Did you lose your job during the shutdown? Millions have, so you are far from alone if you suddenly find yourself facing financial uncertainty. Compounding your problems is the fact that locating a new employer can involve some expenditures.
Fortunately, there are ways to pinch pennies while finding your ideal position. Try these seven techniques for stretching your emergency fund while you transition to the next stage in your career.
1. Assess Your Inventory
If you haven’t cleaned out your closets during the pandemic, now is the time. You need to get your documents in order, but you need more than a resume to land your dream job. You’ll require the right interview attire, fuel to get to and from appointments, and possibly a portfolio.
Write a list of what you have and what you need. Then, get creative with your budget to afford those things you lack. For example, if you don’t have any proper shoes to wear to an interview, can you borrow some from a friend who wears a similar size? Can you babysit for someone in exchange for enough cash to buy a pair?
2. Evaluate Your Spending Habits
Maybe you quit your $6 a day latte habit during the shutdown, but chances are, there are other ways you can save. If you haven’t downloaded an app to help you track monthly expenses, do so now. You will likely discover multiple subscriptions you can cancel. If nothing else, you can use a budget app to see where you spend the most.
Get creative with reusing objects, too. Do you need to spend money on doggie bags to scoop the poop when you take Fido for a walk when you recycle the plastic ones from the store? Can you use that kale that’s ready to turn bad in a soup that you freeze for the fall?
3. Embrace Free Learning Resources
Furthering your education is a fabulous way to increase your value to potential employers. However, you don’t have to spend a bundle or take out student loans to pad your resume. You can listen to free career and business podcasts without spending a dime.
If you have some spending money, you can find low-cost apps for everything from learning new programming languages to mastering a foreign tongue. If given a choice, opt for the annual fee over monthly subscriptions. This practice saves you money, but it also helps prevent unexpected charges from draining your checking account — when you have an interview and your gas tank is dry.
4. Locate Budget-Friendly Wardrobe Resources
If you are disadvantaged, don’t think you can’t get a job because you can’t afford an interview suit. Organizations such as Career Gear and Dress for Success provide both men and women with appropriate attire. You can also hit up your local thrift store. You can often find designer duds for mere dollars if you have the means to travel to those in more affluent areas.
5. Get on an Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plan
If you have student loans that you repaid faithfully before your layoff, you can qualify for temporary relief. Apply for income-based repayment to lower your monthly bill to zero in some cases. You might also be eligible for a temporary deferral or forbearance based on economic hardship.
The worst thing to do is fail to pay the bill. Doing so will devastate your credit score, making it harder to rent an apartment or find a job. Some employers will request a copy of your report. It also renders you ineligible for future aid if you do decide to return to school to pursue a different career path.
6. Look into Transportation Alternatives
Maintaining a vehicle takes money. If you don’t have enough for gas, you might hesitate to accept an interview in the next town — but that could mean missing out on your dream job.
Identify the public transportation options available in your town. Also, look into rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. These have expanded to more rural areas, and short trips often cost only a few dollars.
7. Use Your Network
Some experts believe that as many as 85% of new jobs arise through networking, not searching internet job boards. Talk to your colleagues and former supervisors about any leads they might have for new positions. Attend virtual conferences and use the chat room to interact with other attendees about opportunities. Tell folks on social media that you are looking for work, and show some love and gratitude when they send tips.
Save Money During Your Job Search
It’s challenging to find a new job, and tight financial resources don’t simplify the process. However, with a few simple tips, you can find your ideal new position without spending a bundle.