10 Tips For Making Ends Meet When You Have Lost Your Job
It’s not uncommon for people to lose their jobs right now. The economy hasn’t been the greatest and the job market is not stable in most areas. If you’ve recently lost your job, you’re probably worried about how you’re going to make ends meet. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that there are things you can do to get by. Here are tips for how to pay bills when you have lost your job:
- Prioritize – The first step you should take, other than the job search, of course, is to prioritize your bills. Figure out how much you normally spend on basic monthly bills – things like rent/mortgage, utilities/insurance, and cable/internet/phone. Also, they should be considered in that order. Keeping a roof over your head is the biggest priority, with utilities/insurance next, as you need water, electricity, gas, and protection. Remember, if someone breaks an arm, those bills will sink you. Don’t let the insurance lapse. Everything else can be reconsidered depending on what resources you have left.
- What is your budget? – You may assume that this step would be the first thing you would do, and you could. However, making this step two instead of step one helps to put things into perspective. If you look at money first, then necessities second, you have the freakout over expenses before even looking at what you actually need. Don’t worry yourself more than you need to. Look at priorities first, then look at your resources. Your brain will start to find places for things a bit easier that way.
- Get rid of unnecessary basic expenses – This would include your cable, internet and phone bills. Although these can be necessities to some extent, there are ways to manage around them if you find you have to let one or more go. Of those last three, by the way, cable can be sacrificed more conveniently these days since there are other options (i.e. Netflix and DVDs). Also, keep your eyes open for free Redbox rentals as well as movie/television shows that you may be able to get from the library, on Amazon or television station websites. You can always go to the library to use the internet, and if you have more than one phone, consider going down to a single line – this would include both landlines and cell phones. Be sure to take advantage of all the cost cutting ideas that you can get.
- Wipe out the extras – Do you have subscriptions to anything? Cancel it and ask the company to reimburse you the remaining amount. Do you find yourself at the mall or Starbucks every week or so? Stay home. Wipe out the extra expenses you’ve taken for granted. All of those things deplete the resources that you could be putting towards your vital expenses and help you stay afloat longer.
- Keep something for yourself – All of this being said, if you can manage, try keeping one, less costly extra for yourself. Sometimes, especially with subscriptions, you can skip a month if you need to, but it’s nice to have something to help ease the stress – even if it’s small. So, once you’ve managed the rest of your bills, and if you have the means – without sacrificing a necessity – treat yourself. (Even if it means a trip to the dollar store for a candy bar.) Your sanity will thank you!
- Make your food budget stretch – Other than room and board, food is a major necessity. Make your food budget stretch by planning meals and thrifty shopping. The less trips you make to the store, the less you will spend. Create a weekly or monthly (monthly is better) menu plan so that you don’t deviate from your budget and make sure to use coupons whenever possible. They can help you save huge amounts of money if you buy only what you need.
- Cook from scratch – Frozen and other highly processed foods may seem like the better way to go, but they can be bad for your wallet. Buying fresher foods and cooking everything from scratch will make your money stretch farther and generally give you larger portions which you can refrigerate or freeze for future meals. Think soups (which you can freeze into portions), large casseroles and other large portion meals, which brings us to our next point –
- Get a slow cooker – You can get various models for low prices. There are a ton of make ahead and freezer meals available online. Most of these recipes have you dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker and serve when you’re ready. Freeze or refrigerate any leftovers for later. More time to focus – or not focus – on other things! Be sure to check out additional ways to save on meals when you have no income as well.
- Buy in bulk – It may seem harder to do if your resources are limited, but if you can manage, try to buy in bulk. Places like Sam’s Club, Costco, and even Amazon are good starts when looking for bulk items. Do your homework first – and your math – and make sure that what you are buying is going to save you money in the long run. Additionally, be sure to take advantage of the coupons offered at all three places to make your money stretch further.
- Keep calm – This is not so much a money saving tip as it is for your peace of mind. You can make it through. It will be tough, no doubt, but it is not impossible. Keep calm, keep a clear head on your shoulders, and you’ll be okay.
When any type of disaster befalls you and your family, especially something like losing a job, the best tip ever is to jump into action and reorganize as soon as possible. This will level things out faster and help save a lot of time and stress. Answering the question “how will I pay all my bills” is much easier if you can break it down and take it a step at a time. You can do this.
Have you lost a job or do you have tips on how to make ends meet? I’d love to hear how you made/are making it work!