It is stressful when your husband loses his job. No, not my husband. Not since last October, anyway. Unfortunately “my husband lost his job” is one of the frequent search terms people use to find BeingFrugal.net. And it seems to be increasing in frequency. Other search terms I’ve seen recently are “god’s provision during unemployment,” “support husband lost job,” and “financial what to do when might lose job.” It breaks my heart that so many people are experiencing the same struggles that my husband and I experienced last year.
But there is hope. And I’d like to address the steps you can take to make this tough time a little bit easier.
When You Feel a Job Loss is Coming
A lot of times you can see a job loss coming. Your boss seems distant. There’s a hostile atmosphere at work. Perhaps there are rumors that your company will be bought out. The financial statements look bad. The list goes on.
Though it does happen from time to time, people are rarely blind-sided when they lose their jobs. I know that both times my husband lost his job last year (yes, it happened twice in one year), he knew for a while that things didn’t look good.
If you see the proverbial writing on the wall, start saving all the extra money you can save. You’re going to need it to live on. If you’ve been snowballing money toward your debt repayment plans, stop. Go back to paying the minimum amount and put any extra money in your emergency fund. Start living as frugally as you can. And keep your eyes open for other job opportunities. Hopefully you can find a better job before you get fired or laid off.
As Soon as You Lose Your Job
File for Unemployment
Don’t wait. I’m not sure how much things vary from state to state, but in Oregon, there is a one week waiting period before you can collect benefits. There also needs to be an investigation into the unemployment claim, and often that holds up your benefits for a couple of weeks. So you want to file as soon as you can.
Tell Everyone You Know that You Lost Your Job
I know this is a tough one, but it’s important. As a Christian, I appreciated the prayers of friends and family. Beyond that, you never know who might know of an employment opportunity. Connections are everything, and the more people who know you’re job hunting, the more chances someone will know of a job opportunity for you.
Make a List of Resources You Can Tap Into
It’s important to do this early on. You may never need to use these resources, but you will feel better knowing that they are there. Some ideas to consider:
- Your church
- Local Food Pantry
- Energy assistance programs
- Salvation Army
- Sliding Scale Medical Clinics
- Your state’s Medicaid Program (OHP in Oregon)
There will be others, depending on where you live.
Cut Back Your Budget as Far as it Will Go
Cancel the cable, cell phones….anything you don’t really need. You want to make your savings stretch as far as it will go, because you don’t know how long you will be unemployed.
Put as Much Effort as You Possibly Can into Finding a New Job
How picky you can be about your new job depends on whether you have any savings to fall back on. If you have a significant savings account, you can afford to wait for a great job. If you don’t have a lot of savings, you may have to string together some part time jobs to make a full time income for a while. My husband, who was an advertising sales manager by profession, took on part-time janitorial work to pay the bills.
Wives…What You Can Do For Your Husbands
Since I get a lot of search hits for “my husband lost his job,” I want to make sure to touch on this. Job loss is stressful, and it’s sometimes easy to turn on the one you love in the midst of the stress.
Keep in mind that men take providing for their families seriously, and a job loss can make a man feel like a failure. Wives, this is the time when you need to be strong. You can reassure your husband that he is not a failure…that this is just a temporary setback in life. Assure him that you are on his team. Remind him that you still respect him as a man. Tell him frequently that you have confidence in his abilities.
I’m not talking about false flattery, but focusing on the positive. Your husband already knows the negative. He heard it from his boss, and chances are he’s hearing it from himself. Being the encourager in your marriage is very important in a crisis.
My Experience as a Christian
God does provide. It’s not always how you expect, and many times working through a job loss is more difficult than you anticipate. There are times you may even question if God is there. He is there, and he cares about your situation.
Philippians 4:19 says,
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
God will meet your needs. Not necessarily your wants, but He will take care of your needs. You just need to recognize and accept the opportunities he sends your way, whether it be a check from your church or a part-time janitorial job.
I can testify to the many times God has provided for my family in difficult financial times. For those who have landed on this site looking for hope, I hope you have found it. Take heart. The storm of unemployment will eventually pass. You will get through it, and someday you may be able to encourage others with the same struggle.
Other useful blog posts:
- How to Deal With a Drastic Decrease in Income at Cash Money Life
- How to Make Ends Meet When You Can’t Find a Good Job at My Two Dollars
- The Last Lecture and Brick Walls at Gather Little by Little
Did I miss anything? Do you have additional tips for surviving job loss? Please share!