Friday, March 27, 2009

Recession Proofing - preparing for and living with unemployment #2

I thank you for your get well wishes. I'm not quite well, yet. However, I think I can write a post that actually takes some pondering. I'm going to give it a try. Please forgive my ramblings... :)

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.


Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

What a post! Wonderful!

Clif said...

Great post. It is full of truth and wisdom. Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

May I add unemployment gives you a sneak preview of what living together 24/7 will be like when you are retired! You get to iron out a few wrinkles of communication and how you are going to get household duties done with a husband who is home looking over your shoulder and wasen't before! Suddenly in retirement you have lost all those hours you used to have alone at home. :) Jody

Rain said...

Such a great post! Thank you. And I too hope you're feeling better.

scrappy quilter said...

AWESOME ponderings. You have such a wealth of wisdom. I love reading your blog daily.

Tracy said...

An inspiring post, Brenda! Thank you for sharing your wisdom that came from experience. It is greatly appreciated. :)

Tracy said...

Thank-you for sharing your wisdom

Steve n Vickie said...

I enjoyed reading this. Its amazing how much we take for granted, when not having to live without.
What a great character building experience.
Sometimese some of the most valuable lessons are the hardest to learn.
Our great Creator knows and provides sometimes by bringing meat from the mouth of a crow.

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

"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. "

This is so true!! Isn't it funny, though, how all of us define "plenty" differently. My experience has been that the most generous folks are not those that would normally be considered as those with plenty. In fact, those who have experienced times of hardship seem to be the most generous.

Great post!

becka said...

Appreciated your post, Brenda. Another suggestion for free entertainment if you live near a university is to check their fine arts calendar. Our university has weekly recitals, art exhibits, a planetarium, etc. which are all free and open to the public. You can also find trade students for home repairs and yard work at a lower cost than calling someone from the yellow pages. We have hired many students to handle a variety of jobs and have always been pleased with their work.

Tracey McBride said...

Wow, these are so valuable Brenda!! Very well written as well. Thank you so much for sharing. Do you mind if I link to this post and give a little quote from it? God bless you my friend. Keep your chin up and know you're in our good thoughts and prayers always.