When you lose your job, it's natural to want to panic. Nobody likes the idea of unemployment, but it will be easier to get through this crisis if you take a proactive approach. Since it's impossible to know when you'll find a new position, look for ways to cut your expenses as soon as possible instead of relying on your savings or severance pay to maintain your current standard of living.
Consider the Cost of Working
As you're going over your household budget, remember that you will save money by no longer having any work-related expenses. You won't need to pay for gas and parking as part of your commute, buy lunches in the employee cafeteria, or kick in for a coworker's birthday gift. If you were paying for daycare so you could work, your savings will be even greater.
Do Some Comparison Shopping
When is the last time you looked into refinancing your mortgage, switching car insurance companies, or consolidating your student loans? By spending an afternoon or two on the phone, you might be able to shave a few hundred dollars off your monthly expenses.
Cut Membership Fees
Membership fees can quickly add up if you're not keeping track of what you're spending. Netflix, Gamefly, website memberships, and gym memberships should be cut from your budget unless they are used on a regular basis. You may also want to take a close look at magazine subscriptions, cable television fees, and fees for activities your children participate in to determine what expenses are truly necessary.
Trim Your Grocery Budget
Everyone needs to eat, but when you need to save some money, start with your grocery budget. Clipping coupons, avoiding expensive convenience foods, and adding a few meatless meals into your weekly menu plan can help you cut costs.
If you've never been a do-it-yourself type, use some of your newfound free time to learn how to mend your clothes, handle your car's routine maintenance, and perform basic household repairs, like fixing a leaky faucet. If you don't have a friend who can help answer your questions, look for an online tutorial or ask a librarian to help you locate a good reference book.
Consider Public Assistance
Depending upon your family size and whether or not you have a working spouse, you may be eligible for public assistance programs such as SNAP benefits, WIC, Medicaid, or LIHEAP. Even though you might feel a bit embarrassed by your current circumstances, don't be afraid to make use of whatever resources are available. When used properly, these programs can help provide the assistance you need to get back on your feet.
For more money saving tips, please review the Cheap Living slideshow.