I was laid off over eight months ago. My husband and I cut back on expenses to make ends meet. I’m afraid to spend money fearing that we will eventually become homeless. My life revolves around job search, my kids and feeling sorry for myself. How can I make the best of my situation?
I’m sorry for your circumstances. You are wise to cut back on your expenses but it’s also important to balance your job search with self-care and fun. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this without spending a lot of money. The following are…
1. Emotional support. Seek out understanding family members and friends. Join networking groups for job-seekers and industry professionals.
2. Let go of non-essentials. You must decide what really matters to you. How important are the manicures, lattés and club memberships?
3. Negotiate fees for services. Many businesses are willing to reduce their rates to keep you as a customer. Don’t forget that they are hurting too in this economy.
4. Do-It-Yourself. Some services that you used to pay for can be done by you.
5. Barter. Put your skills to use and trade services with others.
6. Downsize. Clean out your home of unwanted items and sell them on line or have a garage sale.
7. Discount Shopping. Consider shopping in thrift or consignment shops. Did you know that craigslist has a “barter” and “free” section? Join freecycle.org where bargain-hunters connect with people who wish to keep their unwanted items out of landfills. Use coupons whenever you can.
8. Free entertainment. Take advantage of free concerts and movies during the summer. Use libraries for free books, dvd’s, cd’s and classes.
9. Staycations. Enjoy pot luck dinners with friends and neighbors. Visit local parks, lakes and beaches.
You and your family will get through this.