I've written before about the biggest mistake we made during our first year when we ran out of unemployment and had no income. We assumed my husband would find another job quickly so we used our savings to keep up present lifestyle. We should have cut back on everything extra in the budget the very day he was laid off. It would have helped a great deal in the long run.
Losing all or part of the family income even for a short time can be difficult. However, when the weeks turn into months it becomes a crisis. Not only does the money run out but it changes every part of our daily life.
For instance, most families aren't used to being home together all day, every day... in the best of times. These are the people you are suppose to enjoy the most in the entire world but after awhile you develop a rather severe twitch as they get on your nerves and visa versa. Even if you homeschool and you're together a lot, when a lack of income is part of the family equation... even homeschoolers are affected.
Here are some things I learned through two separate years of long term unemployment (each year more than twelve months):
- It's a lot easier to live through unemployment the less money you owe beyond your rent or mortgage.
- It helps a lot to already know how to shop for less and cook frugal meals.
- Having a good pantry and savings account to cover necessary bills obviously helps.
- If your kids are used to shopping each week and having to have all the latest... clothes, electronics, etc... there will be strife.
- If your kids learn nothing else but how to live without all the latest "stuff" and that keeping up with the proverbial Jonses is a myth... the pain of unemployment will be worth it in the long run.
- God answers even the prayers of little children.
- A good home library, some board games, and a DVD collection of family friendly movies will prove as valuable as gold.
- The same is true of a really good family friendly radio station.
- The library is the best use of our government's tax money... ever.
- You find out who your true friends are the longer you are unemployed.
- The Amish have it right... the more Community we have developed, the easier the strain is on each family.
- You begin to learn how many unnecessary trips in the car you take when you're putting $5.00 of gas in the car at a time.
- The more free places your community has to take advantage of... the better.
- When we lived in Michigan, a $20.00 state parks pass was the smartest money spent all year.
- The less money one has to spend, the more creative one becomes... that can be a good thing.
- Talking each month to creditors will make the difference between terrible credit and not-so-bad credit.
- Your children will pick up on how you are handling the crisis... if you are fearful and complaining, so will they... if you learn to give your fears to God and expect an answer... so will they.
- Money problems can bring a family closer together as they pray together and see God answer prayer.
- Unemployment and general financial crisis bring with them forced simplicity.
- Unemployment can cause you to learn new frugal skills yourself and with your children, and force you to depend on the One who said He would meet all your needs... instead of depending on yourself.
- Life is easier when you have money to pay when the car breaks down, when you can buy anything you want at the grocery store, when you can go out to eat all the time, when you can purchase the latest clothes... easier... but having needs answered through prayer brings long term faith.
- The longer you are without an income, the more it becomes necessary to find creative ways to have fun as a family.
- A meal of $1.00 burgers and shared fries when money is hard to come by becomes a banquet to those who can't afford to eat out.
- The more simple you live before being unemployed, the easier it will be to live on less.
- Unemployment is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Especially if it draws you closer to your family, your friends, and your God.
- Unemployment can be very hard, but
God is still in control.
And please remember, if you are fortunate enough to have plenty... share with those who don't. You may just be the person who provides for a need so a family can know God is searching the Earth... high and low... to answer their prayer.