Guest Post Author Bio: Kylie Ofiu is the author of 365 Ways to Make Money. She blogs about ways to make and save money as well as what she is up to at her blog www.kylieofiu.com
This past year my husband and I went through a period of unemployment which was tricky and when we did have employment is was casual. It was our hardest year financially, but there were many things we did, which you can do to help if you become or are unemployed.
1.) Register for Government benefits
There is sometimes a waiting list or it may take some time for your application to be processed so the quicker you do it the better. There are a variety of payments depending on your situation such as unemployment or parenting. You might also be entitled to assistance from services for free food or food stamps, assistance with bills or medical treatment.
2.) Apply for jobs
I realize the job market it tight, but if you are not applying, you are not likely to get a job. Ensure you spend time on each application by moulding your resume to suit the job you are applying for. Sending out bulk applications for a variety of jobs with the exact same resume is one of the worst ways to apply for jobs. Take the time to apply properly and your chance of landing a job significantly increases.
That said, being unemployed is no time to be picky. Even if you don’t love a job, or feel it is beneath you, if you get offered something, take it. You don’t know when the next job will come up. Even if the position is casual, some income is better than no income.
3.) Talk to your providers
Talk to anyone you owe money to and see if you can get the interest rate reduce, payments put on hold for a while or reduced or the total amount owing reduced. If you cooperate, keep up with your payments and are honest they are more likely to work with you.
Also compare electricity, water, gas, phone, internet and other services you have. See if there are smaller plans which still suit your needs or other cheaper options available. Pitch providers against each other and see who comes up with the best deal for you.
4.) Cut unnecessary services
If you have cable, now might be a good time to get rid of it. Check your contract though, because if you are going to be charged a large fee or be charged the full term anyway, there is no point in cancelling it.
If you can do without a cell phone, or if you use a cleaner/gardener or any other service that you can now do yourself as you have time, cut it. It sounds harsh to let these people go, but if you have no income you can’t pay them anyway.
5.) Sell off/return what you can or don’t need
If you have any recent purchases that you don’t really need and can return for a refund, do it. If you have items you don’t use or need, sell them. There are so many places you can list for free such as classifieds or even creating a photo album of Facebook. Take nice photos, write a good, clear description and be reasonable with your prices.
6.) Find sources of free food and menu plan
I was amazed once I started looking for free food at all the options available. You could try bartering services such as mowing someone’s lawn in exchange for fruit and vegetables from their garden; look for wild fruit and vegetables growing around your local area; some businesses such as bakeries give away day old bread and some greengrocers give away boxes of fruit and veg that are not at their best any more.
7.) Pay only the minimum on debts
Until you have a job again, focus on keeping your financial reserves, as you may end up regretting paying that extra $20 a week off your debt. It will cost you in interest, but if you have no income for a long time, you won’t be able to get the extra your paid off the debt back again. By sticking to the minimum you are still repaying, but not putting yourself in further hardship.
8.) Find freebies (entertainment etc)
There are so many freebies to be had, from samples of products, to free shows and rickets to events. Whole facebook pages and blogs are dedicated to giveways and free products you can register for. Whilst a free sachet of something might not seem like much now, it might save you one week when you can’t afford to buy that product.
9.) Look for side income possibilities
There are so many ways to make money on the side. I sell books online, do freelance writing, online surveys, sell things on eBay etc. But you could also do things like cleaning, mowing lawns, any service others might need doing but not have the time to do. It’s just a matter of thinking outside the box and looking around; there are lots of opportunities out there.
10.) Talk to friends and family
It might be embarrassing to tell people about your situation, but no one can help you if they don’t know you need it. It is not about begging or asking other people for help (although you can ask for help, there is no shame in it), it’s just if people know what is going on, when they have something spare such as excess food from the garden or they hear of a job opening up they can give it to you or help you out a little.
At first my husband didn’t want anyone to know, but as time went on it was impossible not to tell. When we finally did we ended up with lots of food, help and even job suggestions. It was such a relief knowing people cared about us and wanted to help.
These 10 things are not the only things we did, but they were the ones that helped the most. Hopefully if you are facing job loss or are currently unemployed they can help you too.
So, have you ever lost your job? What have you found helpful?