10 Things To Do If You Lost Your Job & Need Money Now

10 Things To Do If You Lost Your Job & Need Money Now

Updated in response to the COVID-19 effect on the economy.

A was a legit stress nightmare I had last week. My boss calls me up and says “You’re fired”. That’s it, I spent the rest of night in a panic. Unfortunately, this happens to people all the time for different reasons but most people don’t have a plan if it happens to them.

During these COVID-19 times, this is happening to a lot of people. It could very well happen to me with my full-time job. If it does happen to me, or you, here are 10 things to do if you lost your job and need money now.

Immediately Start

First, Take A Breath

It seems silly and not productive, but taking a breath is essential. People are let go or fired for a number of reasons and it’s not always a reflection of you or your work. Some things are just out of your control. Take an hour or take a day to let is sink it so it doesn’t consume you later.

1. Review Your Finances

Take a look at all the money you currently have. I personally use Mint to see all my bank accounts, credit card debt and student loans all at once. You don’t need this, but make a list of every dollar in your possession. Look over your finances and get a feeling of how long you’ll last without a paycheck. It may not be pretty, but it’s something you absolutely need to know.

Know how much you need to spend each month, here is an example monthly breakdown:

  • Apartment & Utilities ($XX)
  • Food ($XX)
  • Car Insurance ($XX)
  • Cell Phone ($XX)
  • Internet ($XX)
  • Misc. ($XX)

PS. Also consider health insurance as a cost. In most cases your old employer would have provided this for you, but you need to talk to your HR to see how long this lasts. You may need to pick up supplemental health insurance until you get a new job.

Hopefully, you have some sort of Emergency Fund you can access if you lose your job. Your emergency fund will help cover rent/mortgage, food, and those expenses your paycheck normally covers. Most emergency funds should cover 4-6 months of expenses. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start saving up now but the following tips can still help.

I personally have an emergency fund I keep in a savings account, that will last me around 6-7 months. I know many people don’t have that. It took me 5 years to build. However it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done because it provides a mental safety net.

Let’s continue though as if you have $0 emergency funds.

Save All The Money You Can

2. Cancel Frivolous Monthly Subscriptions & Purchases

If you just lost your job, you shouldn’t be watching Netflix, Hulu or listening to Spotify. If you have any kind of subscription services that cost money regularly, you should cancel these until you get a job again. It may feel like a nice break watching Netflix between job applications, but you need to save all the money you can until you’re working again. If you feel this too hard to do, consider using your parents or friends account temporarily to save money.

Needless to say, don’t make any crazy purchases thinking you’ll get a job next week when “you really try”. Until you have a signed contract with a company, I’d suggest avoiding the mall and Amazon Deals. If you can, cancel any flights, trips, running races, etc. Plus always ask if you can get your money back. It may not always be possible, but every little bit helps!

For me personally, I would cancel my gym membership ($73/mo.), cancel my Spotify account ($10/mo.) since there is a free version, and I’d probably quit investing in my brokerage account ($200/mo.) until I have a steady paycheck.

10 Things To Do If You Lost Your Job and Need Money Now

3. Ask to Defer Payments

During hard economic times, many companies are willing to work with you because they prefer late payments than nothing at all. Student loan services are often willing to reconsolidate loans or defer payments. Banks are sometimes willing to defer a mortgage payment or at least help with options. It often just takes a call and ask.

For me personally, I would call my student loan companies and ask to defer my payments until I get another job. That would save me $537/mo.

Budget and Eat At Home A Lot

4. Budget and Eat At Home A Lot

One of the biggest ways people spend money is food and eating out. If you just lost your job, avoid going out to eat with friends (unless it’s a networking thing) or ordering in. It may not be sexy, but cold cut sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen got you through the dark years, it will again. You know what you can cut to save money and you’ll see instant savings in your bank account. Remember one of the easiest ways of having more money, is not spending it!

One of the most popular tricks people use to limit spending is paying for food only with cash. The act of seeing the money physically leaving your wallet and the empty vacuum it creates, helps people be more selective with their purchases. I personally use credit cards because I enjoy the cash back, but I can’t argue with the success physical money has in limiting spending.



Start the Job Search

File For Unemployment

5. File For Unemployment

If you lost your job and actively seeking new work, you can file for unemployment. It varies state by state, but essentially you would file a claim with the Department for Labor and Employment and prove you’re actively looking for work every 2 weeks (depending on your state). Unemployment benefits will pay you a portion (likely small) of your previous salary. This is meant to help lessen the negative impact that unemployment has on the economy. It won’t be a glamorous option and you’ll meet some interesting people, but it will help.

Update Resume & Social Media-Profiles

6. Update Resume & Social Media Profiles

This is the time to update your resume with the latest accomplishments, promotions, volunteer efforts, jobs, references, etc. As you start the job search you want to make yourself look as good as possible. However, this isn’t limited to your resume. You should be updating you LinkedIn, Facebook, etc with the latest info so you’re casting a wider net for employers.

Don’t worry too much about how your resume looks, just that the information sounds grammatically correct and makes you look good! Many companies will force to you to copy all the exact same information into their often terrible online web forms. On the bright side, if your LinkedIn is up-to-date, you can always use their “one-click apply” to jobs posted on their site.

Social media is also a great resource if you use it to better yourself now that you have free time. There are great exercise tutorials on YouTube, classes on coding (if you’re into high paying jobs) and even brush up on software like Microsoft Excel. Use this opportunity to start a new job with a new skillset!

Tell Everyone You Know You’re Looking For A Great Job

7. Tell Everyone You Know You’re Looking For A Great Job

It may feel embarrassing for you to tell anyone that you’re jobless. It’s a very vulnerable situation where you feel like somethings wrong with you. There isn’t! It’s a normal thing, and job searching is a $200 billion dollar industry. People are constantly moving and switching jobs, you are now just one of them.

In most cases, when you tell people that you’re looking for a job, they want to help! They’ll often share new job openings they’ve heard of, or perhaps make recommendations to people they know in your industry. The fact is your chances of finding a new job dramatically increase when more people are on your team, helping you get a job.

I personally will change my LinkedIn page to “Looking for an Awesome Opportunity” and email my friends and family that I’m actively looking. More often than not, they will understand (because we’ve all been there before) and they’ll want to help!

Some of the best job search tips I’ve ever heard: 

  • I recommend LinkedIn, Google Jobs and Indeed for job postings. This is what most people use. I often avoid Craigslist but I have found some interesting jobs there.
  • Always use Glassdoor and read company reviews on how they treat their employees.
  • If you like a company, stalk their employees on LinkedIn to see if they went to the same schools you attended, clubs you’re in or charities you participate in. Ask them what it’s like there and ask for advice.
  • Have a salary in mind, knowing how much you need to cover all your expenses.



Make Money Fast When Your Jobless

8. Sell Your Old Stuff for Extra Money

If you just lost your job and looking for extra money, consider selling your extra stuff on Craigslist or eBay. All that extra stuff in your apartment/house like old bikes or snowboards could make a couple of hundred dollars with a new family. That’s a lot of extra ramen noodles! Plus it’s a rewarding feeling getting rid of some of the junk in your life.

Write Articles For Money

9. Write Articles For Money

I write all the time for this blog, but I discovered there are other places on the internet that pay you for writing! I’ve written a couple of articles on Seeking Alpha that pay $35 per article and $0.01 for every page view. It usually comes around $70/article in the long run.

With your new free time, this is probably one of the easiest ways to earn extra money while unemployed. You’ll have lots of extra time and most of the sites I listed pay between $50 – $100 per article.

For me personally, this is my plan. Spend my mornings looking for new jobs and my evenings writing articles. If I can write 1 article a night, at $50 per article. That’s an extra $1,500/month!

Side Gigs

10. Side Gigs

We regularly talk about creative ways to make money, but some of the quickest ways to make extra cash are side-gigs. These are tasks that you can do anytime on different established platforms:

  • Get paid for walking with StepBet (our 6-week StepBet Review and how much money we made)
  • Drive for Uber or Lyft (how much uber drivers make)
  • Deliver Uber Eats, Postmates or Door Dash (if you don’t like dealing with people)
  • Deliver Groceries with Instacart
  • Answer Online Surveys while you watch TV
  • Dog Sitting/Dog Walker (sites like Rover)
  • Babysitting (sites like Care)
  • Random tasks in your city ranging from moving furniture to assembling IKEA (sites like TaskRabbit)

Many of these could be done in your afternoons while you spending your mornings (often the most productive time of the day) job searching for new opportunities.


Losing your job is incredibly scary, but there are TONS of resources here and online to help you find a new job and supplement your income. Hopefully, this helps make losing your job a bit less scary and aids in setting up your own backup plan!

Join our email list below as we continue to update these articles with new ways people are making money to improve their income.

10 replies
  1. DNN
    DNN says:

    It’s always a good idea for anyone to improvise ahead of time by dabbling with the side hustle. Entrepreneurship should be the primary career focus of anyone. Of course, not everyone will be in that state of mind because either they don’t have 100% knowledge of how to get started in side hustle businesses, or mentally clouded in the moment working for a cushy employer. It can be viewed as emotionally dampening at the time when anyone is terminated. However, on the flip side of things, it can be a subliminal blessing in disguise. What’s meant for adverse can turn out of be positively lucrative and beyond financially rewarding. Be glad bad things happen because in the end, there is some good in it. 🙂

  2. DNN
    DNN says:

    You can also use your smartphone while on the go to create content in Google Docs. Simply activate your speech recognition function on your phone, pull up Google chrome on your smart phone, pull up a new blank document, give it a title, and start speaking your content. Anyone can do this whether they have a job or not. The reason for doing so is to line oneself up before and after termination. Being terminated from a job is also a blessing in disguise because it allows you to release your natural euphoria into building up the content of your blog or website and effectively building relationships with your target audience across an array of social networks like Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, etc.

  3. Luna
    Luna says:

    DNN has a lot of good quality here to his posts. Funny he posted the 31st of March that’s when I found myself in the unemployed group lol. Not a coincidence. I am glad I stumbled on this post and I’m curious to why no one else is commenting on this article.

    You’re right DNN, enterpreneurship should be what more people are focused on but many of us are not. I never learned the word “entrepreneur” ever until 6th grade which was the best and worst of my school years. When I learned what an entrepreneur was back in 6th grade, I told myself that’s EXACTLY what I want to be!

    I know for a fact I like many others are miserable taking orders. There’s far too many jobs with s#1tty managers than understanding ones. I don’t last long in job environments and frankly I’m sick of them. However, if a place I applied to hired me I’d take and grit my teeth. Unlike a lot of people, I’m a very frugal person so saving is not an issue for me.

    The problem with us is most of us don’t want to take risks. I have been taking risks one that made me move out with someone I thought I could trust but then got backstabbed so now I am back here with my folks who could’ve turned me away.

    I am a writer and an artist. Those are the things I have going for me and that I love to do. Between this article and DNN’s posts this lit a fire in me that is telling me to stop messing around and start writing blogs like I’ve thought about doing but have been too apprehensive of doing.

    Yes, I feel like vad things keep happening to me but I refuse to fall and victimize myself and put on the “poor little me” identity. I know I am better than this and have great things going to happen to me on the horizon but right now I need to pull myself up and dust myself off. Climb through the s#it like what the main character in Shawshank Redemption did to make a better life for himself.

    Being unemployed does suck. Even the people who you got money from in the past who know you’re struggling for money yet tell you you’re no longer needed, THAT. REALLY. SUCKS.

    And thankfully, most of us aren’t in where Chris Gardener was: jobless AND homeless.

    I think a good reason why a lot of us don’t pursue entrepreneurship is because we are far too comfy where we are at whereas Chris Gardener wasn’t and he had nothing to lose.

    Notice many successful and wealthy people were back as poor and destitute? A good example would be John David Rockefeller. Who among many have been one of the most influential people to me.

    We need to take more risks. Like what the greats have done.

    I want to be an entrepreneur no want, I will be one.

    Ask without any hidden motive (negative thoughts in the subconscious) and ye shall receive.
    Positive focus is where it is at, folks! That’s just the beginning.

  4. DNN
    DNN says:

    Being wrongfully terminated is a blessing in disguise. It gives you that extra push to build your business by starting from the bottom and going through the beautiful struggle associated with becoming a future “side hustle millionaire.” It also buys you time to start your business and change your thinking process to becoming a transformational thought leader that inspires people to take control of their lives through “side hustle millionaire entrepreneurship.”

  5. DNN
    DNN says:

    Growth is terribly painful. We get accustomed to certain habits. Waking up in the morning, going to a job we think is secure but turns out to be a milk dud. Dealing with evil co-workers that conspires to steal your job along with a narcissist employer. It’s a blessing in disguise because it puts anyone on the path to becoming a future “side hustle millionaire.” Agree? 🙂

  6. DNN
    DNN says:

    if you look at the bigger picture about anyone losing their job, it can be a good thing in disguise because it allows a person time to start and build an online side hustle from the ground floor up, with the potential to achieve the future status of “side hustle millionaire.”

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