So, I compiled this list and wrote this “article” for another site, that shall remain nameless, but they said it wasn’t for them, so you all get the “benefit” of my “wisdom.”
Unfortunately, unemployment is something that happens to the best of us. One day you’re employed, the next you find yourself standing outside your office building with your contents in a cardboard box. Why? Because your company is closing or they are downsizing your department or one of the many reasons one loses their job and you find yourself suddenly unemployed. You then start to panic. How are you going to pay your bills? What if I can’t find another job right away? You may qualify for State Unemployment Benefits, but let’s face it, those barely cover the cost of living, if at all. So now you have to really look at your life and wonder, how do I pay for everything? How can I save some money? Here are 10 ways that can help bring that monthly budget down.
10. GET RID OF CABLE, USE NETFLIX AND/OR HULU INSTEAD
We just can’t live without it. There are too many entertaining shows out there for us to ignore them. However, when you suddenly find yourself without an income, these luxuries start to become a burden. Well, now a days you have options. With platforms like Netflix and Hulu, you can still have your TV, but at a cheaper price. With cable you’ll pay anything from $50-$100, if not more, depending on your provider, channel package, etc. However, you can get both Netflix and Hulu subscriptions for as low as $7.99 each, making that around $17 a month with taxes. With Hulu, you can watch many shows the day after they air on cable. However, CBS shows are not available on Hulu, so you can go to the CBS website and see if they have the latest episodes online or try CBS All Access starting at $5.99 a month. You can also wait until the latest season is released (hopefully) on Netflix. Think of how much money you’ll save by getting rid of cable and investing in one or all of these services instead.
9. EAT AT HOME MORE
It’s so convenient to run around the corner to the fast food place or to call in an order to a restaurant or have food delivered. But think of all that money that you could be spending on groceries instead that will feed you for a week instead of only a couple of meals. While it may not be your ideal choice, there are many low-cost options at grocery stores. The ever favorite of college students, Ramen noodles. You can buy 4-5 packages for only a $1. Think of how many meals that could provide for just $2-$3. There are so many great ways to make meals that aren’t expensive: soup and crackers, sandwich makings, boxed meals with all ingredients included are just some examples. Another is slow cooker meals that make so much you could have food for days on just one recipe. There are endless options at your grocery store so take a look at what’s actually out there and stock up on some of them.
8. GROCERY SHOP WHERE YOU GET REWARDS
Since you’re going to be eating at home more and not going out as much, you’re going to have to grocery shop so why not do it where you get something back? There are a lot of grocery stores where you get gas points when you shop there. For example, at Kroger you automatically get $.03 off gas if you’re a PLUS member, and then $.10 off for every 100 points you redeem. Some places send you coupons for items based off of your past shopping habits. Who knows what your local grocery store offers so take a look around your city/town and see what your options are.
7. BRING YOUR ELECTRICITY BILL DOWN
You can try to bring your electricity bill down by doing a number of things. You can unplug any electronics that you aren’t using, like that record player that sits in the corner that you haven’t used in months, but you keep it plugged in just in case. Or the computer cord you always keep plugged in so that you can easily plug it into your laptop. While it may be more convenient to have everything plugged in, you might be able to save yourself some money if you don’t. Try using a couple of lamps as your light source instead of the overhead lights, and turn off lights in any room that you aren’t using.
In the summer/winter instead of always running the air or the heat, try other ways of keeping cool/warm. In the summer, tank tops and shorts can be your friend. Buy a couple of cheap desk or box fans to set up and turn those on instead of the air conditioner. Utilize any ceiling fans you have as well. This could help save money and energy. In the winter, some sweats, fuzzy socks and a nice blanket can keep you warm. Make some hot cocoa and snuggle up under that blanket on your couch while you watch your favorite Christmas movie.
6. IF YOU DO GO OUT TO EAT, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RESTAURANT DEALS
For those occasions that you do want to treat yourself and go out, take advantage of any deals that restaurants might have. For example, Applebee’s has their 2 for $20 where you get an appetizer and 2 entrees for $20. BJ’s Brewhouse has a deal right now where you receive $10 off your order with minimum food purchase of $35 valid through 4/23/17. Check the website of your favorite restaurants and see what kind of deals they have going on.
5. EAT WITH PARENTS
When all else fails, hit up mom and dad. See if they want to have dinner one night. If you get lucky, instead of just taking you out for a free meal, they might even cook for you and send you home with leftovers. Either way, you’ll get 1 or 2 free meals out of the deal plus you’ll get to spend time with your loving parents.
4. HIDE CREDIT CARDS
When you are out of work, the ever climbing bills can become overwhelming. You wonder how you’re going to pay them all. One thing you don’t want to do is add more debt on top of everything by using credit cards to pay for things. Take them out of your wallet and hide them. Put them in a drawer, a box, a block of ice in the freezer, whatever way you want to get them out of your wallet. If they aren’t easily accessible, you won’t be tempted to use them as much.
3. TALK TO CREDITORS
Don’t be afraid to talk to your creditors. Let them know what’s going on and ask them what options you have. A lot of creditors would rather receive some payment from you than none at all so they may work with you to lower your minimum payments or interest rate until you get back on your feet. This isn’t a guarantee and not everyone will do it, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
2. UTILIZE YOUR STATE BENEFITS
You’re already getting help from the state by getting Unemployment Benefits, so why not utilize other state benefits that are available? You could get help with groceries, health insurance, living expenses, etc. Some may only offer help for a few months but that may be all that you need. Any help would help to relieve some of that financial burden you’re facing. Each state is different so you’ll have to research what your state has to offer and what you could qualify for.
Above all else, you’re going to have to exercise self-control. As much as you want the new gadget that was just released or a new piece of home decor or dinner at a fancy restaurant, if you don’t need it right this second, it can and should wait. You’re main focus and priority right now should be the current financial responsibilities you have and not on adding more to the problem. While it may be difficult to see those things that you used to be able to get whenever you wanted, just remember that you need gas in your car for interviews more than you need that really cute throw pillow, or that you need groceries to feed you for a few days instead of the one expensive meal that just feeds you for the night. It isn’t easy, but that’s why it has the word control in the phrase. Self-control. You can do it, you are in charge of your control and if you are determined to do something, you can.
BJ’s Brewhouse: https://www.bjsrestaurants.com/deals-and-offers