5. Get a handle on monthly bills
Although I had a little money put by for a rainy day, I went through my recurring bills to see if there was any room for saving more. I found that by shopping around for automobile and homeowners insurance, I could keep the same coverage and reduce both bills. I had been thinking about doing this for a variety of reasons, but being unemployed helped push it to the top of the list.
6. Cut food costs
If you live by yourself, this will be easier to do. If you have a family, everyone will need to sit down and understand they will all have to help out until you can get another job. Not that I ate out a lot while I had a job, but I did eat out sometimes. When I was laid off, that stopped. The one treat I allowed myself each week was to stop by a local pizza place that made the pizza but you took it home to cook in your own oven. I made sure to take a coupon with me each week to take a couple dollars off the cost of the pizza.
I also shopped at my local Costco and bought the food I needed in bulk so I had to shop only once a month. Having a freezer make this easier to do. For example, I would buy a 3 to 5 pound tray of fish, which I would portion out into individual meals using a vacuum-sealing machine. Another suggestion: Buy several gallons of milk at one time and put them in the freezer. Pull one gallon out at a time, and it will still be good. I have been doing this for more than a year and have yet to notice a difference in the taste.
7. Look at health insurance options
Your company-supplied health insurance will come to an end. My former employer's health insurance ended a few days after I was separated from the company. Worse yet, I wasn't due to receive COBRA information until after my company health insurance had lapsed. Because my previous employer also had been processing my claims, I wasn't comfortable with it having any further access to my medical records. Doing a little research on the Internet, I found a single health-insurance policy from Blue Cross Blue Shield for half the price of the COBRA policy my former employer was going to offer me and with better coverage.
8. Check with your financial adviser
I have worked with an excellent person at Smith Barney for several years. Because I knew I might need to access my credit line to help pay bills, I wanted to give him a heads-up on my situation so he could be looking at other options to keep the use of the credit line as a last resort.
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