Recession Watch: What to do if you're laid off

Layoffs are never fun, especially when they seem to come out of the blue. But you can get through it, as many before you have successfully done. Here are some tips for coming out of the layoff with your finances intact.

File for unemployment immediately. Some states give unemployment benefits based upon the day you file for benefits, rather than the day you lose your job. Sign up right away to avoid missing out on any benefits you're due.

Take a hard look at your family's budget. Where can you immediately cut costs? What bills absolutely must be paid, no matter what? Evaluate your family's needs and wants, and come up with a worst-case-scenario budget so you can see where you have to start cutting your spending immediately.

Begin your job search right away. Don't sit around waiting to be called back to work, even if your employer promises you that you will return to work soon. You don't know for sure if you'll ever go back to work there, so do yourself a favor and start your job search right away. If you do get called back, good for you. If you don't, you'll be glad that you've been pounding the pavement.