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Q: My husband recently lost his job and took a severance package. How do we get by if his severance runs out before he finds a new job?

Diana says...
My husband lost his job in the last recession and we adopted new habits that we still benefit from today. Here are three important steps I would recommend: Step 1. Severance packages come with tax implications, so try to find an experienced tax accountant recommended by friends or colleagues. Step 2. Sit down together and go through your monthly bank and credit card statements. Highlight all those automatic withdrawals that you don’t think about, like the health club membership, subscriptions, cable TV/wireless add-ons, etc. Then highlight in another colour, or list, other monthly expenses that you can control, such as restaurants, clothing and gifts. Now pare down or put on hold all those expenses that are sucking your money dry. Step 3. Consider the gap between jobs as a gift of time. Don’t waste it by lying around fondling the remote and feeling discouraged. Seek out a career-counselling course offered through a community college, university or government agency. It will open up your husband’s eyes to new employment options that fit his personality and skills.

Diana Cawfield is an award-winning financial writer with more than 10 years experience. Send her your questions here.