GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Just because you get a pink slip doesn't mean you can't keep your finances in the black.With Mississippi at double digit unemployment, a local non-profit is on a mission to teach people what to do when their income suddenly drops. Mercy Housing in Gulfport is teaching a series of seminars called "Survival Skills for the Family."
On Thursday, postal workers at the Gulfport mail processing center said in a few months, some of them likely won't have jobs. The facility is on a list of processing centers the Postal Service has announced it wants to see close. Family budgeting experts said layoffs and reduced work hours are forcing many Mississippians to choose what they can do without.
"They're a little bit panicked because they know they're going to be living on less," said Sarah Landry, Mercy Housing Director. "They're really not realizing some of the unnecessary things that they've gotten comfortable spending their money on that are not necessities."
Mercy Housing offers a free class called "When Your Income Drops" with advice from money saving shopping tips to how to find free family entertainment. The non-profit also helps people come up with a strategy for making ends meet.
"To really get it on paper and look at it to determine how much is owed," Landry said. "How much you're bringing in. What things can be taken care of first of all. What things maybe can be negotiated with who you owe that money too. There are strategies that can be used to help people try to get through those difficult times."
The non-profit said people doing okay financially now need to start saving for a rainy day. Instructor Larisa Milner teaches how to make healthy affordable meals at home. She says constantly picking up even a $5 lunch adds up quickly.
"Five times 300 is 1,500. They are shocked that they are spending on their lunch $1,500 a year," Milner said. "If this is two, husband and wife, multiply by two and that is $3,000. It's a lot of cash money every day."
The next "When Your Income Drops" class is scheduled for March 5th from 6pm to 8 pm. The seminar is free, but you do have to pre-register by calling (228) 896-1945.