What I Did To Financially Survive Three Layoffs

It’s no secret that I’ve been laid off not once, but three times (don't go into the advertising or marketing field folks). I talked about the first two layoffs a little bit in my post How I Paid Off My Car A Year Early (Despite Being Laid Off Twice). Believe me, I know that it sucks and it’s no less of a sting the third time it happens.

Each of my job layoffs lasted for different lengths of time but thankfully I was able to get new employment within months of being laid off. I also didn't have to go into debt or have a setback in my financial journey. A lot of that is due to these eight things I did that helped me get through those months of unemployment and get back on my feet.  
How I Financially Survived Two Layoffs | A Relaxed Gal
(I am not a financial expert. All information is based on my own personal experience and research. This information is not meant to be financial advice and is just for educational purposes. This post includes some affiliate links. Should you click an affiliate link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

1. Let it sink in

I allowed a few days for the reality of it to sink in before I did anything. Including telling my family. Since I wasn’t married I could get away with that. If I was married I would have told my spouse soon after it happened.

I needed a few days for the reality of what happened to really sink in, for me to gather my thoughts, and let the pain and in all honesty, my anger start to lessen. If I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have been in a good place emotionally to move forward and determine what my next steps should be.

2. Revised my budget

I received a severance package both times I was laid off but I knew after that I wouldn’t have any money coming in until I got some freelance or part-time work and/or my unemployment kicked in. And even then it wouldn’t be as much as I had been making.

To make sure I wasn’t using too much or any of my savings I wanted to re-examine my budget and adjust it as best I could to reflect my change in income.

3. Cut back on expenses

As part of revising my budget, I had to take a hard look at where I was spending my money and see where I could make adjustments. This didn’t just mean I would cut a lot of things out of my budget it also meant looking for ways that I could get a cheaper price for things. 

Some of the things I did during my first two layoffs were
  • Looked for cheaper insurance policies. I was able to change my car insurance provider to save some money
  • Used more coupons when I shopped. It kinda got to the point that for certain items I wouldn’t buy them unless it was on sale and I had a coupon
  • Walked to places instead of using my car to save on gas. During my first two layoffs, I lived in neighborhoods that were within walking distance of grocery stores and drugstores. So if I was buying just a few things I would walk instead of drive. This saved me some money on gas
  • Unplugged electronics that I wasn't using daily like lamps and TVs

During my third layoff, I used rebate and coupon apps to save money
  • I used Rakuten to save money on some necessary online purchases
  • Ibotta was used to save money on groceries

4. Returned items I didn’t need

Right before my second layoff I had gone out and bought some home decor items for my apartment and some clothes for work. Since every penny counted I decided to return all of the items I had just bought.

Just to be clear, I had literally bought the clothes a couple of days prior and hadn’t removed any of the tags or worn them outside of trying them on to make sure they fit. It made sense to return the items since I didn’t have a job to wear them to anymore.

5. Signed up for unemployment

I was quicker about doing this the second time around since I was more experienced in the overall process and did it before. Before signing up the first time I made sure to do my research to see what the guidelines were.

Each state has different guidelines for when you can sign up when you would start receiving the benefit, and how much it would be. The kind of person I am, I wanted to make sure I understood what those guidelines were from the start.

6. Looked for part-time and freelance work

Even though I was getting unemployment, I still wanted to work to supplement my benefits and to keep up my job skills. Being able to do this may vary by state so before looking for temporary or freelance work make sure you understand if this is something your state allows and what the guidelines for it are.

For me, I had to make sure that what I was making doing freelance work didn’t reduce or compromise my unemployment benefits. So I had to do a bit of math to work out what my hourly rate and weekly hours could be.

7. Found ways to stay busy

At first, I just wanted to be by myself but I soon found that I couldn’t spend all day every day inside away from people. I soon discovered there are only so many days that I could stand watching talk shows and soap operas. I was bored out of my mind.

So I started looking for other things outside of the house and around other people. Some of the things I did were
  • Spent time at the pool. My first layoff was in the summer so I spent several hours at the poll with former co-workers who were also laid off
  • Visited with friends
  • Worked on my blog. A month or so before my second layoff I had started my blog so I had that to keep me distracted
  • Volunteered a lot at church
  • Went for daily walks in the park. The bonus here is I was able to lose a bit of weight

8. Made looking for a job a full-time job

This goes without saying. I didn’t want to stay out of work for too long. I work in advertising which is a constantly changing industry so if you’re out of the game for too long you can fall behind.

The first thing I did before looking for a new job was to figure out what I was looking for in my next job
  1. What type of position did I want?
  2. What type of company did I want to work at?
  3. Was I willing to move for the job?
  4. What was I not willing to accept in a new position?

Using the answers to my questions I updated my resume. I included several of the latest accomplishments and projects I had done at my previous job that would be relevant for a new one. I also added any relevant part-time and freelance work I was doing.

When it came to applying for jobs I acted like I was going to work every morning by getting up at the same time, getting ready for the day, and heading into my office. I set up a system so there were specific days I would search for jobs and on other days I would customize my resume and apply to the jobs. I would fit in interviews whenever.

While my re-employment wasn’t immediate and took several months doing all of these things helped me to get through those months and come out stronger and better.