How to Budget after Becoming Unemployed

Christmas is one of the worst times to suddenly lose your job. It also makes it very difficult to find new work until after the new year, as many key people who deal with hiring are caught up in end-of-year preparation and not doing much reviewing of job applicants. So what do you do if you suddenly find yourself in this position? Don’t panic, here are a few key things to help you to stay afloat.

Set up a budget

If you figure out where every dollar is going, you’ll be better equipped to cut back on expenses by understanding where your money is being spent. Figure out your immediate needs, vs. your wants. Learn exactly how much you spend on utilities such as water or energy to figure out where cutbacks can be made.

Shop around

Sometimes the stores with the best prices aren’t the ones that you may be going to. Keep your eye out for coupons, savings or discounts advertised via social media, newspapers or TV ads. You may be able to significantly cut down your grocery bill by looking for lower priced equivalents instead of only brand name items.

Cook More

Eating out often is expensive and often one of the easiest ways to cutback. Skip the junk food and try to buy foodstuff that can stretch a longer way and provide food for several days instead of one. If you’re not a good cook, look for some quick and easy recipes online that you can follow.

Look for Seasonal Work Or Side Jobs

Many companies hire for temporary jobs to offset the increase in shopping around the holidays. Head around to stores and ask about seasonal work. Keep your eye out for other side jobs based on skills you might have such as catering, lawn work, handyman services, deliveries, home or office cleaning to earn some quick cash.

Lower Your Phone/Cable Plans

With so many streaming options available, you may not need that pricey cable package. Roku, Netflix and other streaming options can easily be swapped in to cut costs. Smartphone plans also tend to change from time to time. Check to see what lower packages are available that you might be able to switch too. You may also be on an outdated plan where you are paying more than current plans.

Tackle Credit Card Interest

Interest rates on credit cards can put deep dents in your savings. If you’re paying off credit cards, try using the snowball method to bring your interest rates under control until they are more manageable.

Utilize Unemployment Resources

Head to your local unemployment office to ensure you’re taking full advantage of what’s available to people in your same situation. You may be eligible for public assistance which covers health care, child care, cash aid, housing assistance or rent aid as well as education grants for children that can provide much needed equipment such as school supplies.

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