Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Preparing for and living with unemployment (Re-post)

Originally posted March, 2009

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.


matty said...

Great advice! The best time of my life was when my then husband had been out of work for a year, I was working three part-time jobs, and we stood in line for every freebie on the planet. We ate better, talked more, laughed more, and enjoyed more that year than any other time in my life!

Jane said...

Good ideas here - for all, but especially for those going through hard times. Thanks for sharing!

Pen Pen said...

great post! we can all learn some things from this!

Vee said...

What an amazing list chock full of great tips and ideas. Talk about timely in these difficult economic times where nearly everyone is feeling the pinch.

Jedidja said...

Thanks! My husband (architect) has fortunately still work. But it reduces and it is a cause for worry. Europe is also in the grip of economic crisis. Thank you for this blog, which brings me to think about my spending pattern and so on.

God bless you!

Linda V said...

Lots of wise advice. Thanks Brenda!

Anonymous said...

Good advice! I wish we had known some of those things before the time that we were unemployed,though we learned fast.
To that I would add-talk to older relatives who might remember how their parents got through the depression.We found that the grandparents had a lot of useful tips to give.
Also, communicate, communicate with husband and kids. Really listen to them.

Remembrances said...

I became unemployed in May and still have not found a job. Your post is very true. I am the sole breadwinner in our family, so this has been scary - I, too, assumed I would find a job quickly. That has not happened yet. But it has allowed me more time to study God's Word, to do things at and for our church and time to spend with our church family. We have been blessed immensely. And it has strengthened our faith. Thank you for reposting!

Catherine said...

All so true. Your post brought back many memories. One of our favorite was the local Deputy Sheriff and his wife driving up with his 4x4 truck filled with groceries donated by friends, neighbors and people we didn`t know.

Thanks for re-posting this blog entry.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Such a worthwhile post Brenda. I know from our own experiences that these strategies not only work well but are vital for thriving while on a budget (not just surviving the crisis). Well worth repeating...and repeating!
As they say, "repetition is the mother of skill" ;)
Love and good thoughts.

Anonymous said...

There are so many good points in this post. I remember Amy Dacyczyn of Tight Wad fame said she could eat cheaper and cheaper if need be. Still getting enough of all the necessary nutrients. You can tighten up your budget or even menus one step at a time as needed. Like you said though, the basic information and training comes when we start on the process to cut down expenses and start learning. If we had to start out at step 5 and had not even learned 1 it would be much harder. Learning to depend on God and keep our finances right is best done before the crisis is at the door. When things are going rather smooth is the best to get close to God and start our families on becoming more independent. If it is past that time though step in and start right where you are. Now. This was a good repost Brenda. Sarah

Maggie said...

This is great advice for hard times and for good times.
I remember one of my favorite Christmas get togethers was a few years ago. My Mom and Step dad were going through an incredibly hard time-health wise, financially ...
That Christmas we celebrated with a Christmas breakfast instead of a Christmas dinner. It was lovely. So relaxed and delicious, too! My Mom managed to scrape together enough money (even though I told her many times NOT to bother-I understood)to buy me an angel figurine. That angel means so much to me now =)
I still thank God (several years later) for helping my parents to find a perfect place to live for their current circumstances.
Please keep the posts coming.

Bring Pretty Back said...

Have a pretty day!

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Wonderful thoughts, and we need to think about them now more than ever.

Cath said...

Excellent post. So much wisdom shared here.

Motherkitty said...

Brenda ~

I have been enjoying your blog for some time now, and want to thank you for all that you share.
My husband was laid of in 08, and it took over a year for him to find employment at an 80% reduction in pay. We have gone through all over our savings. Our retirement fund are gone. Because of the things you have shared, I am able to help my family deal with our new living situation, provide healthy meals on the cheap, and we can have treats and "frugal luxuries." Thank you so very much for your warm, caring, generous nature. Gentle hugs to you.