When looking for a job, it can take weeks, months, or possibly even years to land the position you want, which is a long time to be without a paycheck and stress about your financial health. It’s enough of a struggle to survive on a tight budget when you have a job, let alone when you’re unemployed.
So, if, or when, you find yourself going through an extended period of time with no work, here are some tips to help you manage your finances and focus on finding a job, not how you will pay that next bill.
- Create a Budget (and commit to it) – Take a deep dive into your finances to establish where things stand. From there, create a spreadsheet that includes all your hard monthly expenses. For example, your rent or mortgage, utility bills, and groceries fall into this. Then, make a list of your soft monthly expenses. For example, your Netflix subscription or money set aside for dinners out or coffee trips.
Creating a budget is only step one. Next, promise to stick with it, no matter how hard it might be. Sometimes you need to buy the cheap ice cream or search for the Amazon Lightning Deal before making a purchase.
- Figure Out What You Want vs. What You Need – In your heart of hearts, what can you live without? You might really enjoy ordering on DoorDash but committing to a $10 monthly DashPass isn’t necessarily something you need. Are you used to getting your nails or hair done monthly? It might be what you want, but what you need is to push that out to every 8-ish weeks instead.
- Be Thrifty and Cautious – Do you have one or more credit cards? Continuing to charge your expenses could end in debt or a damaged credit card score if you don’t have the means to pay off your credit card bill in full each month. Be smart by using cash as often as possible until a consistent paycheck rolls in. Do you buy things in bulk? If not, it’s worth looking into. Think Costco or BJ’s Wholesale Club. Determine if the membership cost makes sense with the savings you’ll see buying more in bulk.
- Explore Freelance Opportunities – Not knowing when your next paycheck is coming can be stressful, but don’t settle. If you receive a job offer that isn’t necessarily what you’re looking for, don’t let your financial stress be the sole reason you sign on the dotted line. This will help you determine when the job offer is worth taking.
So, instead of succumbing to the financial stress, put yourself in a position where you have confidence in your finances so that you don’t feel the push to settle. Then, get your side hustle on and determine what’s out there that fits your skill set. And this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s related to your career. Consider hobbies or passions too.
- Think DIY & Free – What entertainment or activities can you find around your area that are free or low-cost? Look into local parks for free events they’re hosting or community workshops around you.
Unfortunately, unplanned purchases might rear their ugly head. For example, if something breaks at home or you want to make a décor change, think of how you can handle it without the expensive tradesperson. Thanks to YouTube, you can learn how to do just about anything.
How do you take the stress out of job searching by keeping your finances in check when you aren’t receiving a consistent paycheck? Join the conversation on LinkedIn. Also, check out Applying for an Internal Position? Follow These 7 Steps.