Dimes make Dollars
How to create an extra month of living expense money on an already severely limited income
As an Alberta resident and a veteran survivor of several economic “recessions” I was surprised and yet not surprised to see an unfortunate question that came up on one of my Facebook pages recently. The poster stated that her sister, who was laid off last year, has been unable to find employment since her layoff, and she questioned, “What does she do when her Employment Insurance runs out?”
In the early 90’s I spent a lot of time laid off. I never had any savings and I never got any kind of severance. What I did when I went through these times was hoard away enough money and goods to try to buy me another month of living living expenses to provide a cushion.I did this in several ways. For one thing I worked temp while on claim. I registered with the temporary employment agencies. I did administrative assistant office work, and I was not specialized in anything. The temp agencies would send me to temp jobs and then I would claim the earnings from those jobs weekly on my report. I was allowed to keep my earnings although the amount was deducted from my EI cheque, and my earnings were EI insurable which meant that I was building weeks up that could be applied toward another claim in the future. When my current claim ran out I was creating enough weeks to initiate another claim.
Being in receipt of EI gives you breathing space or temporary relief but it in a challenging economy it is wise to plan for a second loss of income that may occur when the benefits run out if no employment has been found.It is the understanding that your full time job and obligation while on claim is to look for for work. This link explains current EI rules including rules for working while on claim.
The objective here is to implement a plan to gather together enough money and food to carry you through one month of no income whatsoever if you do run your EI out. Being unemployed is a tough situation. I found that it always helped me to have some kind of a concrete, implementable plan B in place to buy me time.
Here are some suggestions to help with that objective:
1. Sock away staple grocery items for future use. Use your PC points, download a coupon app like Flipp. https://app.flipp.com/
2. Save every bottle and can that you have during your period of unemployment. If you are accustomed to donating them to the kids that come to the door, hold off on the donations. The bottles accumulated may be the difference between making a utility payment or not.
3. Try to save your small change. It adds up.
4. This is a passive way of making a few bucks while you are sitting around at night doing nothing but it does result in real cash. Sign up for Swagbucks or similar survey programs and do a couple of surveys a day. You can make about $25.oo per month that pay into a Paypal account. http://www.swagbucks.com/
5. Download apps like Checkout 51. This app allows you to get cash back on purchases that you make. You can claim when you have $20.00 in allowable purchase receipts. https://www.checkout51.com/faq
6. If you have not missed any mortgage payments and you feel that you may not be able to make your mortgage payment after your last cheque comes in contact your bank to see if you have a provision to miss a payment.
7. Borrow money from your whole life insurance policy if you have enough cash value in the policy to borrow from.
8. When your claim runs out you may qualify for assistance from Social Services (now known in Alberta as Alberta Income Support/Alberta Human Services), or the “Big W” as we called it. It was not a pleasant experience, but I count it up as a life experience. They did give me a bit of money that helped me make my mortgage payment here and there when I needed it for a month or two. I was a single parent and I hung on to my house with everything that I had and in the end I was able to keep my house. I paid off the mortgage 3 years early a couple of years ago. These funds come from tax dollars, so if you worked before you applied for them you helped fund what you are now receiving.