Dealing with Debt when Unemployed

Being unemployed can be a difficult time. Despite being out of work there are still bills and debts to pay and the financial aspect of not having a job can be incredibly stressful. It goes without saying that if you need money you will have to apply for every job going including ones which you may not find appealing or sign on with agencies and take on temporary work. While you are job hunting there are things you can do to hopefully make your life easier.

First of all make a list of all your monthly outgoings. This will include mortgage/rent, utilities, food, credit card payments etc. Once this is done is there anything you don’t need which can be cancelled? For example do you subscribe to an online DVD rental service or Xbox Live? These are things, which as nice as they are to have, are not essential and can be done without. Once you have a list of the essential bills, prioritise them and with debts such as credit and store cards work out exactly how much you can pay off. Even making a minimum repayment is better than nothing.

Next work out how much money you have. Being unemployed may mean going into your savings (if you have them). Do you have any other forms of income? Some people have a second job or do things online to bring some more money in such as selling on eBay. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing how long you will be out of work so are there any little things you can do to earn extra money? I have mentioned eBay, you could also do baby/pet sitting, dog walking, mowing lawns, doing people’s ironing, mystery shopping.

Contact all your creditors. Be honest with them, explain your situation and see if there is anything you can work out between you to make your life easier such as reduced monthly payments or no late fees. Not all creditors will be willing to help but keep trying. As tempting as it maybe avoid using your credit cards for payments and try to use cash for everything to stop yourself getting further into debt. It’s also worth checking to see if you are entitled to any benefits. Here in the UK there is Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit etc. Some people do not like to receive hand outs but sign up for any benefits you are eligible for as soon as possible. Some people have Payment Protection Insurance. This can be taken out on things like mortgages and loans and it means that if you end up out of work through no fault of your own your payments maybe made for you.

There are little things you can do in your everyday life to help save money. Walk instead of driving or using public transport. If you have a mobile phone and a landline consider cancelling one of them. Switch to cheaper brands when grocery shopping and look out for promotions. Try to cut back on how much you spend on alcohol and cigarettes. Stop having takeaways and don’t go out so much. This may sound boring but if it helps you cope with day to day debt until you find a new job then it is worth doing.