Checklist: Things to Do If You Lose Your Job

Losing your job is tough. So, we asked RelayRides blogger and personal finance expert, Eric Rosenberg, for advice on how to manage unemployment.

There are few things more terrifying to Americans than the dreaded pink slip. While mass layoffs are not big in the news these days, they are never over. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there have been over 1,000 mass layoffs per month every month since 2006. If you get caught in the cross fire, here are some tips to keep your finances in good shape while you find your next gig.

Better Utilize Assets

Most of your possessions and property only ever cost you money, but you can turn your stuff into money with less work than you think. Popular websites make it easier than ever to make money online.

  • Rent your spare room – Turn a spare bedroom or garage space into income. Just use sites like Craigslist or AirBnB to find a tenant or someone looking for extra storage space.
  • Rent your car – RelayRides lets you rent out your car to trustworthy members and get paid! It is simple and only takes a few minutes to sign up and list your car.
  • Sell your stuff – You probably don’t look at that old baseball card collection or watch physical DVDs as much as you used to. eBay and Amazon Marketplace let you list and sell your stuff to turn junk into cash.

Cut Recurring Expenses

In January, 2011, I cut the cord. I called Comcast, told them to turn off my service, and stopped paying them $70 a month for my TV service.

$70 a month might not seem like life changing money today, but when your income dries up every recurring cost counts. Think of your over-the-top cell phone plan, cable or satellite TV package with the works of premium channels, or a Netflix subscription you don’t use. Every dollar matters.

Cutting a $70 per month cable TV package will save you $840 per year. For many Americans, that is an entire paycheck for two weeks work. Think about spending smart and the savings will come together quickly.

Diversify Your Income

Most Americans rely on their primary job at their sole income source, but if that income goes away, which is usually very sudden, they are stuck living on savings alone.

Diversify your income today to help ease the pain if you do lose your job. But even if you’ve already lost your job, it is never too late to try to earn more from outside sources.

Popular income streams for people today include doing small jobs for people (see Zaarly, TaskRabbit, and GigWalk), selling items online (Amazon Marketplace), and working as a freelancer (ODesk, Elance).

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

While you are trying to make money elsewhere, don’t forget that your primary job is your bread and butter. Make sure you have a rock star resume and update your LinkedIn profile to show off your best accomplishments and wins at work.

Remember, employers don’t want to see responsibilities as much as successes. Highlight where you can contribute and make a difference for them. If you can provide value, your next job will come around in no time.