Posts Tagged 'Consumer Credit Counseling'

Out of Work? Time to Cut Unnecessary Spending

When I lost my job my first concern was how to pay the bills and feed my family. For days I searched for ways to cut expenses and was surprised to learn how much could be eliminated. Of course some things had to be given up, but we survived.

If you’re out of work, or fear you may be soon, review your financial situation. There are many ways to reduce spending without changing your lifestyle as drastically as you might think. Take care of these details first and you will feel more like looking for a job.

Go through your check book and credit card statements. Make a list of fixed expenses–those that are about the same each month such as rent or mortgage payments, installment purchase payments, insurance, transportation, child care and food. Next, write down what you spend for clothing, charge accounts, medical, dental, subscriptions, cleaning, contributions, gifts, entertainment, recreation and savings. Add other expenses that vary from month to month.

When totaling your expenses, include the cost of medical insurance that was provided by your employer. Medical insurance cost is high, so look for alternatives. For example, you may be eligible for a less expensive group plan because of your association with a professional or social organization.

Now look for ways to cut. Skip items which are clearly essential. Look for optional spending and those expenses that can be lowered. For example, reduce spending for entertainment. Cancel cable if you must. Take leave from the health club, but exercise in other ways. Eat at home more and cut out the expensive convenience foods. For more ideas, search the Internet for frugal and see what all pops ups.

Next, check your assets. Look at your cash on hand, checking accounts, savings, stocks, bonds, cash-value insurance, and other assets that can be converted to cash if needed. Count money due from your previous employer such as pay for unused vacation. Include your spouse’s income and income from a second job. If you’re eligible for unemployment compensation, find out how much it will be and when it will begin and end.

Compare expenses and assets. Will your assets and projected income be enough to pay your estimated expenses? How many months can you survive financially? If you need more money, what can you do?

If you think you might have problems paying debts on time, talk to lenders. Some may extend time to pay loans or lower the payments. You may also want to consolidate loans to reduce monthly payments. Search online for free consumer credit counseling if needed.

A realistic accounting of expenses and assets will help reduce anxiety about being out of work. This will clear the mind to focus on a practical plan to move forward.

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A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. —- Herm Albright

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Sidney W. Frost, B.A., M.S.

The author's job-search advice has appeared in more than forty newspapers and other publications around the country. He has worked as a corporate recruiter in information technology and, as an IT supervisor has reviewed many applications and held many interviews over the years in both the private and public sector. His knowledge of the emotional impact of a job loss comes from his own experience as well as training received to help people who have lost jobs and faced other losses.

Mr. Frost is also the author of the Job Seekers' Attitude Adjustment Guide which is available in paperback and Kindle editions as well as two inspirational novels. See http://sidneywfrost.com/ for information. His other blog, The Christian Bookmobile/ talks about reading and writing.

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