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How to Keep Your Budget on Track if You’ve Been Laid Off

October 20, 2023 3 mins

If you’ve been affected by layoffs, try to remember that this is a temporary setback. Job hunting can be stressful and frustrating, but it’s not forever. To help yourself through this difficult time, take care of yourself both physically and mentally. You’ll want to update your resume, start networking, and search job boards — but you’ll feel better if you eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.

It’s also important to take care of yourself financially. With careful planning and budgeting, you can get back on your feet without accumulating too much debt. And if you already have an emergency fund, now is the time that it can help you.

Set a budget and track your spending

If you already have a budget, great! This is an important time to revisit your plan and start tracking your spending to understand your expenses and figure out where you can cut back.

If you don’t have one, now’s the time to create a budget to keep your money from slipping away unnoticed. You want to take charge of decisions such as what to buy, when to buy it, and why.

As noted above, if you have an emergency fund, now’s the time to use. If you don’t have one, plan to start one as soon as you have regular income again. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This will give you a financial cushion in case you lose your job again.

Pay off your high-interest debt first to save money on interest in the long run — and, if you can, increase payments on your credit cards to pay off your debt faster.”

Get to know your debt

In addition to your monthly bills and expenses, you also need to have a clear picture of your outstanding debt. Make a list of all your credit card debts and existing loans. In your list, include the balance, interest rate, and minimum payment for each.

If you can continue making the minimum payments, that’s great. If not, you may need to prioritize. In general, paying off your high-interest debt should be a priority. This will save you money on interest in the long run.

You may also want to consider consolidating your debt. Debt consolidation can help you get a lower interest rate and make it easier to manage your monthly payments.

If you have a Patelco credit card in addition to credit card(s) at other financial institutions, you should consider whether a balance transfer will help. Our card rates are typically lower than what other banks offer. And unlike banks, Patelco charges zero balance transfer fees – so you can enjoy our lower rates without the fee.

Use your credit cards responsibly

Sticking to debit cards and paying with cash is a great way to keep within your budget during a difficult time. Only charge to your credit card what you can afford to pay off in full each month. Keep in mind it’s not a good idea to close your credit card accounts right now, though — it may hurt your credit score.

Try a side hustle

Whether you use your skills to make money working from home or find a part-time job, you might as well earn some extra income while you’re looking for a new job. You may even find your next career through your part time work.

The other advantage of part-time work – including gig work like delivery or personal shopper – is that it can give you a much-needed mental break from searching for a job.

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many resources available to help people who are struggling financially. If you’re struggling to make payments, you may be able to negotiate with your creditors or even your landlord. They may allow you to lower your interest rate or monthly payments.

If you’re struggling to cope with the stress of being laid off, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family or a professional. There are people who can help you through this difficult time.

Patelco has also put together links to local resources that can help with everyday expenses.


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