Thanks to Tia from Tia's Saving Cents for writing a guest post for me on preparing for a layoff.
A few months ago I learned that my job would be ending this April. I am very blessed. I received a lot of notice and the plan I am leaving with has a severance package, which I know is a lot more than many are left with when they are handed that pink slip. I was in denial the first few weeks. I was still getting up and going to that job everyday, so it did not seem real. When the first round of leave dates arrived for my co-workers, it hit me. This is real, and I need to take advantage of this time to prepare.
Build Up The Stock Pile- My first focus was to build up my stockpile. I reviewed my Top 50 items and started taking inventory of what I had, and how much I thought I would need to last a 3-6 month period. I reallocated money from our entertainment budget to help me double my stock piles, and so far I have been able to find some really great free and really cheap deals to assist me. The big challenge will be keeping my teenager from devouring it all!
Cutting Back On Extras- This is the hardest for me. We don't have a lot of "extra" to cut from. The one area we do trip up in keeping costs down is eating out. We have significantly cut back on this in the past 2 years. First, to prepare to buy our house last April, and then to keep in our budget, but I do "reward" myself for staying on my menu for 13 days by ordering pizza or some other fast food on the 14th day. When you are feeding a family of 6, even with coupons this is expensive. I have started menu planning for all 14 days and have been lucky enough to be able to get jobs mystery shopping a pizza establishment, so we have not lost this luxury all together - we just try to indulge when it is free.
Another "extra" is gifts. I love to give them and on my clearance expeditions I often find fabulous deals too good to pass up. This year I have (passed them up that is). I picked up the gifts for my son' birthdays for this year at Target's 75% off toy sale and set a budget of $30 total for the toys I would pick up for all my nieces and nephews birthdays this year. I was not able to cover them all at this sale since some of them are now in their teen years, but I was able to get all of the kids covered with gifts I know they will love, and at 75% off did not break the bank ($25.84 was the final total). I will cover the teenager's gifts this year with mystery shopping at a few local stores they love. A definite win win situation! In the past I felt that because they were free to me, I needed to buy something too, but since the girls do not know that they were free to me, I will let go of that and take advantage.
Increase Savings- I am great at saving money while spending it, if that makes any sense, but not so great at saving it in an interest bearing savings account. This is where my husband is great, so we discussed how much we wanted to increase our savings and have tried hard to stick to it. Life has thrown us some interesting curve balls. My husband works for our state and they are implementing 2 day furloughs a month. This cuts our income significantly. When we purchased our home in April, we knew I was not working in a stable job environment so we made sure we could pay all the "bills" with his salary alone. We did not expect that his salary would be cut at the same time as I would be losing my job. I also do not anticipate finding work quickly. My field is in complete layoff mode and even chances of finding a job in a law firm are slim to none, so having this savings is important. I am hoping even with the curve balls, we will be able to reach our goal before April 30.
Keep Communication Open- This is a biggie. Monetary stress is huge and can really be hard on a family and a marriage. Keeping the communication flowing keeps concerns on the table and allows you to work and plan together.
Do you have any tips for me? This is my first experience with a layoff. I started this job 11 years ago straight out of school and have never been unemployed so this will be a new journey. If you have any experience to share I would love to hear it! My income is 47% of our household. This will be a significant life change. I am looking forward to finding the direction God has for me and my family thru this. It has definitely refocused my prayer time.
Tia is a blessed wife and mom to 4 busy boys ages 15-3. She loves finding great deals, shopping smart and sharing it all at TiaSavingCents.com. Join her there daily as she shares great deals, smart shopping tips and how you can keep your hard earned money in your bank accounts.