Long stretches of unemployment can certainly take their toll. You might even have no job living with parents, which is becoming more common these days. If you find yourself broke and unemployed, you aren’t alone. Many people have encountered this situation and successfully come out of it on the other end.
The solution for what to do when you’re broke and unemployed is threefold; increasing income, reducing expenses and taking care of yourself.
To get out of being broke and unemployed as quickly as possible, you need to increase your income. Even if the work is short-term, it will give you enough to put food on the table and pay rent.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job And Have No Money?
1. Sign On With a Temp Agency
In the distant past, temp agencies specialized in secretarial jobs. Today, companies hire temporary workers for a vast range of jobs, including fork lift operators, pickers and packers, moving services, data entry, construction, and, of course, the aforementioned administrative work.
When you go to a temp agency with your resume in hand, they’ll try to match you with clients who need your skills. Before they send you out, however, they may assess your skills in-house, particularly if you’re looking for office work where you need to be proficient with various software such as Excel, Word, Powerpoint, etc.
In return for finding you work, they take a cut of your pay, often up to 30%. But don’t worry, you’ll still earn a decent hourly wage. Most of the temp agency’s commission comes from their fee arrangement with the client.
The benefit of signing on with a temp agency is that you could be placed as quickly as the next day, and receiving a paycheck within a week. And, if the company likes your work, they may even enter into a “buy-out” with the temp agency and offer you a full-time job.
There’s really no downside to signing with a temp agency, and there’s no fee involved on your end.
2. Put Your Network to Work
Think of all the people you know and consider how they might be able to help you. This includes friends, family, former colleagues and that friendly bus driver who somehow remembers your name every time.
Put the word out that you are looking for work, and that you aren’t too picky about it, either.
You never know what jobs people might hear from the “grapevine.” And be sure to follow up with a thank you even if the job doesn’t exactly pan out like you hoped it would.
3. Become a Delivery Driver
If you have a vehicle like an electric bike, van or car, you can sign up to be a delivery driver with a company such as UberEats or Instacart. Basically, all that’s needed is current insurance coverage, a driver’s license and a clean record.
These kinds of jobs pay decently, and you’ll also get tips. The review time for new applicants is only a few days, so you could be earning money within a week.
Another benefit is that you can often get instant payouts directly to your bank or PayPal account, so you never have to wait long to get your money. Plus, jobs aren’t forced on you; you work your own schedule. This is a good way to earn extra money while looking for a permanent job.
4. Cancel Subscriptions
These days, companies nickel and dime you with low monthly subscriptions. But you can’t afford extras right now. Consider canceling subscriptions like:
- streaming services
- software services
- shopping “discount” services
- and more
Be strict about what you cut. You can always reinstate them when you get back on your feet.
5. Skip the Takeout
Takeout food is probably beyond your means right now. Save on food by shopping at the grocery store instead of from the takeout menu. Don’t even tempt yourself by reading sales flyers from fast food establishments.
6. Halve Everything
Many products are so concentrated that you can use only half as much, or dilute them and get the same results. Fill up your half-empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner and dish washing liquid with water and you probably won’t even notice the difference.
Cut back on how much detergent you use for every laundry load. You might even get softer clothes, since most people use too much to begin with.
These little tricks will save you from needing to replace supplies as often as you used to.
7. Switch Insurance Companies
Those commercials about getting a better rate on insurance aren’t too far off the mark. Sometimes you can negotiate better rates simply by switching.
Another strategy to save on insurance premiums is to rethink your deductible. You might be able to get a better rate by increasing your deductible amount temporarily.
There’s an insidious danger in being unemployed, broke and depressed at the same time. That is, you may fall into a kind of despair that is harder to recover from than being financially destitute. It’s essential that you take care of your mind and body while you’re in this precarious situation.
Studies have shown that exercise has the power to reduce the symptoms of depression. The hormones released during even moderate exercise are often sufficient to lift your mood and boost feelings of positivity.
Exercise also helps keep you in good physical condition, too, which is also important as far as projecting a good impression when applying for work.
You don’t need to join a gym (and add to your expenses) to exercise. Instead, consider just taking walks around your neighborhood or in a nearby park. It’s best to exercise outdoors when you can, just to get out of the house long enough to collect your thoughts and get fresh air.
9. Avoid Junk Food
When people are depressed, they often turn to sugar-laden junk food. But studies indicate that sugar and depression go hand-in-hand. Avoid junk food as much as you can during this time in your life.
Instead, snack on crudités and eat lots of greens and healthy proteins to feed your brain and your spirit.
10. Connect With Friends and Family
Don’t isolate yourself when you’re broke and unemployed. Communicate with friends and family with texts, emails and phone calls. Let them tell you about what’s going on in their lives instead of going on about your problems.
It’s okay to share the details of your situation with them, but don’t make the conversation all about you. That way, you won’t just be wallowing; instead, you’ll be vicariously enjoying their life and times.
11. Avoid Scams
Don’t be tempted by easy money schemes. The internet is full of spammy ways to make cash quickly. These include playing games for cash, taking surveys, online gambling and similar schemes.
These will waste your time and money because they usually require some sort of monetary investment to be “eligible” to win cash.
12. Ask For More Time to Pay Bills
Utility companies, credit card companies and even car loan companies can be surprisingly understanding about short-term financial problems.
Instead of hiding from the mailman and ignoring bills, gather up all your bills. Make a list of companies to call. Explain your situation to the representative and ask if you can have a respite from your monthly payments.
Be ready to tell them when you think this problem will end and when you think you’ll be able to get back on track. Ask about things like skipping a monthly payment or two, being put on a payment plan where you can spread out payments over time, and more.
Most companies would rather give you a break during financial hardship than have you completely go off the radar.
You’ll need to swallow your pride a little bit for these phone calls, but you’ll rest easier knowing that you’ve stood up for yourself and received a little financial break in the process.
13. Make Plans Every Day
Stay organized and busy during this challenging time in your life. Every day, make a list of what you would like to accomplish that day.
Crossing things off the list will give you a sense of moving forward in your life, even in these dire times. The list will also serve to motivate you to stay busy and productive. You don’t want to fall into lazy habits or procrastination.
It’s easy—and maybe even natural—to start to feel sorry for yourself when worrying about what to do when you’re broke and unemployed. But try looking at things from a different perspective.
Think of this as a time when you are preparing yourself for a brighter future. This is when you can get clarity on your future goals, learn from past mistakes and prepare to get in the best shape of your life financially, mentally and physically.
And remember, nothing in life is permanent, including this current situation that you find yourself in. Like all things, this too shall pass.
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Founder of Eggcellentwork.com. With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.