If you’ve recently found yourself unemployed, you’re in for a stressful time. Even the calmest among us can suffer depression, anger and even sadness when facing unemployment. While most people don’t mind the extra free-time that unemployment brings, the drain on the budget can cause a tremendous amount of stress. If you or your partner have recently lost a job, here are five ways that you can easily trim the fat from your budget:
1. Auto Insurance
Many people are under the mistaken impression that they are stuck with their car insurance policy until it comes time for renewal. The truth is that you can shop for a better price on car insurance any time you wish. In fact, now that you aren’t driving back and forth to work, you may qualify for a low-mileage discount, or be able to drop the bulk of your insurance on one vehicle. Whether you choose to shop online or speak with your agent, taking a second look at your auto insurance can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
2. Change Your Choice of Entertainment
If you and the family spend Friday nights at the movies and Saturday afternoons going out for lunch, rethinking your choice of entertainment can greatly reduce the drain on your budget. Look for ways to have fun without spending a dime; local parks, a picnic in the backyard and even a pick-up game of touch football can be great ways to spend time together as a family. It will greatly help your family if you sit down and explain the situation with them and have everyone come up with alternative ideas. This will help to bond your family together during this down time.
3. Cook at Home
When you’re spending $5 here and $10 there, it’s difficult to keep track of just how much money you’re spending by eating out. If you were used to having lunches out when you were working, you could have easily been spending upwards of $50 a week on lunch alone. Stop eating out and take that $50 to the grocery store; you can easily feed your family a week’s worth of meals for that money. Make sure you freeze your leftovers so that nothing goes to waste.
4. Buy in Bulk
If there are products that your family regularly uses, try to buy them in bulk; you’ll often realize a significant savings. While you may have to pay close to $50 a year for a membership to a warehouse store, you’ll quickly recoup that money by buying in bulk. Things like paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste and deodorant are great items to buy from these stores.
5.Get Over Your Habits
Take a close look at your habits and see what you can give up. For instance, if you smoke or drink, quitting can save you hundreds of dollars every month. If you visit Starbucks every morning for a cup of coffee, brewing your own pot at home will save you $20 or so a week. Look for the things in your life, and the life of your partner, that can be done away with for the time being. Once you find a job and start bringing income into the house again, you can return to your habits if you have the desire.
There are dozens of easy, creative ways to trim the fat from your budget when you lose your job. It doesn’t make any sense to stress out about money but do nothing about your situation. If you’ve found yourself unemployed, follow the five tips above and use them as a spring board for other changes that you can make to save a bit of cash.
Jenna Alred lives and writes in London. She writes for www.carinsurance.org.uk where you can find more information on car insurance, trips, and tips for saving money when you drive.