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Tightening Your Belt While Unemployed

William Mitchell, CPRW -- Unless you have plenty of discretionary income to carry you comfortably during your job search, here are some simple but smart ways to help stretch your savings until you get that next paying gig.

We've all been there. You're in between jobs and the bank account is running on fumes. There are a couple of prospects you are expecting to bear fruit because you had your resume and cover letter written by the pros at The Resume Clinic (wink-wink), but they may be weeks away from coming to pass. So now you just have to make it until your first paycheck.

You don't have to be a budget master to realize that the smart response to a reduction in income is either a similar reduction in expenses, a replacement of that income, or some combination of both. Here are a few ideas that can get you over that bridge:

Curtail the frequency that you dine out

Food. It is the way we commune and bond with friends and family. It serves as the centerpiece for most dated and outings. Even at your low-end eatery, dinner for two will run you somewhere around $40. I know how hard this is (I live in New Orleans after all), but a meal at home for two can be made for less than $5 per couple depending upon the type. Even on the high end of that, a good steak, potato and vegetable dish and glass of wine can price out at about $10 per person. If you eat out twice per week, you can see how this easily adds up.

Cut your Netflix and Hulu Plus accounts

Yeah, yeah, I know ... you have plenty of time on your hands and it seems like a god time to catch up on all the Law and Order SVU episodes you've missed since the first episode came out in 1878. But every penny counts when the lights need to stay on. Consider borrowing a friend's user ID and password and suspending your account for a month or two. Besides, shouldn't you still be actively job searching until you get start on your first day?

Call creditors to inquire about deferments

It is likely you can see the handwriting on the wall, knowing in the coming month that you will have to "rob Peter to pay Paul" and somebody won't be able to get paid. Depending upon the creditor, you may be able to call them to discuss your situation and make arrangements to defer your payments for a month or two. If you have an installment loan, the payment may be pushed to the back of the loan. Interest will still accrue, but your credit is spared and you'll receive no pesky strong-arm calls.

Cash in on your hobby

Okay, this is something that you should have been doing anyway. If you have a hobby or additional skill that is marketable, you should be supplementing your income anyway. If you love arts and crafts, perhaps you should be looking to show and sell your creations at the local flea market or craft show. Maybe you are a whiz at social media. If so, why shouldn't you try to market Facebook and Twitter branding services to some of your local area small businesses whose owners may not be tech savvy?

Remember to take some time to go through your bank statement to see where your money is going. Plot it out on a spreadsheet and see what part of your outlay is mandatory and what part is superfluous. You'll be surprised at the fat you can trim to get you to that next paying gig.

William Mitchell, CPRW is a certified professional resume writer and Owner/Lead Writer of the Resume Clinic, serving clients in the United States and Canada with highly targeted and effective resume and cover letter packages since 1995. Connect with William and The Resume Clinic on Facebook, LinkedIn, or via email.

© 2014 William Mitchell

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