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The 4 Underrated Financial Moves to Make After a Layoff

Getting laid off unexpectedly can make you feel scared, disoriented, and unsure of what to do next. Even if you've built an emergency fund, or you're getting a severance, the negative cash flow can make you feel as if your personal finances are in jeopardy. All your friends are telling you, "It's OK, you'll find something new." And while you believe this yourself, it's hard to feel optimistic when you have bills to pay.

While a layoff might zap your only source of income, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself financially afloat.

1. Find gig work

Gig work can keep money flowing in. Even if it only partially replaces a lost paycheck, it can bolster your savings account and stretch out your emergency fund. And since most gig work lets you set your own hours, you can still schedule time to search for jobs and prepare for interviews.

You might even want to check out a temp agency. These agencies will connect you to companies who are looking for contractors or temporary employees. While you might be looking for something permanent -- with key benefits like health insurance -- these companies could give you work for the interim. Besides, a contract position could easily lead to a full-time position at the same company.

2. Cut your spending

If gig or contract work isn't enough to cover your monthly expenses, you might need to recalibrate your budget. You likely have expenses you can't cut, like your rent or mortgage payment. But you might be surprised how many of your monthly expenses are firmly in your control.

Like food. While food is a necessity, it's also a variable expense: You have control over how much you spend each month feeding yourself and your family. If you feel like you're spending the minimum on your monthly meals, consider buying groceries from a store where prices might be lower.

3. Negotiate your bills

If you can't afford to pay your bills, consider telling your service providers about your layoff. You might be surprised how many are willing to work with you on fee waivers, grace periods, or other kinds of financial assistance. Even if they're not willing to broker a deal, you could always cancel services and look for cheaper alternatives. For example, you can gather quotes on car insurance and switch to a new company if you find a better deal.

4. Consider a balance transfer credit card

If you have credit card debt, a balance transfer credit card could eliminate big interest payments and stop you from spiraling into more debt. Many of these credit cards come with an introductory period of 0% APR, so you won't pay interest during that period. This might be a solid option if you can find work before the intro APR period ends. Once it does, your card will revert to a higher APR and you'll have to pay interest on the money you borrowed.

Layoffs are never easy. But while it could be an emotional rollercoaster in the beginning, making these four financial moves can at least help minimize the damage to your budget.

This article was written by Steven Porrello from The Motley Fool and was legally licensed through the DiveMarketplace by Industry Dive. Please direct all licensing questions to

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