Financial Moves In The Event Of A Job Loss

The economy is rolling but it might not always.   In fact, things won’t always be so great.  It’s just the cycle of economics.  I’ve been at my job for 12 years.  It’s great and I feel secure, as I’m sure do many.  Still, it never hurts to prepare in the event of a job loss.  Here are some financial considerations in the event of a job loss.  These are tailored for my family, but are applicable for many.

Unemployment Benefits / Health Care

I would expect that any state unemployment benefits that I would receive would be eaten up by health care premiums, whether it be COBRA or a privately funded insurance policy.

Paying the Bills

We have an emergency fund specifically for events like this. The money isn’t earmarked for anything else. We would use this to pay essential bills.

If unemployment were to continue for longer than that time, we would look into one of several options. First, we could sell some investments. We have non-retirement investment holdings that I could sell that would sustain us for another 6 months or longer. Second, we could re-evaluate some of our other cash holdings. We have additional dollars alongside our emergency fund that are earmarked for things like a new car, home repairs, etc.  These can be be re-allocated if necessary.

Concentrate on the Job Search

Due to having a fully funded emergency fund, I wouldn’t be panicked.  Since we could pay the bills without fear of ‘going under’, this would allow me to focus on a job search.

As of now, there are lots of contract positions available in my field.  I am not inclined to work contract for a considerable length of time.  Many are fine with this.  I’m not.  But, in the interim, to put food on the table, I’d definitely look at these positions.  It could end up leading to something permanent.  That’s how it worked for my current job!

Reducing Expenses

There are definitely some expenses I would look to cut as a method to reduce our cash outlays. Even though we have a fully funded emergency fund, the fact remains that with a job loss, it would no longer be fully funded after I found new work, and would need to be re-built. I would employ the following strategies to make sure that our cash lasts as long as possible and to ensure that we could get back on track as quickly as possible once I found new work:

  • Eliminate Netflix
  • Eliminate eating out
  • Unlevel some of our spending – I currently put aside an equal amount every month so that our monthly spending is fairly even. But, this has increased the amount of cash that is on hand. We could essentially draw down some overfunded accounts.  Of course, we’d work to replenish them later!
  • Let the lawn go brown
  • Reduce or eliminate the A/C and cut back on heat.
  • Cut back grocery spending.  We could save some money at the grocery store.  First would be working through food we have stocked up.  The pantry and freezer would be good for this.

In Summary

When faced with a job loss, finding work is the most important goal.  But, making sure you and your family have the basics is just as important.

Nobody wants to think of a potential job loss, but preparedness is key.  It does happen.  It’s happened to me and while I hope it doesn’t happen again, it’s good to know we are ready in many ways.

Readers, have you faced a job loss?  How did you deal with it?  What job loss preparations do you currently have in place?  

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

How We’re Trying To Support Local Business

As more and more stores close, one thing is clear.  It’s important to support local business.  During our last recession, Michigan was hit very hard.  The recession here started a couple of years before it hit the rest of the country.  Unemployment was worse than most other states.  That’s what happens when the economy is based on one industry that was hit very hard.  As it was, a lot of local business didn’t make it through.  Those that did can often find it tough to make it through.

Still, it’s important to support local business.  Here are some ways we have.

Shopping At Local Hardware Stores

I wrote an article about this a few months ago.  Local hardware stores, simply put, are a treasure.  You get helpful and knowledgeable people.  There are times to shop at the big box store, that’s true.  But I think paying a little extra now and then is well worth it at the mom-and-pop hardware.  There’s hardly any better way to support local business.

Support Local Grocery Chains

Meijer is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we do most of our shopping here. We have been doing so for a few years now, but we’ve made it a point to buy whatever we can at Meijer before reverting to Kroger or Wal-Mart.

Buying Products Made Here

If something is manufactured locally, consider supporting it.  We have Better Made potato chips that have been made locally for decades.  It’s an institution.  Also, many craft beer makers are popping up everywhere.  Support this local business and enjoy some good refreshments!

Driving American Made Cars

For many, American made autos are synonymous with poor quality.  This line of thinking is way out of date. Quality is pretty much the same across all brands.  Even though lines are blurred since so much stuff is made in other countries these days, purchasing American made cars keeps profits in the country.  Plus, here in Michigan, it helps even more!

I know that there are other ways to support the local economy and that these things may be mere drops in the bucket, but one thing I’ve learned is that those drops can add up.

Readers, what are you doing to support your local economy?  Is this important to you?  Please discuss in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

5 Tips for Payday Loans Applicants

Sometimes, the inevitable happens and you are left without any cash. You feel powerless, and you don’t want to ask your family and friends for some money, as you find it embarrassing. Conveniently, there is one way that can help you survive until your paycheck is due – a payday loan.

In order to be eligible for a loan, there are some things you need to take into consideration. Here are 5 tips that could help you successfully apply for payday loans.

Improve Your Credit Rating

Your credit rating is crucial when applying for a loan. Still, it’s important to have a good credit score before getting one. This shows the lender that you are also up-to-date with payments. Moreover, the lender can see that they can rely on you when it comes to getting their money back when payday arrives.

Therefore, make sure you’re always on time with payments, and the credit score will be a good one. If you want to check your score, you can easily do that for a small fee, and you’ll be able to see your credit application and borrowing history. Make sure the info is accurate too because any mistake on the file could affect your application.

Only Borrow the Amount You Need

You may be tempted to borrow some extra cash to have just in case. However, if you do that, you will have to pay interest on that extra amount of money. Although it seems like a great idea at first, it can be annoying in the long run, especially since there are higher interest rates of payday loans.

Shop Around for Lenders

Before making any application, it’s recommended to look around for the right loan option? Why, you ask? Well, some offers are better than others, so you shouldn’t go with the first one you find. You want the best experience after all, don’t you?

If you need help comparing companies, there are online websites that do the work for you, so you find the best deal that suits you and your needs.

Read & Understand the Contract

We get it, contracts are no fun at all, and it seems like you always stumble upon a word or sentence that is too hard to understand. The lender, however, is there to offer you not only money help, but guidance as well. Therefore, it’s nothing wrong to ask the lender. By understanding the whole contract, you won’t have any unpleasant surprises over time.

Have a Reason

You can’t just borrow money because you want some extra cash for a night out with the friends. The reason should be a serious one. You will be asked by the lender about what you will use them for, and you won’t be taken into consideration if you don’t have something serious going on.

Are you left without money, and you need some for food until payday? Did a tire catch a nail on the road to work, and you are left in the middle of the road? Does a loved one need medicine? If you have a serious reason, then the lender may consider it.

Tell us, did you ever apply for payday loans? If so, how was your experience? Please tell us in the comments.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Alternatives To Raking Leaves

Fall is in mid-swing.  Shorter days. Cool days and nippy nights.  Beautiful colors.  Falling leaves.  Cider mill trips.  Hay rides.  There’s a lot to love.  One thing that many do not love is raking leaves.  But, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to!  There are alternatives to raking leaves.  Here are some of the different things you can do, and why they might be beneficial.

Can You Ignore Your Leaves?

When leaves fall, they eventually break down and basically turn back into dirt.  I’ve always thought that process is pretty amazing.  It is, if you think about it, right?

Unfortunately, you can’t just let leaves go unattended.  There are several drawbacks.

  • A thick covering of leaves will choke out the grass underneath.
  • Leaves that aren’t collected will blow around and go to places where they’re not supposed to go.
  • Unattended leaves can pile up and reroute natural drainage paths.

So unfortunately, most people will have to do something with their leaves.  Simply leaving them on the ground isn’t a viable option.

Mulching

If you have a mulching lawn mower, use it!  Leaves are the perfect thing to mulch.  Remember above how I said that leaves basically decompose into dirt.  This is great for your lawn.  The thing is that the pieces have to be small enough to break down quickly.

If you use your mulching mower, you’ll break the leaves down into tiny pieces.  These pieces will break down quickly.  Plus, they get that small, they’ll fall in between the blades of your grass.  This means that you the leaves won’t choke your lawn as they would if you leave them on top of the grass.

On top of it all, leaves that break down will provide a natural fertilizer to the grass.

There are some drawbacks.  When leaves fall fast and furious, you have to mulch them very frequently or else the leaves can get too thick for a mower to handle.  Even in some cases, you’ll have to mow over some spots a couple of times so that the machine can break the pieces down into small enough sizes.

Another drawback is that fall often brings rainy weather.  Sometimes, it may seem like the leaves are never given the opportunity to dry out.  Unfortunately, mowers aren’t going to do that great of a job on sopping wet leaves.  All you’ll end up likely doing is clogging up the mechanism.  In this case, you might have to pull out the rake.

Blowing Instead of Raking

Raking is hard work.  I find that my shoulders are sore for days if I have to rake the whole yard.  But, even if I have to collect the leaves, I’ll now save some of the raking and use the leaf blower.  Blowing the leaves into a few piles makes it a lot easier to put in bags.

Burn Baby Burn!

If you live in an area that allows it, you can burn your leaves. Unfortunately, you still have to collect them before you can do this.  We live in a suburban area that has banned leaf burning, so unfortunately this doesn’t work for us.  But, I do enjoy driving by areas where people still do this.  The smell of burning leaves is definitely a fall favorite!

Cutting Your Grass Short

Falling leaves will settle into your grass pretty quickly.  One thing you can do is give the leaves less of an opportunity to settle by cutting your grass shorter.  Then, the leaves have a better chance of blowing across your yard.  Yes, you’re making more work for your neighbors, but that’s up to you as to whether you worry about that or not!

Hopefully you’re enjoying your fall.  I hope that if you trees nearby, that these alternatives to raking leaves have helped.

Readers, what alternatives to raking leaves have you come up with? Or do you just prefer good old fashioned raking?  Please let me know in the comments below.

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