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Posts tagged with: unemployment benefits

Unemployment Mistakes…

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I read an interesting article in Time magazine by Nina Easton about the fifth extension of unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits can now run up to 99 weeks.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1953704,00.html

She believes the extra long extensions to unemployment benefits are detrimental to pulling the economy out of the gutter.

My first reaction was to disagree. This is a tough economy and finding a job is difficult but… now I’m beginning to wonder if she’s right.

When I was laid off in late 2008, I didn’t apply for unemployment. I was so sure I’d find a job quickly that I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork. I hand delivered 5-7 applications a day and before I knew it, 4 weeks had slipped by. I started to panic and a sense of desperation overwhelmed me. I bumped up my search, applied for any and every job including dog trainer and street sweeper, and found a job before 2009 started. I worked pushing shopping carts and boxing groceries until I found a permanent position.

When my husband was laid off in late 2009, he searched for jobs in his field and applied for an average of 3 jobs a week. We knew unemployment bought us about 6-9 months worth of time and were willing to wait for the right position. He was eventually re-hired for his old position a few months later.

No, I don’t think this is true of everyone but I do wonder if nearly two years of unemployment checks is only making the problem worse.


Waiting for Unemployment…

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We’ve been waiting for a check from unemployment for 4 weeks… and we’re still waiting.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand government paperwork – heck, I process it every day as a government employee! But I think it’s important for everyone to be prepared.

Here’s a head’s up to those who think they may lose their jobs…

save to survive longer than 4 weeks.

Am I alone in this? Anyone else waiting for all of eternity?

We’re still coasting through on savings and odd jobs – and I am grateful we were prepared.


How long can we hang on…

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My husband and I sat down with sharpened pencils and sketched out a plan of action. We would have sketched this out earlier but we just received the unemployment numbers on Friday.

The big question…

How long can we hold on without my husband’s job?

Our initial numbers (without unemployment benefits) put us at 8 weeks. Our reductions to debt paired with our cash in savings and unemployment benefits put us at…

9 months.

Had this happened before we had taken control… had this happened before we made the decision to live below our means and reduce debt… we would have made it through a month, maybe two tops.

But now, we’re looking at 9 safe months. 9 months to find a job before things get hairy. Sure we won’t make progress other than minimums and we certainly won’t eat anything other than Ramen noodles but, we can hold on.

I have four words to say –

Thank. You. Dave. Ramsey.


Ways to get by while on unemployment…

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My budget was already threadbare but living with 50% less salary and on unemployment benefits has forced us to find ways to somehow reduce more.

First, we cut our dental and vision insurance. This is something that can easily be re-instated but the $25 a month can help me now.

Second, I cancelled all my appointments health related or otherwise. None of my appointments were an emergency and I requested that my doctor renew my prescriptions without the annual check-up since the last 6 years have been clear of any problems. These appointments and tests run in the neighborhood of $500.

Third, I called my cable company to cancel our cable, reduce our internet speed, and reduce our phone service. I explained our situation and was surprised when they offered reduced internet costs, reduced phone costs, and added free services and free channels for a 12 month period. I would tell you how much I’m paying – but I’m afraid they’ll figure out they made a huge mistake and ‘correct’ the discount… or fire the guy who gave it to me. I would have cut out the internet and phone entirely but my husband needs internet for school purposes and job searching late at night when he gets home (free internet at the library is closed) and I’m uncomfortable without a home phone for emergencies.

Fourth, I contacted my student loan company for a deferment.

Fifth, my husband and I contacted friends and family and let them know we’d be available for odd jobs. Since unemployment doesn’t start for nearly a month after a job loss, my husband has done everything from pulling weeds to insulating walls. I have been helping a company with paperwork at night after work. We use this money for groceries and for the important bills like electric and water. At no time should you feel you are ‘too good’ for any type of job.

Sixth, we cut off all our subscriptions and memberships. If you’re like us, you may not even remember you have some of them since they are automatically billed to your credit card and you may not look at each item on your online statement. Some examples: gym memberships, club memberships, magazine and newspaper subscriptions (some automatically renew unless you cancel). Savings – $50 a month.

Seventh, we’ve been using more public transportation. It takes twice as long to get somewhere, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s far from fun, but it saves $50-$75 a month.

It’s not a lot, but each item buys us a little more time.