Home > Personal Finance > 5 Ways to Stay on Budget When You Lose Your Job

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No one wants to think about a job loss, but sometimes these things can happen. If you think you may be out of a job soon or a cutback came out of the blue, then you might want to take some necessary steps to manage your budget.

Here are some tips to help.

1. Separate Essential & Nonessential Expenses

Take a look at your bank statements from the past three months or so and see how much you’ve been spending and what you were spending it on. Write down a list of which expenses you think you need (rent or mortgage) and which you can cut (eating out, cable and landline). This will help you stay afloat for now. It is important not to worry, as this is only a temporary budget cut until you can get back on your feet.

2. Create a New Budget

Once you cut your nonessential expenses from your budget, it is time to create a new one — and to make sure it is at the absolute minimum. This means shelter, groceries, mortgage, debts, etc. Since you are cutting a lot of expenses from your budget, you should have enough funds to hold you over until you have regular money coming in again.

3. Negotiate Your Monthly Expenses

Consider calling your service providers and seeing if you can negotiate your way to a lower monthly payment that is more reasonable for you and your budget. It can’t hurt to ask, and with no regular income coming in, you might not have a choice.

4. Prioritize Your Next Job

Make your next job applying for a new job. Try and apply to jobs several hours a day. Your next job doesn’t have to be a career choice; it can be something to hold you over until you get the one you want. You might want to make it a priority to get cash rolling in again so you won’t have to worry about falling behind on your bills. (Remember, missed loan payments can do big damage to your credit score. You can keep an eye on yours by viewing your free credit report snapshot, which comes with two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.)

5. Speak to a Professional

Even if you know you will have a job again soon, it might make sense to speak to a professional about what your options are. It can be a scary thing going from a regular income to nothing. You might need help reworking your budget and even paying off your expenses. If you don’t think you will have money to hire someone, then consider getting advice from your local debt attorney or financial planner (some offer free consultations) — they might even be able to help you settle your debts and negotiate your bills while you are on a tight budget.

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