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Not to nitpick but that should be six months of living expenses (hopefully, your expenses are less than your income). If you think getting laid off may be imminent, I would suggest paying only the minimum on any debt and putting as much cash as possible into savings right now. If the layoff never comes, you can then take some of the accrued cash and pay it toward debt.

I've been laid off twice (in a five month span, no less). In addition to beefing up your savings and eliminating non-essential spending, I would suggest coming up with a plan. Write it out, if need be. It's much easier to be objective and rational before your back is against the wall.

Look at your current finances. Determine how long you could survive off your current savings. (Take into consideration that gas, dining out, etc. will decrease if you're not working and student loans can be deferred.) If that's not a long period of time, start thinking now how you can get more money or decrease your expenses even more. Will you get unemployment, can you pick up freelance or temp work, suspend cable or other services? Are there things you can sell to get extra money? Is it possible to take in a roommate or move somewhere cheaper if your lease is about to end?

From a mental aspect, try to keep your spirits up and avoid the urge to overindulge because you feel down. The first time I got laid off, I didn't see it coming and was panicky and down in the dumps because I took it personally (though it wasn't). However, I made it through. So the second time around, it was more like 'eh, whatever'. I took off to London (courtesy of a generous friend) and didn't let it stress me at all. Once again, I made it through.

I've never been laid off and knocking on wood that I don't. One thing I'm realizing, though, is that youth has been on my side in the whole layoff/buyout trend, since they look to lay off older, more expensive employees. Now that I,m in my 30s and hitting peak earning years, though, so I won't have that working for me much longer.

I'd be real interested to see the responses from folks who have been laid off about how prepared they were and how they handled it.

I was laid off about a month after Hurricane Katrina, then Rita wiped out the casinos business for meat and seafood. I knew our unit was bleeding money and told a manager I could cope. I've been out of work for awhile now — we moved for my husband's job in a family business. But they are suffering a downturn because the housing industry in Florida is in the pits. My free-lancing food articles has taken a hit as newspapers tighten their budgets. We just have to hang in there. I just had a friend who was hunting the perfect job for 2 years and now she's found it. That gives me hope.

I have never been laid off but I do have enough in savings should that happen. In line with what Keith mentioned I think I have youth on my side. I am in my 20's and I just don't see myself on the chopping block just yet. I believe firmly in saving up for a rainy day so saving my pennies is a must. I also don't have any mouths to feed so I may not feel the pressure as others would. I can just imagine how difficult that situation would be which is why I am hoping to be self employed in the very very near future.

Youth is not always a guarantee. The two times I was laid off, I was 24. Last one hired, first one fired...

Keith raises a good point. Age is definitely a factor and it's a shame. People who have committed years of their lives to the company are suddenly punished for having been there so long instead of being rewarded for their loyalty. Does anyone think companies reward loyalty anymore? Perhaps. But I don't see it.

Aw, namesake, this is my soapbox right now. I remember the bright-eyed person I was when I graduated, just two short years ago, ready to take on the world. Then I realized, no one's hiring, they are downsizing! The jobs out there are for niches (I write about construction everday...OK, I do get to go to a press conf at Sea World tomorrow...but mostly construction) -- and not for large dailies or mags that can propel a career into longevity and somewhat set the mood for the area.
::stepping off the soapbox::
I'm glad you're not eligible. It will give you time to save and think about what the future could hold -- a move, a job hunt, a career change or whatever.

i was laid off last year, when i was 28. but all the employees who were overhead got laid off. i worked for an architecture firm in s.w. florida, and if the client couldn't be billed your salary, the company couldn't pay you. i was utterly blindsided. i moved to fla. just for that job, and the movers moved the last bit of furniture into my house THE DAY i was laid off. i held off bringing my things down for months, b/c i wanted to see how things would go. i was 2 days too hasty. i tried to find comparable work, with a comparable salary around florida, but i couldn't, so when i was offered a job back in my hometown, i jumped at it. at the time, i had just enough money to live off of for the 2 months i was unemployed, thanks to a couple saved paychecks and blessed unemployment checks. i was also able to afford a few plane trips back and forth to interview and organize the move back where i came from.

Savvy what you have said makes sense..last hired first fired. If your employer does not have a srong connection with you because you are new or simply because you have not invested time in the company you probably would be first to be asked to hit the road.
Product Junkie Diva

How is the food budget going ? I know it is hard but I am pulling for you !

Betty: I'm hiding my head in shame. The good thing is that I did a grocery run last night. But between being homeless for two days and just outright not being disciplined...yikes. I'm a work in process.

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