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Laid Off? Some Survival Tips.

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I got a sad email from Candi yesterday (name changed to protect the innocent):

[blockquote]Help, I have been layed off and will no longer be able to keep up on the mortgages (2) or bills. Family of 5. Husband works still but I made so much money previously that our income is cut more than in half. I was told by someone that the world is going to h*ll and we need to sell everything and stock up on food and prepare to just survive. I am afraid for us.[/blockquote]

The easiest way out is to simply move to Belgium and sell your children You'll make money while reducing your cost of living. I joke (don't even try it's illegal), but in times like this I try to remind myself that laughter is free.

On a serious note, I got a similar e-mail last May. It led me to write these tips. I am surprised that many of the tips still apply. That should go a long way towards righting the ship.

I did list some ways to save money, but here are some more ways to save on clothing, movies, music, television, and books, razors, hobbies, gas, housing, groceries, and almost anything on the Internet.

I'd focus on some of the big things. I don't want to go all Suze Orman or Larry Winget on you, but the two mortgages is a problem. Are you at least renting out one of the places? Some income to offset the mortgage is better than none. Can you sell one, even if at a loss?

I don't have a lot more information to work with here. One thought is that if you have new cars of significant value you may be able to sell them and pick up servicable cheap ones (a used Kia or something). It will get you from point A to point B and either put money in your pockets or reduce your payments. Another thought is to look at refinancing the mortgages at today's low rates. If the homes lost a lot in value, it might not help, but it's worth looking at.

I don't know what Candi's job was or what her prospects are going forward. It's hard without knowing a profession or region. I just hope she isn't the only lumberjack living in New York City or a similar situation where you would expect jobs to be extremely rare.

Posted on December 17, 2008.

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7 Responses to “Laid Off? Some Survival Tips.”

  1. Craig says:

    Thanks, always good to keep a list of tips around to saving money an to helping in time of need. The main thing is to be proactive. Update the resume, keep in contact with potential networking acquaintances, update LinkedIn profile and other networks. Keep the eyes out and hopefully something pops up.

  2. Mr. Nickle says:

    I’m not laid off (yet), but I’m getting ready for the strong possibility that it will happen in the next few months, so I’m thinking about this alot, and my wife and I have already made adjustments to our life, so we could live off of 1 income if we need to (or no income at all for a while), so that when it happens, it won’t be a big adjustment for us.

    Some thoughts I’d like to share with the writer:

    Determine what your biggest expenses are, and figure out how to reduce or eliminate them. Cutting out your $50 cable bill may not have much impact (and may result in unintended extra spending, due to boredom).

    For us, that was mainly food. We’ve adopted a much cheaper diet (beans, rice and pasta dishes, sandwiches, soup, pancakes, eggs, baked goods, canned food) and started buying what we need for this in bulk. We’re actually enjoying doing all of our cooking at home, and trying new recipes. I’m thinking about planting a vegetable garden come spring time.

    For you, one of your biggest expenses may be automobiles. If you have more than 1 car, figure out if you can get by with just 1. Maybe that 1 car should be used and paid for with cash, so you can carry liability insurance only. Or maybe you don’t need a car at all (public transit)?

    I’d recommend that your goal be to figure out how to live on only 1 income. Any extra money coming in (like when you find a new job, collect unemployment payments, or your husband gets a 2nd job) should go into savings. No one knows how long this situation is going to last, and even if you find another job, you may be laid off again a few months later.

  3. David says:

    There are still high paying jobs on certain job sites –

    http://www.linkedin.com (professional networking)
    http://www.monster.com (keyword job search)
    http://www.realmatch.com (matches jobs based on skills)

    good luck to those looking.

  4. tiffanie says:

    these are great tips to keep in mind for anyone, really. in this day and age, we can all use a little help. :)

  5. Two mortgages is probably a first and a second, judging from the grammar.

  6. Here I go again. I work in our family. My husband doesn’t. He can’t. So, we have one person working. Granted we don’t have kids. We don’t feel any financial pressure from the falling down economy. We just fine on my self-employed earnings as an event entertainer. I outlined here step by step: http://is.gd/12Di
    how anyone who is really pressed for money can do what I do, starting today.

    In short, I am an event entertainer, I do balloon art and face painting at parties. It is not a rocket science. Most mothers can do it, and fathers too.

    And, yes, families and companies are still party this holiday season and still pay $100 per hour and up to entertainers. Granted this line of work is not for everyone, but it surely beats many low to moderate paying jobs. And can be a real life saver for NO MONEY, NO JOB situations.

    If you have any questions, please do ask me by e-mailing me from my site.

  7. Slacker says:

    My income was reduced by 80%, meaning I only make 20% of what I used to before the economy started into trouble.

    What saved me is consciously writing out the reasons that I want to buy anything more than $20 that wasn’t food, and waiting a few days to see if that reason really made sense. Then I cut up all credit cards and only use my debit card (just make sure you get overdraft protection or you’re likely to incur more in fees than savings).

    For food, I buy whatever is on sale that lasts a long time, and I stick to a cash budget that I withdraw on a weekly basis.

    For all those services that you pay for, just call and cancel ones you don’t really need. I was surprised how many of them offered me reduced rates, even my cable company!

    – Slacker

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