It's about to hit the fan, your job is history, and you know it. And your "emergency fund" just funded an emergency jaunt to Vegas. This is exactly the point at which some sort of financial suicide instinct kicks in. For many people, anxiety about money creates a compulsion to spend whatever's left. Wrong! Even if bankruptcy is in your immediate future, eleventh hour stupidity can get your filing kicked right out on its impulse-buying little butt.

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So get serious and into survival mode (yes, there is Ramen in your future--deal with it).

* First, anything not related DIRECTLY to survival goes. That means you can have food (in its cheapest guise--your local organo-heaven offers classes for turning $1.09 worth of dried beans into um, fuel).

* Reevaluate your shelter--if you own your home, well, you've probably heard about the hoops you need to jump through to get a short sale approved. If you have a line of credit, max it out while you can, then ration it out as needed for survival. If you can't borrow against your house or sell it quickly, consider renting out your place and finding a cheaper lease. Or get a roomate or three to help with expenses. The cable bill? Not even gonna ask that one--turn it off voluntarily and avoid the extra meanie charges.

* If you manage to score a new job fairly quickly, talk to your mortgage lender about bringing your account current, adding the arrearages to your balance and going on as before (except this time you're not going to get silly with the emergency fund, are you!). Do your best to keep up health insurance, but sell your car if you need to. The last thing you need are insurance and car payments when you have no job. And public transportation builds character...

* Ebay, Craigslist, whatever....Sell it. Be ruthless. Simplify your life and concentrate on rebuilding.

* Divest All non-retirement investments. Borrow against or sell life insurance policies. But....

* Leave retirement accounts alone. If you end up in bankruptcy they're untouchable. Unless you make the mistake of giving them away before you get there...

* Take care of business. Yes, get down to the unemployment office and file for your benefits--but don't stop there. Chances are you acquired some marketable skills at your previous job, and if your current industry is going through a slump you can sidestep into another. Many employment divisions offer career counseling. Or try the counseling at your local community college--you may find a new career altogether. And financial aid for training isn't out of the question either. Maybe check out entrepreneurship. Are you good with recalcitrant laptops? Tap your network and get the word out. Detail cars, babysit pets? Run errands? Yes, there are people with more money than time --find them!

Don't worry about taking stopgap measures--none of them have to become permanent careers, unless you end up liking them. Who knows? You may be the future ultra-famous author of "100 Things You Can Make with Ramen that Don't Suck."