Simple dos, don'ts of surviving furlough
Surviving furlough graphic

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. (Oct. 9, 2013) -- A furlough can create hardships for families - especially when finances are already stretched.

Here are some tips for surviving furloughs:

1. Cash in vacation time or cancel your vacation. While taking a vacation is recommended to renew the spirit, there are times when refilling the savings account is much more important.

2. Call your creditors and arrange to defer payments on your accounts or have accounts re-aged. If you explain your situation, your credit card companies, student loans, and other revolving credit accounts may give you a temporary break.

3. Start brown bagging on the days that you are working. You can actually save close to $300 a month by brown bagging it for lunch.

4. Start eating leftovers once a week. Get creative with leftovers, so you can stop wasting food and start saving money on groceries.

5. Go on a spending diet. Try this on your monthly budget. Just how much money do you need to get through a month?

6. Learn to prioritize. Prioritize your bills to make decisions about spending money.

7. Use your days off to start vegetable gardening and other money-saving hobbies. Besides growing your own vegetables, you could also do things like: cut and organize coupons, cook food from scratch more often, spend some time comparison shopping.

8. Cut back on your kids' expensive after school programs and spend more time with them instead. If your kids are in multiple after-school programs, have them choose their favorite ones and eliminate the rest. This will save up to $100 a month per child, per activity. The time that you spend with them is much more valuable anyway.

Don't Do This:
Just the same, there are a few things you should not do during a furlough. If you've been furloughed you'll want to be extra cautious during this time.

1. Do not use credit to supplement your income. This will only increase your debt load and make your monthly bills higher, not lower.

2. Do not quit your job. Don't take an all-or-nothing attitude in tough times like this. Instead, you should grin and bear it while keeping an eye open for something better.

3. Do not complain at work. Complaining is akin to quitting your job because a bad attitude can be a reason they could use to terminate you.

4. Do not feel defeated and depressed. Attitude is everything in a tough situation. Keep a positive outlook and you will survive the lay-off with your spirit intact.

The above article is provided as a service by the Financial Readiness Center of Army Community Service. Clients and readers are responsible for making their decisions on actions to take. From time to time, articles with topics of career development, personal finances, or consumer affairs could be of great interest to the extended Rock Island Arsenal community.

The information presented above is neither an endorsement nor any sort of recommendation. This article is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax adviser, financial adviser, or insurance agent. Before making any financial commitment regarding the issues discussed here, consult the appropriate professional adviser. The information is provided only for educating readers in order to broaden their knowledge of options that may be available. For this educational purpose, the previous information is provided.

The Financial Readiness Center of Rock Island Arsenal's Army Community Service is located in Bldg. 110, 1st floor, southeast wing. If additional information or assistance is desired, call (309) 782-0815 or email usarmy.ria.imcom-central.mbx.usag-acs@mail.mil. Military and civilian personnel are reminded to account for their duty time with their supervisors.

Page last updated Wed October 9th, 2013 at 00:00