These days, it is hard to survive on a single household income. Therefore, you may need to get creative when a spouse is unemployed. In addition to considering how to make up for a lost paycheck, it may also be necessary to make arrangements to find health care until he or she is able to return to work. How can you manage your finances in the event that you or your spouse is out of work?
Determine How Long You Can Live Without Making Any Cuts
The first thing that you want to do is to determine how long you can pay your current bills with less money coming in. Taking this step may help you to relax and see that the sky isn’t falling when it comes to your financial situation. Ideally, you will have an emergency fund of at least six months to help you get by until that lost income is replaced.
Identify Where You Can Make Cuts to Your Budget
You should identify as soon as possible where you can make cuts to your budget if you or your spouse don’t find work before your savings runs out. For example, you may be able to sell you house in favor of a smaller one or in favor of an apartment. It may also be a good idea to cut back on your cable television package or the cell phone plan that you have.
Your food, clothing and entertainment budgets are other places where you can cut costs. Instead of going out to a dinner and a movie, you may choose to buy food at the grocery store and watch a movie borrowed from a friend. Wearing clothes that you haven’t worn in awhile may freshen up your wardrobe enough so that you don’t buy new clothes this year.
Look Into Signing Up for Public Benefits
Signing up for food stamps can provide fruit, cereal and other staple items for you and your family during tough economic times. The WIC program offers staple foods and formula for children up to the age of five.
The Affordable Care Act offers subsidies for those who need help buying medical and dental insurance. Individual and family plans are available depending on your needs, and some states allow you to enroll in Medicaid or programs similar to Medicaid throughout the year.
Local or state governments may provide home heating aid to ensure that you can keep your house warm on cold nights. Rent assistance programs may help you to stay in your rental home or apartment until you can get back on your feet.
Think About Filing for Bankruptcy
While bankruptcy should be an option of last resort for anyone, it can be a powerful tool for those who may not be able to get a loan without a job or otherwise make ends meet. Couples may be able to have joint credit card or medical debt wiped away without losing any of their property. Those who don’t qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may wish to file for Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy.
Borrow Money to Keep Yourself Afloat
It is possible to get a loan without a job. For instance, you may be able to get an unsecured personal loan or apply for a credit card with 0 percent interest if you have good or above average credit. You may also be able to get a payday loan or apply for a title loan if you have sufficient equity in your vehicle.
If you or a spouse are unemployed, it can feel like your entire life is caving in on you. However, it is possible to retain most of or all of your current lifestyle if you have a plan to balance your finances until your lost income is replaced. Whether you have to borrow money from friends, make cuts to your budget or sign up for public services, there are many resources available to help you make ends meet.