Working a seasonal job helps many Americans make ends meet — or even boost their income — during times when demand for labor is highest. Companies such as Amazon, Walmart and UPS hire hundreds of thousands of extra workers for the holiday season. The downside? Those jobs last just a few months.
If you picked up a seasonal job this year, it’s likely ending soon.
“If you have a seasonal job that is coming to an end, it’s important to start thinking about how you will manage your money until you find your next source of income,” said Andrew Latham, a CFP and the managing editor of SuperMoney.com.
In general, it can take three to six months to find a job after a layoff.
“However, it may only take two to three months to find a new job with a different company or in a different sector if the only reason you are being laid off is that your work is seasonal,” Latham noted.
Review Your Budget
First, it’s a good idea to take stock of your current budget, according to Latham. You’ll want to get a baseline of how much money you have coming in and going out each month.
Review your expenses, including fixed expenses (rent/mortgage, loan payments, insurance premiums, etc.) as well as variable expenses (utilities, groceries, entertainment). Then add up all of your sources of income. See whether there’s a shortfall between what you earn without your seasonal job and your total expenses for the month.
Cut Back (Temporarily)
If there is a gap between your expenses and earnings, you’ll need to quickly fill it. The easiest way to do that is to cut back on spending that isn’t 100% necessary, such as dining out or subscription services, to free up more money for necessities, according to Latham.
You also can try cost-cutting measures such as freezing your gym membership, looking for hidden bank fees you’ve been paying or refinancing high-interest debt.
Remember, you don’t have to live on less forever. These are temporary measures to ensure that you don’t miss bill payments or fall into debt before your income stabilizes.
Prioritize Your Next Gig
Your top focus should be replacing your income, whether that’s through additional temporary or part-time jobs or via a full-time position. In fact, it may be possible to transition your seasonal job into a permanent position with the same company. Earlier this year, for instance, UPS offered more than 30% of its 100,000 seasonal workers full-time jobs.
Use your time as a seasonal worker to prove yourself as a great employee, and reach out to your supervisor before your contract ends to say you’re interested in staying on.
Ask for Financial Assistance
“If you are struggling to make ends meet, consider reaching out to organizations that offer financial assistance or government programs,” Latham said.
For example, you may qualify for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. There are also many local programs and resources available, which you can learn about by dialing 211. So don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
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