Home > Personal Finance > 10 Tips to Manage Your Finances While You Job Hunt

Comments 0 Comments

Nothing says adulting quite like hunting for your first post college job. Taking steps to embark on what should, by all indications, be an epic career journey, is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. While there are a litany of resources available that can help you search, apply, and get hired for your dream job, there is less information out there that addresses the financial vulnerability of being a recent graduate who is also currently unemployed.

It’s understandable that job hunting will be your first priority, but that’s no reason to let your grip on your finances loosen. Here are 10 ways to manage your finances while you’re looking for that dream job:

1.   Figure out your current financial situation

Understanding your financial situation is paramount to getting through a bout of unemployment unscatched. If you don’t know how much you have and how much you’re spending, review bank statements, utility bills and any other record of financial transactions until you have a clear picture of how much money you’re shelling out each month and on what. This will help give you an idea of how long you can go on without income.

2.   Create a budget

Using the information garnered from your deep dive into your personal finances, create a realistic, but firm, budget. Budgets should include all the monthly expenses you can count on, i.e. rent, utility bills, groceries, and a little money for play too –– because even without a job, you don’t want to go totally insane.

3.   Stick to your budget!

No matter how hard it is, you have to stick to the budget. These are times when every dollar counts. So, buy the cheap beer, don’t get dessert, and ask your friends if they wouldn’t mind just hanging out at home and binging Netflix. Don’t get sucked into the cycle of spending what you don’t have. This is a new financial reality, and while it won’t last forever, the habits you develop during this period will.

4.   Separate your wants from your needs

In the spirit of sticking to your budget, figuring out what you don’t need to spend your money on is as important as figuring out what you do need. Maybe you’ve been getting your hair trimmed every 8 weeks. Well, how about waiting 10, or even 12 weeks between appointments? Or, maybe you always get your clothes dry cleaned. Stick to the laundromat and save the professional press job for your next interview outfit.

5.   Shop cheap

There’s no shame in being frugal. Look for online sales and coupons to reduce the cost of groceries, and take a break from name-brand products in favor of generics. Now is also the time to discover the magic of big box retail warehouses like Costco and Sam’s Club. Buying bulk-packaged essentials –– laundry detergent and shampoo, for instance –– will give your budget some much needed breathing room. You get more value for your dollar, and your products will last longer, too.

6.   Use credit cards with caution

You may be tempted to put all your unemployment purchases on your credit card, but doing so without a job offer on the table is a huge risk. Though you’re trying your best to get hired, there’s no way of telling when that consistent paycheck will start rolling in. Getting yourself too deep into credit card debt –– and subsequently damaging your credit score –– will have consequences.

7.   Find things to do that are fun and free

It might seem like not having a job is preventing you from living your best life, but you’d be surprised to find out how many low-budget activities there are in your city. Many libraries and park districts hold free events, like movie nights, that are open to the public. Museums often offer free admission once a month. With a little creativity and some research, you’ll see that having a good time doesn’t have to cost a lot.

8.   Consider rent free living

If you aren’t already locked into a lease, consider crashing on a friend’s couch or with your parents until you lock down employment. Living rent free will do wonders for your savings account, and allow you to sign a lease as a confident, stress-free new employee when the time is right.

9.   Explore freelance work opportunities

Two words: side hustle. If you’re harboring a secret talent –– or a car –– use it to your advantage and do some freelance work to rake in some income. Graphic design, jewelry making, dog walking, ride sharing: it’s all good if it’s feeding back into your budget.

10.  Don’t get desperate

Being without income is stressful, but it’s important to remain level headed. When a job offer does come, don’t let the panic of your financial situation be the sole input on whether or not you accept. Be pragmatic in your evaluation, which will help you determine if you actually want the job, if it’s a good offer, and if it makes the most sense for you.

If you’re concerned about your credit, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get two free credit scores updated every 14 days.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

 

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.



Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team