Nov 28, 2020 10:26 AM EST
5 Ways to Save Money When You're Unemployed
Unemployment is unforeseen for anyone experiencing it. Whether you were laid off or your job went to a different state in which you could not travel, changing jobs is a daunting process. Becoming employed with another job could take a while. Do not fear! There is a solution even to the scariest of experiences. Here are five ways to save money when you are unemployed.
1. Create a Monthly Budget
Let's get to penny-pinching! It's best to create a monthly budget to see how much income you will have coming from your unemployment insurance and compare it to the total of your monthly bills.
Take a pen and paper. Divide the page into two columns, and put unemployment insurance and any other benefits such as Social Security, investments, and more on the left side. List all of your monthly debts and bills on the right side. Do the math and figure out how much you will be left with at the end of the month. From there, you can allocate that excess amount for gas money, grocery money, and savings.
Here are some follow-up actions to take after budgeting:
Try to get some deferments or request a different due date on some of your bills, if possible. Explain to them your situation.
Make cutbacks as needed. Maybe cut the cable and get a video streaming service in its place.
Shop around for different policies on some of your monthly bills, such as phone bills and car insurance.
2. Meal Planning and Grocery Lists
Do you ever dread going into the kitchen and figuring out your every meal last minute? Take this extra time on your hands to meal plan throughout the week.
Browse Pinterest for inspiration on some of your favorite old recipes and look for new dishes to try, too! Make a meal plan on some paper or type it out on your computer and print it to display on your fridge.
Designate one or two days per week to do grocery shopping. Make a list of ingredients based on the meals that you planned.
Try to avoid putting too many drinks, treats, and snacks in the cart to reduce your grocery bill. Stick to the list and do not deviate from it. Your best combatant to staying true to the grocery list is to make sure you eat a balanced meal before doing your grocery shopping.
3. Learn About Couponing and Rebate Apps
Couponing will help you to save money on items that you would already be purchasing on your grocery trip. Check out coupon inserts in your mailbox and newspapers such as the RetailMeNot, SmartSource, and Proctor and Gamble for paper coupons on your favorite name brand food and household items.
Download the following rebate apps to capitalize even more on saving groceries:
Ibotta (all of your favorite grocery stores on one app with rotating rebates on different products every week)
Checkout51 (smaller rebate app with rebates on pantry, frozen, health and beauty, and more goods).
Fetch Rewards (300 affiliated brand where you earn points for qualifying items on your grocery receipt)
Krazy Coupon Lady (find coupon deals listed that you can do yourself by following the steps; there are even freebie deals available)
4. Shop Around for Lower Car Insurance Rates
Shop around at car insurance companies to see if you can get a lower rate on your car insurance. Even if it's $3 to $10 that you can save on your car insurance per month, it will go a long way towards racking up savings for a small bill or more groceries while you are unemployed.
Shopping around for car insurance can seem like a pain, especially when you have to go over every last detail over the phone with multiple customer service reps. Don't despair. There's a website called OnlineAutoInsurance.com that allows you to get a car insurance estimate without personal information. Now you have much less of an excuse to put this off!
5. Don't Rack Up Your Credit Cards
While it may be tempting to skip cooking dinner one night and order out using your credit card, try not to rack up your credit cards. Of course, for emergencies such as unforeseen car-related expenses or medical bills, go ahead and use your credit card. Otherwise, do not whip out the credit card every time you want to go out to eat or splurge on yourself.
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