Now that you don’t have a steady income saving money should be your top priority. Here are nine ideas that should help you reduce your expenses.
- Apply for Unemployment: Contact your state to see if you are eligible for unemployment wages. The process and requirements are different from state to state, but it is a relatively easy way to expedite your job search while receiving a small stipend of money each week.
- Manage your Student Loans: Before filing for forbearance or deferment on your student loans, apply for an Income Based Repayment plan (if you already have a IBR plan, refile). IBRs determine your monthly payments by your annual income and while unemployed your monthly statements can be reduced to as low as $0/month.
- Drop your Cable: This is the easiest way to instantly save money. Disconnecting your cable service and land lines can save you hundreds of dollars a month. While I personally keep internet service, you can also have it disconnected and complete necessary tasks at the numerous businesses that offer free wifi services.
- Pass on the Haircuts: $30 a month (or more) can add up quickly and can be used for much more important expenses. Allowing your hair to grow while out of a job is again another easy way to save money. But keep your looks up, a haircut before an interview is definitely a good investment.
- Lower your Mileage: Most car insurance companies base your premium by the number of miles you drive each year. When we are not working, we are not driving as much. Lower your miles driven to 5,000. This will allow you to travel for interviews and around town while reducing your monthly insurance expenses.
- Stay Active: Staying active and taking vitamins will help boost your health. Now that you don’t have health insurance it is important to minimize your trips to the doctor. Plus getting outside is an excellent way to take your mind off everything that is going on.
- Consolidate your Debt: If you have credit card debt spanning multiple cards, look for an option to transfer everything onto one card, closing accounts in the process. At the end of the day your initial savings may be minimal, but in the long run you will save tremendously by only paying interest on one card.
- Fast Food No More: If there was ever a time to learn to cook, it would be now. Shopping at a grocery store and cooking your own meals is not only healthier, but will save you quite a bit on your monthly food bill. If you are in an area with multiple options be sure to shop around to find the best deals.
- Live at Home: Don’t be ashamed about having to ask mom and dad to stay at home while you look for another job. If this is not an option turn to your friends. A couch may not be very comfortable, but it is cheap. Offer to take care of the cooking, housework, yard work, or other tasks to help “pay” your share of the rent until you get back on your feet.