Job loss, illness, unforeseen circumstances – life happens all the time and rarely does it seem to keep in mind that we have actual bills to pay, let alone on time. No one is immune to unexpected loss of income, and COVID helped us all appreciate that a little more. If you haven’t had the time to consider an emergency fund, now’s a good time. That way, when you start back at work, you will have a clear plan in mind to protect yourself in future situations. So, how can you make it through and pay your bills until life settles down? Try these three practical tips:
SEEK GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
Keep in mind that government aid is not charity. Some people and some cultures have difficulty accepting government programs’ help, as they feel like it is an undeserved charity. However, part of your hard-earned money, when you are working, goes into these programs for the benefit of all. Job loss due to any cause is never a choice, and rarely is anyone at fault. Government aid is there to help you make ends meet until you can provide for yourself again. Here are the two main programs that you should consult as soon as you are out of work.
EI (Employment Insurance) | If you have lost your job because of a shortage of work, seasonal layoff or another reason through no fault of your own, you should apply as soon as possible for EI. Not only do you pay into this every paycheque, but it is for the specific purpose of keeping you afloat financially while you look for alternative employment. Don’t forget to ask your employer for your ROI (Record of Employment) as soon as possible, so that you can submit it to Service Canada and get the ball rolling. You can qualify for EI if you:
- Were employed in insurable employment.
- Lost your job through no fault of your own.
- Have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks.
- Have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter.
- Are ready, willing and capable of working each day.
- Are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).
EI Sickness Benefit | The EI Sickness Benefit helps support those unable to work due to a legitimate illness or injury, quarantine or medical condition. Eligibility is as follows:
- You’re unable to work for medical reasons.
- Your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week.
- You accumulated 600 insured hours* of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter.
For a certain period of time, you may qualify during COVID-19 as of September 27, 2020. The qualifications are:
- You only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you’ll get a one-time credit of 480 insured hours to help you meet the required 600 insured hours of work.
- You’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes but you could receive more.
- If you received the CERB, the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended.
PURGE YOUR HOME
Do you remember the feeling you would get, as a child or even as a young adult when you would find some long lost coins or dollar bills in the couch cushions? Often we acquire so much more than we really need or have time for. Take an honest look at what you own and see if you can’t turn some of it into extra cash. The Simple Dollar suggests:
Get Organized | Purging your home can be overwhelming. It can also be an extremely emotional process. It’s essential to focus on all the positives you will achieve through the purge. You will have extra money to put towards your bills, you will enjoy a less cluttered version of your home, which has been proven to relieve stress, and you will have time to focus on the things you actually use or wear, or care deeply about. Arrange a schedule, for example:
- Friday evening: living room, kitchen, hall closet (if applicable).
- Saturday: bedrooms No. 1 and No. 2 (including closets), guest bathroom.
- Sunday: master bedroom (including closet), master bathroom.
Make a list of steps for each room, for example if you were to start in the kitchen:
- Discard expired items from the pantry and neatly organize what remains on the shelves.
- Empty out the kitchen cabinets and only place the things of value back inside.
- Clear off the countertops.
- Sanitize the appliances (interior and exterior) and other surfaces in the kitchen.
- Mop and shine the floors.
Sell Unused Clothing & Household Items | Seasons come and go, and your love of a certain style of clothing or home decor can also come and go. Sometimes our sizes change, leaving our closets and basements cluttered with clothes we will probably never wear again. We also tend to lose interest in using certain speciality appliances. Ask yourself:
- Have you used the item in the past year?
- If so, will you have a need for it in the near future?
- If not, will you ever use it?
- Does it possess some sort of sentimental value?
- Will you lose sleep at night once it’s gone?
TAKE ON CONTRACT WORK
It’s easier said than done, but it’s vital that you stay positive and take action when you experience job loss. Forbes recommends taking an honest approach to the situation. “Think of what you want to do, your chances of getting that type of job and whether it will pay what you require. In this brutal job market we’re heading into, you need to be open-minded and consider all alternatives.” You can take the following steps to seek opportunities for contract work:
Update Your LinkedIn Profile | Above all things, be honest in your LinkedIn profile. Avoid the urge to succumb to beautifying your profile, as you might on other social platforms. Clearly list your education and experience, as well as any certifications you may have. If you need some inspiration for your status, Forbes suggests:
- Actively Seeking Employment.
- Available for Employment.
- Available for New Opportunities.
- Seeking a New Opportunity.
- Operations Logistic Professional Seeking Work.
- Experienced Retail Manager Available for New Opportunity.
- Former VP HR, Seeking New Human Resources Opportunities.
- Marketing Professional in Transition.
- Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Currently Exploring Options.
- Recent College Graduate Seeking Entry-Level Programming Position.
Practice Remote Interviews | The most common method for interviewing candidates this year is via Zoom or another remote video chat program. In order to prepare for your upcoming interviews, download the most common programs and get familiar with them. Ask a friend to connect with you so that you can get comfortable using the program. Make sure to:
- Practice where to look, the right angle for the camera, as well as for your comfort.
- Locate the mute button is in the case of an unexpected noise or commotion.
- Use a professional handle, and include your area of expertise.
- Make sure your speakers and microphone work well.
- Ditch the cheesy backgrounds. Clear out a well-lit area of your home where you can comfortably take your interview.
APPLY FOR A SMALL LOAN
The lack of money and employment is a large source of stress we all can face. Sometimes spending less on groceries, and reducing other expenses still doesn’t cut it. You might need a little financial help, and that’s perfectly okay.
24Cash is a local business based in Canada that provides various short term loans to support hardworking Canadians. Never hesitate to contact us for a small loan. We are here in support of you and your family.