Thanks for visiting and reading my musings (and sometimes rants) on how we have dealt with our long-term unemployment.
Other Posts from Surviving-Unemployment
Here is a short little video that I loved. I hope you love it too.
Many times, while we have been unemployed, we have been the cold, little boy by the exhaust vent, and have been the recipient of the red coat.
I hope that one day, the rolls will reverse, and I will be the boy with the new coat and recognize the need of someone else, and then fill that need.
Thank you to all who have “given us your new red coat”.
Enjoy the video.
I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. We spent the day with my extended family. It was fun, but we are getting really big! I think we estimated 60 people at Thanksgiving Dinner. Good thing we live in an area where we have nice weather at Thanksgiving time. To fit everybody, we always have dinner outdoors. And good thing everybody pitches in to help bring some part of the meal. It would have been a daunting task if only a few people were in charge of dinner. (I should make a separate post about Thanksgiving. hmmmmm)
But, Thanksgiving has come and gone (and so has Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday). Now it is time to think about the Holidays, if you have not started to yet.
Holidays are especially stressful when unemployed, but I am not going to talk about the emotions of Unemployed Holidays-we will save that for another post. I am going to try to tell you how we “tackle” Christmas since we became unemployed. Sorta’ like a survival guide on how to save money, or be thrifty during the Holidays. It might be best to just start listing all the things we do to save money and still have a great Christmas morning.
1. Exchange Names. Exchange between your kiddos (if you have enough). Exchange names between your siblings. Exchange names with your Hubbie’s/Wife’s Siblings. Exchange with the cousins on both sides of the family. We have 4 name exchanges during our Christmas Season. Some exchanges are on a rotating annual basis, some are drawn from a hat every year. Either way works. Doing gift exchanges saves us hundreds of dollars. We buy 4 sibling gifts instead of 11 and we purchase 6 cousin’s gifts instead of 38-I know, Hubbie and I both come from big families.
2. Stop giving to extended family (see Gift Giving Truce). It has saved us a lot of money to mutually agree to a gift giving truce with some people. As much as we enjoyed the giving and receiving of these gifts, our burden, financially and mentally, is lighter because we have stopped some old traditional gift giving. Think about people who might be willing to agree to a Gift Giving Truce and then ask if they are willing to accept a truce. It might surprise you how relieve they are to your suggestion.
3. Set a spending Limit. This could be per person or for the gift exchange. Our cousins’ exchange set a limit of $5. Yes, just $5-and that is an increase from the $3 limit we used to have (inflation). It makes you be creative, and knowing that all gifts are within a certain price range “evens the playing field”, shall we say. One Sibling exchange has a limit of $20, the other Sibling exchange does not put a limit on the gifts.
We set a spending limit on our immediate family’s gifts (our Kiddo’s gifts and mine and Hot Hubbie’s gifts). Each person in the family got $150 in total gifts for Christmas. With a little planning, the money can go incredibly far.
4. Make a list of everybody you need to buy a present for. Don’t forget all those little “neighbor gifts”. And don’t forget co-workers and other non-family people you may not think about when writing your lists. I keep my list in a little spiral notebook that fits right in my purse. Then I always have it on me, no matter where I am going.
5. Now that you have your list of people you need to buy for, sit down and brainstorm what you would like to buy for them. Write it down next to their name. Write down how much you are planning on spending on them.
6. Shop your list. Make planned trips for certain gifts. This will keep you from making costly impulse purchases. If you do make any impulse buys (trust me, it will happen), write those items down on the list next to the person’s name. I have one child who is extremely easy to shop for. When I write my impulse buys down on the list, I can visually see that the other children are being “neglected”, and that I need to think about their Christmas gifts more.
7. Keep your Receipts!! I keep my Christmas receipts in the little pocket on the cover of the little notebook. At the end of Christmas, after all the returns and exchanges are done, I put the receipts in an envelope, and label the Envelope “Christmas 2011”. The envelope gets filed away, for when you need the receipts again in the future.
8. Have Kids and Hubbie make a Wish List. This gives you an idea on what each person may want or need or secretly be dying to have. You might able to make it a great Christmas for them if you purchase one thing on their list. We clarified it with our kiddos to not expect anything on the list, let alone the entire list. (I guess we prepped them with low expectations and then they were pleasantly pleased when they did get something on the list!-I am such a sneaky mom 🙂 )
9. Don’t forget to continue with your traditions. You may need to tweak your traditions, but don’t cut them out altogether. Traditions are stabilizing for the kiddos. When life is rough and everything else is changing, you can emotionally count on your traditions to keep you grounded. In our family, the kiddos always got pj’s on Christmas Eve. We continued the tradition by shopping the sales and spending significantly less money than in years past. If your tradition is to go out-of-town, go. But maybe you make it a “stay-cation” for less cost than your usual ski trip. Don’t stop your traditions: your income may have changed, but your family is still your family
I hope these hints and tricks help. With careful planning, a little money can make a big difference, especially around the Holidays.
Hot Hubbie and I are grateful for the generosity of those around us. We could not be surviving without the love and support of friends and family. We have been the beneficiaries of many small acts of service over the past years. We appreciate every one of them. Thank you. We will never be able to repay everyone for the support, whether the support was a bag of “stocking stuffers” left on our front porch for Santa’s Elves (us) to fill the stockings with on Christmas Eve, or a friend bringing over a roasted chicken they saw at the store and thought we could use, or an anonymous envelope slipped into my bag at church one Sunday, or the offering of prayer and fasting on our behalf. We could never repay everyone for all the service they have given us. Thank you. Thank You. THANK YOU!
I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Holiday season. And may we remember the true reason for the season, and then act as He would have us act.
It has been a while. I apologize.
I haven’t been blogging because I felt that I didn’t have anything new to add. Our struggle with unemployment keeps on chugging along, and I
felt like a broken record. Ok, I still feel like a broken record, because…
… a few days ago Hot Hubbie got a nice computer-generated e-mail that the Perfect Job that he applied for is no longer available. After I wrote that post, the Perfect Job [Posting], and after we thought that all of our contacts had disappointed us and we had hit a brick wall, Hubbie realized that he knew one other person at that company. Come to find out, this person would have been the hiring manager for this Perfect Job, but changed jobs a few months ago. Our network-er still got in contact with his old co-workers, and the hiring manager, and put a good word in for Hot Hubbie.
We were very hopeful that this was the job we have waited 3 1/2 years for. We thought that the “stars were aligning” for this job: we stumbled across the job posting, we applied well before the deadline, we had a very relevant contact that networked the job for us, and Hubbie was extremely qualified to do the job.
All that networking did not help. The position was filled, internally, of course. And our network-er said it was filled by someone far less qualified than Hot Hubbie. (See, I told you, I am just a broken record. How many times do we have to be turned down from a Perfect Job?) We were really hoping that this job would work out for us, but alas, that was not in The Plans.
In the meantime, we have decided to try to start a new venture. (Try to make our own job, and subsequently, our own income.)
I am not going to spill the beans, and ruin the surprise . I will announce our new company when we are ready for launch.
But, right now, it is taking a lot of time and work (especially computer work) to get this thing going, and since I am now on the computer doing work, I don’t really feel like spending my “off work” hours on the computer too. Hence, blog posts have been few and far between.
We have high hopes for this venture. We have to have high hopes for it, because every other door and window has slammed in our face. Right now, this is the only opportunity we have to potentially earn a living again. (We keep praying that it will be successful!) It has to be successful, we don’t have any other options.
Wish us luck!
Better yet, say a prayer in our behalf that we can make this venture work and provide for our family again.
We could use all the prayers we can get.