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Unemployed and cutting expenses


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What is UI? Unemployment?

 

I was unemployed for about 4 months a while back, in the Fall of '08. I'm not sure if I really cut back on my expenses, but I was in college for 4 1/2 years & used to not having a salary. Plus I didn't have any major expenses (car loan, mortgage, student loans or credit card debt).

 

I guess a good way to save money is to limit how often you go out to eat. That can really add up. Also, I've heard you are more conservative with your money if you pay for everything in cash rather than a credit card. Actually seeing the money leave your hands makes it more real!

 

I would put off buying high-end items that you don't need immediately. There's always stuff that I want, but I rarely actually buy it if it's expensive. I just tell myself to wait a while & I can get it later. A lot of times, I just forget about it or don't want it as much down the road anyway. Delay buying new clothes, electronics, etc. Taking long road trips (gas money!!) Buying food at a gas station can really add up... I'm totally guilty of that.

 

When grocery shopping, buy fewer things in the frozen food section. Pre-made foods are way more expensive than buying the ingredients & doing it yourself.

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UI is unemployment pay.

 

I have rent payment and some credit card bills and utilities, but no car payment.

 

I try not to use credit cards (trying to pay off most of them) but I run out of cash(debit card) kind of quickly so sometimes I will have to depend on the credit card for a bit. For example, this week I have about $20 in the bank (don't want to touch my savings), so in order to eat or do things I have to charge a bit.

 

I try to not eat out every day but it is hard because I am not good at cooking and I get tired of my cooking easily. I do have days I don't spend ANY money though. I go out to eat maybe a few times a week (but I eat inexpensively like eat a shrimp burrito for about $6.

 

Lately, I've been making my own coffee at home and making oatmeal for breakfast (to lose weight).

 

Thanks for the suggestions though.

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All i could pay was rent, phone bill and utilities. I tried to work with the credit card companies to make realistic payments, but they wanted me to pay too much. It sucks, but there is nothing i can do about that, i am a single mom and i am not gonna sacrafice my sons well being for that.

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Hi Ren, it's more about looking at the long term rather than trying to pinch pennies, although doing things like making coffee at home definitely helps. When I was unemployed, I put myself on a strict budget and didn't take any vacations. I stopped buying organic, only ate out once a week, only bought clothes on sale (or at thrift stores), reduced how often I got my hair colored, did my own manicures/pedicures, and postponed any big ticket items (like a new computer, which at the time I needed badly). I also changed my phone plan to a cheaper one.

 

If you can afford to eat out a few times a week, based on your savings and unemployment, then do it. You need to reward yourself now and then. But if you realistically think that you're spending too much, then find ways to cut back.

 

Look at this as an opportunity to get better at cooking! It's really fun to cook at home and make meals for yourself, once you get the hang of it. I find making meals for myself is also a great stress reliever. Just buy some cookbooks and experiment. Or you can invite a friend over and cook together and learn that way.

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Eating out is a big one. And i only go to starbucks once a week, go out with friends once a month (buying drinks is expensive), and i havent done my hair in 2 months. My hairdresser is gonna have a big job to do, but thats not my concern. Not able to go clothes shopping that often either. I buy a top or something here and there on an as needed basis.

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try and find things that are really cheap to eat. there are plenty of things at walmart you can eat throughout the week that are very cheap and filling. try to spend less than $5 a meal on average. try not to eat out as much. i know you were talking about sushi on another thread. that can get pricey.

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Ghost, sushi can be pricey depending where you go. I usually go to Japanese grocery stores to get sushi in their take out area, it for 8pcs, it can run about $5. We have a lot of ethnic grocery stores out here so I can get ethnic food for cheaper prices than at a restaurant.

 

Although, one restaurant around here serves 8pcs of spicy tuna roll for $3 during their "happy hour" (3PM-9PM), so that's not bad out here either.

 

I find that if I eat ethnic food, it is usually cheaper.

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(Avoid eating out) Home Cooking meals are the key to saving Money. I learned that its betther to buy chicken in Bulk (For example) from Sams Clubs, Its Lasts me about (one to two Months) you can cook several types of yummy meals, from chicken salads to chicken soup, chicken echiladas, ect.. It's also healthier and theres nothing like a home cooked meal.

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I'm a student, so not really "unemployed", but I get a monthly allowance that I try to budget and save from.

 

Definitely making coffee at home. Cooking - now is the time for you to get good at cooking, Ren! No need to buy books - get one from the library or get recipes online: link removed, New York Times minimalist recipes (very easy), or other websites. If you cook yourself a delicious pasta sauce, that could be many many meals. Same for a stew, or soup, or a "casserole".

 

If I go out with friends, I try to pick restaurants that are inexpensive. Often ethnic restaurants (Thai, Chinese, Indian) serve large portions, so if I go with a female friend we will share an entree, and if I go with a male friend who has a big appetite, I'll save half of the meal for later. Going out to happy hours instead of at nighttime - lots of place have 2-3 dollar drinks instead of the closer to 10 dollars you might spend later in the day. Trying to go to free activities on the week-ends rather than paying ones. Reading magazines at the library and checking out books rather than buying them.

 

If I get down and want to splurge, I try to remind myself that it's only temporary, and that it'll feel wonderful to splurge once I have the money to do so, but that if I do so now, I'll probably have buyer's remorse and feel guilty later.

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If you are going to go out to eat sometimes, you can try to cook really cheap stuff at home.

 

One cheap dish I learned from a roommate many years ago is to put rice and either whole beans or refried beans in a bowl, then cover with cheddar cheese and zap it in the microwave. Its plain but filling.

 

Another really cheap item is to make a big batch of soup and then freeze it in individual portions. Lentil soup has protein in it and is really cheap.

 

link removed has a ton of great recipes.

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Thrift stores - I refuse to pay $50 to $60 for a pair of say, Levis, new when I can get them for $2.50 to $4.00 a pair at the thrift store.

 

Making a menu for (home cooked) meals and shopping list - We do our menus 2 weeks at a time. No wondering "what's for dinner?", no picking up something quick on the way home, etc.

 

Eliminating all take out and convenience items during the work week - that $3 a day coffee adds up to $15 a week, $60 a month, and a whopping $780 a year! Now add takeout lunch on top of that and you are talking thousands of dollars over a year.

 

Eliminating all non-necessity items at home - Do you really need cable / satellite? Do you have both a land line and cell phone? We have no TV and haven't for years, I watch TV online (link removed and sites like it) and have a pay-as-you-go cell phone so we don't have a hefty cell plan bill every month.

 

Watch sale flyers and shop smart - Most grocery and department stores have their weekly flyers online now. Comparison shop for who has the best price on what you need, don't jsut go buy it at the closest place because it's convenient.

 

Hide / Destroy the credit cards - I have not had a credit card in going on 10 years, and function just fine without one. It boils down to... "if I don't have the cash, I don't get it". Simple enough. If you have that credit card in your wallet, it's allot harder to say "no".

 

Free / extremely cheap entertainment - Instead of going out for drinks or catching a movie at the theater, go for a walk in a nearby park with a picnic, find free museums to go to, whip out that old Monoploy board and invite some friends over for a potluck. There are TONS of things to do that don't cost a cent.

 

I could probably go on for days, but I'll stop here! I consider myself the master of frugal living! LOL It is an adjustment to live within your means, but once you get used to it, it becomes a way of life. A good first step is go back through credit card statements and bank statements and see EXACTLY what you are spending money on. Even make a budget spreadsheet if you can. It really shows you in a quick view where your money is going and makes it easier to decide what is necessity and what is not.

 

Good luck Ren!

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Oh Ren, i feel for you.

 

When money was / is tight for me, i mainly cut down on food. Eg, i'll only eat stirfry with rice, oatmeal etc. for breakfast, make lunch. I also cut down on leisure expenses of course.

 

You really have to cut corners in your food budget as the other expenses are fixed and you can't change them.

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