Preparing for My Inevitable Layoff

July 28, 2011 at 2:20 PM 5 comments

As the weeks until my inevitable layoff dwindle I’ve begun hard core preparations for my soon-to-be life without a job. I’m a planner by nature so it certainly helped for me to put a plan in place and start checking off the list of things to do.

First, I logged on to all of our bank accounts to see how our finances stack up. While I took a look at our overall retirement accounts, my main focus was on our checking and brokerage accounts. My husband keeps amazing track of our finances, so I also looked through the history of our bills to determine what big expenses might pop up in the next six to nine months. This included items like insurance, (our mortgage and auto insurance is always due in August), as well as property taxes on our homes in Maryland and North Carolina. I subtracted these expenses from our current totals to get a ball park idea of our liquid bottom line. Through gnucash, (our financial tracking tool), I was also able to forward project my remaining wages and estimate monthly bills like utilities and credit cards. This gave me a pretty clear picture of what number we’ll be staring at when the big day finally arrives.

Next, I reviewed the HR policies associated with leaving my company and realized that I would be paid for any unused vacation accrued throughout the year. I originally planned to take two weeks off this summer, but after reviewing the policy in detail I decided it’s more prudent to take less time off this year. After all, I’m about to receive a large chunk of time off in the form of unemployment. So rather than spending a week doing nothing, I’ll work that week and bring home an extra week’s worth of wages in my final paycheck.

Since the baby is due to arrive around the time my job ends I figured it would also be a good time to stock up on good bargains. Each Sunday for the past three weeks I shopped for deals at CVS and Rite Aid. Our minuscule hall closet now has enough razors, shaving cream, shampoo and other personal hygiene products to last us throughout the summer and the first few months of after the little one’s arrival. Since we own two homes, some of these products will make their way to the beach, so we have stock on hand there too.

My husband owns a small business, so I also picked up a few bargains at Staples the past two weekends. We now have a small stack of printer paper and various items I received free after rebate like highlighters, envelopes and pens. The goal with these purchases was as much about saving money as it was preparing to have items on hand so we aren’t forced with rushing out to the store with a little one in tow.

My husband also suggested stocking up the pantry when items go on sale. I’m all about being prepared, so for the first time in my life I might actually try to come up with a meal plan that will help us decide which meals to prepare. If anyone has ideas on the best way to create a meal plan please let me know. I have a feeling those first few weeks after birth will be a bit chaotic and I’d prefer to cook at home and avoid the dreaded take-out routine as much as possible.

Lastly, as I mentioned before, I called a bunch of companies that we subscribe to and asked for discounted rates. I also scrounged up some money by returning a bunch of unused items and selling a few other things on eBay.

Overall I’m feeling unbelievably good about the state of our financial affairs and the preparations for my first few months after unemployment. It’s pretty crazy to think that three months from now I’ll be without work for the first time in 20 years and having a baby. Completing all of the steps above has certainly made me feel more confident about our future!

Entry filed under: money management. Tags: .

Do Extreme Shoppers Ruin Bargain Shopping for the Rest of Us? Sometimes Financial Decisions Are Not About the Money

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Margie  |  July 28, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    It sounds like you guys are going to be well-positioned for your lay off. It's smart to shop the bargains now and stock up.

    As for cooking when the baby gets here, this last month I've been doubling some of my usual recipes and freezing half (things like chile, pasta, and casseroles) while also picking up frozen dinners when I see them on sale. Our little one is due at the beginning of August so I wish I had started sooner, but it'll be nice to at least have a few weeks of dinners taken care of!

    Reply
  • 2. Maggie  |  July 29, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    Meal planning: keep it simple the first few weeks with the new baby.

    I recommend for planning purposes, to come up with a theme for each night of the week. For me, Monday is Ground beef night One week it will mean meatloaf, another hamburgers, salisbury steak, tacos (There's my Monday meals for a month.) Tuesday is Chicken night, Wednesday is soup and sandwich, Thursdayis red meal and Friday is Pizza or breakfast for dinner. Or it may work better for you to designate Monday as meatless, Tuesday is mexican, Wednesday is Italian… Whatever scheme fits your eating habits and preferences. I typically make out a monthly menu, taking into account my kids' practice/game schedule, Some days I leave blank, I used to switch days around. But my husband and kids love having the menu on the fridge and will even start cooking if theya re home before me. But having a theme helps because I first fill in the Mondays, Then the Tuesdays.. and that helps get over the dreaded "writer's block".

    Reply
  • 3. One Frugal Girl  |  July 29, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    @Margie – Great idea to try to cook ahead and freeze now so I can pull out frozen dinners once the baby arrives.

    @Maggie – I love the idea of having a routine that involves the same theme each week. That way you always know to defrost ground beef on Sunday night or chicken on Monday nights. That's a fabulous idea! I also love the idea of posting the menu, that way if my mom comes to help out or my husband wants to cook they'll know the exact plan. Great ideas!

    Reply
  • 4. Newlyweds on a Budget  |  July 29, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    I have stocked up at CVS as well. I never pay more than a $1 for shampoo, and toothpaste I now won't buy unless I can get it for free. Now that Eric isn't going to be working for almost 5 months, it should come in handy. Sometimes though I find it hard to say no to a good deal! It's addicting…

    Reply
  • 5. Cassie  |  August 3, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Wow, congratulations on being so well prepared for your layoff. As for meal planning you might give e-mealz.com a try. We've found it helps solve the what's for dinner problem and keeps us on budget.

    Reply

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