Get Back to Work: Take Care of your Finances
When you are not bringing the amount of income that you were when working, it is important to properly manage your finances. Perhaps you received a severance package or have a savings that you can tap into while looking for work.
Cover your bases when cutting down costs. Look for ways to lower your monthly bills including:
- Car insurance
- Water and trash service providers
Ask what programs the companies who provide these services have to offer. Some companies have hardship plans or level-payment plans for which you might qualify. Discontinue cable channels you don’t watch and get rid of any extra phone lines that you are not using. Sometimes when companies learn that want to cancel your services, they will try to keep your business by offering you a discount.
If you own a house, look for ways to lower your monthly mortgage payment. When I was looking for work, we tried to refinance our mortgage, but we hit a roadblock when the bank told us we had too much debt. This was frustrating, as the reason we needed the help was I had lost my income. Today, there are better programs out there to help homeowners, so make sure to explore the possibilities. One that I would highly recommend is “Keep you Home California”. I am sure other states have similar programs.
If you are struggling to pay the bills, work with your creditor. If you are unable to work out a payment plan, consider contacting a reputable non-profit credit counseling organization.
Collect some extra income by selling off items you no longer need. Have a garage sale, or sell stuff on Craigslist or eBay. During my “downtime”, I went through my house, purged, and made some cash. Turn a hobby into an income stream: pet sitting, offering music lessons, art lessons, coaching or refereeing all provide potential income opportunities while looking for work.
Shop at discount, thrift, and consignment stores. It’s amazing what kinds of quality clothes can be found at these places. Sometimes you may have to dig to find a bargain, but they are there. Most of my closet is filled with bargain finds! I am big bargain shopper as it is very hard for me to pay full price for anything J
Clip coupons, you can find them in the newspaper and online. When I shop at any store or go to a restaurant, I use two apps on my smartphone- Retail Me Not and Entertainment book (There is a yearly cost for this book. These books are sold as fundraisers for organizations. I tend to my find by my second coupon the book has already paid for itself.) – to see if there are any discounts. I also ask the person there at the establishment if they offer AAA or military discount. Another company that gives discounts, if you qualify for them, is AARP (need to be a member). Just be prepared to show your ID. Or ask for a “Senior Discount”.
Please share any specific resources that you have used.