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The day my husband lost his job, didn’t just effect him, it effected me too. I am the money manager of the house and our budget. I know how much money we have, where it gets spent, saved and the debt. We needed to make some serious budget cuts but even with those cuts I knew we wouldn’t last long on unemployment.
It’s a huge burden to carry and the day my husband lost his job, was the day I realized we weren’t going to make it very long. We lived a life of paycheck to paycheck and some weeks if we didn’t have money, we used the credit card to buy food.
You can read the whole story of what it was really like when my Husband lost his job by clicking here.
Get to work
The minute after I hung up with my husband, I sat down and did a quick financial assessment. I realized we needed to decrease our spending drastically. We only had 2 months savings at the time and I knew that wasn’t going to last long.
1. Cut your Grocery bill.
The grocery bill is the very first place my husband and I go to cut costs. This blog post, Top 3 things to cut from your Grocery Budget will help give you ideas where to start. If you don’t have a menu plan and don’t know where to start, I highly recommend the $5 Meal Plan. It’s a $5 monthly service and they send you a weekly meal plan straight to your inbox every Friday. It has saved me so much money and I know my family will have some healthy meals that are inexpensive.
2. Cable, either cut the cord or decrease it to the lowest rate possible.
Yes, there is a basic basic, you just have to ask for it. The basic basic is just the local stations usually. Here it costs $12 a month. You don’t have a cable box with the basic. That’s why I say cut the cord.
3. Heat and Electric
Set your heat lower and then set it at night even lower. Wear a sweatshirt if you are cold. Consider putting palstic on the windows to save on heat too. With your AC, turn it up. Set to above 75 during the day, then at 75 at night so you can sleep a little better.
4. Examine your cell phone bill
Can that be lowered somehow? If you have a land line, you better cancel that. Lord know’s you aren’t using it and only telemarketers have that number.
5. Make sure your car insurance is the lowest it can be.
We shopped insurance companies and were able to save $100/month (no lie! It was awesome!) just by making a few phones calls. Saving $100/month is saving $1200 a year!
6. Eat at Home
I know it’s boring and sometimes you just don’t want to cook. But it is the easiest way to save money AND you may loose a few pounds at the same time!
7. Decrease your car’s gas bill.
The only way to do this is to stop driving. We did decrease the amount of time we would drive to places. Since we had stopped dining out, we did’t go out in the evenings.
8. Cancel the Gym Membership
We were spending $30/mo on a gym membership that hardly was used. We cut that out right away and that saved us $30/mo which was $3600/year. Small savings add up in the long run.
Decreasing your spending is hard work. However once you have sat down and done the work, there is a little bit of relief that comes with seeing the expenses come down. My hope for you is that you never experience job lose like I did. It was a very humbling time in my life and I just want to share everything I learned with you.
Cutting your expenses is just the beginning of lowering your bills. Being forced to cut our bills during the job loss was scary. We learned a lot during that time. If we can survive being unemployed for over a year, then you can too. Hopefully your unemployment period will be much shorter.
To help you, I have created an action step printable so you can write down your expenses, see where you saved and apply the savings to either a bill or your savings account. You can get access to my printable by joining my email list. That will give you the password to my Resource Library.
Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.