Surviving Unemployment: A guide for the stay-at-home mom.
When my children were very young (toddler and newborn) we went through a period of unemployment for 1 1/2 years. These tips are gleaned from our personal experiences during that time.
1. Make radical spending cuts. Consider the following possibilities if they apply to you:
- Cancel cable television
- Cancel cell phones, or cut back services.
- Consider lowering internet speed or going to a very basic plan, if you choose to keep your internet connection.
- Stop buying everything except absolute necessities.
- Get creative with your gift giving. You can often come up with gifts that cost little or nothing. We gave our young children hand-me-down toys and clothing as gifts for Christmas and birthdays. We also found that hand-made crafts and food gifts such as bread or baked goods made great gifts.
2. Sell your 2nd car.
We became a one car family. This saved us money on gas, insurance and repairs. It was an adjustment, but the money savings were worth it. Plus, we had extra cash on hand from the sale of the car.
3. Forbear loans.
- If you own your own house, contact your lending agency. We were able to put our home into forbearance. However, be aware that this can affect your credit score, and make sure you understand all the details before signing paperwork.
- You can get forbearance on student loans as well.
4. Make every effort to save money on utilities.
Take extra care to minimize water, electric and gas use. Depending on the season, turn your thermostat up or down to save costs.
My Favorite Recipe for Homemade Laundry Soap
- Homemade Laundry Soap
This is a link to my favorite laundry soap recipe. The only change I make is using Kirk's Castile instead of Fels-Naptha soap.
5. Make your own laundry soap & household cleaners.
This recipe became a staple during unemployment, and I continue to use it, because I save so much money. For our family of 4, I make a batch of soap that lasts 6 months and the ingredients cost close to $20.00. There are many recipes online for other household cleaners that can also help you save money.
6. Take any sort of job you can.
It all helps. Don't be too proud to do any sort of work. My husband did tutoring, census work, and yard work. All of these combined to help pay for necessary expenses such as utilities. I made a little extra money crocheting hats and selling them. Childcare, pet-sitting, house-sitting are also ideas. Take and inventory of your skills and let people in your circles know that you are willing to work.
7. Make use of local food truck, food commodities, pantries, etc. in your area.
Often there are many resources such as these available in your community. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Someday you can give back! During the time of our unemployment, our church started a non-food pantry to help our family and others in our church who were unemployed at that time. We were blessed with many essentials such toilet paper, tooth brushes, soap, and more. It was a tremendous help for our family.
8. Utilize free or low-cost medical and dental clinics.
When necessary, these clinics can be very helpful. Our children were on Medicaid, so they were covered. My husband and I purchased major medical insurance for ourselves in lieu of expensive COBRA insurance. These low cost clinics were useful for sick visits and prescribed medications that were not covered by major medical insurance. With Obamacare, things are in a flux, so there may be other options now available.
9. Let your local library provide your entertainment.
Local libraries are a wealth of helpful resources, not to mention endless hours of entertainment. In addition to books, you can rent DVDs and CDs. Most libraries offer story times and games for children of all ages. If you choose to give up your internet connection, most libraries have computers available for your use.
10. Government Assistance
If you are in the United States, you can apply for food stamps. There may be a small waiting period, but go ahead and get the paper work or fill out an online application the best you can so you are ready to submit your information. You can usually apply for Medicaid for your children at the same time. Note: We chose to not apply for cash assistance due to work rules in our state that would have not allowed me to stay home with our very young children. Your situation may be different.
One more note....
With diligence and careful planning, it is possible to remain at home with your children during unemployment. I would be imprudent if I did not mention that during this time we were blessed with the generosity of family, church family and kind friends. It was humbling,as we saw how God can provide for us in ways we never knew before. I want to add a word of encouragement to seek God's help in prayer and watch what He will do!
What about you? Have you gone through unemployment? Do have any great money-saving tips to add? Please share in the comments below.
© 2013 Karen Fritzemeier