The first step in stopping that cycle is effective and consistent money management.
Hierarchy of Life
The hierarchy of life is comprised of three levels or platforms. From the ground up, those levels are: needs, wants and wishes. When faced with financial hard times, it’s time to cut out the extras, the conveniences that are great when times are great, but are nothing but a drain on the bank account when times are hard. To survive, we need only food, water and shelter. Concentrate on those and those alone on a day-to-day basis and many of your worries shrink.
How many of us have spent a day or two or three during job search times resembling a couch potato, flipping through the cable channels, snacking on anything and everything in the kitchen?
If an image came to mind, you just identified two areas in which you can save money during your job search. Cut out the snacks and the premium entertainment fees. You reduce your grocery bill and you eliminate a convenience. Make no mistake, cable or satellite TV is exactly that: a convenience, not a necessity. Compare how much the monthly charges are. How many months would you have to pay before you pay down the early discontinuation fee?
The following are some sensible money saving tips:
Go generic at the grocery store. There is actually little difference in taste between many of the big name, high priced national products and the generic foods stocked on the lower shelves. There is, however, often a huge difference in price. Watch the expiration date and get the newest generic products on the shelf. Survival requires food. It doesn’t require gourmet food.
Coupons do save money—if you’re going to that store anyway. Don’t waste time, energy or fuel, racing across town to save a dime on a pound of coffee if it will cost you $2 in gasoline to get there and back. Bus trips cost more than that unless you buy a monthly pass, which brings us to the next point.
Reduce Additional Expenses
Use dryer sheets three times before discarding. Most brands of dryer sheets can be used effectively twice before they lose the anti-cling properties. Use them a third time as air fresheners in closets and drawers.
White vinegar and water work well as a cleaning agent and costs considerably less than the name brands on TV.
Stop the newspaper subscription. New employment ads are usually posted in papers on Sunday and Wednesday. You can review them for free at your local library. Just bring your own pen and paper or scan listings online.
Do you really need a land line and a cell phone? Your cell phone is probably under contract, so consider discontinuing your home land line and save yourself that monthly fee. You can always have one reconnected later. Also, consider stopping text messages on your cell phone. Blocking them costs around $5 in a one-time fee. Compare that to recurring inclusions in your cell phone bills.
Don’t drive when you don’t have to. Reduced use equates to reduced fuel and maintenance costs and may lead to reduced insurance rates. Carpool, take the bus, subway or train when possible. If your destination is close enough and the weather and your health permits, ride a bicycle.
‘Brown bag’ your lunch. Taking your lunch with you instead of buying meals out can save considerable chunks of money each week. If you’re unemployed, take lunch at the same time you did when you were working and keep yourself to schedule. It will help monetarily and emotionally.
JC Ryan is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them search for online degrees that can help them reach their goals.
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