May 28, 2024

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How to Take Some of the Panic Out of Being Unemployed

Today I read about a young woman who was offering $1000 to anyone who could find her a job. Even though her unemployment had run out and she had exhausted her savings, she was willing to use a large portion of her first month’s pay for rewarding the person who ended up connecting her successfully with a job.

People are getting desperate, and the job situation doesn’t look as though it is going to improve anytime soon. If you are in a similar situation, why not figure out a way to get by until that time comes? True, there is no guarantee that your efforts will be successful, but your job search so far hasn’t been successful either, so maybe it’s time to at least give creating your own job a try.

Before you start though, you need to take a good look at your financial situation. How much money do you need, and I mean really need to get by? Forget about the lattes, the movies, the latest electronic gadget or video game that catches your eye.

Make a list that includes rent or housing, auto expenses, food, and utilities, and not much else. Maybe a little extra for emergencies, but we are talking real basic needs here.

Then break the total down into 4 weeks and you’ll see what you have to come up with each week to get by. Doesn’t look quite so scary now, does it?

With this new figure in mind, brainstorm some ways you could get this amount before a week goes by. If you write, like many of my friends do, figure out how many articles it will take to raise that amount of money. If you think you could do babysitting, how many hours of babysitting will you need to find in order to meet your goal?

Oregon, where I live, requires consumers to pay a deposit each time they buy a glass or metal container of soda or beer. That means cash back when these bottles are returned. Since the deposit is only five cents per container, many people don’t go to the trouble to return them, because they think it isn’t worth the trouble. A man in my neighborhood tours the neighborhood once a week with a bag picking up cans and bottles that have been discarded in the park, and from residents who leave them out in a bag for him every now and then. What a great way for a family to get some exercise at the same time they are paying the light bill and putting some food on their table. It also makes for a cleaner looking neighborhood!

Maybe you don’t write or babysit or live in an area where bottles and cans require a deposit. Can you do yardwork? This is a great time of year to set up your own little business as a free-lance yard person. Pick a neighborhood that looks fairly prosperous and start knocking on doors. If you can print up a flyer with a list of services you can do and what you charge per hour, along with your name and phone number, that would be a real plus, because those people who don’t have any work for you today may need someone with your skills tomorrow, next week, or even next month.

Put some of your flyers on the supermarket bulletin boards to draw in additional business, and ask friends if you can use them as references.

Several times during the past year, I hired a young man who did exactly what I have described above. He left a flyer with me that had a long list of tasks he was willing to do and what his hourly price was for doing it. He also had a note at the bottom saying if there was anything he hadn’t mentioned, to ask about it and he’d be glad to try it, too.

Even though I hadn’t been thinking of hiring any work done, I was impressed by this young man’s enthusiasm and willingness to work, and his flyer brought to mind several things that did need doing around my house so I decided to give him a try, and it has worked out very well. Later, when my daughter needed someone to shovel out and level a place to set up her children’s above ground swimming pool, guess who I recommended?

Above is just one way to get by when times are tough. If you set your mind to it, you can probably come up with dozens more. Even if the money you earn doesn’t come up to the amount you were earning before losing your regular job, cutting out unnecessary expenses can help you at least break even and carry you along while you expand your new business.

Who knows, you may find out that you enjoy living frugally and decide to make it a lifetime habit.