Preparing for a LayoffComment March 11, 2013 by Becky
It’s a taboo subject, but when layoffs are probable, most people already know they’re coming down the pike. A dear friend of mine, let’s call her Heidi, had an even more awkward situation when her employer preemptively told the staff they were going to be laid off in the next 2 months.
As odd as the work environment became after the warning that unemployment was eminent, my friend made a few moves to better her situation and prepare her finances for the possibly-hard-times to come. Whether you think a layoff is coming or you just want to take steps to put yourself on a more positive financial road, take heed from the changes Heidi made to best prepare:
On the day that upper-management met with the staff, Heidi called an ex-coworker to find out what kind of side jobs his company might have available during the evenings. She was able to work 2 evenings a week, save every penny from the part-time gig, and also get positioned with a foot-in-the-door once layoff time came and went.
Cut Back on Extra Spending
My group of friends would get together for dinner once a month to catch-up and chat. Heidi emailed us all with the basics about her pending layoff and financial situation and we all decided that henceforth, we would meet at one of our homes for our monthly “Wine and Whine.” Her approach made it clear that we could all benefit from not spending frivolously on dining out. Besides, at our homes we can laugh and talk as loud as we’d like and we never get the “are you leaving yet” look from the wait staff.
Heidi and her husband are avid snowboarders/skiers. For anyone who’s never been: IT’S EXPENSIVE! I see the desire to ski as “luxurious entertainment” — I have never been a huge fan and can definitely not be considered a lifer. For Heidi and her husband, being on a mountain is as necessary as breathing. So, to cut back on costs, they decided to join a savings site called Liftopia.com where tickets to area ski mountains are available for limited times, in very limited quantities, at discounted prices. An additional benefit: they often ski mountains they never would have thought to visit before because the prices are right.
Like a lot of people, Heidi had memberships to clubs and services that she wasn’t using to the fullest extent. She closed her gym membership, quit her movie streaming service and discontinued her online music streaming service (she only used it at work, so she wasn’t about to miss it). Walking the dog for an hour daily actually allowed Heidi to drop weight! Add that to the cutting back of beer and wine drinking and she was down her freshman 15 (from a number of years ago) in just a few months. She started renting movies from the kiosk at the grocery market that charges $1.20 per day for each rental, plus she was receiving refunds on her credit card, similar to Triangle’s Purchase Rewards. Heidi also started enjoying the local independent and college radio stations where she could get her new music fix for free.
Spend It/ Write It System
Heidi kept watch over her bank account like a grizzly bear watches salmon. She kept a budget (which would have been easier if she had FinanceWorks) and slowly tightened her goal amounts over the 8 weeks to L-Day. If she spent it, it was accounted for. Each week, Heidi would take an allotted amount of cash at the ATM that could be used for incidentals throughout the week. If she ran out of cash, too bad. She’d have to wait until next week to make her next purchase. And for each dollar of cash she spent, she kept a running list on the fridge so it was in the open for all to see. For her, being held accountable kept her from misusing her allowance.
By the time layoff day came, Heidi had already saved about $950 from her moonlighting gig and had become regimented in making smart purchase decisions. Her employer offered her a position at their new division on the West Coast, but Heidi graciously declined, received a severance package (which she mostly saved), and a month later, started a new full-time job at the facility that gave her the moonlighting gig. The moral of the story is this: You don’t need to wait until your job is threatened or gone to become diligent about your spending and saving. As Robin Williams once said, “Carpe per diem- Seize the check!”
Becky - eCommerce Manager