Johnson added that even when a person gets a job, the paycheck doesn’t come right away. And a person might have to use the money for work-related expenses, like a new wardrobe. And then there are those overdue expenses, such as a car tune-up or missed bills.
“People in those situations don’t have the right financial tools to handle the situation,” she said. She said she thinks those who are laid off should be required to get financial counseling, a service she had to ask about.
“With the help of unemployment, food pantries and financial counseling at the unemployment office … we were able to keep our house, basically,” Johnson said.
On the other hand, she said when hard times hit she was more prepared than probably 95 percent of others. She and her husband had eight months of income saved up.
“It’s worth the sacrifice all along to put something away for the unexpected things like that because we didn’t have any warning at all,” Johnson said.
Though living beneath her means helped her, she said her family is still reeling. Though she and her husband both are working now, she doesn’t know whether to call herself lower middle class or upper lower class.
“It was a tough time,” she said. “We’re still recovering from it.”