Let’s face it, in today’s world, job loss has become an all-too-harrowing reality for many people. With so many layoffs and furloughs, the global pandemic has turned the working economy upside down. Perhaps you’re already in this situation. Don’t despair, there are things you can do and places you can go to help you through this tough time.
As a no-brainer, the first place you should consider is reaching out to your unemployment agency or apply for benefits online (if possible). Either way, contacting them is the first step you need to take and DON’T DELAY! The process of benefit acceptance will take some time and you are not going to want to be waiting for that check any longer than you have to when things get tight.
The unemployment agency provides financial benefits to those who qualify and they’ll help you find another job. But if you’re lucky enough to not need immediate work, many states are now offering programs that extend unemployment benefits so you can go back to school and learn a new trade or skill. Be sure to ask your local agent about any special programs they’re currently offering.
Of course, although they can make a significant difference in the short-term, unemployment benefits are usually much lower than your normal salary. How can you best deal with layoffs or furloughs? How can you rebound from a sudden job loss? Look to take advantage of available resources to help get by during the rough financial time.
Let’s look at some of the options:
- Reduce monthly expenses. Take a serious look at some of the things you can live without for a while until you get back on your feet. Go through all of your bills and expenses and cut out the things that aren’t necessities. Be honest with yourself – just because you think you can’t live without your cable or cell phone, doesn’t mean it’s true. Some of the first places to look include:
- Subscriptions – How many have you forgotten about? Be honest.
- Cable Television – Join the cord-cutter craze!
- Cell Phone & Data – When’s the last time you looked at your providers new plans?
- Eating out
- Power usage
2. Meal plan like a bawse. You can save over $100 (based on a family of 4 with bi-monthly pay periods) on each trip to the grocery store simply by planning meals ahead. Bam!
3. eBay your life. Pretend its the early 2000s and sell all that clutter in your closet. Take a good look around your home or garage. How many boxes do you have lying around filled with stuff you never use? You’ll be surprised at what people will pay for what you consider junk! I once heard about a guy who made four hundred dollar$ off selling old brooms. Old. Brooms. For real.
4. Build your eCommerce empire. If you can make arts and crafts, why not sell your wares on Etsy? There’s a place for anything and everyone so long as its handmade. Jewelry, clothing, artwork, woodwork, stationary, you name it. Don’t have physical goods to hock? Sell your skills as a services by freelancing for others (individuals and companies alike) through sites like Fiverr.com and Upwork.com.
5. Leverage community support. If you’re in dire straits and need assistance right now, there are many local agencies you can turn to for aid. The United Way and Salvation Army are located in most areas and offer a variety of programs that may be able to help you. Many local churches and religious groups often have programs as well. Check for the ones in your area.
6. Additional government agencies. Besides the unemployment agency, most areas have a Department of Human Resources, Social Services, or Health Department that can help or guide you to assistance.
With some communication, research, and creativity, you can take advantage of your time off to learn a new skill or start a new venture with skills and passions you already have. Have some fun utilizing your creative ability while making the extra money you need to make ends meet.
These tough financial times don’t have to be devastating. Stay positive and help out others you find in need as well. The impact of sudden job loss does not discriminate. Take advantage of the resources available to you to reduce the negative impact. Now is a great time to refocus your goals and ensure your next steps follow the path you truly want to walk.