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Emergency Living Guide for the Recently-Unemployed

Updated on May 11, 2011

Lost Your Job? Keep Everything Else!

Yours truly has unfortunately been on the unemployed side of the fence a few times. Such situations have taught me many a valuable lesson about myself as a person by acquiring vital survival skills. With such, I was able to maintain my sanity and conquer the fears of uncertainty that can produce stress, depression and sleepless nights.

Keep in mind that losing your job does not make you any less of a worthy human being regardless of society's opinions. A company that no longer employs you only takes away your source of income via their means. Therefore, losing your ability to work for that particular entity, does not mean that you will drown unless you think of them as your only lifesaver.

Before bouncing back to financial security and dependability, take the following crucial steps to making it work without working.

It is my hope that this outline can help you in the same manner that it has kept me afloat mentally, financially and physically.

This information may be more fitting for the average single adult living alone that relies on him, or herself, without someone to depend on for help.

Seek Assistance

Assuming that you were dismissed, fired or laid off, you must contact your local unemployment office within your state and file a new claim. I have always done so in the same week that my employment was terminated so as to not delay obtaining benefits. Keep in mind that the state needs to investigate, interview both you and the employer, and research the statues before arriving at a decision that will, or will not, allow payments to be made. It will not be what you used to earn, but it will enough to support you for the time being.

To go hungry is not a choice. Every state and territory of the United States offers nutritional help in the generic form better known as the Food Stamp Program. Assuming that you are obtaining unemployment payments, there should not be a problem for you to qualify for food assistance. Again, the sooner you look into and apply for these benefits, the less of a delay will be experienced while waiting for the benefit's agency to contact you in return with a decision.

Most likely, you were insured through your employer for your health care needs, but such medical coverage tends to end along with the employment. Seek the help of free clinics, or income-based medical care within your community. Your local government websites are great referral sources for such.

Do not be ashamed as we all need a helping hand every now and then.  As long as you do not abuse the system, you are very much in need and deserving of these programs.

Alert Your Creditors

While it will be difficult to keep up with your all of your debts, contacting your creditors about your situation will ease the burden a bit. Realistically, not all of your bills will be paid on time, or perhaps ever be paid while you are out of work. I am not suggesting you give up paying your debts altogether, but there are obligations that come first to help you survive.

First and foremost, make sure you have a roof over your head. If you have a mortgage that you are paying by yourself, try perhaps renting a spare room in your home. If you have a finished basement, even better. If you are on a lease, there a social programs available, at least where I live, where you can get rent assistance if your landlord writes out a letter on your behalf stating your hardship.

If you have both a home phone and a cell phone, it would be best to keep the home phone active and current instead. I personally have contacted my carrier, Verizon Wireless, about my inability to afford my cell phone bill in the past and they were able to suspend the line without incurring any charges for 3 months.

Having cable or satellite TV is not really a necessity, but a luxury you reward yourself with when coming home from a hard day's work... At least when you were working. Sometimes, you have to downgrade your programming package or cancel the services altogether. By the way, the digital antenna and/or digital converter box do not offer THAT bad of programming. Or, yeah?

If you have a car and are paying car insurance, I recommend that you contact your insurer and ask about ways to reduce your policy premiums. For example, since you are no longer driving to work for the time being, ask about a discount for less driven miles. I have personally saved about $20 on my premium when out of a job. Otherwise, cancelling it and taking public transportation may offer the most savings if you can manage to live without driving your uninsured car, which, of course, is not recommended.

Lastly, if you have any student loans, contact the bank and ask about obtaining hardship or forbearance status on your account. I know that Sallie Mae was cooperative with me on my loans by placing them on forbearance for a few months.

Budget Your Expenses

Not making the money you once did can put a damper on the expenses you were used to incur. Small adjustments in the way you afford things can stretch what little money, or fixed income you may have.

If you are able to walk to places nearby, do it instead of using your gas for a trip to the store. Not only is it better on your wallet, but your gas will be rationed for important trips to job interviews.

Eating out is very expensive, so cooking meals that can also be eaten the day after are money-savers. Therefore, try shopping for food items that can be consumed a couple of times after being made.

If you were used to partying out and drinking every weekend, purchasing cheap beer or liquor at the store and staying in with a few friends is very economical. Besides, you can also avoid being pulled over and arrested for a DWI, which can in turn, cost you money you cannot afford. You also do not want to walk home drunk as you may become a vulnerable target for criminals, or to a cop that can cite you for public intoxication. So, no, not worth it.

Thrift stores, rummages and garage sales are fantastically cheap ways of buying clothes or other miscellaneous items. Truth be told, I have found my best pairs of brand-name jeans and some shoes at the second hand store. Who knew?!

A long week of job-hunting can leave you exhausted and stressed, therefore, entertainment and unwinding are always must-dos. If you do not want to sit in the house, which you probably may have already done all week, go out to a cheap budget theater and catch a movie that has already opened months ago. If you rather stay home in front of the TV, visit your local public library and borrow some DVDs. I certainly do that instead of doing the Netflix, or Redbox thing even though am able to now afford it.

Sell Your Stuff

Since you have all of this free time to be home, why not go through your attic, basement or storage, and sort out some things that can be be sold for extra cash? Hold a rummage or garage sale if the weather permits. Otherwise, post your stuff on Craigslist for free as opposed to eBay as they like get their cut from your profits. Do not be sad selling your stuff as you can always buy it back once you are working again. Besides, you do not want to become a pack rat or a hoarder. Free your home of the clutter and make money while at it.

Network with Family and Friends

Check in with friends and family and ask about possible openings with their employers. If that is the case, you very well can be employed within their workplaces and they can be a great references for you.

Advertise Your Skills

You can actually profit from the skills gained in your last job by advertising in sites like Craigslist and offer your labor for a rate. We are all good at something and there are a lot of people out there that are willing to pay for good help around their home cleaning, baby-sitting, or fixing a car, appliance or performing handyman work. If it is winter, grab a shovel and walk over to neighbors homes where their property has not been shovelled. Perhaps someone disabled, or elderly lives there that can tip you a few bucks for the snow removal. If it is summer, the same thing can apply if they need their lawn mowed or landscape retouched. Many people that have lost their jobs have even become their own bosses like this.

Maintenance on Yourself

Lastly, take this time off from the labor force as a chance to reflect on things. Take advantage of the time off and do the things you want to do that could not be done before because of work.

Take on that hobby you always wanted to indulge in, read good books, teach yourself a new skill, enroll in school, look into a possible new career, work out and eat well, do not let the extra TV time go to your waist, get together with friends and family that you did not have time to socialize with before, rekindle your spiritual connection and renew your faith, and, most of alll, see this as a blessing in disguise and a chance to start over brand-new. Things will get better.

Oh, Yeah... Write for HubPages!

Have you read the success stories of some Hubbers on here? They are making hundres of dollars a month writing about what they know and love. Put that keyboard to good use after doing some job-hunting and pump out some Hubs and the money will roll in!


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    • profile image

      Kryssy 5 years ago

      Liar. You live for Redbox :)

    • jcm_blabs profile image

      jcm_blabs 6 years ago from My Bunker in the Midwest

      Thanks, Hanna! Unfortunately, unemployment is an epidemic lately, but a lot of good can come out of it.

    • profile image

      Helpful Hanna 6 years ago

      This is so helpful for so many people right now. Great hub!