Guest Post

How to Stretch Your Finances When You’re Unemployed

How to Stretch Your Finances When You’re Unemployed

Unemployment can be a scary thought.

We can sugarcoat it and say that it’s an opportunity for you to find another job that will end up being better than your last one, but unless you have someone supporting you, it’s going to be a rough time.

You might be thinking: How does one survive unemployment without losing all the money they’ve worked so hard to earn? It’s not easy, but there are ways to soften the damage as you look for a new job.

Whether you are recently unemployed, are about to be, or just want to know how to prepare in case of an emergency, here are some ways to save money when you lose your job:

Cook at Home

Eating out can be convenient and tasty, but it costs much less money to cook your food at home.

Think of your unemployment as a time for you to brush up on your cooking. If you have a bit of spare income, and there’s a warehouse club such as Sam’s Club or Costco nearby, try buying your food in bulk for more savings.

Who knows? You may end up preferring a home-cooked meal, and once you go back to work, you can use slow cookers to save time.

File for Unemployment

Check with your local unemployment office or area government to see if you’re eligible to file for benefits, such as SNAP if you live in the United States, to help put food on the table while you try to find another job.

Some people may be a bit turned off by the idea of asking for assistance, but it’s not a bad thing. You’ve paid your fair share in taxes, so this is a way to see some of that payment come back to help you.

Budget, and Budget Hard

Odds are, you’re making unneeded purchases that are fine when you’re employed, but add up when you’re not. Download some financial tracking apps and track your purchases. There’s probably a lot you’ll see that you don’t need.

For example, if you’re paying for cable every month, you probably really don’t need that. You can watch most of your shows on the internet. Cut every unnecessary expense, and who knows? You could end up enjoying the extra free time.

Talk to a Professional

Your bank or credit union may have a financial advisor who can speak to you and give you advice. You may think that because they’re professionals, they may charge a lot, but many banks have free advising, or at a very low cost.

You can always ask and find out at no charge.

Get a New Job

Unemployment means more time to yourself, but don’t get too comfortable. Look for a job right away. One way to do so is to visit industry-specific or area-specific job search websites to narrow down your search, or look for local job fairs. You can at least work part-time or on short-term contracts while you plan your next career move.

Whatever your choice, get out there and get a better job.

Avoid Using Credit Cards

It may be tempting to use a credit card to make your purchases. After all, maybe you can get a job before you owe everything. Don’t give into the temptation.

Many credit cards have high interest rates, and even when they don’t, that extra money you have to pay may be your downfall, and you might not have a job ready just yet.

Don’t Reach Into Your Retirement Plan

If your job has a retirement savings, you may be tempted to take some out. But you may also end up paying a penalty. Retirement plans are meant for, well, retirement, so there probably will be consequences for taking it out, such as taxes and penalties.

Unless there’s no other option, leave it be.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Some people like working independently, and that’s great. But when things get tough, don’t feel bad about talking to your family or a significant other to help support you. They’re here to help you get through some tough times, and you can always make it up to them down the road.

If someone is willing to help, don’t refuse them.

This is a guest post by Susan Ranford. She is an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.

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