5 Step Guide to Surviving a Layoff Financially

Layoffs can cause financial disaster.  Here are 5 easy tips for the working unemployed mom for surviving a layoff financially.


Read my story, Part 1: Working Mom Unemployed: Now What? , Part 2: Unemployment: Why Did This Happen to Me? and Part 3: How To Spend Your Unemployed Days.

With my severance package, I only had a small cushion.  No savings.  Not a really solid budget.  Going into emergency mode means…

1.  Apply for Assistance

  • Unemployment benefits (for a layoff or unjustified firing), through your State’s employment commission
  • Government benefits and services through your social services
  • Grants or other assistance from non-profit agencies for rent, utilities, and medical expenses

2.  Reduce Expenses

Create a “bare bones” budget to include housing, food, utilities, and basic clothing.  If you are receiving unemployment benefits, you typically cannot increase your income without reducing your benefits.    Cut out and cancel all extras.  You may be able to temporarily suspend services such as cell phone, cable, and satellite, if under contract.  Tell them you are trying to survive a layoff.  Save money on groceries and other services using extreme couponing.

Further resources:

How to Survive a Layoff: Our Plan of Action

Dave Ramsey: What to Do If You’ve Lost Your Job

3.  Increase Income

  • Part time work (Beware that if you are receiving unemployment benefits, you typically cannot increase your income without reducing your benefits.)
  • Spouse take on overtime hours
  • Care for children in home
  • Mystery shopping

4.  Request Deferments

Student loans, mortgages, and other loans may be granted temporary or short-term forbearance or deferment.  Contact your creditors to explain that you are trying to survive a layoff and find out what programs are available to you.

5.  Change Your Mindset

You will be spending more time at home, which will mean that you have more time to plan and prepare meals.

Staying at home = less gas, less eating out, more family time, and more getting things done at home.

I’ve been looking up homemade recipes online, tackling projects I had been putting off, and hanging out with my kids a lot more.

Consider how much to discuss with your children.   You must decide whether you will be completely honest with them about your new situation to encourage  family responsibility as a whole.  Or, you may elect to keep the information private to maintain their sense of financial security as a minor child.

In the end, you and your family can financially survive a layoff with a thoughtfully executed plan of action.

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