When Your Dual Income is Cut in Half

by Kristina on April 20, 2010 · 4 comments

On April 13, 2010 the US Census Bureau reported that Imports surpassed Exports in Foreign Trade. So, what does this mean for us? Well, for many it means that we have lost our job within the last 12 to 24 months. Now the question to ask is how can you adjust your current lifestyle when your dual income is suddenly cut in half?

First, re-do your Budget.

Go over your finances and see where you can make some cuts in your monthly spending. Your sudden loss of income may only be temporary but there is no way to know when you will find another job… it could be 2 weeks, or it could be 2 months. A good way to review your spending habits is to print your last month’s bank account or credit card statement. Assuming that you use your debit or credit card for all of your purchases you will be able to track your spending and see where you can make some changes.

Don’t be drastic in your changes. Small adjustments in your budget can have a huge impact on your personal finances. It just takes some time for the new budget to settle in. I am not saying that you should cut off your 250 HD channels, or stop buying your lunch every day but maybe you can live (even if its temporarily) with only 100 channels, and brown bag your lunch at least 3 days a week.

These two minor changes could free up at least $150 for you. If you buy your lunch only 2 of 5 days and your average lunch costs $10 per day then you are saving approximately $30 per week and $120 per month. That is just on eating out; we haven’t even explored the cable bill yet.

Secondly, stop saving until you find another permanent job.

Saving money is an excellent idea… but not if you are broke. There is really no point in saving money if your bills are not paid on time. I say wait until you find another permanent job because temporary work is not a stable income and the amount could also vary. Once you have found permanent employment wait a month to adjust to your new income and catch up on any bills that are behind. Then you can start saving again. Don’t pressure yourself into saving. The food in your belly and the roof over your head are the chocolate ice cream, your savings account is just the whip cream on top.

If you have recently lost your job swallow your pride and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends and Family members should understand about your temporary situation. I am not a big fan of mixing family and money but in the end they are family, and they should help you out. If you do borrow money from family make sure to give them an exact repayment date. Don’t say “I promise to pay you back.” Tell them “Once I find a job, I will pay you back within 2 months.” This will ease any nerves. They say that “blood is thicker than water.” Well, it’s also thicker than paper!

When we have money we “want” certain material goods and services, but when we are broke those “wants” are put into perspective with the reality of our needs such as housing and food.

~ Kristina
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“The Nation’s international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $39.7 billion in February from $37.0 billion (revised) in January, as imports increased more than exports. (April 13, 2010)” – Census.gov

(Photo by SomeDriftwood)

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