Dealing with unemployment financially

By You and Money

Losing your job can be difficult, both financially and emotionally, but there are things you can do to stay on top of things. Taking a good look at your financial situation, budgeting for the future, choosing what to do with your redundancy payment and looking after your health will all help you to get you back on track.

Assess your financial situation

The first thing you need to do is get a good picture of exactly where you stand in terms of your financial situation.

Get busy creating a budget plan and work out how you can manage in the short term:

  • create a list of all your expenses over the next few months
  • include everything – rent, loan repayments, car costs, food and anything else you can think of .

Using a budget planner will help you.

Cut back

As hard as it might be, cut back on your spending as soon as you can. Work out what you can really do without, for example new clothes, eating out and alcohol. Start looking for bargains and sales – every bit you save will help. And try not to use your credit card – the last thing you need at this time is extra debt.

Talk to your bank

If your budget is falling short and you’re struggling to meet your financial commitments, contact your lenders as soon as possible. Let them know you’re having financial difficulties and that you’d like to talk about what your options are. This is particularly important if you have a loan for a home, car or other assets that your lender has security over. If things get particularly difficult, think about applying for a hardship variation.

Look for contract/temp roles

If you’re finding it hard to secure a permanent job, consider contracting or temping. These casual roles can ease the financial burden, give your confidence a boost and help you to get back into the workforce. Some of these roles can also lead to full time employment.

There are a number of job sites that can help you find this type of work, or you can contact recruitment agencies directly.

Here are some useful sites:

Financial assistance

Need emergency assistance or help dealing with the financial burden? There are free financial counselling services available to you. They can help you resolve your money and debt issues and start to get you back on track.

You may also be entitled to government benefits. Talk to your local Centrelink office to find out if you’re eligible.

The Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs runs an emergency relief program through various community organisations across Australia.

For more information, visit:


The stress and anxiety associated with being unemployed can take its toll on your health. It’s important that you try to stay positive and as healthy as possible. Getting regular exercise, eating well and having emotional support from your family and friends will help you deal better with the strain of being unemployed.

For more serious concerns, see your GP or get professional help.

Key contacts:

Share your experiences

If you’ve recently experienced unemployment or are currently unemployed, how have you managed? Do you have any tips for people in the same position? We’d love to hear from you.

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