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Financial Tips After a Job Loss
Concerned about managing your money while you look for work?
If you qualify, unemployment benefits will help replace a small portion of your normal income for a limited time. Here are some tips for staying financially healthy while looking for work.
Create a Personal Budget
Review your monthly income and expenses, and use a budget worksheet (57.8KB, .pdf) to help you create a budget if you don’t have one already.
- Expect to pay income tax on your unemployment benefits. You can have this automatically deducted from your payments.
- Avoid using your savings or retirement funds to live on. It takes a long time to rebuild these again. Plus you may need to pay for a tax penalty of you withdraw money from a qualified retirement plan.
Manage Your Budget
Cover your basics first. Necessities include housing, utilities, food, work clothes, transportation, insurance, and other bills you must pay. Then identify where you can reduce your spending:
- Try to arrange for lower monthly payments by telling your creditors that you are unemployed.
- Trim your bill for everyday necessities by buying generic brands, shopping sales, and using coupons. Buy in bulk. Make a shopping list before heading to the store and stick to it.
- Consider alternative transportation. Cars can be expensive to maintain. They cost gas, insurance, fees, upkeep, parking, and repair. Not using a car, cutting back to one car, or using public transportation could save you money.
- Reduce or eliminate your phone, cable, and Internet expenses. Contact your present provider. Let them know you are shopping around and ask for their best price. Bundle services, but read fine print before signing up for a multi-year contract. You could be hit with large penalty fees for breaking the contract or changing your services.
- Cut back on luxury items. Look at your dining, entertainment, hobbies, memberships, household, and personal care expenses. Sell and avoid buying items you don’t need.
Borrow Money Wisely
- Don’t use loans for anything beyond your basic necessities.
- Reverse mortgages and home equity loans will remove value of your home with interest. They do affect the resale value if not repaid. If you can’t repay your loans, you may face foreclosure or credit problems.
- Review these basic rules if you must borrow money from friends and family.
Carry Health Insurance
Medical bills can be very expensive without health insurance. Don’t risk it. There are ways to continue medical coverage after a job loss.
Limit Credit Card Use
Use credit cards for emergencies only. Charge what you can afford to pay back within a reasonable time frame. It is easy to get overextended.
- Avoid transferring balances from one card to another one. Balance transfers often have higher interest rates, often after a low introductory rate. Some cards charge transfer fees. Plus your payments may be applied to the balance with lowest rate balance first.
- Living beyond your means on credit cards now may cause serious credit problems later.
Find Other Sources of Income
There are a number of creative ways to make additional money.
- Part-time or temporary jobs may be easier to find than full-time work. Turn a hobby or skill into a moneymaker. Think about self-employment possibilities. Deliver pizzas or newspapers. Hire yourself out to mow lawns, shovel driveways, run errands, or do home repairs. If you are on unemployment insurance, understand what affects your benefits.
- Borrow, trade, or barter for items and services you need.
- Let your family help out. Spouses may be able to find work or increase their hours. Work opposite shifts to avoid daycare bills. If teens are old enough to work and can find a job such as retail, fast food, lawn mowing, or babysitting, they can cover some of their own expenses.
Get Financial Counseling
There are many local financial counseling resources. They can help you learn how to consolidate debt and manage your budget.
Continue Your Job Search
Let people know you are looking for work. They can help you network and find job leads. Don’t wait until your unemployment benefits end to start looking for work. The sooner you get back into the workforce, the better.
For more tips, read the “Your Income Decreased. Now what?” blog article series:
Tips on the Best Interview Practices
What is the employer looking for and what are their expectations?
- You must understand the expectations of the position and explain effectively that you can meet and exceed those expectations.
- Stay on point. Rambling off details of your experience/work history that have nothing to do with the current position that you are interviewing for, is an opportunity killer!
- Analogy: The employer‘s requirement list (job description) is like a grocery list. We have a specific agenda when we go to the grocery store with a list; we may be interested in the other items that are at the store, but ultimately we need to be sure that meet the needs that are immediately listed.
- Make sure to tailor your interview responses to be solutions for the current needs of the employer.
Ask the employer in your own words: Do you have any concerns about my abilities to perform in this position?
- This allows the interviewee to overcome any objections that may be presented.
- Analogy: Have you ever traveled somewhere and had an amazing experience except for one particular, ruinous situation and then as time passed, you only told the story of the one particular, ruinous situation? Right, we all do that- it is human nature. But, you do not want that to happen to you in reference to your interview. First, be agreeable that you can understand how they came to that particular conclusion and offer additional examples of your work history, experience, proven success, and personal attributes to overcome the objection(s).
If you are genuinely interested in the position, ask for the next step!
- Thank the employer for their time. Briefly explain that you are interested in the position or being a part of the team and ask the interviewer what the next step in the interviewing process is.
Do not ask about:
You want to present yourself as a professional who is interested in what you can contribute to the position; not what you can get from the company.
19 Reasons Why People are Not Hired
1. Poor appearance.
2. Inability to express thoughts- Poor voice, diction, grammar.
3. Lack of planning.
4. Lack of enthusiasm.
5. Lack of confidence.
6. Negative attitude/puts down past employer.
7. Does not take accountability/makes excuses.
8. Lack of eye contact.
9. Weak handshake.
10. Lack of detail on resume and/or application.
11. Lack of homework/research performed on company.
12. Unable to discuss personal strengths and weaknesses.
13. Late to the interview.
14. Failure to thank the employer for their time.
15. Lack of questions prepared for the interview/lack of interest.
16. Failure to answer questions directly.
17. Failure to answer questions honestly.
18. Failure to ask for job.
19. Too much personal information provided.
Always follow-up with a mailed thank you letter/note to thank the interviewer(s) for their time and let them know that you interested in the opportunity.