No matter how you spin it, being unemployed is no fun. If you’re fortunate, you have a separation package and/or some unused paid time off to your credit. Unemployment income can keep the wolf away from the door for a while.
But inevitably, financial reality sets in – and this reality bites.
How do you sustain yourself and your family until you land on your feet again? This is the time to reevaluate your spending patterns, differentiate the things you want from the ones you absolutely need, and implement some rapid-fire changes.
Needs Versus Wants
Take a look at your bank account from the past several months and determine which expenses could have been eliminated. Take a hard line. Then, continue to track your spending as you move through the financially-strapped time ahead. This helps you:
- Avoid impulse buying – like a diet where you record every calorie you consume.
- Realize which expenditures you can eliminate with minimal pain and suffering.
Spend Only the Money You Have
The word “credit” is not in your vocabulary right now. Spending only cash will not only prevent you from getting into – or further into – debt, but it also will force you to feel the pain of handing over paper and coin currency. As a result, it will be harder to overspend.
You Have to Eat
- Dine at home. Eating out is often due to laziness or lack of time to shop for and prepare meals. When socializing with family and friends, plan pot-luck suppers instead of costly restaurant outings.
- Clip coupons. Also, take advantage of preferred shopper, boy-one-get-one free, and other special offers. And buy store-brand or generic items whenever possible.
And You Need Some Fun in Your Life
Being unemployed doesn’t mean giving up your social life – it just means doing it a little differently.
- Look for freebies. You’d be surprised at the number of free or low-cost activities available in your community. Look for parks, museums, concerts, films and other venues. Attend high school, rather than college or pro sporting events. It may not be the NFL, but you can have the full Friday Night Lights experience for $10 or less if you plan it right.
- Give up premium cable, or cable all together. Instead, rent a movie or the full season of a TV show. And speaking of movies, now is the time for popcorn, beverage and a flick at home, versus the multiplex.
And Yes, It’s Holiday Time
There’s no good time to be unemployed, but during the holiday season, it’s like a wound that won’t heal. Try to keep partying to a minimum this year, and do it at home, which is probably a safer bet anyway. And, set spending limits on gifts. Chances are, others will appreciate this just as much as you do.
There are countless other ways to save by applying the same habits to your utilities, transportation, clothing, medical costs and other essentials. Getting there may not always be pretty, but don’t lose heart: You can do it. And you won’t always have to be this frugal – though your lifetime spending patterns may just improve as a result of this experience.
Do you need further guidance on your job search and career path plans? Read our related posts or contact the experts at Alternative Staffing today.