Surviving a Financial Crisis

Here's how two couples responded to money woes

Jay and Mary had been married five years. When they had their first child, Mary quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom. They felt confident that Jay's job as a sales representative would bring in enough money to provide for their family. They were living their dream—until Jay's company took a financial dive and began to downsize. Mary knew something was wrong when Jay arrived home early one day. He told her the news: He'd been laid off his job with only a two-month severance package.

The couple was devastated. They had no other income and little savings. They didn't have enough money to survive. Mary panicked, which caused Jay to reactive negatively. They became tense and argumentative. Jay felt as if he was letting down his family for not being able to provide financially for them.

After one especially tense discussion, Mary went into their bedroom to pray and felt God tell her she needed to encourage Jay, to let him know she had complete confidence in him. Then she recalled the Bible verse: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV). She realized her panic wasn't helping the situation; it was making it worse.

So Mary approached Jay and apologized for her reaction to their financial situation. The tension dissipated and together they were able to form a game plan.

The first thing they decided to do was quit spending money. They realized it would be easy for them to go into a denial mode and continue spending, assuming Jay would find another job before the severance package ran out. Instead, they opted to spend only on their immediate needs such as diapers and food, and cut back on unnecessary expenditures such as going out to eat. They also agreed not to use their credit cards, knowing how easy it would be to run up the balance and deceive themselves into thinking they'd pay it off once Jay found another job.

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