How to Stay on a Budget When You’re Between Jobs

how to stay on a budgetFor some people it’s the greatest day of their lives – The day they finally say goodbye to that job they loathe and walk out that door for the last time!

How incredible it must feel!  Tomorrow you’ll wake up and not have to be anywhere in a hurry.  No meetings.  No traffic.  No boss!  Can life really be this good?

Yes, it can be – but not for long.  Soon your bills start to roll in, and they’ll build up fast!  Even though you’ve polished your resume and published it to a local job site, you’ll have to wait for potential employers to contact you and go through the interview process.  Who knows how long that will take!  Or more importantly – how much your bills will build up during this time!

Fortunately there’s no need to panic – yet.  As long as you’ve got good skills and know how to stay on a budget, you can make it through this bitter-sweet transition to the next job.  Here’s a few tips to help you along the way.


Knowing How to Stay on a Budget Starts With Expenses:

If you truly want to stay on budget while searching for a new job, you need to be completely honest about your expenses. Take a good, hard look at how much you are spending each month and what you are spending it on. Looking at the bigger picture will help you trim down your expenses and keep yourself afloat until you find a new job.

Gather up your monthly bills and credit card statements. Save receipts from purchases you made throughout the month, including groceries, gas and entertainment purchases. It may take some time to truly determine how much you are spending each month, but this is a necessary part of the process.

Remember that there’s no reason to pay more than you have to for things you want.  For example if you want new shoes from the Finish Line, check out Groupon Coupons for a deal first.


Determine What Expenses Are Essential and Non-Essential:

In order to make sure that you stay on the right track, you need to divide up your expenses into two categories: “Essential” and “Non-Essential.” Be honest when categorizing your expenses. Essential items should include your rent/mortgage, utility bills, groceries, bills and any other expenses that you absolutely cannot live without.

Non-essentials are expenses that you do not need to survive. While it may be a difficult choice, you may have to do without cable TV until you find a new job. If you spend a lot of money each week buying takeout food or going out with friends, these expenses may also need to be cut. Start cooking at home, clip coupons to save some extra cash and avoid those impromptu shopping trips. Just this simple act of cutting out extra expenses on things you don’t really need can make a huge difference and help you get through this difficult time with relative ease.

No, dinner at Red Lobster is not essential …


Get Back to Basics:

how to stay on a budgetYou know the old saying “the best things in life are free”?  Now might be a good time to really exercise this sage advice to stop and smell the roses ….

If you are in between jobs, learning to enjoy the simple life will make the experience more positive and less stressful. This is the perfect time to cut out all of the extra things that weigh you, and your bank account, down each month. Most people find that they enjoy living a simpler life and continue to do so long after they have found a new job.

Now that you have a list of “Essential” and “Non-Essential” expenses, you can take the plunge and start cutting out items on the “Non-Essential” list. Start with an item that is easy for you to let go of. This can be something as simple as bringing coffee to work each morning rather than stopping at the local coffee shop. For most people, this is a relatively easy thing to give up and will allow you to save quite a bit of money each week. From here, you can start eliminating bigger expenses that may be more difficult for you to give up, such as Internet or cable TV.


Put Away the Credit Cards:

If you’re even considering piling your expenses on your credit card, then you have no idea how to stay on a budget.

It is absolutely essential to put away your credit cards while searching for a job. It can be all too easy and tempting to throw your monthly expenses on a credit card and vow to pay it off after you have landed a job. Remember that there are always other places you can dig to get the money you need safely, such as borrowing from an old 401k plan.  The last thing you need to do is anything that will wind up getting you deeper into debt and cause you financial hardship later on down the road.


Images courtesy of


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>