pay your utility bills. Most jobs are found through an Internet search. A computer and a phone are basic tools needed to find a job, talk with employers for phone interviews and conduct other financial business. You could certainly use a computer at the library, but often there are limited time slots and short amounts of time you can use them each day. Therefore, it is practical that you keep your electricity turned on to run your phone and computer. If you have to, pay half of your electric and water bill to show you are making an effort to stay current.
3. Pay your car payment and car insurance on time. You will need a way to get around for errands, going to job interviews, attending workshops and everything in between. You do not want your vehicle repossessed, or your license taken away, possible fines with the RMV and bigger insurance premiums.
4. Start conserving your gas. Use your car only when absolutely necessary. Try to find other ways to get around whenever possible. If you must go out for errands, strategically plan your route to conserve gas. Drive sensibly to conserve fuel.
5. Cut your cable. Many people have their cable bundled with Internet and phone. Yet, many times it is still cheaper to only have Internet and phone service. You could save roughly $35 each month, or more.
6. Make use of a food pantry. It is truly humbling to be in this situation, but remember you are not alone. You did not choose this predicament. Getting some canned goods and basic staples can help you through. Think of it as jumping onto a lily pad on your way to better financial times. One day, you can help others by donating your time, talent and treasure to such services.
7. Pay the minimum amount each month on your credit cards. I highly recommend doing the minimum so that you can keep your credit score intact. If that falters too much, it could negatively impact you in getting a new job. You’ll find yourself in a catch-22. Stop using credit cards at once! You will only dig yourself further into debt, making your minimum payments higher as a result.
What steps did you take to weather the storm?