How To Save Money When Your Husband Loses His Job

How to save money and survive a layoff

My husband was laid off from his job at the end of December, 3 days before Christmas to be exact. He is a union worker, so frequent layoffs are a reality for us. Although I do work from home part time, he makes significantly more than I do and the loss of his income is a big deal. I knew I needed to think about how to save money. 


Before we knew he was being laid off, we had discussed the possibility of him taking time off from work to just relax and enjoy some family time. For the last 4 years, he worked a job that required him to commute 2 hours there and back (a total of 4 hours/day if there was no traffic), and worked anywhere from 10-12 hours 6 and sometimes even 7 days of the week. We have hardly seen him during this time we really wanted to make it work.


The only issue with him staying home, is that we would be mostly surviving off of unemployment until he started working again and that results in losing about 50% of our income. So it goes without saying that we have had to significantly tighten up our budget.


I wanted to share some money saving tips that we have adopted to survive my husband’s layoff and allow him to stay home for a while.

how to save money


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Pick Up Extra Work

The first thing I started doing after my husband was laid off was picking up any extra work that was available. This helps offset the loss of income somewhat, even though I still make significantly less than he does.

Cut All Spending Except For Necessities

We knew that if we wanted to make this work, we were going to have to make some sacrifices. So we decided to cut out spending on anything that was not a necessity like bills and food. That is basically all we are spending money on for now.


Stop Driving Places

An easy way to save money is to drive less. Before the layoff, I drove places almost every day. Now, I only drive a few times a week and the trips are much shorter. This has significantly reduced my gas consumption as I have only filled up the tank once in the last 3 weeks.


Cut Back On Meat Consumption

I am very particular about the quality of meat that I feed to my family, and it can be quite expensive. Typically, we had a meat-centric dish each night for dinner. Now that we have less income, we eat much less meat. If I use meat, I try not to make it the main part of the meal.


Go To The Grocery Store Less

Grocery shopping is not one of my favorite tasks, so cutting back on the amount of times I went to the grocery store is not so difficult. When I do go, I make sure I have a list so I am buying only the things we need. The goal is to only go to the store once every 3 weeks.

Shop The Reduced Racks At The Grocery Store

When I do go to the grocery store, I make sure to check the reduced racks to see what they have available. The grocery store I go to has reduced produce and reduced meat set out on separate shelves. Often these items are close to expiring so you need to make sure you give them a good look over before you buy. I have found many organic items in the reduced section. When I get home, I either freeze them immediately, or come up with a plan for how to use them.


No Waste

Food waste is one of my pet peeves. I do my best to try and use up all of the food we have, but there are still times when food ends up getting thrown away. Well, that has had to change. I really needed to start being intentional with what we had on hand and make a plan for everything and how we would use it.


Get Creative With Meals

Having no food waste and going to the grocery store less means I have to work with what I have. We have had many interesting meals but this creativity has actually led to us inventing some new family favorite recipes!



See Also: 10 Ways To Eat Real Food Without Breaking The Bank



No Ordering Out

Every now and then I just don’t feel like cooking, and we will just order out instead. I no longer have that option. These days when I feel too tired to cook, I will make an easy meal like pasta or rice and beans.


Turn Down The Thermostat

One of the easy ways to save money on a tight budget is to turn down your thermostat a few degrees. This time of year, heating your home can get expensive. In order to save money, we are keeping ours turned to 63. We just make sure we are wearing weather appropriate clothing to stay comfortable.


Minimize Electricity Usage

Keep the lights turned off as much as possible, unplug charges and small appliances when you aren’t using them and limit screen time for your kids and family. These are all great ways to lower your electricity bill.


Use Cashback Sites And Apps

Before I buy anything, I check to see if I can get cash back by using apps or cash back websites. Some of my favorite apps are ibotta, Checkout51. I check to see if there are any rebates available for things that I will be buying. My favorite cashback website is Topcashback. If I need something, like dog food,  I will try to order through the website and then use in-store pickup to save money on shipping. how to save money


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Make Coffee At Home

I love treating myself to a coffee from my favorite local coffee shop at least once a week. This is one of the sacrifices I decided to make in order to save extra money.


Find Free Kids Activities

I try to make the most of the times I do drive and see if there are any free kids activities in the area. For instance, my grocery store has a free kids club where the kids get a snack and get to make a craft. This allows me to shop and find a fun, free activity for my little one. 


If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to make it work. In our case, we knew the sacrifices that we were willing to make in order to allow my husband to enjoy some time off from work.


I would love to hear some of the financial management tricks you use when you need to tighten up your budget. What are some of the ways you cut back?

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  1. Good luck to you and your hubby as you work your way through this challenge. Together, it can be done! You’ve shared some great ideas that we should really employ as often as possible.

  2. Oh I’m sorry – this must be really tough. But it sounds like you’ve got some great strategies in place to help ease the financial difficulties. I think travelling by car is a big one that lots of people overlook. I’ve started trying to walk as much as possible because it’s free (and gets me some exercise and fresh air!) and it’s amazing how much you can save. Eating out is our big fall down though. Definitely something we need to work on.

    I hope you enjoy your extra family time together #dreamteam

  3. We’re in a similar situation, except I (mom) am normally the main breadwinner in our family. I was let go from my job in November. We’re doing fine so far. Here are my best thrifty tips.

    One thing that has been startling to me is having to adjust to paying for public transit again! My job included a free transit pass, which is a great perk: Not only was my commute costing me nothing, but anytime I wanted to take a bus or subway in the evening or weekend it was free! Now I’m motivated to walk more. I only take the car if my destination isn’t within 3 miles and there’s free parking–in that case, the car trip will cost me less than the $2.50 bus fare.

  4. That must be so hard – but it sounds like you’re managing really well and have come up with some great money saving ideas. We’ve just about to get rid of our car because we can’t justify the cost of running a car AND our weekly train tickets for work. Eating out is a big one that we need to cut down on. #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. Brilliant advice. Both my husband and I have been made redundant at different points. It’s probably why I’m so passionate about money saving advice myself. It can happen at any time and it’s good to have the skills to be able to tighten your belt if you have to (or just all the time for that matter!) #BloggerClubUK

  6. I hope your husband finds work again soon, and I hope it’s closer to home than his last job! I love finding new ideas on how to save money and there are some great ideas here. I’d love to cut down my food shop to once every three weeks, I go twice a week at the moment and it’s a waste of time as well as money. Thanks for giving me something to aim for 😊

  7. These are great tips! I order groceries from my local store’s website so that I don’t have to walk in and be tempted to buy things that aren’t necessities. I also schedule the pick up of those groceries to be when Hubster is driving home from work so I don’t have to waste the gas by leaving in my car for a special trip. Every bit helps. #BloggerClubUK

  8. Great ideas! I have to quit my job tomorrow and I’m dreading not having the extra income, especially while my husband deploys next month. It’s not going to be easy at all

  9. Wow, I’m interested in how you only go grocery shopping every 3 weeks! I HATE it. I hate it so much I order online and have it delivered but it’s weekly as the fruit and veg doesn’t keep much beyond the week.

  10. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this, and right before Christmas too must have been tough. These are fab ways of keeping costs down. Less use of the car isn’t something that would have crossed my mind. I also like your clever idea of making meat less of a focus of meals. Thanks so much for sharing this with the #DreamTeam and I hope all works out for you. xx

  11. Oh, boy do I know this situation! I feel for you and your husband as you go through this rocky time. I’ll keep your family in my prayers. <3 This last layoff was three years ago and lasted two years… Ladies, once you hit your fifties, companies are hesitant to hire workers because of changes to worker's comp rules/copays by companies ~ that's what I found out from a lady who owned a dog/cat boarding business.

    Aside from that, save up at least two years of income, if you can, for the next time. My husband has been laid off FOUR times and we come from California. My next tip: Don't move to California! If you do, expect a layoff and 80-200 hundred people competing for the same job you are now looking at.

    Best tips for your husband: get his resumé on Monster, Linked-In and all the other job sites. If he uses a photograph, it needs to show him thin and young-looking. Think lightly dying his hair with one of those box products matched to his hair. Companies want someone who looks younger. My husband put out almost 300 resumés before he was picked up by a company here in Texas. We received moving costs but after the fact; therefore, our household goods still are in storage in California. We hope to move them this year. Last tip: write a resumé that highlights what he can do rather than a chronological resumé. Just put that "been in this line of work for 15+ years." Makes him look 35 instead of closer to retirement age. 🙂

    Best tips for your family: You are already doing a lot of them! Yes!!! Another great one is to shop the thrifts, which is trendy with teens and college-age students right now. I bought my husband's work pants from good thriftshops and we save $35/pair of pants that way. We bought one suit for interviews but found that a nice button-up shirt or a better polo shirt and Dockers were good enough for many of them. I say "we" because as you already know, getting your husband a new job is a team effort. 🙂 For entertainment, play lots of board games, go on picnics, invite friends over and do potluck.

    This is actually a great time to think about changing careers, which my husband tried picking up his teaching credential and did substitute teach for one of those years, thankfully. If you have a clear credential, then moving into teaching may be easier. My hubby didn't as he went into the USMC then corporate warehouse management right out of college.

    Best wishes to your family, and I'm glad you are enjoying having your hubby/father home for a bit,

    Barb 🙂

  12. I admire your commitment and willingness to sacrifice for your husband to be able to spend more time with the family. I think it will bring you closer together and will be looked back upon as a special time. I hope when it is time for him to go back to work that it can be much closer to him. Thank you for sharing your family with us on Party in Your PJ’s!

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