I'll never forget how devastating it was to lose my first job.
At 22, it felt like my entire world was falling apart.
With limited experience and savings, I was terrified to start looking for more work.
When I was laid off again last week, I felt a lot less panicked. Ten years after my first job loss, I'm a lot more prepared—professionally, emotionally, and financially.
Losing your job doesn't have to lead to financial catastrophe. Here's the survival guide I'm using to tackle my recent layoff.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
As tempting as it may be to drink more wine, lay around, or binge on junk food, it's probably not going to make you feel better.
Instead, make daily exercise and healthy eating a priority. Try relaxing with yoga or meditation. With more time, it shouldn't be difficult to squeeze in.
Evaluate the Direction of Your Career
As shattering as a job layoff can feel, it's an opportunity to evaluate your path.
I've been struggling to balance blogging, freelancing, Certified Financial Planner® classes on the side of my day job for over six months. I've known for a long time helping creative people with their money is my long-term goal, and now I have the time to pursue it 100%.
If your company is offering any type of career services coaching, don't pass up that opportunity! A coach can help polish your resume, LinkedIn profile, and offer exclusive access to recruiters.
Build Your Bare Bones Budget
- If you haven't been regularly tracking your spending, login to your bank and credit card accounts to take inventory of the past six months to one year of your expenses.
- For effortless budgeting, consider a tool like Personal Capital. Their cash flow and expense tracking saves a ton of time!
- Once you know how much you've spent each month, you can begin trimming the fat. Separating fixed and variable expenses may make this easier.
- Completing this exercise can help you determine two things: 1) how long your emergency fund will last, and 2) how much income you need going forward.
Creating a bare bones budget is deeply personal. Only you know what expenses are essential. For example, in the past I may have cut expenses like personal training and acupuncture. But self-care is now a much higher priority.
Here's a look at my bare bones budget for the next few months:
Expenses that will / may change:
- I'm losing my health insurance at the end of August, so I'm expecting an additional monthly fee of $200-$300 (according to Healthcare.gov).
- Two of my monthly prescriptions may increase with my new health insurance plan.
- Finding a cheaper cell phone plan will become a top priority.
- My trainer has generously offered to drop her fee to a sliding scale.
Expenses that may change:
- My electric bill will decrease significantly in the fall.
- Once the weather cools off, I plan to avoid driving by walking or biking whenever possible.
Make a List of Upcoming One Time Expenses
Do you have a general idea of what to expect over the next few months?
Making a list of upcoming one time expenses will help you prioritize what's most important. I'll be evaluating these expenses in the coming weeks:
- Annual car insurance – $663
- New glasses / prescription sunglasses – ?
- Frye boot repair – ?
- Brush removal – $100
- New outfits for XYPN / FinCon – ?
- Annual car registration renewal – $100
- XY Planning Network Conference & FinCon – $1,500-2,000
- Travel / gift for wedding in Massachusetts – $500
- Travel to Colorado for Thanksgiving – $1,000
- Annual dermatologist appointment & physical – ?
- Travel to Massachusetts for Christmas – $500
Review Your Emergency Fund
I've talked a lot about the power of an emergency fund.
It's taken me over a year to rebuild mine, and I'm so grateful it's assisting me again.
My cash emergency fund is currently at $13,039.21. Based on my bare bones budget, I could cover my expenses for approximately 7.5 months.
This period of time may be reduced or increased depending on how many one time expenses I incur and how much freelancing work I pick up.
Review Your Sources of Income
Can you earn some extra money until you're making a full-time income again?
A solid side hustle or part-time job can extend the life of your emergency fund.
Currently, I'm earning money several different ways:
- Blogging (Ads, Affiliates, Brand Ambassador Gigs)
- Event Planning
- Freelance Writing
- Social Media Consulting
- Virtual Assisting
Looking for some help? Drop me a line!
There are endless ways to make extra money!
Lean on Your Network
One of the biggest mistakes I made during my first layoff was not telling my network immediately. Once I swallowed my pride and started reaching out to my contacts, I quickly landed interviews.
Being laid off can be painful, so don't be afraid to lean on friends and family for support. Many of them have probably been through a similar situation, and may have an arsenal of their own job layoff survival tips.
Readers: How have you successfully survived job layoffs?