I live by the motto “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” That sounds great but it’s a little harder putting it into action. While some people wait until bad things happen to react, I plan ahead and have an idea of what I’ll do when a life changing event occurs. One thing I stay prepared for is a drop in income.
Last year my husband lost his job. While we were in the middle of buying our first house. During Christmas time. I don’t know about you but I think that would be enough to make anyone have a minor breakdown. I was able to hold it all together and continue life as normal because I had stayed prepared.
This is how I made it work. Maybe these tips will you help you when the unexpected becomes reality.
Stay calm - A loss or decrease in income happens to most people at least once in their lives. If you’ve been lucky enough to have not experienced it before, remember, you will be ok. Panicking typically leads to mistakes and those mistakes can make the entire situation worse. Do your best to keep a level head and see things rationally.
Don’t play the blame game - Trying to place blame is a natural reaction. In this instance, placing blame isn’t going to help. Maybe your integrator pulled your contract for seemingly no reason or maybe you should have paid a little more attention to early signs of disease. What is done is done and can not be changed. Now is the time to deal with the issue at hand, not live in the past.
Make a game plan - It may seem as if you should take things day by day. This can be a dangerous game. Instead of figuring out what to eat today, look at the entire week. How long can a pound of beans feed you and your family? Would it be cheaper to buy a five pound bag and eat several meals out of it? Make a list of all your bills and call each one to see if you can get some temporary relief. What can you do to make a little money until you get a new job or sell the next flock?
Decide what is a necessity - What are the things you can live without, at least for a while? Make a list of all non-essentials and see how much can be saved by cutting them out temporarily.
Make a budget AND STICK TO IT - Do you have money in savings? What is left in your checking account? While most people immediately check their savings and checking accounts to see how long they can live off of current assets, don’t forget to take stock of what is in your refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets to see how long you can make it without going to the grocery store. When you do go to the store, don’t spend a penny more than you’ve allotted and shop from your grocery list.
Reassess often - Once you’ve got your plan in place, you’ll need to check back to see what has changed and how you’re doing. Immediately following the loss of income, check back in every few days. Inevitably a bill has been forgotten, an unexpected expense popped up, or maybe nothing at all. After you’ve gotten into the groove of your new lifestyle, you won’t have to reassess as often.