Create an Action Plan Before Unemployment Benefits Dry Up

By April Lewis-Parks

By the end of 2011 many people will be losing their unemployment benefits. If you’re one of the many jobless, then now is the time to start making plans before all avenues of income dry up.

First, if you haven’t already, you need to start pulling back on unnecessary expenses. Don’t use your credit cards to keep up with the Jones. Drinking, smoking and that morning latte at Starbucks aren’t options anymore. You need to cut anything that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Sit down and look at your budget. Figure out ways you can downsize your lifestyle. Tally your savings and figure out how much longer you can make it without your unemployment benefits. Second, it’s time to face reality about your job prospects. Don’t hold out for that “perfect” job. You need to take a job that will get you through this difficult time. This might mean reinventing yourself.

Reread your resume and revise areas that might make you “too qualified” or don’t apply to the job that you’re trying to get. Consider getting a part time job that will help with the bills once your unemployment benefits dry up. Third, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends and families might be able to refer you to a job before it gets advertised or they may let you live with them while you’re getting back on your feet.

If you’re a parent, consider asking a stay-home mom to watch your kids while you’re out job hunting and save on daycare expenses. Don’t allow your pride stop you from getting the help you need. Fourth, look for state and federal programs that can help you after unemployment benefits stop. For example, many states offer training programs and other assistance to help families to get back on their feet.

Lastly, try to stay positive. Your self-esteem is probably taking a beating because of your situation, but you can’t let that defeat you. Every time you start feeling overwhelmed by your situation, get out there and exercise. It will burn off that negative emotion and help you get refocused.

About the Author

The following blog post is from April Lewis-Parks, the director of education for Consolidated Credit She is a certified credit counselor and a consumer affairs advocate who is dedicated to generating awareness about personal finance issues. She is on the education advisory committee of the JumpStart Coalition, which is dedicated to furthering financial literacy for the youth and she is active in the South Florida chapter of Junior Achievement which promotes entrepreneurship and financial literacy through hands-on programs.