How To Survive Unemployment & Actually Save Money

I have been unemployed for some time now. Surviving unemployment requires a certain mind set. The very first thing you should strive for is an attitude adjustment. When the real unemployment rate is around 20% (yes 20%) it's not your fault that you are unemployed. After settling the issue of guilt you must quickly move on.

The very first thing you should do is to cut your largest costs. That usually means housing and transportation. Sell you car. Yes, I said sell your car. It costs too much to use and unless you live in the Ozarks, in most places you don't need it. Use either public transportation or a bike or your legs.

The second thing you need to do is move. Yes, I said move...find a relative, friend or another “situation” that enables you to live rent free. Try to find a location with public transportation near-by. If you have a house either sell it (if you can) (see my other blog about selling your house yourself on Craigslist) or just walk away. Don't worry about your credit because your credit is going down anyway.

What I mean by finding another situation is look for a situation where you can live for free while cooking or cleaning for someone on a part-time basis. Believe it or not, there are a lot of elderly people around who need assistance and have an empty room, basement or functioning attic to live in. Also, there are others who are working two jobs, have kids and they also have a spare space that you could live while helping them out with cooking, cleaning, gardening, being a "paid" companion or babysitting. You can do this even if you have kids of your own or if you are a couple.

In addition, make sure that you take advantage of everything the government is offering, including food stamps. These programs were paid for with your money, the money you paid in taxes for your entire life, so don't squawk at any supposed stigma in using food stamps. The government got us into this situation in the first place, take everything you can get!

After you have situated yourself, do not fall into the trap of taking temporary positions through a temp agency. These positions will waste your time. You will only have so much unemployment insurance, therefore you will need to spend your time wisely and that means using the time to find a better position for yourself not just making enough to get by. Think inside and outside the box. If you have tried and tried to find a job and nothing is happening try to create your own job.

Since you aren't spending your unemployment insurance on rent and have whittled away at the cost of transportation and food, what you need to do with the rest of the money you get is to save it. Save it just in case you don't find a job and the unemployment insurance runs out.

I hope these tips help you weather the storm that we are now in.

Good Luck and God Bless

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Comments 29 comments

Unemloyment survivor 7 years ago

More tips:

Cook at home

Cut down the vices ASAP Cigs and booze GTG!

Work out keeps you from being depressed and gaining weight.

You are eligible for every civil service test for free if you are on unemployment.

Compare your resume to others.

Robert 7 years ago

Wow, these suggestions are harsh. But I have to agree with most of them. Some experts say this "recession" is worse than the Great Depression. And it may last as long. It was only by the grace of God I'm not sleeping in the back of my truck in these sub-zero temps. But I agree: You do what you gotta do. My small place doubles as an office. It's filled with camera & video equipment, computers, books, and my camping stove. My bed is a sleeping bag. I literally live out of a 1940s steamer trunk complete with drawers and old stickers on the sides. I'm using handwarmers for heat. Was it this bad in the 1930s? Wish I could help you, Brie. Maybe we could start a tent city in Queens. You can bet members of Congress aren't suffering any.

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Hi Robert:

I'm actually doing ok, I live rent free on Park Avenue. Do you think I get these ideas out of no where? :)

The reason I wrote the blog is to help others. Sometimes people can't see the forest for the trees and I'm hoping that my suggestions will help them. I wrote another blog sometime back about why I think this Depression will be worse than "The Great Depression", so I'm with you there. I really need to write about bartering, that's the next thing that we need to start implementing. No taxes in bartering!

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foreignpress 6 years ago from Denver

YIKES! Park Avenue!? I tried buying Park Avenue, couldn't pass Go and ended up going to jail! However, the more I study your posts the more POed I get about Congress and the monied elite and a certain private entity called the Federal Reserve. It's one thing to make honest money -- it's quite another to steal it. But all of these players are little more than pawns in a bigger game that we (nor they) can control. So I guess we enjoy the ride. I am slowly dropping out of society. I now only have food, rent, and internet. I guess that falls under the heading of bartering.

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Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

Me too! & so true! I have been unemployed since November. Got over 400 resumes out there & still nothing good yet. Unless, you want to try & sell life insurance or some kind of temporary bull that is going to make the other person richer & you broke without a job again..I have cut every possible expenses & have learned to get by thus far by my chinny chin chin...Great Hub & good luck on your job hunting...

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Well, foreignpress, times are going to get tough and yes the banksters have taken over the government but at least for today you can still beat them if you know what to do. But so many are still asleep and those are the ones that I worry about.

Dick 6 years ago

I have been unemployed since December of 2008 this is not a misprint, yes i live in Michigan, I still have my vehicle and my home. What i got out of this article was,I should sell all of my belongings and plan to mooch off of other people for as long as i can??? Well then i should start smoking crack while im at it, then ill fit right in. WTF is wrong with you people

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

I think you misread my article. When you garden, cook, babysit are a paid companion that is not MOOCHING off of other people. These difficult times call for thinking outside of the box and for drastic measures. If you are not prepared to humble yourself you might just find yourself in a tent city. If that is where your pride leads you then so be it. This article is for people who want to avoid situations like that!

Steve 6 years ago

As i sat a read your post i as well agreed with most of the ideas you have for getting by and cutting back. But not everything is in black and white. I would be curious to know your whole story because where i come from in Detroit, no body has it as bad as we do right now. And remember not all of us are women and cant use that special" gift" that you have been given in order for you to live a Park Ave for free or get other special treatment simply because we know how to " work it". I am not hating the player and appreciate the advise, but come to Detroit and see how well you get over. Much love.

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Well Steve, I am taking care of an 88 year old man who is perfect gentleman. So much for my special gifts!

Furthermore, there are positions that are live in for couples (like running a house or inn) and also for single men as in gardeners or supers. In fact, those kinds of jobs that include free rent are just as prevalent here. Each area is unique. I think if I were in Detroit I would consider combining households to safe money or like I mentioned there might be elderly there that need assistance and have a spare room. You have to think outside the box. Maybe you have an idea that I haven't thought of for the Detroit area?

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Dollhex 6 years ago from Texarkana

Hey, don't get down...It's hard. I can't find a job either, been l;ooking for 6 months. I had to move in with my granny...Hopefully someone will hire me soon because life stinks when you cant provide for yourself. I am just happy that I have familly that loves me enough to take care of my needs during such a hard time.

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

You hang in there too Dollhex, thanks for writing.

Stacie 6 years ago

While I do agree with a lot of the things said in this article, there is one thing that is bugging me about it. "Don't worry about your credit because it is going down anyway." I don't believe that. I believe you can still maintain good credit while unemployed. I am going through some finance classes and they are helping my husband and I a lot as far as budgeting what little he does make so that we don't get further into debt, but get out of it. Other than that small fact, I completely agree with everything else.

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Well I am glad for you Stacie but for most people who are unemployed they can barely pay for sustenance let alone credit card bills. And if it comes between paying for food or rent or a credit card bill, guess which one wont be paid, thanks for writing.

Gale 6 years ago

I've been unemployed many times and I've taken temp jobs in between (it helps extend your unemployment and makes it last longer). If you can afford to keep your place, do so & your car also, as long as you can afford it. You might need a car to land another job somewhere. If you need extra money, try to sell all of you're extra stuff and unwanted items on craigslist or flea markets. You can always start a home repair business under the table and charge good wages to fix things. I did this and I'm a woman. Or a gardening business. There are books at the library (for free) to show you how.Also call all of your utility companies and ask if they have a low income program. Most do and they will help pay your utility bills.

Sometimes, unemployment pays you too much to qualify for food stamps, but check anyway.

Cook your own meals to save money and borrow books and DVD's for your entertainment for free from libraries.

Remember to go out in nature for walks. Nature is very recharging and beautiful. Go camping. Being unemployed is a great time to travel or go camping and stay as long as you want. I always do.

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Good ideas Gale, thanks for writing.

Joe_Joe 6 years ago

Though I understand your intentions are good and yes, we all need to buckle down, the advise you're providing employs methods that are either not available or not practical for most people. Brie do you think that 88 year old man would let you live with him if you were a black male? Probably not. Do you think a person with multiple children enrolled in the local schools would be in a position to sell their car and take public transportation? Nope. Sell your house on Craig's list? Give me a break. When you are an attractive, single, white female, things are not the same as they are for everyone. Whereas in fact, you represent only a small segment of the demography.

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Some means are available to me, some are not. I have seen numerous ads for "couples" to run estates that I would not be able to do. I have seen ads for gardeners and landscapers that would be for men (usually). A woman with that many children could at least get welfare and survive with that. This is not a one size fits all essay, everyone must think outside the box for themselves and their situation.

Thanks for writing.

Jaeden 6 years ago

Your post and the replies here have given me food for thought.

As for credit card debt, mine is low as is my income. I qualified for hardship so I only have to pay for 1% of the balance. Which for me is something I can afford, just barely.

Credit is used when applying for a job, but I'd say that's mostly towards good jobs/careers. Not for something like the service industry (food service, customer service, etc.).

Also, I think there are jobs out there. But they are so terrible that most people won't do them. That's the job I have, and it's only part time, which doesn't pay enough.

I'm one of the millions that are stuck with part time work, unable to find another job (full time or another part time job). People who had full time jobs that now receive unemployment pay, get more money than I do.

What's worse is the attitude people have, between those employed and those either unemployed or suffering hardship. A lot of people in these economic times, have resorted to working jobs they truly despise. When they encounter someone they perceive to be unemployed or poor, their demeanor changes immediately to disdain and intolerance. Rather than compassion and understanding.

These people are so inured, they must reject anyone else who refuse to be a part of their suffering. Ironically you would think being subjected to the same hardship from the economy would promote compassion and understanding, instead it seems to drive people apart.

What's truly laughable is the camaraderie between these people (employed, but hate their job). Virtually patting each other on the back for "doing whatever it takes" to earn a living, while snickering and dismissing everyone they perceive to do the opposite.

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Interesting take on the situation. 6 years ago

I am currently unemployed and have been since March of 2010. I decided to take advantage of my tax dollars and apply for food stamps. I do live alone and pay all of my own bills, even while on unemployment. I went to the office to apply for my food stamps and after collecting all of my information, I was told that I bring home too much money on unemployment and therefore, didn't qualify. I felt this was ridiculous and I felt cheated because I even pay taxes while on unemployment but can't take advantage of the service.

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

It's ridiculous!

Willard Bauer 6 years ago

I've been searching for a job. No matter how many times I search the postion is always filled. What knowledge can you give me to snag a job?

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Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan Author

Don't search for a job, search out a person who can give you a job. Find people who have jobs and bug the hell out of them until they give you one!

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Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

sunny England?

dee 5 years ago

I can,t sleep at night.My unemployment is running out.I,m afraid of being homeless.Jobs are so hard to find.My age is against me.I don,t have agree.My family doesn,t seem to care they all have jobs.Making good money.I don,t ask them for a dime.They,ll drive down town one day and find me on a bench with a shopping cart with bags hanging from both sides.Bag lady.I,m pissed if only if they were in my situation how would they handle it.Sorry for being a drag.I,m just depressed.

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Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Dee, see if you can find anything anywhere. See if you can find a live-in housekeeping or nanny position, they actually pay pretty well.

EruditeMan 2 years ago

Absolutely everything you suggest or offer within your article is not only possible it is also doable. While working my last job the man that was my boss was diagnosed with mouth cancer. Immediately when I learned of his diagnosis I stopped using credit cards and paid everything that I could off so I had no debt other than home mortgage. When my boss died I fully expected that my employment (at age 60) would end and I would experience age discrimination and never hold a job for wages again. That is exactly what happened to me. By stopping spending habits I've managed to exist and will continue to exist.

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Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks for sharing your story. I know it's legit and possible because I've lived it! Sounds like you have too, keep the faith..I'm glad you were able to survive, it's not easy out there.

Thanks for commenting "EruditeMan".

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