Well, it happened again. John came home 2 weeks ago and said he was being let go from his job. His last day is actually today, and that’s it. Zero income coming in for who knows how long, which is an extremely terrifying feeling.
I say “it happened again” because this is the fourth time John has lost his job. The first two times were while we were together but not married, and the third time was Christmas of 2011, 9 months after we got married. This time will be quite different, because we now have Allison and I no longer work outside the home. Taking care of just yourself while unemployed is hard enough, but having a family just makes things much tougher. I pray this never happens to any of you, but if it does, here are some things to do first when your spouse loses his job.
The first three times this happened, John and I did a LOT of praying. It was a lot of just thanking God for providing for us when we were in good standing financially, and praying that we’d still be taken care of during this rough patch. Each time, we never went without food, and never had to worry about which bill to pay and which to skip. We prayed and fasted this most recent time, and it took 4 months for John to find another job. We know that God does things for a reason, and John’s time spent at this job was just preparing him for something bigger and better!
Just listen and be there
As a man and provider of the household, I can only imagine how devastating it is to lose an aspect of who you are. The best thing that you can do is be there for your husband, to listen, to offer understanding and compassion. Nothing you say can truly make it better, but just your presence helps. John and I were able to take a long walk together the next day, where he expressed a lot of what he was feeling.
Re-adjust your budget
Hopefully you already have a budget in place! If not, you both need to sit down and figure out what needs to be changed, especially if your husband was the only one with an income. What can be taken out of your budget, even temporarily? Can you stop cable for a few months until he finds a new job? Decrease the minutes on your phone plan?
One of the biggest parts of the budget you can control is your grocery budget. Dollar amounts like your house payment are fixed, but your grocery budget is extremely variable and you can easily lower it to fit what you can afford in that time. Perhaps it means giving up items that aren’t absolutely necessary, like soda and junk food. It could also mean not eating as healthy as you’d like; of course, eating a varied diet of fresh fruits and vegetables is preferable, but if you’re on an extremely low budget, it really won’t hurt to live on rice and beans a few times a week, for a short time. See: my post on how we ate for $37 a week for a year. It wasn’t always the best foods, but we knew it was only for a short time so we did what we could! Buy only what’s on sale and in season, and that will definitely help your budget.
For those of you that follow me and my $60 weekly shopping trips, I will probably attempt to buy food for the 3 of us for $30 a week. That’s extremely low, but I’ve been stocking my freezer and pantry for occasions like this, so I have a few meals in the freezer, as well as tons of discounted meat, and like 20 boxes of pasta in the pantry along with other things. My hope and prayer is that the $30 will be enough to get just the basics, like milk and fresh produce, while we eat out of the freezer/pantry, and that it’ll last until John finds a job, whenever that will be. Make sure you check back every Monday; I’m interested to see how this goes!
This is going to be an interesting time of trusting God and what He has in store for us, whatever that may be.