Saving Money When You're Underemployed/Unemployed

David Sung | February 17, 2014

Everyone wants to save money, but when you’re underemployed, or worse, unemployed, you need to trim costs however possible. Times can be tough and sometimes that calls for extreme measures in order to keep your expenses low.

The Basics

Everyone needs a place to live, so you may want to consider getting a roommate. Find out if a friend needs a place to crash in the short-term to help shore up bills. A conservative one-bedroom apartment can run anywhere from $500-$800. If you opt for a two bedroom and split the rent, it is considerably cheaper. Heating and cooling an entire house or apartment can get costly. Instead of running the thermostat, invest in a space heater and move it around to wherever you’re sitting.


Write down all of your bills and cut out any that aren’t necessary right now. This includes monthly subscriptions you may have forgotten about, and shopping for luxury items. If you can manage without cable, then you just saved yourself $60 (at least) per month. There may even be room for trimming down your Internet bill. Find out if a neighbor will let you share their wireless Internet for a few bucks each month.


Eating out is expensive, so plan grocery shopping trips with a definitive list and don’t deviate. Look for fresh, unprocessed foods versus frozen dinners. Not only is this healthier, but it saves money as most fresh foods can be frozen. Coupons are abundant out there; check for manufacturers’ coupons, store coupons and even use a coupon app. And no more throwing out those bulky coupon mailers in your mailbox!  Challenge yourself to not go grocery shopping for one week, and instead get creative and prepare meals out of items that have been sitting in your pantry or freezer.


If you’ve managed to nab a few interviews, try your best to arrange them so that you can do them all in one day. This will allow you to save on transportation costs, whether it is gas money or public transportation fares. And if you’ve noticed your best looking clothes aren’t cutting it anymore, you’ll be surprised at what you can find at thrift stores, or retail discount stores. Be sure to check those stores before you pay full retail price for new clothes. If you’re really in a pinch, see if a friend will let you borrow a nice outfit.

Money Saving Apps

There are an endless number of apps out there that will help you manage your money, including:

Gas Buddy – Find the lowest gas prices around you. Wi-Fi Finder – Search for Wi-Fi hot spots around you. LearnVest – Create a budget by syncing your accounts and then categorize them as expenses. BillGuard – Monitor all your bills in one place, graph charges on credit cards, when payments are due, and search for coupons to lower your bills.

These new changes could be temporary or you could find ways to integrate them into your daily life no matter what your budget. Regardless of your situation, everyone should consider utilizing these tools in order to get the most out of their dollar.

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