Cheap is CHIC!

This is a Blog about losing your job, finding a new one, and everything that happens in between.

It’s been about a week since I became an unemployed statistic. Unfortunately, 1,300 state employees joined me this week as they were put out of work by the new Florida State Budget. Getting that news is never easy. Uncertainty makes us uncomfortable. But I made a promise to myself that the most important thing I could do is to maintain a positive attitude and make the most of this time. I can also say from experience, and because I heard it in a Bob Marley song, 3 Little Birds – “Every little thing gonna be alright!”

Your first concern after you lose your job is providing for yourself and your family when you won‘t be getting a paycheck in the near future. You need a plan, as do I, so I’ve been crunchin’ the numbers.

After researching what money you may have coming to you in the form of unemployment wages, severance, unclaimed money, loose change in the couch, etc that I detailed in Blog #1, it’s time to figure out ways to cut down on the money you’re spending on the necessities. Some experts will tell you to stop eating out or freeze your credit cards. Obviously! But it’s the big bills that you need to figure out how to cut back on and I promise you the following will save you about $300 per month!

The most painless way I’ve ever found to save money was inspired by watching “Oprah.” Sorry about that guys, but this REALLY works as I tested it out myself. When you’re not using an appliance like the alarm clocks, hair dryer, and especially the cable box, UNPLUG IT! Appliances that are plugged in drain about 40% of the energy even when they’re not “on” and those cable boxes and anything with a clock display are the worst offenders. Maybe your dad yelled at you to shut off the lights when you were a kid so this is obvious to you but I did this for one month about a year ago and saved almost $100 on my electric bill! I live in a small house and figured I would save some money but I was floored that I saved so much. I now make a point to unplug those suckers when not in use. My dad would be so proud! Savings = $100 per month.

You can’t live without food so that’s the next thing to tackle as it’s usually a big expense but this one takes a little bit more forethought. First you need to take your friends up on those offers for free drinks and dinner! Work them for sympathy! In the last week my friends have been very generous and supportive and I love them all! Otherwise, you can forget about eating out, fast food and processed foods. They’re bad for you anyway and you wanted to lose 10 pounds, right? The average family of 4 spends $727 a month on food! I found the article below from Money.CNN.com that details a smarter way to shop for food and save about $200 per month:
http://money.msn.com/saving-money/how-to-eat-when-you-are-really-broke-weston.aspx?ocid=msnfacebook

I also recommend this article from Cooking Light for budget recipes – Feed 4 for $10: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/everyday-menus/healthy-budget-recipes-00400000056656/

Savings = $200 per month.

Many loan companies and credit unions are working with you if you have a loan you can’t pay at this time. A friend of mine called her credit union, explained that she was unemployed and worked out a deal to pay only the interest on the loan until she finds a job and can pick up the full payment. Now is the perfect time to call up your lien holders! You have nothing to lose and money to save!

This Blog is a collective effort so if your pink slip experience has taught you a valuable lesson please share it with us! You still fill your days so next Thursday’s Blog is all about FREE stuff – everything from online classes to freebies in Tampa Bay! You can’t stop living, right?

Keep the faith!
Corey Dylan

All links mentioned are listed under Favorite Links but here are a couple more you may find useful:

What you need to know about unemployment benefits: http://kiplinger.com/columns/ask/archive/2009/q0211.htm?topic_id=27

If you’re shopping online this site will save you money:
www.retailmenot.com

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2 thoughts on “Cheap is CHIC!

  1. Also wanted to mention that using your electricity during "peak" hours is costly. If you call your electric co or look online they'll post "off-peak" hours. Doing the laundry and running the dishwasher off peak will save you money. For Progress Energy customers, peak usage hours hours are 1-10pm. Do the "heavy lifting" before or after those hours to save money! ~Corey Dylan

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