the surprising upside of being downsized

A few weeks ago, I was laid off from my day job. I’m sure that there are plenty of readers in a similar situation; that’s simply the unfortunate reality these days. It hasn’t been an awesome experience. But to my surprise, it hasn’t been completely dire, either. My layoff shocked my husband and me into suspending all costs that aren’t absolutely necessary — no eating out, no buying twice-as-expensive prepared meals at the deli, and no impulse buying for the house. (We did call a plumber when a drain backed up — that’s a necessary expense!) Along the way, we’ve discovered a few things:

We’re actually decent cooks — and it’s fun.
My mom was right: all it takes to be a cook is a recipe. And a stocked fridge. We’ve taken to buying a lot of frozen staples in bulk — fish and spinach are big ones — so we can whip up easy meals. We’ve dusted off our cookbooks, and who knew — it’s not that hard, it doesn’t take that much time, and even though we’re eating a ton, because we’re not eating out, we’re losing weight!

Not spending forces you to be creative.
We’re getting movies and books we’ve always wanted to try at the library. We’re going to parks or to free gallery walks. And we’re finally getting started on a few inexpensive house projects (think paint and doorknobs).

It was possible for us to save money all along.
Are you one of those people who wonders all the time, “How does the money go so fast?” So was I. It’s just amazing to me that, now that we’re actually thinking hard before every purchase, our money is lasting and lasting. I never realized just how much we were spending on small daily items like coffee drinks and muffins.

Would I rather have a job? Of course; and I’m working on it. But these are all lessons that I have to say I’m grateful I learned. –Mary T.

Image by Marek Wojtal.

From our partners

i was laid off a week ago, and although we had house guests this weekend and we went out to dinner and drinks the whole time, the days they weren’t here, i don’t think i spent ANY money! the first dinner i made after being laid off i remember telling myself, “i’m going to try to use up EVERYTHING in this pantry and fridge before shopping again!” you DEFINITELY second guess everything that costs money!

Marianne

You go girl, keep up the good spirit! It’s good to know that saving money doesn’t have to be that hard. :) Good luck job hunting!

I hope you go to the library and see what awesome entertainment is out there for free! DVDs! Great music CDs! Books! Delve into a cheesy romance novel, or take out hobby-inducing cardmaking books! Watch documentaries or the latest toilet-humor movie! Check out magazines and bring them home! In these hard times, the library is the place to be!

Can you tell I’m a librarian?

Great post, best of luck in your seplace!

**Disclaimer**
I know what follows is not the typical unemployment experience- but don’t squash the sunshine, every bit of light helps. Thank you.

Allow me to be the first to say- being laid off (and subsequently unemployed for going on four months), has been the best thing that ever happened to me… well, apart from meeting my husband. Distracted by a job that was both overwhelming and unsupportive but enthused by the challenge- I didn’t realize how immensely I was neglecting both myself and my relationship with said fantastic husband.
As two (yes, two) unemployed people we have had no alternative but to mend the fences that were showing cracks as we both drove harder and harder into our previous work lives, and further, to improve upon the building blocks of our relationship. I’ve returned to some of my creative work as well- relearning to establish routines and discipline not seen since college. I’ve rediscovered my “idea-person” personality with complex projects and daydreams.
We spend a LOT of time together which has it’s own challenges but we also have the rare pleasure of waking up together, eating together, taking walks together, and going to bed together, which is more than I can say about our employed days.
…Don’t get me wrong- I miss my job. I miss being productive, and contributing to a thriving environment of intelligent, driven people. But if there was a safe way to be unemployed (one that didn’t risk health, safety, happiness, financial security, etc.) and it didn’t slowly erode professional motivation (the one visible downside thus far), I would recommend it to anyone I know.
Honestly.

Tiffany S.

I love a good upside!

Even the fear of losing our jobs, and the reality of no bonuses and no profit sharing (and maybe no raises) has made us make changes. I have the Entertainment Book so that when we do decide we NEED a night out, at least it will be half price.

Hang in there you guys, and I hope you can continue to see the bright side!

sorry to hear about you job loss :(

good for you on the budgeting :)

K

We’re in the same boat, and because we’re not spending money on snacks, alcohol (or even juice, actually), or going out for meals or coffee, I FINALLY lost the baby weight, without trying. It’s an enjoyable upside. Good luck to you.

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