Losing your job can be a terrifying experience, especially if you have little cash on hand. After parting ways with my corporate job, I had only a modest nest egg from which to draw and no other income streams. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are five things you can do immediately to protect yourself, slash your expenses and bring in cash.
Cancel your debit card or credit cards and have them reissued with new numbers
Remember those contracts you signed for cellphones, satellite TV, or some credit cards? In the fine print, some of them contain verbiage allowing them to automatically debit your card if you fail to pay. While I don’t advocate shirking responsibilities, the last thing you need is for a creditor to swoop in and snatch your last fifty dollars without your knowledge. Only use one of the reissued cards to pay your bills until the crisis is over, and watch that account carefully for such charges if you fall behind. Consider opening a separate bank account just to pay bills to protect your remaining cash.
Slash your phone service
I ditched my cellphone, which was costing me sixty-two dollars a month, and signed up for Skype. Skype is free to sign up and has very modest fees for additional services. I pay about four dollars a month for Skype and call everyone from my computer. My cell gathers dust in a drawer. Potential employers contact me via email most of the time, or leave a message on my Skype voicemail. Instead of texting, I use free instant messengers. The savings is well worth it and buys groceries for two weeks.
Find new income streams – right now
Whether it is selling off items on eBay, working for ChaCha, or writing articles online, begin work immediately. While this will take time away from your job search, you are going to be awfully hungry without even a small amount coming in. A few dollars here or there will keep you in low-cost groceries, cigarettes, and will also add to your resume as freelance or independent contractor work.
Ditch your extra entertainment
There are a variety of sources to watch your favorite television shows online, including hulu.com and the network websites themselves. Run a quick search and you should be able to find all the entertainment your heart desires online at no cost. Get rid of the Netflix, the cable/satellite, and the Redbox addiction and watch what is free.
Sign up with every temp agency in town
You’re trying to avoid homelessness or starvation, so you have no room to be picky. ManPower, Labor Ready, and other employment agencies usually have a plethora of menial day-jobs that will keep your roof over your head and your belly full, if only of cheap mac-n-cheese. Be sure to tell your contact that you are open to any job. Otherwise, they may be trying to match you with jobs befitting your experience and passing you over for lower-paying jobs. Remember, even a low-wage temp job could turn into full-time salaried work if you network and impress the employer!
Being unemployed without a hefty savings account at your disposal can be scary. If you are diligent about protecting your dwindling cash, finding new streams of income and slashing costs, you’ll be able to survive long enough to find a job or bring in enough from side projects to replace your lost job entirely.