A layoff taught this family some valuable money lessons.

What started out to be a normal Friday for my husband and me turned out to be a day that would impact the rest of our lives. I will never forget it: My husband left for work in the morning, and I was at home doing work around the house. Several hours later, the front door opened and my husband was standing there with a look of utter shock and dismay on his face. He said, “I just got laid off from my job.”

Wow. We did not see that coming. He worked for a large company, was promoted multiple times and had a great management position. But, like many others across the country, he found himself in the unemployment line.

During my husband’s layoff, we blew through our savings and even got behind on our bills. It was a grueling and stressful few years to get back on our feet. You know that saying, “Struggle makes you stronger”? In our house, we learned many lessons during our struggles, which ultimately taught us a new way to live.

You Don’t Need Nearly as Much as You Think You Do

When it comes right down to it, food on the table and a roof over your head are the most important material items. We learned that the “extras” aren’t really necessities, and necessities are the things to value and appreciate the most.

‘Thrifty’ Became Our New Slogan

I became a deal-seeker like never before. We cut back on everything and didn’t have a real vacation for years. Our new way of life forced us to get creative and to find the many things that were free in our area. It’s still amazing to me that going to a local park or even the library can be a lot of fun — and costs nothing.

Coupons Became Our Best Friend

I would scour through the Sunday newspaper and printable coupon sites to see what coupons I could pair with sales at my local grocery store. From here, I would establish a meal plan for the week. By utilizing sales and coupons, I was able to come up with some delicious meals. Having a definite plan each week forced me to be responsible and to know where every dime of our money was going.

Adversity Brings Opportunity

After the dust settled and we finally started to get back on our feet, the people we best identified with were those who were walking a similar path. My husband and I had a desire to give and to be generous to our church, charities and others. To this day, my husband’s layoff has impacted our lives in a way that we could never have imagined. That struggle we once faced has brought us to one of the happiest times in our life. We are able to share and to bless others like never before. You truly can’t empathize until you’ve walked the road of adversity.

By Heather Brickell