4 Tips On How To Live Without A Job

Losing a job is scary for anyone—especially if you haven’t attained financial independence. Not only do you have to figure out how to live without a job, but there’s the added stress of having to find a new one. Though it can be daunting to navigate unemployment, it is possible. Keep reading to learn how.

How to live without a job

Here are some key tips for managing your money when you are in-between jobs.

1. Cut back on your expenses

When it comes to how to live without a job the first thing we should all do is to reduce our living expenses by cutting our budget. This includes what we spend on housing, food, and other living essentials. These costs usually take up most of our income, so reducing them will help our money go much further.

Get rid of non-essential spending

Many times, we include things in our budget that we don’t need. These are luxuries that we treat ourselves to but aren’t necessary expenses.

So, when you need to figure out how to survive without a job, it helps to start with your non-essential items.

Some non-essential items to consider eliminating include:

  • Subscription services
  • Shopping
  • Dining out
  • Nail & hair appointments
  • Entertainment
  • Vacation

You can always go back to splurging on these things once you’ve established yourself in a new job. Or, you may find that you don’t want to incorporate them back into your spending.

Save on groceries

Food is another big expense that can cause stress when finances are tight. Of course, you need to eat, but you may have to change what you’re eating and where you’re getting it from.

Here are a few simple ways to reduce food spending and start grocery shopping on a budget.

1. Meal plan

Meal planning is when you create a menu for what you’ll eat for the week. It allows you to shop specifically for those ingredients without wasting money on others you don’t need. I like to think of budget meal planning as having a budget for my food. It’s something I’ve learned how to do consistently to save money over time.

2. Meal prep

When you meal prep, you prepare all of your meals ahead of time. It not only allows you to save time, but you save money by not buying fast food or dining out.

Meal prep helps eliminate the need to buy extra food because it’s already available. And to save more, you can create frugal meals.

Sunday afternoons are the perfect time for me to do my meal prep to prepare for the week ahead. So pick a time where you have a few hours to spare to prep and cook your meals for the week.

3. Use coupons

If you haven’t used coupons for groceries before, now is the time. Look through the best coupon websites or in grocery store’s weekly ads. Saving a few dollars can go a long way.

I make it point to browse my grocery store app for sales and do a quick online search for coupons before I go food shopping.

You can also try to find coupons for all your other shopping needs e.g. for clothing, personal care items, cleaning products etc.

Reduce utility costs

Utilities include the cost of electricity, water, gas, and more. These costs typically fluctuate throughout the year based on the season and are determined by usage.

However, we can all do our part to reduce costs by monitoring our usage.

Simple things like turning off lights when they’re not in use, not idly running the water, and even turning off our heating or air conditioning while we’re away can make a difference.

Implementing these small changes can help reduce your monthly costs while you figure out how to live without working.

Get a roommate if you have the space to spare

The easiest way to reduce living expenses is by cutting them in half.

You can do this by getting a roommate. A roommate can help share some of the expenses and split rent bills so that you can save your money while finding a new job.

So if you know someone looking for accommodation and you have the space to spare, consider renting a room to them.

2. Contact lenders and creditors

Without a job, the priority is ensuring you have your essentials covered. That means any other expense, including debt, should be reduced, eliminated, or deferred.

In addition, as you navigate how to live without a job, you can always contact your lenders and creditors to work out payment arrangements.

Here are some specific things you can do if you are unable to pay your bills.

Ask to defer payments or do a hardship plan

Your lenders can arrange to defer your credit card debt payments due to a job loss.

Your payments will be paused and resumed at a later date. This can be a great help if you are figuring out how to live without a job.

Deferring payments or a hardship plan could apply to credit card debt, car loans, student loans, etc. You may also look into mortgage forbearance if necessary.

Ask for a reduced minimum payment

You may also ask to have your minimum monthly payments reduced. Though this may mean that the length of your debt repayment is extended, it can temporarily relieve you of some expenses.

Ask to reduce or temporarily remove interest

The interest on loans makes the payments significantly more than the original loan amount. Lenders can also reduce or temporarily remove interest so that you don’t accrue more debt and have a smaller payment.

3. See what benefits you qualify for

You may be able to qualify for some benefits, that can assist you with income as you plan out how to live without a job. Most governments and community organizations have assistance programs to help in these situations. See below:

Ask about severance (if not communicated)

Before leaving an employer, knowing if you will receive a severance package is important. A severance package is a financial payment and other benefits extended to an employee who has been laid off. The amount is usually based on your time with the company, and not all employers provide it.

Check with your human resources department or employer to determine if you will receive this benefit.

Apply for unemployment benefits

If you have been laid off from your job at no fault of your own, you may qualify for unemployment benefits.

Each state has different requirements; however, the premise is that you will receive a percentage of your former salary as you look for a new job.

Consider government assistance programs

If you still cannot afford your basic life necessities, the US government has assistance programs. Specifically, there is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides food assistance.

The program provides financial assistance to help people pay for food for themselves and their families. Each state has different requirements to apply and to determine eligibility.

You can find out more on the SNAP website.

Several rent assistance programs are also available if you are struggling to keep up with paying your rent.

You can also explore your state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Consider continuing health coverage

Your previous employer likely provided your health insurance coverage.

So once you became unemployed, you also lost your health insurance coverage. For these situations, leverage COBRA.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows you and your family to remain on your employer-sponsored health plan for a limited time after your employment status has changed. With COBRA, you will be required to pay the monthly premium that your employer subsidized.

You should research your individual situation to see if the cost of continuing your health coverage is cheaper/better than finding insurance elsewhere. It could be more expensive to keep your old employer’s insurance. Every bit of money you can save counts when you’re figuring out how to survive without a job

4. Find ways to make side income

How to live without working is a big question for anyone to answer, and supplementing income will be crucial. Even with taking all of the steps to reduce expenses and get assistance, you may still want to bring in another income stream as a short-term solution.

Here are some ways to make money without a job.

10 side gig ideas

Starting a side hustle or gig is nothing unusual in this day and age. Even those with full-time jobs sometimes find it necessary to take on additional work to make ends meet.

These flexible gigs are great for extra money, especially if you’re figuring out how to live without a job. Even if the income from your side gig is lower, it’s still worthwhile because it brings in something.

Some might even consider becoming self-employed as a part-time gig. There are plenty of options to be your own boss, from internet jobs like starting a blog or becoming a writer to opening a cleaning business or doing yard maintenance.

Check out these ten ideas for side gigs if you aren’t sure where to start:

1. Food and grocery delivery

Many people don’t have the time or resources to go to the grocery store, so they hire someone to bring their food to them. You can do anything from delivering pizza to shopping and delivering groceries with a company like Instacart.

2. Car share driver

Drive for Uber to pick up some extra cash. It’s a fun way to make some money and help people to get around your city easily.

3. Virtual assistance

Help others to stay organized. General virtual assistant skills include making schedules, answering emails, and handling administrative tasks.

You can work from home and make an income. Use this list of the best virtual assistant companies to help.

4. Freelance marketing

If you excel at content creation and social media, consider freelance marketing. Building up a list of clients may take some time, but you can probably work from anywhere and make a good side income.

5. Server

If you’re social and like a fast paced job, becoming a server in the evenings or on the weekend can be the perfect thing. Check your local restaurants and see who’s hiring, to help you with how to live without a job.

6. Graphic design

If you are an artist or designer, graphic design is easy to do as a side hustle. You can get started by signing up with Upwork to find clients who need design work for their businesses.

7. Pet sit

Are you an animal lover? Pet sitting is not only fun and fairly easy, but it can pay well! Watch people’s pets while they’re away on vacation.

Start dog walking or sitting in your neighborhood using apps like Rover.

8. Deliver newspapers

Yes, newspaper delivery still exists! Check with the circulation department for the paper to see if they need someone to deliver. It’s a good way to enjoy the fresh air and make some money.

9. Sell crafts or handmade goods

If you have a flair for all things creative, making crafts or handmade items to sell can make you a good side income! Try setting up an online store or even selling at local craft fairs. Sell candles, knitted blankets, or any other items you are talented at making!

10. Rent out your car or parking space

If you have a car you don’t use much, or a parking space you don’t need in a busy city, both can make you money, and with little effort. Rent out your car on days you don’t need it using Turo. And if you want to rent your parking space, check out Neighbor.

There are tons of other ways to make money online and in-person. We even have a book dedicated to helping you build your side hustle.

Find something that compliments your skills and available resources, and start making extra cash!

Sell unused items in the house

A simpler way to earn extra cash is to sell unused items in your house. Platforms like Amazon allow you to sell these goods online.

No need for a yard sale when you can simply post your listings on a site. Of course, if you want quick cash, then having a yard sale is always a good option.

Airbnb additional space in your home

Those of us with extra space in our homes may consider advertising our homes on Airbnb. We can temporarily rent out our spaces to travelers to help subsidize our expenses as we figure out how to live without a job.

It’s important to be cautious when considering this as an option. Nonetheless, Airbnb has proven to be a viable solution for making additional income.

You can also choose the schedule you want for guests in your home. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a long-term solution, but just something to get you the amount of money you need for now.

Expert tip: Prioritize your health to reduce stress

Figuring out how to live without a job can be a stressful and challenging experience. Though there are steps that we should take when considering our finances, our health is equally important.

When I need to process how I feel about something, I like to spend time journaling or talking to a trusted friend.

In addition, I prioritize exercising and eating well. Doing this keeps my physical and mental wellness in a good place, which can be especially helpful if you are processing the loss of a job and income.

How do I cope without having a job?

When you are coping with something like job loss, it’s important to focus on the positives and what is within your control.

For instance, you can apply for a certain number of new jobs each day and engage in meaningful tasks and hobbies to keep your spirits up.

You might try gardening, yoga, spending time with loved ones, and other enjoyable pastimes.

Focus on bare-bone budgeting, being frugal, and continue to look for opportunities to make extra income.

What to do if you are broke and unemployed?

If you are broke and unemployed, the first step is to create a more secure financial situation. Once you do that, you’ll have breathing room to think about what’s next.

Start by selling items around the house, take on a side job, or get a roommate to earn an income.

If you have to leverage debt until you find a new job, be as frugal as possible and stick to a budget. Once your income is restored, you can lay out your plans to start paying off this debt.

Be intentional about looking for a new job and networking with friends and past colleagues. Soon, you’ll be back on your feet and earning a paycheck again.

How long can you be unemployed?

How long someone can be unemployed depends on their financial situation. Those who have a large emergency fund or a second income may be able to be unemployed indefinitely or for several months without much of a problem.

However, others who don’t have much savings and rely on a single income will need to find a new job quickly to avoid going into debt or having financial struggles.

I think it helps to create a financial buffer while employed, if possible. Having extra money helps us to avoid feeling stressed should something happen with our current job.

If you are currently unemployed and desperately need to bring in cash, you can consider taking on a short term job, even if it’s below your skillset, to help you get by in the short term.

If you found this advice about living without a job helpful, check out these other great reads!

Final thoughts on living without a job

There are many things that we can do to lessen the financial burden of how to live without working. So consider each of these tips and utilize them.

Additionally, remember to spruce up your resume, learn new skills (there are so many free resources online), and network to help you find a new job quickly.

You can always join our community and take our free financial courses to get help and support as you navigate your transition. Remember, when it comes to how to survive without a job, you can weather through it.

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