Give Me Back My Five Bucks

What if I don’t get approved for EI?

So as for my severance pay, I have about $2,000 to work with. I have $400 of that earmarked for the stove that we just bought. Other than that, it looks like I have $1,600 to live off of while all this EI stuff gets sorted out. $1,600 will last me 1 month of my normal budget, so I’m thinking that in unemployment-mode, it should last 6 weeks? Hopefully by then I will be receiving regular EI payments.

If for some reason I don’t get EI payments, my contingency plan is to get a normal job somewhere. Like in a grocery store or retail or something along those lines. I do have my Emergency Fund that I could live off of, but is it really a true emergency if I’m able to work? I think what I would do is take a part-time job somewhere, then draw small amounts out of my EF. That way I would still have time to search for jobs and go on interviews.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Mineral says:

    The other advantage of a part time job while you are job hunting for a 'real" job, is it gives you something to do so you do not go stir crazy focusing on your job hunt!

    I worked at a coffee shop while I was hunting for my current job. The work was fun, I had a chance to learn a ton about coffee (invaluable small talk fodder), and I had some extra cash.

  2. Sounds good to me. My plan is similar… Work anywhere, as long as I am able to, and only use small bits of the EF when necessary.

    I'm sure you'll find something soon though! :)

  3. Kari says:

    For some reason, I thought that if you got fired or quit, you couldn't get EI. Or is it that your employer filled out your separation papers as being let go, so it would help you get EI. Just curious….

    All this time we pay into EI, but we can't always take advantage of it when we need it!

    • gmbmfb says:

      Well when I was being told that I was getting let go, I asked if my ROE would be filled out so that I would qualify for EI benefits. My boss said that they would take care of that to make sure I could. Not that I necessarily believe him, but that's what I assume has happened.

  4. I think that is an awesome plan. Is this a true emergency? Not really. IF you don't get EI, then yeah, work somewhere fun, but casual. OR like MEC (or a shop like it)? then you could also maybe get access to rad hiking stuff that maybe you would have bought at full price anyways? and you'd be around your other passion for a bit and learn that way?

    • gmbmfb says:

      Yeah I would love to work at MEC or Valhalla Pure – an outdoorsy store like that. When I last checked MEC, they were hiring, but I do live quite far away from their 2 stores and it might not be worth it for such a low paying job. I'd want to probably stay closer to where I live so that I could cut down on travel time and costs.

  5. George says:

    Wow you sure are optimistic that you can get a part time job just like that. The economy is bad for everything, including part time jobs. Perhaps you should get that part time job first, before you assume you can get one. They aren't that easy tom come by.

    • gmbmfb says:

      A quick search on Craigslist, and looking around the malls, there are definitely part-time jobs available. They may not be the greatest hours, or the best pay, but there are plenty to choose from. Certainly not as easy to find one as it was a few years ago, but I'm sure I would be able to find something.

  6. Jen says:

    Reading about your experience going through this is really getting me thinking… what if I lost my job. I don't have an EF (YIKES – I know!) and I don't have a Plan B.. really. I sell Pampered Chef, but I don't know if I'd rely on it. Did you have a budget you were able to pull back to when you were laid off? A 'trough' budget, so to speak? Sorry if you did post about it and I missed it… I've been MIA for a while, so I was getting curious reading your recent posts…
    My recent post One Step Closer to Being a Toolgirl

    • gmbmfb says:

      Yes, I have a “bare-bones” budget that I can fall back on whenever I'm in trouble. I haven't updated that budget to reflect my car payments & insurance so my budget would be around $1000/month. Which is still a lot to be spending, and my EF would only help me out for about 4 months. But that would give me enough time to find another job (even if it's bagging groceries) to tide me over until I found myself a job in my career field.

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