What to Do When Laid Off


Chrysler is working through a bankruptcy and halting production. My husband is an engineer for a Chrysler supplier. He was laid off on Monday (3rd time this year). Could be three weeks. Could be August. Looks to be at least two months though. They are taking it "week by week." I prefer to get into action instead of sitting worrying. So this is what I did and what you can do. (And these are great ideas if you want to pad your savings account or pay off debt just in case.)

First thing, check the new income against the current expenses

OK, ouch. That isn’t going to work. Now you know where you come up short. If you have savings you can always use some of that. But, it’s nice to minimize having to use up your savings.

Find things to cut

Let’s see, what can we cut that will produce quick savings?

  • Blockbuster DVD service – find out when the next payment is due, return all the movies before then and stop the service
  • A health group I was in is next to go – I hate to lose that, but the budget requires it
  • Make sure the kids don’t have any monthly internet game charges
  • Hold off on getting the pool pass
  • If you have a gym pass – now is a great time to enjoy hiking and biking instead

And we can maintain what we already own so we don’t have to buy another.

Slash spending

I will completely halt spending on:

  • Books – library instead
  • Clothes – the teens should be good for the spring and summer
  • Eating out
  • Going out to movies, concerts and plays – although I love these we can make it for a few months

I will also have to stop the automatic payments into savings. And we are considering whether or not to stop my husband’s cell phone. We’ve been without a home phone for years except for Vonage for the teens.

Go less expensive

I will go to a less expensive grocery store like Aldi’s and Save a Lot. And soon the farmer’s markets will be up. It’s time to be more vigilant with the coupons and using up food we have. I always use a menu plan so they saves money as well. Less packaged food and more fresh food is better for you and your budget.

And as much as I love the person that does my hair, I will have to hold out on a haircut or go someplace cheaper. I wish I was talented enough to cut my hair and the kid’s, but the few times I did that were really sad to look at.

We washed the cars ourselves today and my husband will give the cars oil changes. Usually the money is worth the time it takes, but with more time than money  we can do it ourselves. We like the keep our cars going as long as possible so maintenance is a must.

We are already on the cheapest cable package and only have it because I need the cable internet for my work.

We are in the middle of moving to a credit union from our bank because of the bank fees.


Now it’s time to look throughout the house to find things to sell. I have a box of books to go, a TV series boxed set, other DVD’s, an old computer so far.

Self – Sufficient Kids

My teenage son has been trying to find a summer job, but is not having much luck yet. But, he is doing side jobs like raking and soon he can do some fruit picking. And we are re-evaluating needs. He is paying for his own moped gas (love how many miles to the gallon that gets.) Next we will see what my 14 year old daughter can do for some money. And we are having the kids sell things they don’t want – so far that’s nothing, but in a couple months I have a feeling they will want to sell more.

This is a great reminder to be grateful that we really have what we need. And to let go of some of the wants.




  • Lizard says:

    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. And of course you want to cut expenses where you can. But in some cases, you might be getting short term savings and costing yourself money in the long run. If you have reason to think you’ll be back to your former household income soon, some cuts might not make sense.
    – Some gyms charge a hefty fee to reinstate your membership, so signing up again might cost you more than paying a summer’s worth of fees.
    – A cell phone can be a valuable tool while hunting for work. And again, if you’re cancelling while under a contract, early termination fees might run more than the phone bills.

  • Beth, I’m sorry to hear that – truly I am. And here I am going on holiday! The bright side of living in SA is that we are not feeling the global recession as badly as elsewhere (except for food prices!) although our motor industry is also suffering tremendously.

    Now back to you – can you get the kids to do some VA tasks, babysitting, etc.?

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