It’s been a long time since I’ve written here, it may be a long time before I come back here again, but I felt like an update was needed, even if it’s just for me.
I lost my job last week, but let’s back up shall we? I’ve been a product manager for a software company for a good long while and up until October 2022, I was a product manager for the same company that I had been at for 10 years. I had started feeling a bit constricted by my role and there weren’t a lot of opportunities at the time to do something else for the company. I had a recruiter reach out to me and I went through the interview process with another company. The offer they made me was absolutely life changing income for us, it was not out of the realm of what product managers can make for income, but it was definitely a gigantic step up.
I took a small amount of time off between the 2 jobs, cleaned out our basement, visited with an old friend and was so excited to get started. Unfortunately, the company I went to work for decided to cut 10% of their staff and I was one of those 10%, 2 months to the day of me starting.
I was completely and totally blindsided, and then completely and totally freaked out. I immediately went to work on our budget. I stripped out any and all unnecessary items, but the reality is, we have 3 kids who are older now, a house with high property taxes and this is an expensive time of year for us- our yearly car registration and inspection is due, our yearly term life insurance payments are due and soon we will need to pay for our wood for the year. Not counting our retirement savings, we have about 3 months of stripped down budget before we run out of money. Husband’s job (with no retirement contributions taken out) covers our house and student loan payment, but I was the bread winner and typically covered everything else.
I have already started applying to as many jobs as I can, and thankfully already had an updated resume. I’m treating finding a job as if it’s my full time job and I’m hoping things will start happening soon. I am also not adverse to returning to my per diem job (if it’s available), and waitressing to stretch our savings. ***note- I do not qualify for unemployment given the short amount of time that I was with my prior company. This is ok however, because I will make more working just about anywhere else than I would staying on unemployment**.
So if you’re worried that this might happen to you, here are some of the things we’re finding we were really glad we had done ahead of time and somethings we wish we had done differently.
- Certainly, I wish we had even more cash on hand saved up, as soon as I have another job, we will be focusing considerable effort into saving more.
- I used one of my first paychecks from my new job (now not my new job), to do a big stock up, we purchased 100lbs of ground beef from a local farmer, we had just canned 25 quarts of chicken stock, and frozen lots of meals. We’ve also always had 6 months to a year of most shelf stable pantry items on hand. This has allowed me to drastically cut down our grocery budget in a time when groceries are one of our most expensive line items. It has truly been a gigantic relief to have this available to us.
- We went down to a single car a year and a half ago since we were both working from home. Yes, people give us weird looks when they realize, but truly with both of us working from home all day, it has been a non-issue and has now been a huge blessing. Instead of registering and inspect 2 cars, we only have one that we own outright (no car payment woo hoo)!
- We didn’t buy a house. That one sounds weird, but we had been looking to maybe move and definitely had the income to qualify us being in a much higher mortgage range. The house we’re in now is 1000 times better than our old house, but it’s not perfect and can feel cramped when both spouses work from home and there’s no dedicated office space. The market in our area is insane, and the mortgage payment on any house we would even think about living in would have been double what ours is now. Thankfully, we didn’t move and I am now SO SO thankful for that.
- Finally, I know how to do this! We have been here before. While our income has slowly increased, we have still spent a lot more time hustling and pinching pennies than we ever had being slightly more relaxed, so we’re back to tight living and I’m dusting off some of my old skills- in fact, I bought a butterball turkey at aldi’s for .49lb last week, and if you’ve been around here for awhile, you’ll know just how many meals I can get out of a turkey! This has been a great reminder that things can change, and boy can they change quickly, so even when I am back to working, we’ll be really focused on building an emergency fund that is closer to 6-12 months of living expenses instead of 3.
So folks, there you have it. I don’t know how many of you are still reading at this point, but I felt like this was an important time to mark even if it’s just for future me to read.