I’m 41 and was laid off from a job back in 2012 which denied me unemployment. After 10 months, I found a job that paid significantly less than what I was making. As someone with a preexisting conditon, I put health care above all other expenses; before ACA was implemented in 2013, I had very little options but to use COBRA. Needless to say, my savings began to bleed profusely. The job I have now still pays less than what I used to make and it feels that I working to remain in poverty. What can I do?
I’m sorry to hear of your misfortune. Lay-offs were far to common in 2012’s economy; and, job loss can happen at anytime. You can rebuild your savings. You must keep in mind, however, that your health is more important than your savings account! It was a blessing that you had the funds to cover the medical expenses.
Now that you’ve regained employment, you must make a budget~ trimming all excessive spending i.e. eating out. Be sure to increase your savings and also to reduce your debt. It’s best to have the money for your savings automatically deducted and deposited into a account. Once you’ve paid yourself first, the balance can be used for debt reduction and expenses. Debt reduction also provides savings. Don’t be discouraged, no amount that you save on a regular bases is too small. Consistency is the key. Once you have accomplished the above steps, you can begin to contribute into a retirement plan. If your company offers matching funds, be sure to contribute up to the required amount. I hope that this helps!
There are a couple of ways to get back on track. To start with, make a budget. Total up all your monthly take home pay. Next, start to subtract all of your expenses. You will want to subtract your housing, car, gas, food, entertainment, clothing, insurance just to name a few.
If you aren’t sure where your money went, go to your checking account online or in your register. Take a 30 day period and start to categorize your spending. If it’s groceries, put the dollar amount under the heading groceries. Do the same for eating out, snacks and drinks, entertainment, clothes, or any other category you discover.
Add up the columns so you have an idea of what you spend on each one for a month. Put those figures into the budget. Once you’ve completed that task, subtract the total spending from the total income. Hopefully you have a positive number. If not, you need to go through each category and decide where you can cut back until you do have a positive number.
Doing this will allow you to free up extra money to put towards your savings, and will also keep you from going into debt because you are running out of money each month.
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