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Surviving Financially When Unemployed
It's no secret being unemployed can put a severe strain on your finances. Especially if you do not have too much in the way of savings; unemployment can rapidly drain your cash reserves. Once you are unemployed, it is important to make a transition plan when leaving a job, and a stick to a strict budget. By making a plan it is possible to avert financial catastrophe.
The first thing to bear in mind is if you attempt to maintain the same standard of living, your funds will not last very long. Unemployment payments are generally not enough to cover all of the expenses requisite to modern life. While many expenses can be removed outright, the key areas to address are those which are necessary, but can be substantially reduced.
Expenses that can be removed outright should be addressed in your transition plan. The temptation to hit the bars or the shopping mall now that the responsibilities of your nine to five job are gone should be avoided.
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Being Jobless is NOT a Vacation!
Entertainment can be cut back to the bone. There is no sense in spending $100 on dinner and a movie when there is no money coming in. Little luxuries like monthly subscriptions to websites and satellite radio should be done away with. Spending any sum of money on recreation is senseless when in this situation, as unemployment can last from many weeks to several months, and longer depending on the industry. Of course, even unemployed people need to get their minds off of things. Try watching old DVD movie favorites and videos or dust off the old board games and spend a little quality time with the family. Fishing provides relaxation as well as dinner, so it falls into the rare category of fun that helps your wallet.
Most expenses, however, cannot be eliminated. If you are renting, and do not have too much furniture to move, temporarily downgrading to a smaller property could give you some breathing room, and young professionals can always stay with their parents for a while. But homeowners must make the monthly mortgage payment a top priority. Keeping the mortgage paid not only protects your home, but your credit as well. Some mortgage providers will work with homeowners left without a job by temporarily lowering payments. If this is an option, do not hesitate to take advantage of it.
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Cut Costs and Buy Time
Products such as life insurance and health insurance, if you were purchasing it from your old job, should be maintained if possible, even if that means taking advantage of COBRA benefits to gain the group discount. New policies will typically cost more than your existing ones. Things like cable TV, and cell phones, should be downgraded if not cut entirely. Internet service should be kept since most job hunting takes place online.
Food is an area where it is possible to control expenses. Avoid all meals out. Sandwiches, pasta, and burgers are all much cheaper when prepared in the home. By putting the whole household on reasonable rations early, you can avoid being forced to live off cornflakes later. For more tips, read the Bright Hub article Options When Unemployment Benefits Run Out.
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Tips for your Job Search
These cuts are all well and good, but you can’t survive that way forever. You should begin your job search as quickly as possible, in fact, as soon as you receive a termination notice, it is time to dust off the old resume and get to job hunting. If you are considering a career change, which industry you apply in should depend on your chances of securing a position. You can check which industries are currently hiring by visiting the website for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (link in reference section below).
Remember, you do not need to be a specialist in hot new industries to get in. Even the most cutting edge companies need accountants, human resource managers, marketing, and customer service teams. So applying for positions you qualify for in hot industries can shorten your period of belt tightening. If you are not sure you have any transferable skills, develop a career plan to aid you in landing a new position.
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More Time Means a Greater Chance at a Job You Love
Let’s say you desire a change of industry. Well, if you are already late in your career, and have significant savings, consider moving to an industry you really love, even if it doesn’t quite pay what you used to earn. After 20 or 30 years in the rat race, everyone deserves a bit of happiness right? If science or history was always your thing, you will be pleased to hear most school districts only require a bachelor’s degree, and allow you to complete your teaching certification after you have started working. If cooking has always been a hobby, the culinary arts offer you the opportunity to get paid while learning.
By incorporating some or all of these tips into your transition plan when leaving a job, you can survive several months on unemployment without having to sell the fine china or trade your organs on the black market. Remember, cutting small things can add up and help you endure financially, while being fed and sheltered until the crisis is past.
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Hansen, Katharine, Ph.D. (Quintessential Careers) "Strategic Portrayal of Transferable Job Skills is a Vital Job-Search Technique" retrieved at http://www.quintcareers.com/transferable_skills_technique.html
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