My husband was laid off on Thursday. I spent a lot of time crying on Thursday. Fear, mainly. How will we make it? How will we manage to pay our bills if we are not fortunate enough for him to find another job before his one severance pay comes along? The job market in NE Ohio has not been great for some time, especially in the area of IT. He was laid off after 9/11 and it took him 10 months to find a job. He had known of the impending layoff, so he had stashed up a decent sized emergency fund. That, combined with the fact that as his emergency fund was being depleted, I was fortunate to find a great job. So, those ten months weren't all that bad - in fact, I don't think our lifestyles changed much at all.
This time, though, things are different. I'm basically a stay at home mom. I mean, I work one day per week, for just a few hours (2-3) for my mother in law's business, filing insurance claims and billing people for things like their copays and deductibles. Still, it's not like I can just increase my hours there - her business is hurting right now too. She shared with me yesterday that she wasn't able to pay herself for about four months in 2008. Wow. So, I basically stay home. And, we have two young children.
We've been following Dave Ramsey since last year, so we do have a very small baby emergency fund. Still, it's not enough to keep us going for any length of time - the whole point of that BEF was not to prepare us if Sean lost his job, rather it was our barrier against Murphy (Murphy's law) in case the truck broke, an emergency repair of some sort was needed, etc.
So, here we are, with my husband out of work. Scary times. And, yet, I have a peace about it all. No matter what - we'll make it. I'll be organizing my coupons and really starting to make those work. I'll be doing a lot of cooking from scratch - which we do often enough that it's not a horrible endeavor anyways. We have one more pay coming, on the 15th. We'll get our regular grocery amount for our envelopes, but we'll be paying way more mind to where the money is going - and stocking up on essentials. We've already implemented this during our weekly grocery trip this weekend. Butter was fairly cheap (under $2 for four sticks) so we bought enough to stick in the freezer plus get us through the week. Even though we had half a container of oatmeal, we went ahead and bought two more. Why? Because it's a really, really cheap breakfast - and it's super nice on cold mornings too.
The thing that was most worrisome to me are having enough to feed our family, have health insurance of some kind and keeping a roof over our head with utilities on. Beyond that, well, that's all just a bonus. Thankfully, we live in a country that does have some help for those that are going through a rough time. DH will file for unemployment right after he receives his last check (at least, that's when we think he's allowed to follow, which he'll be clarifying this week). We have health insurance through the end of February. Which, admittedly, still rather sucks - we haven't had any claims filed for 2009, so we'll have to meet our entire deductible if we go for anything other than a yearly (or wbv for Josh) visit. So, yeah, we're not exactly planning on trips to the Dr for everyone. Josh will go tomorrow for his WBV and get those shots that we were planning on anyways. DH and I will make appointments for eye exams. Hopefully, his eyes will continue to be good. Mine suck, but we already knew that. ;) I simply need a new prescription so that I can order some $8 glasses. And, if he doesn't get a job, we'll have to look into some state aid for health benefits. Food stamps might be in order as well.
Somehow, we'll make it.