The United States has rolled out a stimulus package worth $2 trillion, and it looks like there may be a second one on the way. The whole nation welcomes this support in our time of need, and now that we’ve got the leg-up that we need, it’s vital for us to manage our finances carefully. Here’s a look at how to conserve our budgets and spend wisely while unemployed, advice to help you make the most out of your stimulus check while securing a bright future as well.
Assess all income streams realistically
Lists are great, but a budget or shopping list is pointless without exact numbers. Overestimate when budgeting if you really don’t have a precise number to go with. Keep in mind that your money has to not only carry you through surviving but propel your career and fuel your well-being as well. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get a business or gig off the ground but battling with day-to-day necessities, so set money aside for your career, and if possible, the unexpected as well. Don’t forget that saving is an income stream. Money that can’t be turned over into more money should be saved so that when the time comes, you can capitalize on your gains.
Plan a week’s expenditure on paper
Once again, budgeting comes down to accuracy. We all know how to be frugal but often underestimate the impact of compromise. Small savings on every single product will barely impact the quality of life that you know but reap in massive monetary rewards. While no one likes having to ration, meal planning is a great way to get a feel for your minimum spendings. Instead of planning exact dishes on a schedule, determine how many times you eat breakfast, lunch & dinner in the course of a week, and you’ll know roughly how many meals you need in total. Now come up with all the favorite foods that your family likes to eat (and the health & beauty products that can be share) and start to see which dishes use the same ingredients. Small adjustments can make all the difference to your savings, and by listing a range of awesome meal options for the week and shopping accordingly, you never overshop and always have everything necessary to make something tasty while staying frugal.
Look for alternative products or budget-friendly buying options
I love Heinz Ketchup and Miracle Whip, but there are cheaper options that taste great too. Shopping on a constrained budget is going to take concessions. If you have access to a fresh market, you won’t find cheaper fruit and veg but otherwise head to the frozen food aisle and tinned section of your convenience store or supermarket. There are lots of food types that go a long way after a little clever packaging, for example, frozen peas, green bean carrots, and corn. Go for tinned food like beans, chickpeas, and tuna. You don’t get cheaper, and they’re both healthy and easy to cook with. Avoid processed food and tinned tomatoes. It’s not only unhealthy but extremely overpriced. Buy raw spices. Buy the biggest oil (or coconut butter) you can afford. Skip the butter on every second trip and buy margarine. You’re going to be cooking everything from the ground up, so don’t overpay for shortcuts. Rather invest the time into cooking. You, and your body, will thank yourself for it. Budget shopping doesn’t mean unhealthy shopping – quite the contrary.
Allocate finances for financial growth & personal career marketing
Once again, we cannot overstress the importance of investing money and time into yourself. You’ll be blown away by just how far a little marketing can go while bolstering your video calling environment, the camera itself, getting a fresh new style or haircut, or subscribing to a career promotion service or platform can help. Even if it is a small investment, make sure that you put money aside either as direct savings, working capital for your career growth or directly into promoting your job search. A few dollars into lighting for your video calls or a new webcam will make a massive difference while spending money on a career marketing platform often pays for itself over and over again.
Evaluate your budget based on adjusted expenditure
Now, this is where you need to make an accurate, honest comparison and not get discouraged if you need to adjust further! A conservative budget is a work of art in progress, and thus forever evolving. Specials arise. Some you’ll know of others will hit when you just aren’t ready. That’s why it’s so important to reassess and reevaluate on a weekly basis before spending any cash. You don’t always need to buy everything right away, even though certain items will, of course, be better bought in bulk. It’s all relative to where necessity lies and the savings lead you. Free market competition gives us tons of places to shop, so expand your search. Bargain hunting is fun, and you’ll find that you don’t even need to leave your home. Delivery is wonderful and often free.
We need each other during times of crisis like this more than ever. Don’t be afraid to discuss your budget with trusted friends, family members, and even openly with other less-intimate members of the community. Bulk purchases are typically out of reach to a single person but combine the funds of four family members or friends who all want the same thing anyway, and you’ve got savings all-round. Most of us want to help, but many of us just don’t know-how. Networking between friends and colleagues gives a means of relief during this trying time. Finally, don’t forget that for as long as you’ve got an internet connection you’ve got a solid stream of hope. Combine online marketing with local marketing, and job seekers are assured results. Unemployed individuals should all consider expanding their online presence, and in the process, expanding their opportunities. Give MyOpportunity.com a try, and let us put you and your job search in front of the eyes that matter.