Ways to Provide for your Family When Unemployed
There’s no other way to say it- losing your job is a traumatic experience for everyone in your family. The effects can be felt everywhere- both financially and emotionally. Although your financial outlook may look bleak, but there are ways to ease the burden and still provide for your family.
File for unemployment. You don’t start receiving unemployment checks the moment you are laid off. Usually there is a two or three week waiting period before the first check reaches your mailbox, so make sure you file as soon as possible. Depending on where you live, you may be able to file for benefits online or over the phone, instead of waiting endlessly at the unemployment office. Your human resources supervisor should have provided you with a packet of information, including the information you’ll need to have when filing your unemployment request. If not, do some quick research online so you’ll know what to have available. Typically, you will receive unemployment benefits for approximately 26 weeks, with a check for half of your current salary.
Rethink your priorities. Sit down with your spouse and go over your family’s finances. Make a list of your fixed monthly expenses, the bills you have to pay each month on a regular basis (mortgage/rent, insurance premiums, etc.). Beside that list, jot down your monthly utilities, such as electric bill, cable bill, etc. Lastly, make a list of other monthly expenses, such as piano lessons, doctor co-pays, prescriptions, you’re your priorities should fall in this order: mortgage or rent, car payments, basic utilities, food, and insurance. Everything else should be able to be sacrificed if necessary. Review your debts and see which can be eliminated altogether, or downgraded. One easy area to cut is usually your cable TV and mobile phone packages- downgrading to the basic plan for each of these bills can save you a substantial amount of money each month.
Do your research. There are state and federal government programs designed specifically for people in need. Find out if you qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program. This program helps families in need by subsidizing food costs, which could be a great resource if you are without a paycheck for an extended period of time.
Make yourself available. While you are waiting to find long-term employment, make money off your talents or skills. If you’re handy with construction, ask neighbors if they need help doing home maintenance. If you’re good with lawn care, let neighbors and friends know you’re available for mowing, gardening, weeding, and other outdoor chores. If you know how to work a sewing machine, let people know you’re available to make alterations.
Remember, the most important thing is to make sure your family has a roof over their heads. Be prepared to make sacrifices and suffer disappointments. This may be a tough time for your family, but remind everyone that you have each other and that’s what matters.