The Day After We Bought Our Home I Lost My Job
Losing your job can feel like a disaster. But it’s also an opportunity to learn how to save, budget, and get closer to your partner.
About a year and a half ago, I left the stability and security of my full-time marketing position in favor of pursuing a career as a freelance writer. I had one large client already lined up. Naively, I thought this would be enough to see me through the initial phase. I had never even thought about the potential reality of losing a job.
A few months later, my husband and I were ready to purchase our first home. On a Monday afternoon, we marched into the title agency. We signed our names on the dotted line, and we left feeling accomplished and victorious. We were officially homeowners!
The very next morning? Well, quite simply, everything fell apart.
Losing a Job
I woke up and immediately began scrolling through my email. I saw an email from my one existing big client. Admittedly, I hadn’t put as much work into growing my business as I should have, and my heart was in my mouth.
The client had made the decision to pull everything in-house, meaning it didn’t need my services anymore. Even worse? That meant that I was down to making a measly $50 per month writing a column for a local women’s magazine.
The fact that this was all happening mere hours after taking on a mortgage for the first time? Well, I was close to tears.
I called my husband — I had no idea what we were going to do next. Losing a job is scary at any point, but right then, we were dealing with student loans, car payments, living expenses, and the aforementioned new mortgage. I thought we were totally screwed, to put it kindly.
My husband, who’s always logical and level-headed, explained that I had two options. Either I could begin searching for a new full-time job immediately, or I could hustle like crazy to make this whole freelance idea work.
With his encouragement, I chose the second option. I’m glad to report that I eventually managed to make it work. But during that period of time when I was hitting the pavement to bring in new clients, we were forced to navigate life as a one-income couple — something we weren’t quite prepared to do.
Surviving Till My Career Took Off
It wasn’t easy, but we pulled it off. There are a bunch of things you can do even after losing a job, and we did all of them to keep within the budget.
After being initial skeptics, we discovered couponing. (You can save loads by using apps like SavingStar.) We were pleasantly shocked at how much I was able to reduce our monthly shopping bills.
When it came to beauty and personal care products, I had the tendency to buy fancy brand names. Switching to the store-brand items knocked several dollars off of every shopping trip. We also did the same thing for cleaning products, and even for groceries. I promise, it really makes a difference in your monthly expenses!
We saved roughly $80 a month by eliminating cable. And we cut about $70 a week by stopping our regular trips out to eat. Saying no to those regular day trips easily saved us hundreds each month. Are you seeing how this all adds up yet?
Keeping Our Relationship Strong
Now, arguably the most important on the list of to-dos: We stuck together. It would’ve been all too easy for my husband to resent me for the position I put us in when I lost my job. After all, why should he suffer so that I could pursue my passions?
But he never did that. Instead, the situation had the opposite effect. The entire experience brought us closer together. His support and encouragement were crucial to my success, and I know I never could’ve made it through without him.
A Final Thought
There’s no doubt that surviving on one income and losing a job was one of our most difficult financial challenges to date — especially since it occurred during a time in our lives when our expenses were pretty high. But with a little planning and commitment, we made it through to the other side. Now we look back on the entire experience fondly. Yes, it was tough, but it was also incredibly rewarding.