Apr 13, 2010

Surviving A Layoff


{ring ring}

Ryan: Hello?

Me: Hey sweetie! How’s is going?

Ryan: Oh, it’s going okay…

Me: Did everything go okay at work today?

Ryan: Well….. I actually just got laid off.

Me: {shocked silence}

Ryan: And I promise I’m not kidding, I wouldn’t joke about something like this…

I honestly thought it wouldn’t happen to us. But that was the conversation between my husband and me last Wednesday afternoon around 4:45 pm.


So what do you do from there? Where do you start? How do you make a budget that works in the interim between jobs?

I definitely don’t have all of the answers, but one thing that I do know is that I am thankful that we prepared for a job-loss possibility WAY in advance. We have consistently been living under our means and saving as much as possible for the last two years to build up our emergency fund (thanks to my mom and to Dave Ramsey for instilling that in us!)

In light of our recent experience, I would love to share with you guys a few things that have been top on our priority list this past week:

  • Looking at our budget and cutting back on everything we possibly can. My husband has definitely been on top of canceling any extra services that we are able to cancel. This would also include limiting any travel to a bare minimum and encouraging family to visit you instead of traveling to visit them. 🙂
  • Calling companies that we have a contract with and asking if they have any type of delayed payment program for those who have experienced a job loss. Many companies will work with you on this.
  • Filing for Unemployment Benefits (do a web search for unemployment benefits in your state). In many situations, if you get laid off then you can file for unemployment benefits and receive a percentage of your salary every month. It’s not anywhere close to enough to cover all of your expenses, but it certainly helps in extending your emergency fund longer.

I really can’t stress enough the importance of planning ahead for a job loss. Even if you don’t think that it’s a possibility for your family…. we didn’t think it was either.

While this job loss will definitely put a huge strain on our budget, we are excited about the potential doors that could open up ahead of us. God has been faithful thus far to lead us into exactly what we need to be doing, so we trust that He will continue to lead us. We plan and prepare, but our desire is that in our planning and preparing we stay free from worry and anxiety.

Here are a few verses from the Bible that have really encouraged me during this time. Feel free to skip over them if you aren’t interested, I promise I won’t be offended. But hopefully they will be an encouragement to you all as well, whether you have experienced a job loss or not!

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. — Matthew 6:25-34 (NASB)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NASB)

For those of you who have experienced a job loss in your family, what were some of the things that you did to prepare ahead of time, and what were the steps that you took once it happened? I’d love to hear your experiences and encouragements!

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  1. scarlett bendixen says:

    i am so sorry. I know how that is. my husband had a great job where he was the sales and finance manager at one of the top boat stores in arizona. one day they walked up to my husband and said here is your last paycheck and that was it. being married a year and recently having a newborn it was hard. we cut all expenses way down. no cable, internet (which was hard), and pest control. and cutting back cell phone minutes, and anyway we could. it helped us alot. enough to never have to miss a payment on our home or cars. he found a job 2 months later and we are still living very frugal so we can have a savings and we have been blessed for making sacrafices!

  2. Rachel I am SOOOOOOO glad you posted this! I have been through two job losses of my own (one a year after I got divorced and became a single Mom) and God ALWAYS provided for me (through unemployment, job opportunities and at the right time, a wonderful 2nd marriage) and things ALWAYS worked out for the best! I will be praying that God does the same for you and your husband.

    The verses you listed were some of my favorites as well during those times and they were a great source of encouragement to me, and I hope they will be to others.

    There is one more that helps me when I am going through a challenging time and it is:
    “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

    Thank you again for the time and effort you put into your website – and for helping me find great deals! Lastly, thank you for being transparent and sharing your heart! 🙂

  3. Although my household has not experienced a lay-off…I live in fear of it during these times because we are SO not prepared. We have set in motion a 3 year debt reduction/savings plan. Hopefully we can carry it out.

    But I thank you for your eye-opening honesty!

  4. Thank you so much for your open, honest heart. Your blog is a constant encouragement to me. My husband was also laid off last week, and I cut back to part-time at my job just 2 weeks ago. We have recently been through Dave Ramsey’s FPU, and thankfully do not have debt other than our house, and we were busy working on building an emergency fund. Although we were not as prepared as I would like to be, God knows and will take care of us (and you too!) Praying for your family!!

  5. Sorry Rachel- losing a job is never fun, even when you are more prepared. I applaud you and your hubby though for being more prepared, I’m sure that will help, along with your positive outlook.

    Both my husband and I have been laid off in the past (at separate times) and it was scary both times. We didn’t always follow a strict financial plan and we weren’t prepared at all. But like you, we started looking at what we could cut out- and it is amazing how much money can add up when you aren’t paying for all the extras.

    For me, it was a time to go back and get another degree- and it was the start of my blog. For my husband, he ended up finding a MUCH better company to work for. I truly believe everything happens for a reason (even when we don’t know it) and looking back I’m actually glad for our lay offs because it made us who we are today.

    Sorry to be so lengthy! Praying for you- and thanks for sharing with us!
    .-= Melissa @SavingCentswithSense.net´s last blog ..New Sherwin-Williams Coupons =-.

  6. I feel for you and good for you for already having a savings in place. My DH was laid off 2-1-09 and finally went back to work 3-22-10! I work very part time and he was the major bread winner. Trust me…it was a shock and there wasn’t much of any trimming we could do as we were / have been frugal.

    Thankfully we were able to survive the time that he was laid off. I recently did our taxes for last year and the tax lady couldn’t believe we survived on what we made last year (I think she said we were poverty level). Basically, our income was cut a little over 1/2 from the year before. Scary, but with great shopping skills anyone can survive.

    Good luck to you and your family. May God Guide you and your family as you go through this transition.

  7. marianne says:

    I was laid off a couple of months ago and I’m doing just fine. I decided to take this time and do something for myself so I’m back at school, learning about a potential new career and doing what I love. Luckily my husband has a steady (?) job and we saved in advance like you. You’re already very frugal so I’m sure you’re well prepared financially. You and your husband may find this time of your life is an exciting opportunity to change careers, or start your own business.

  8. Wow not the phone call you were expecting that day! From our experience you’re doing the right things. You cut back further. We grew up with food storage or extra food supplies in the house which make a huge difference in times like now. I don’t have any special tips but we’ll be praying for you!
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..Earn or Burn 2010 =-.

  9. So sorry to hear that! I can empathize..my husband lost his job in November 2008. First it was the owner embezzling money, going to jail and Bankrupt and then it was the economy that had kept him from being able to get work soon after ( he is a Chrysler technician and many of the dealerships were closed by the government) . We were not prepared.. we had savings in the past but had some BIG family crises cause us to spend all of it. We had just styarted to be able to begin to save again and then he lost his job. He still si not able to find work in our area but has provided in so many ways it is incredible. We continue to obey Him and “all things ARE working our for good”. Keep youe eyes on Him and His grace is sufficient. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  10. Thanks for posting this..although my family is hanging on and so far as not had to deal with lay off..theres always a what if it happens because of these times we are all experinceing..we have cut back so much on spending in the past year..that all rebates and saveings we have done go stright into a acct for emerengy fund. my dad recently.( 6 months ago) was laid off and being 60 years old and in the trucking bussiness its been hard for him looking for a job. He thanks my mom everyday because of her useing coupons and doing rebates at first he thought it was crazy when we talked about it now he is thankful.

  11. So sorry about your husband’s job loss. I got a similar phone call a few months ago from my husband. Total shocker! Fortunately, I manage our money and have been saving over the years, especially when we were both working and didn’t have kids. We’ve cut down expenses as much as possible. And that is what has brought me to your website recently. Certainly very helpful! Thank you for all the info you post.

    I hope our husbands find jobs soon and this will soon be in the past. Some weeks look promising, other weeks are down. I guess these are the times that test your faith and strength as an individual and as a couple.

  12. Melissa Butler says:

    We have been there. Trust me, we’ve been there. The hardest years of our lives but, the best. God breathed life into every situation. It was such an awesome ride!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    While not a layoff per se, I quit a job some years ago to pursue grad school in another city, only to graduate as the job market was already hurting and let’s kindly say, “not hiring.” It’s been a rough, rough ride but the sun keep rising and setting… Thanks for sharing the bible verses.
    One concrete bit of advice I’d suggest is to stay extra physically busy. This will help fend off fear and depression and also make you so physically tired you automatically sleep well at night rather than lie awake or wake up worrying. One way is to purge any clutter you have in your home – donate it and/or sell it on ebay/craigs list/garage sale etc – every bit of cash helps, it’s calming to live in a clutter-free environment, and cleaning/purging is free exercise!

  14. Thank you for posting that. I have good friends going through the same thing and we have been praying for their situation. I’m going to share this post, and scripture with them. I’m sure it will encourage them. Remember that the enemy will try to tempt you to worry and lose faith but God is our provider and He works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. (don’t quote me on that scripture, going from the top of my head) I’m sure you are also familiar with the scripture in Jeremiah 29 where it says: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. It sound like you have been doing and will be doing all you can to keep your costs low until work can be found again so leave the rest up to our Father. I will pray for you too. God Bless You and your family.

  15. My husband was laid off his good paying job 2 years ago. Being 57 at the time, no one has wanted to hire him. Between unemployment and a part time job, along with my job, we have been able to make ends meet. It is amazing how you can be resourceful and save and make money. We turn in pop cans for the deposit, coupon, rebate, do surveys and any other small way of making ends meet. God has been so good to us during this time! DH has finally landed a full time job making only one third of previous salary but enough that we can pay our bills. With sales and couponing we have actually been able to donate more than we ever have in the past. One thing we adamantly continued to do, is tithe to our church. We feel God has blessed us way beyond our wildest dreams!

  16. Ugh Rachel, I’m so sorry. 🙁 I’m glad to hear that you have both your emergency fund and your faith to get you through during this time. And I agree with you – you never know what god might have in store for you guys. Hang in there…I hope things turn around soon!

  17. So sorry to hear this.
    Never thought it would happen to us either and we didn’t prepare financially. One year ago this week was when it happened. My husband is a hard worker and has many skills but hasn’t found permanent work. Fortunately he received a job through a temp agency last June and is still there as a temp (no benefits). We’ve been truly blessed and had the healthiest year ever! I now have a different outlook on saving and budgeting.
    Take care and I hope it turns out for the better.

  18. Hi Rachel,
    I have been out of work going on 2 years now with really no hopes of a job in site. My husband has been laid off twice (currently laid off now) and we have three children. I had to find a way for us to be able to afford the things we needed at minimal cost because we had no money and we were not prepared for this.

    I began to use coupons, watch for sales, ect. Thus my blog was born about a year ago {Honoring The King}. I wanted to be able to encourage others who were going though difficult times that they were not alone and show people how we saved money. Thanks to coupons and cutting out all extras we have been able to get by.

    We have lost our home and had to move in with family but I am still counting our blessings. I know God is with us and will take care of us. We have never had to go without food. I have even been able to donate items to local shelters even during our trying times with all the free stuff I get using coupons.

    So I just wanted you to know you are not alone. Many of us are in the same position. God will take care of your family and give you wisdom concerning finical matters. He has always been faithful to us. Take care, wishing your family blessings!

  19. I am so sorry this happened to you! My husband went to one day a week at work and I lost my job 6 months ago. I am still looking but work is hard to find. My daughter lost her job and moved in with our three grandchildren. We are really behind but I recently found sites like yours that can help us save with our food bill!
    Thank you and bless you so much for all you do.

  20. My sympathies – it’s so hard to deal with lay-offs because they raise both financial concerns and emotional concerns. I wish I had some advice, but it sounds like you’ve done the right things to prepare. Good luck – I hope there is a job offer right around the corner.
    .-= a´s last blog ..An open letter to Kodak =-.

  21. I’m so sorry this has happened, but you WILL make it through. I cut back to working only part-time since I’m in school and it has been an adjustment, but we are doing fine. I think you need the internet for your blog and for job hunting for your husband. Other things that can go would be cell phones and cable TV. (We cut off the Directv and just use an antenna with plenty of channels) Look for a local community health center for your health care needs, as they base what you pay on your income – no health insurance required. Clear your clutter and have a yard sale for quick cash. You already know all about coupons and thriftiness! I’ll print all my coupons thru your site to give you a little extra income and hope all your readers will do the same! Prayers for you!
    .-= debbie lynne´s last blog ..TGIF on a Monday! =-.

  22. Charlene @ MFA says:

    Hey Rachel- Guess what? I started my blog when I was laid off because I was going to stir crazy at home! I bet this opens up a totally new path for both of you and who knows what great things are ahead!

    Good luck mama!

  23. so sorry to hear about that, and thank you for the good reminder to always have an emergency fund somewhere. i always try to take a portion of my earnings out towards a savings fund of some sort for any emergency. i hope things turn sunny for you soon!

  24. I graduated with an advanced degree last May and accepted a position that required my husband and I to move to a new city. Shortly after the move we found out we were expecting, and even though we were thrilled, I was nervous about breaking the news to my new employer. They seemed supportive and then it became obvious I wasn’t going to be welcome there much longer (a co-owner passed away and I was her ‘replacement’). So my hubby and I started saving and sure enough I was laid off 6 months after starting (and 6 months pregnant). I drew unemployment for one week to help support our income (I’m the bread winner) and thankfully I was able to go to work in the family business. which happens to be what my degree is in, but it just required a 2.5 hour trip…one way.

    Before we moved we prayed about renting versus buying right away and thankfully we felt we should rent and my layoff occurred just one month before the lease was up. We moved back home and I’m still working in the family business and my husband transferred within his company.

    Somehow it has all worked out and I’m sure it will for you, too. We can only thank God for providing!

    Good luck with everything!!

  25. [email protected] says:

    Rachel, I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s job loss! I applaud you both for saving beforehand!! I also love the fact that you posted this (from the heart) and love the bible verses! You are a true inspiration to your readers!

    10 months ago the same thing happened to us but unfortunately we had no savings and were hugely in debt already. God does provide and opens doors. I can see that now but it was a dark 6 months with no job and it seemed like not much hope.

    I pray that it will all work out for you! Thanks again for sharing!!!!!
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Printable Coupon For $3/1 Revlon Colorburst Lipstick =-.

  26. I’m so sorry to hear about the job loss, and wanted to share my story with you. My husband was laid off almost a year ago. The night before we had applied for a new job for him, as we had been worried for quite some time about his job(he was working for a government contractor, and of course budge cuts were being made left and right), and we spent the next day praying that God would let us know if we were doing the right thing looking elsewhere, and we got the ultimate answer when he got laid off that afternoon. We then took an already scheduled trip to see his parents for the 4th of July, where his dad’s current boss, and my husbands old boss from a few years ago, decided he wanted to hire my husband back, so within a couple weeks of the layoff, he had a new job, and we were going to move back to his hometown, and could afford to do so due to severance pay. The day after we got here we were staying with my in-laws and were stressed about finding an apartment where we could have pets, and we were driving around the neighborhood where my husband grew up, and saw a house for sale, by owner, with owner financing. We looked at it that afternoon, and 3 days later we closed on it and started moving in. I believe firmly that this is where God wants us to be, and I feel so blessed, even if things are tough financially. I’m sure that God has a plan for you and that your just starting out on his new journey for you. Best of luck to you and God Bless.

  27. Rachel, I have been thinking about you and your family a lot this week. I just wanted to say that I am praying for you guys. I know this is a difficult place to be right now for you all. I am thankful for the rock we have in the Word of God and that He is not like shifting sand. I am praying for strength, wisdom and direction that the Lord might give you guys in the upcoming days. Thanks for sharing your heart and life. It is a joy to partner in prayer in the trials of one another.

  28. I so appreciate this post. God is good ALL the time… and even in a difficult situation like a sudden job loss… He is in control and should be praised.

    You are blessed to be of such great faith.

  29. I am so sorry! We were just put into a similar sitution, but not complete job loss. My husband is a high school physics teacher and had been working days and also working 3 nights a week at evening school. Even with the extra from evening school (about $1000 a month!), we were barely making ends meet. One night they told him that they didnt have the money to keep him on in the evenings. He was so freaked out. We knew that we would make it through because we always have (and seriously only God knows how ;)…), but it wasnt even a week before they were calling him in to sub in the evenings, and they have district testing coming up so he has been there every single night in the whole month of april and will be until the end. So when he gets that check it will actually be for more than he was making before. Plus, this month was the really small check but I had prepped freezer meals ahead of time so I havent had to cook all month, and I budgeted the smallest amount of money ever for groceries and such, and with a week left we still have more than enough food cash. I can’t believe it worked out sooo much better than we feared. I also just started up a blog this past month too to try to share some of the things ive learned during this time (since i started staying home with my kids) and I’m loving that too. Thanks for your personal stories. I never pass up reading those.

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