5 Things I would have done differently if I had known I was going to lose my job

Jun 5, 2014 at 6:35 p.m. ET

It only took four words to cause my happy little world to crumble: "We're making you redundant." I certainly wasn't prepared and, after my initial bravado and mutterings about hating the stupid job anyway, I had a mini meltdown. Had I known they were planning to get rid of me, I would have done things differently.

1. I would have said yes to loan protection insurance

Just the other week, I'd been very dismissive of a telemarketer trying to flog me loan protection insurance for my credit cards. As far as I was concerned, it was just another gimmick to get extra money out of me for insurance I was never going to use. I was wrong. It's a small premium added on to your loan repayments and will cover you should the unexpected happen — you get sick or have an accident, suffer medical trauma or lose your job.

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2. I would have taken out pet insurance

I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to take my cat to the vet in her 13 years. I've dismissed the idea of having pet insurance for years, believing the amount of money you spend in premiums wouldn't be worth it for the handful of times I've had to go to the vet. As Murphy's Law would have it, the cat started squinting the day I got my marching orders. I put it down to allergies, only to find out a couple of days later that she has an extremely deep eye ulcer and something called Uveitis, which can cause glaucoma. She also needs dental treatment and cosmetic surgery because her eyelashes irritate her eyes. (Face palm!)

3. I would have read my employment contract more closely

Usually, I skim all the small print and sign with no questions asked. If only I'd taken the time to read it carefully, I might have noticed there was no redundancy payout. Had I realised this at the beginning of my employment, I might have been able to negotiate a better package and managed to get management to agree to a small payout in the event of my redundancy. Instead, all I got was four weeks' notice and my accrued holiday pay.

4. I would have been more conservative with my savings

I'd been back from my month-long holiday for a week before I got the dreaded email (yes, an email; not even a phone call). My friends tell me I should be glad my boss didn't break the news to me before I left for my trip, but had I known what was coming, I probably would have been more reserved with my spending. I still would have had a good time, I just wouldn't have frittered my entire savings on clothes, shoes and theme parks.

5. I wouldn't have used credit as much

I don't usually buy things on credit. Yes, I have credit cards, but they're intended for emergencies, like when I see a really nice lipstick I can't live without or I need to escape the house and have a night out at the movies. However, after sleeping on a super comfortable bed while my husband and I were at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, we came home to a bed like an old sponge. Beds R Us had an incredible deal that was too good to refuse and, as we were a bit cash-poor after our holiday, we put it on credit. If only I had known that I'd be kissing my job goodbye the very next day.

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