It has been six months and a couple of days since I was officially laid off. (Time flies!) During that time I managed to complete over 52 DIY projects, 24 blog articles and 4 trips. Even though I have yet to hear from a few positions, I’m holding up nicely. I thought I’d be going out of my mind with boredom by now but I’m happy, healthy and somewhat anxiety free, thanks to my husbands income and my savings. All wins.
There is no clear cheat sheet in life to get you to where you want to be faster, and pure luck can be all that is required to skip ahead in life coupled with hard work and lots of waiting. Follow this advice and you will be ahead of the Layoff game:
- Rent your house if you can’t make mortgage payments and either move in with relatives or rent. In a perfect world you will be able to rent your house for a few extra dollars to subsidize your new living arrangement. If all you need is a little cash, and can do so, rent a room out on a contract basis or check if airBnB is accepted by your community and sublet through them.
- If you have the capital, buy a property or business that will yield gains greater than the original investment. Many books on finance will suggest that you get more than one rental property and live off the profits. Get a Realtor license or find good business partners and you could become a property manager in your own right while you wait for offers.
- Use promotions to save money and even get some free money. Banks will pay you to switch accounts and so will certain cell phone companies. Call your cable company and ask for an unemployed rate (they play ball with you and find you better deals), refinance your loans while you still have a job, consolidate credit cards using promotional 0% charge rates. If there is a coupon or a legitimate offer, use it.
- Exchange all your credit card points, miles, and other rewards for gift cards. I was able to gather almost $300 in points and gift cards. This can make a big difference if you haven’t been able to save enough to cover expenses.
- Sell old jewellery to respected and reputed gold buying outlets. Avoid pawn shops unless you are in dire need and can’t make it to a licensed dealer. You will get 30-40% of the original cost of the item with a pawn shop, and a buyer or dealer may pay you more, up to 60%. Try eBay and other selling outlets before offloading at a pawn shop. Make sure you get the items appraised as the documentation helps to secure a more realistic bid from prospective buyers.
- Downsize your transportation. If you have an expensive car and can’t maintain it or keep it, trade it in for a more economic model. You can always buy a newer car when you are solvent. Don’t overspend on an article that is depreciating by the minute. If you are still paying the loan refinance it, and if you are leasing talk to your agent to make arrangements. The hit to your credit is not worth it.
- Pay as many bills as you can ahead of schedule. That way you won’t need to worry about getting you power cut until a few months have passed.
- Figure out what items are taking up space in your home that could be turned into instant cash. Maybe you don’t use the living room couch or you have designer brand things taking up space but not being used. Check Craig’s list and the classifieds to figure out the running price on these items and sell them. You can always buy better things later. If you have a good eye, buy things cheap and resell them at a profit. Maybe a friend is willing to take it off your hands!
- Trade services with other professionals. I fixed a few items for my massage therapist and she traded my services for a massage. Win-win.
- Use the time off to volunteer. Sometimes the best connections come from mentoring opportunities or community work. The more you put yourself out there the quicker you will find something. It is all about the network; about who you know.
The best advice I got was keep hustling. Get up, get dressed and go learn something. In my case every PSN trophy and every completed DIY gave me the morale boost I needed to continue my journey through unemployment. Even though I haven’t found the million dollar idea yet, or a job for that matter, I can sense that I am a step closer to finding whatever it is life wants me to try next. I hope these insights can help you find a little extra cash while you find another job or career opportunity. If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment below!