The struggle to find work after unexpected unemployment (of quitting a bad job) can impact other parts of your life. Saving money all of a sudden becomes paramount, as does cutting expenses to the bare bone. Today, we are discussing ways to cope and succeed during unemployment by cutting back.
To start things off, cutting expenses is the first item to get serious about.
1. Transportation – By default, your commuting to work and back home expenses are cut to zero. Filling your car’s gas tank once or twice weekly is down to zero. Instead, focus on using discount cards and grocery store point cards to save on the times you fill up in order to run errands and go to job interviews. You may already possess credit cards that offer points or cash back when used at gas stations, so visit each credit card company’s web site or even call customer support to be sure. Then, pay off the card in full each month to keep debt from accumulating during this time.
2. Electricity – While at home, be it in a house or apartment, do not turn on any lights unless absolutely necessary. Use natural light by raising blinds, pushing back curtains, and enjoying the sun light. Burn those half full candles you have stocked under your kitchen sink to enjoy mood lighting in the evening. In addition, open your refrigerator door twice per meal, once to open and once to close. Opening the refrigerator door often releases a lot of cool air and forces the refrigerator to work harder, thus increasing the energy used. Minimize the use of your dishwasher by hand washing each dish as it hits the sink. Lastly, use your gas appliances like stove and grill instead of always microwaving. It goes without saying, turn lights off before you leave a room, try to park in your driveway instead of opening/shutting the garage door often, and turn the TV off when you are not watching. If you are on your device or phone, shut off that TV.
3. Food – Coupons and store discount cards are your best friends. If you are shy about using either, make smaller trips to the grocery store and use the self check out lane. Always include staple items on your list, even if your are not running low at the time, so you are forced to see the price that day and stock up when the price is low. Keep your pantry stocked on staples so meal planning is easy. And, speaking of meal planning, keep in mind which meals you will prepare each day. For example, if you always have a salad, potatoes, or veggies with each meal, those items are your staples. Then, jot down main meal items like the meat on the dish.
4. Cash – Cash is king at a time like this. Using credit cards encourages overspending and delaying payment, thus incurring interest fees. Lock up your credit cards and use cash only. That’s right – old school. Visit the ATM once a week, take out $100 and see how long that gets you by. Test out a few dollar amounts each week to see what you’re left with come Sunday night. Stick to a cash-only plan and see the credit card debt melt away. Of course, do remember to make minimum payments if you already have debt. It helps to pay it all off each month, but that may not be your top priority right now. Just do what you can, and remember, unemployment is temporary.