How to Manage Finances After a Job Loss

Every year, unfortunately, millions of people lose their jobs. When it comes to dealing with finances after a job loss, it may become challenging to navigate. Fortunately, there are some tips that may be able to help you stay financially secure after a job loss. 

Manage finances after losing your job

10Tips to Help Manage Your Finances After a Job Loss

  1. See what unemployment benefits you qualify for

    If you are unemployed, then you may be able to qualify for some unemployment benefits. The first thing that you will want to do is visit your state’s unemployment benefits website. If you are having difficulty completing the online application, then visit your local unemployment office.

    Unemployment benefits can potentially give you an income while you are looking for a new job. Be aware that most unemployment benefits may expire after a certain period.

  2. Assess how much you have in savings

    After you have lost your job, you may have to tap into your savings to pay for your bills. Be sure to check into all the places where you may potentially have money. Here are some of the places where you will want to look:

    • Saving accounts
    • Saving accounts from banks you no longer use on a regular basis
    • Your PayPal or Venmo account
    • Any retirement plans

    You may also want to check your state’s unclaimed funds office from the state Secretary of the Treasury. There is the potential that you may have some unclaimed money waiting for you. 

  1. Sell unneeded items

    You may have some items that you can sell for money. Here are some places around your home where you should check:

    • Closets – over time clothes accumulate and older clothes often get pushed to the back of the closet. Assess if they fit, are still in style, or if you even like them anymore. This is a perfect opportunity to clean your closet and maybe make a little extra cash.
    • Garage – often we move unwanted items to the garage, thinking “oh I’ll use that again someday” more often than not, someday never comes and these items gather dust. Walk through your garage and see what’s in there that can be used by someone else.
    • Attic – another place we move things to think we’ll use that later, and again, later never seems to come. Peruse through your attic and see what’s there of value that you can sell.
    • Backyard – selling lawn furniture or unused games can sometimes generate extra cash.
    • Shed -a shed can be a real treasure trove for some; yard equipment and tools can garner real money if they’re in good shape and still work.

     Once you have found some items that you want to sell, there are some marketplaces and options that you can use to sell your items:

    • Garage sale
    • Facebook Marketplace
    • eBay
    • Craigslist
    • NextDoor
  1. Take a look at your current budget and make needed changes

    Another way you could alleviate some of your daily budget demands is to find ways to cut down on your spending. There is a chance that you can potentially cut anywhere from 10% to 30% of your monthly budget. Here are some places where you might be able to make some cuts:

    • Dining out – of course dining out is great because there is no cooking or cleaning involved, but eating out often adds up quickly. Take a look at your monthly expenses associated with eating out, and you just might be surprised at how much you spend.
    • Subscriptions to streaming services – these little services can add up, and while we tell ourselves that it’s only $5.99 a month, maintaining several services can become a pricey way to watch TV.
    • Gym memberships – evaluate if you’re really using your gym membership.  Even if you’re using your gym membership, are there ways you can work out without paying for it?
    • Entertainment– these costs can creep up on you if you’re not watching closely. It’s fun to hang out with friends and go to concerts or sporting events but these activities can really be a budget buster.
    • Cell phone providers – over time it seems the bill slowly creeps up. You may want to call your provider and ask for any current promotions you can take advantage of. You might be surprised how quickly they will find a “promotion” you can take advantage of.
  1. Contact your credit card company

    Some credit card companies may give you a temporary break from making your payments when you are unemployed. It does not hurt to contact your credit card company and explain your situation.

    Here is some of the information that you should provide to the credit card company:

    • How much you can pay (if it is not the minimum)
    • How long you expect to be unemployed

     If your credit card company is unable to assist you, you might consider suggesting that you will switch to another card with a lower interest rate. Some credit card companies may be willing to offer you help in return for keeping your account open. Credit card companies can be very responsive to people who threaten to close their credit card account.

  1. Get financial counseling

    If your financial situation becomes too difficult for you to handle alone, then you may want to seek the advice of a financial counselor. Each community usually has several free resources that can help people with financial counseling needs.

    You could also find financial counseling services online. Here are some resources to help you get started:

    • Greenpath - Greenpath offers free financial counseling services
    • NFCC - The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a non-profit that offers free credit and debt counseling.
    • - can help you potentially find free financial counseling services.
  1. Figure out which bills to pay first

    Even if you are unemployed, there are bills that you will have to pay. Be sure to look at your bills and see which bills are likely to take priority. Here are some bills that you should consider paying first:

    • Rent/Mortgage
    • Utility bill
    • Water bill
    • Insurance

    Here are some other bills that should be a lower priority:

    • Streaming services
    • Gym memberships
  1. Consolidate or refinance your debt

    Consider refinancing your debt. Doing this may help you better manage the money that you owe. Be sure to see if consolidating your debt allows you to lower your payments in a meaningful way. You may have to talk to several different debt consolidation or refinancing companies before you are able to find the deal that could be right for you.

  1. Look for free sources in your community

    Chances are that there are several free resources that can help you while you are unemployed. Here are some steps places that may be available in your area:

    • Food banks - You can visit a food bank, which can help you save on your grocery bill.
    • EBT - You may potentially qualify for an EBT card that will allow you to get food from your local supermarket or convenience store.
    • Cash assistance - Some communities may offer cash assistance to those in need.
  1. Explain the situation to all immediate family members

    If your situation is difficult, perhaps some close family members can provide you with assistance. Doing this can potentially be a stressful situation for you. After all, almost no one wants to admit that they are having a difficult time. Here are some ways your family members can assist you.

    • Ask if they have any extra food to assist you with grocery bills
    • Ask for help in finding a job
    • Ask for any extra things that you may need (attire for interviews, gas money, etc.)

Keep your finances in shape during challenging times

There are many people who, unfortunately, lose their job. If you find yourself without a job, be sure not to neglect your finances while your income is not at its usual level. By managing your finances after a job loss, you can potentially ensure that your money situation will not put you in an uncomfortable situation.

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