I'm sure you have heard the friendly advice that you should have at least three months worth of expenses saved in case you lose your job.
But what if you don't have that?
And what if you've now been off work for more than three months?
Ways on saving money is a popular Google search - so here is the version for the unemployed. I'm going to start with tips to save money, then where you should spend money, then finally a quick tip to help you stay afloat.
Watch your social budget.
Being unemployed is not only boring, it can be lonely. And even though your friends may have the best of intentions by inviting you out for lunch since you are home all day, this type of expenditure can add up quickly.
Your full-time job right now is finding a job. Politely decline. You'll have opportunities to go out and celebrate once you begin earning a pay check again.
Cut down on your telecommunication expenses.
One bigger monthly expense in many households is the telecommunications bill - the phone, internet, and especially cable. While you are looking for work, it might be a good idea to reduce your package. You really do not need a high bandwidth internet connection to browse blogs and job sites, nor do you need high definition television with hundreds of channels. If anything, those two things will serve as distractions.
In many instances, you may need to drive. But if possible, try to stay within striking distance of your own home. Gas is expensive. Additionally, now is the not the time you want to run into an automotive repair or an accident.
If you live in a dual vehicle household, consider reducing your insurance on one of the vehicles to a storage only option. If you are diligent, you can make this work, even if it means getting up early to take your spouse to work each day and keeping the car.
Do the "quick fix."
Did you get a flat tire? Patch it for now. Did your fence blow over? Prop it back up. Did the dog chew your favorite running shoes? Wear a different pair or give up jogging for now.
Any expenses that can be put off, do so.
Buy the generic brands.
You are of course going to continue eating and purchasing personal hygiene products. But perhaps you should consider feeding the family Hamburger Helper tonight instead of strip loin steaks. Additionally, most products you buy at the supermarket have an equivalent generic brand. It is not a permanent solution, but you could save a bunch of cash each week by purchasing the less expensive alternatives.
Having said that, I would now like to share with you three areas in which I advise you not to go cheap:
A professional resume and cover letter.
Job search tools, materials, career fairs, and other networking events.
A mobile phone plan including adequate minutes and voicemail.
As I have said many times in the past, you cannot cut corners with these items. You need a professional resume and I strongly encourage you to pay to have one created for you. You need to be open to purchasing items to assist you in looking for work, including training courses, books and other materials. And you must have voicemail set up on any phone line you are sharing with potential employers.
And finally, here is a quick tip if you want to make some extra cash while you search for your next job. Get a part-time job, even if it is substantially below your qualification level.
Bear in mind that if you are applying for something part-time and entry-level in the first place, this point may not be applicable. But someone who has spent a decade in supply chain management or a registered nurse with a seasoned career may feel he or she is above taking entry-level work. But he or she is not. It is a temporary means to an end.
Your best strategy here is to attempt to find a job that will give you hours in the evenings and on weekends when you are less likely to be connecting and interviewing with potential employers.
Earn a little extra.
The formula is really that simple. Hang in there. As they say, the night is always darkest just before the dawn.