One of the biggest impacts of a job loss is the loss of income. There are few households where the loss of one income isn’t significant, and most families cannot survive the loss of an income source without some adjustments.
Cutting back may be uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Don’t think of it as permanent. It may be of short duration, but every little bit of operating money will help. Here are some things to look at:
Are you paying people to do something for you because you didn’t have time to do them yourself? This includes lawn services, security, cleaning, shopping and daycare. Now you have time. It’s the moment to cut back on these services.
In some cases there will be a contract that must be upheld (such as lawn care and cleaning). Perhaps you can put the contract on hold or renegotiate the terms.
In some cases services must be continued so that they can be there when you get back to work. Daycare might fall into this category, but at the same time, it might be possible to negotiate an absence with no penalties.
If you can get rid of a service, now is the time to do this. I had to stop using my grocery shopper. I now had time to do the grocery shopping myself.
There are thousands of ways that we entertain ourselves, and many of them cost money. Here are some ways to simplify or eliminate entertainment expenses:
- Movies. Instead of going out to movies, rent. Or better, get them free from the library. We use Netflix, and we enjoy using both the regular movies and the streaming video.
- Books. Use your local library to check books out. Most libraries will allow you to place holds on books you want to read and pick them up. Most libraries will also allow you to do this online.
- Video Games. Use what you have, or swap. If you belong to online gaming sites, cancel the subscription. A friend realized he was spending $40.00 a month on his video game service and he canceled it. Another friend has told himself he can only buy one video game at a time, and then only when he has played out the last one. His video expenses have been slashed.
- Family Activities. Shift to inexpensive versions or other free, at-home activities. We do a home movie night on Fridays, and a family game night on Saturday. We have discovered old favorites like Monopoly, and added new favorites, like Ticket to Ride.
A few lattes from a designer coffee store a week can add up. So can eating meals out, shopping whims, browsing through bookstores. All need to be limited. Most of us have an idea where our money goes, but if you don’t, pay attention to where you spend.
In my case, bookstores and the local craft store were two biggies. I won’t go in the craft store without a list, and if it’s not on the list, it’s not in the basket. I don’t go in the bookstore at all anymore. It was amazing to me how much I was able to cut back expenses just with this simple method.
This expense, for us, was the one that gave us the most savings. We did it through a combination of actions:
- Eating out no more than once a pay period. This means even lunches. When I had been working, often I didn’t have my act together enough to pull together a meal at the end of a day, so we would eat out. With extra time, I was able to make more meals at home. At one point, my husband commented that if he could eat this well all the time, I should stay unemployed!
- Pack lunches. I’ve always packed my daughter’s lunches, but I’m not so good with my husband. And he won’t pack his own. By making sure I packed his lunch, we saved up to $7.00 every workday.
- Learn to shop. I started to do my own grocery shopping, and was able to substitute ingredients on the fly, bringing the grocery bill down. I was also able to stock up on loss leaders that I knew we would be needing within the next few months. Our grocery bill came down over $75 every two weeks.
Losing a job can mean a lot of stress, particularly for your finances. By cutting back expenses, you will be able to stretch what you have a little bit further.
Photo by Nrbelex
Articles In The Series:
- Dealing With A Job Loss: Getting Through The First Few Days
- Dealing with a Job Loss: Cutting Back Expenses
- Dealing With a Job Loss: Redistributing Home Work Loads
- Dealing With A Job Loss: Starting the Job Hunt