For those who are unemployed, there may be weeks or months that go by without a paycheck or any other source of financial assistance. Therefore, it is important to manage whatever money is available or whatever money may come trickling in each week. How can you manage your personal finances when you don’t have a job?
Do You Have Any Other Source of Income?
Ideally, you will have more than one source of income. For example, you may have an investment portfolio that pays out regular dividends or that has increased in value over the years. In some cases, it may be wise to actually receive those dividends instead of reinvesting them or to sell shares of stock to make money. While you may lose compounding during your period of unemployment, it may help you pay bills or otherwise keep your financially solvent until you are employed again.
Don’t Buy it Unless You Need It
When you aren’t working, you don’t have the luxury of making discretionary purchases. If you don’t have a pressing need for an item, you shouldn’t buy it or pay any monthly fees that come with it. This means getting rid of the monthly cable package or downgrading to a standard cell phone from the smart one that you have right now. You should also refrain from ordering food or paying for lawn care services. Instead, you should make your own dinner or cut your own grass until you are employed again.
Where Can You Turn for Help?
If you still have good credit, you may be able to apply for a credit card that you can put some of your expenses on. This may make it easier to buy food or pay for gas to get to job interviews or to school. Other sources of financial help may include friends or family members who may be willing to support you. Websites now exist that can help you connect with a sponsor who is willing to pay your bills or otherwise support your financially in exchange for meeting educational or other goals in your life.
Government Benefits May Be Available
Even if you aren’t entitled to unemployment checks, you may still qualify for other forms of assistance. For instance, it may be possible to apply for Section 8 housing assistance or apply for food stamps to help pay for groceries. Those with kids may be eligible for WIC that provides money to buy eggs, cheese and other essentials. While those benefits may not pay your mortgage or make it easier to buy clothes for the kids, it will put you closer to providing the essentials for yourself and your family.
Bartering May Be Useful
If you have no money and don’t want to apply for government benefits, it may be possible to barter for what you want. A landlord may allow you to pay less rent each month in exchange for providing maintenance services or performing other duties around the apartment complex. Those who like to cook may make an apple pie for a neighbor in exchange for clothes or other goods that they may need. While this may not work to help pay all of your bills, it can be a great way to keep costs down while you are looking for work or other sources of permanent income.
Leverage Your Assets
In some cases, you don’t need a job to get a loan. Anyone who owns their home and has sufficient equity may be able to borrow against that equity at a low interest rate. If you have a car, it may be possible to apply for title loans online and use the vehicle as collateral for that loan. If you don’t have a house or a car, it may be possible to secure a loan with anything else of value that you own or by getting a cosigner to guarantee the loan for you.
Not having a job can make it tough to ensure that all of your bills are paid. However, there are plenty of options for those who are looking to manage their finances while they are unemployed. Bartering, using assets to secure loans or asking your friends or family for help are all great ways that you can use what you have to get what you need to stay above water financially.