How to Save Money on a Job Search

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When you’re actively searching for a job, you may be anxious to land a new gig, Especially if you’re unemployed, not having a job can create lots of stress – wondering how you’ll pay your rent, house payment, car payment, groceries, or even wondering where you’ll find the money to put gas in the car to get to an interview, or thinking about the cost of new interview clothes.

If you’ve ever been in a long, drawn out job search – one that lasted longer than you anticipated – you may have wondered if you should hire someone to write your resume. These ads for resume writers pop up online and can make you wonder if they’re of any help. Personally, I don’t know anyone (that I’m aware of) who has paid for such a service. However, your circumstances may be different. Maybe you work in a super-competitive industry where it’s common for people to hire someone to write their resumes. Or maybe you’ve been searching for so long that you feel desperate, discouraged, and not sure what to do next. Or, maybe you have a job, and you just want to make sure your resume is up and ready in case you find an opportunity that you might want to take a shot at.

When money is tight, you can save money on a job search. When money is non-existent, saving money is a must. Here are some tried and true techniques you can use, without hiring anyone, to make sure your resume is at its best.

Use Spellcheck

This might seem like a given, but spellcheck is a great help. However, it doesn’t catch everything. It won’t tell you when “theirs” and “there’s” are chosen for the wrong occasions, or when “its” and “it’s” are used in the wrong spots, but there is a lot that spellcheck can catch. Don’t forget to use it.

Pack It With Power

This is probably the most important thing to do when you’re giving your resume a once-over. Ask yourself if your resume has power – the power to show how awesome YOU are. Does it show what sets you apart from other people? Does it show your power in numbers- the number of people you’ve managed, the dollars you’ve saved, or other relevant amounts? Does it show your other achievements – the grants you’ve snagged for the organization, the kudos you’ve received, the recognition you’ve achieved, the people you’ve mentored, the committees you’ve been on? Your resume needs to be packed with power that shows you weren’t just present at each position, but that you were great when you were there.

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Print It Out & Sleep On It

When it comes to resumes, I’m old school – I like to print mine off after I give it a once-over. I guarantee you – no matter how often I spellcheck it, proofread it, look it over, change it, revise it – no matter how many times I do this, chances are, if I print it out and sleep on it, I will find something I can make better. It may be something tiny like a comma in a wrong place, or a bullet point that could get better. Or an accomplishment that could be re-worded. I would almost be willing to bet that the same will be true for you (unless you’ve revised your resume very recently). I believe the reason this technique works so well is because sleep recharges the mind, allows us to focus and solve problems subconsciously in our sleep, and lets us take a break from trying to solve the problem at hand. So, when you print out your resume, sleep on it, then come back to it with a pen in hand ready for editing, you too will probably find something that you can change and make stronger.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

Staying on Budget at Christmastime

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Did you go shopping on “Black Friday”? Do you plan to look for deals on “Cyber Monday”? Either way you look at it, it’s official: the Christmas shopping season has begun.

Each of us is different when it comes to how Christmas spending impacts our wallets. Maybe for you, Christmas is a time of great fun and you don’t mind going into debt for Christmas spending. Or, maybe you do mind – and you mind greatly – so much so that Christmas shopping stresses you out!

Regardless of where you stand on Christmas spending this year, my hope is to give you a tip or trick here or there that you can use not just at Christmas, but all year round. Take what you want, and leave out the rest. Because I remember all too well a Christmas working in retail – with a great employee discount – and before I could wrap up all the presents, I had to instead decide which I would take back. I had gone overboard. It was so much fun picking the presents, but I couldn’t afford them! I had to return many gifts, before they were given.

There can be so much pressure with Christmas. Pressure to show how much you care with how much you spend. So, in general, here’s the strategy I use to have fun, without going overboard:

  • Before spending on anyone, decide the dollar amount you’ll be spending on everyone. If you have one gathering for immediate family, and a different gathering for extended family, and your spending is very different for the two groups, that’s fine, just decide before you buy what you’re spending on everyone. Write it down if you have to. For example, you might decide that spending on your immediate family is $100 per person, or that spending on your extended family will be $200 for the entire group.
  • As you look at how many dollars each person “gets”, think about the number of packages. I’m not saying this counts, but I know some people that are really bothered if one child gets two gifts, and the other gets four… even if the monetary value for both people is the same. If this is you, think before you buy so you don’t stress yourself out.  The holidays are supposed to be fun, and they’re not supposed to make you feel guilty because of your gift-giving skills.
  • Write down a list as you make your purchases and next to each item, write down how much was paid, so you can keep track.
  • If you go overboard like I did my year working retail, it’s ok to take some items back before you give them.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

How to Stay Sane During Unemployment

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If you’ve experienced a job loss, you might have been excited at first to have some time off from the daily grind. But, when the newness wears off, you realize that the effort of finding a new job takes some time. Finding your dream job, or even just your next job, can take more time than you bargained for. And while many well-meaning people will say that “finding a job is a full-time job”, there are only so many new jobs posted every day. There are only so many job applications you can submit each day. Only so many prospective leads you can chase in a week. The more experience you have in your field, the more selective you become with your search. You can’t just sit and stare at your computer all day, waiting for an email from a recruiter. You can’t just wait all day for your cell phone to ring with a phone call from your favorite company. That kind of waiting can be monotonous and never-ending.

During times of unemployment, there are some strategies you can use to help you stay patient. While some of these won’t apply to you, hopefully you will find at least one thing that may work for your unemployment situation. In this economy, it isn’t uncommon for people to lose a job through no fault of their own. So, even if you are gainfully employed today, it isn’t a bad idea to have a back-up plan too.

Going through a job loss can be a blessing in disguise for some people, enabling them to take on things they never otherwise would have done. But many others grieve it as a loss of finances, identity, and the chance to socialize with work friends. Here are some things that might help you in your unemployment, regardless of your position.

Temping

Signing up through a temp service could help you be contacted for opportunities or interviews. Temp agencies are middlemen that are paid for their ability to recruit new people. The benefit of this is that some agencies will allow you to take tests for various skills and see how you place. You can pick up assignments, and if you don’t care for the work, you can end the assignment without burning bridges. Because you’re working for the agency, your payment is from the agency, not the company where you’re working. These agencies often offer short-term assignments to fill the needs left by employees out on vacation or medical leave, so if you only need a week or a month of work, that could be an opportunity. It can also allow you to try a different type of work to see if you like it. If you’ve always done office work and you’d like to try manual labor (or vice versa), you can. If you don’t like it, nothing lost.

Seasonal Jobs

With Christmas coming, some stores will hire help just for the holidays. In the spring, other companies will need help just for tax season. In the summer, still others will need help due to the outdoor nature of their services. Seasonal jobs can be a great way to make some extra money without making a long-term commitment. These gigs are understood to be short-term and for people that just want to make a few extra bucks. Seasonal jobs have not only given me extra money but fun times, great experiences, and even good references for the skills I’ve been able to demonstrate on the job. Your mileage may vary depending on the industry you’re working in and the gig you land.

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Volunteering

If you’re so short on money you can barely afford to put gas in your car, this one won’t apply to you, but if you have enough savings, you may want to consider volunteering during unemployment. Experiencing a job loss can shake up your sense of identity if you tie your worth to what you do. Volunteering can provide you with a positive answer if you’re feeling a major confusion or distress around the question of “What am I going to do this week?” You are more than what you did or do for a living. We all have to remind ourselves that our dignity and our worth do not come from our occupations (or lack thereof). But if you need a reason to get up and get dressed in the morning, think about volunteering for a cause that you think is important. It could give you a sense of purpose, importance, and accomplishment. And, when you land your next interview, it can also give you something interesting to say when you’re asked what you’ve been doing since your last job ended.

Start a Side Hustle

If you’re still waiting on someone to hire you, why not hire yourself? I love the TV show Flea Market Flip. Contestants shop flea markets and pick up items that might otherwise be mistaken for trash. They take their own inspiration, work on the items, and add some updates to these items, to flip the items for a profit. The improvement is often stunning. So, if you have the same kind of ingenuity, why not create your own opportunity for yourself? You may not be crafty or good with a hammer, but perhaps you can create your own opportunity to make money while you’re waiting on a 9-5 gig.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

How to Have a No-Spend Weekend

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If you’re accustomed to celebrating every weekend by spending money, it can be a challenge to change your ways if money gets tight. But if you set your mind to it, you can have a no-spend weekend- a weekend that doesn’t involve spending any money.

I’m what some call a house cat. I love to stay home. I like to relax, and now that it’s fall, I love to stay cozy. So for me, a no-spend weekend is no problem. But for you, it might not be second-nature. But I can help you get there if you’re new to this idea or if you’re just trying to cut back on your weekend spending.

Avoid the Mad Rush

Whether it’s to the bar, the mall, or to get food, you might feel a rush to just make some plans on Friday night. After all, if you work Monday to Friday, it’s only normal to want to celebrate the weekend. But before you go spend money you don’t have – or money that’s reserved for something else – just remind yourself that it’s ok to not make plans. It’s ok to not have plans. If you’re normally busy as a bee on Friday night, you can always make up for a lazy weekend if you feel like you have to by making plans with a friend to meet up for coffee during the week or having the lunch special during the week instead of dinner on Friday night.

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How to Save Money on Food Costs

To save money on a no-spend weekend, give some thought to how you’ll be dining. If you normally go to a bar on Friday night, try playing host in your own home. You could save some money, show off your cooking skills, and have a good time. One of the easiest ways you can help yourself is to learn the skill of couponing. Whether you’re an eligible bachelor or a mom of five, you can save a ton on your food and drink costs. While my time to coupon isn’t what it used to be, I still love getting products for free (or close to it) because of my couponing skills.

Free No-Spend Weekend Activities

In my hometown, there are museums, sports teams, casinos, and so much more. All these things could burn a hole through my wallet if I let them! But there are also free things to do – music events on college campuses, parks, walking trails, and a museum that has free daily admission (no catch, no kidding). The free events get less press than the paid ones, but it’s probably true that your town has something to do that’s free. The free events might be hard to find, but if there’s an arts-and-entertainment newspaper where you live, that’s a good start for locating free activities for your no-spend weekend.  Other activities on your docket could include:

  • Starting a blog (here on WordPress, you can do it for free)
  • Searching the internet for your favorite restaurant’s recipes, and cooking at home (not completely no-spend, but you gotta eat)
  • Binge watch a TV show, something you’ve never seen
  • Find something on Rotten Tomatoes that has an awful review. Try it, see if you can survive it!
  • De-clutter your closet and donate unwanted items to charity
  • Go walking or hiking
  • Visit family or friends
  • Go to church
  • Go to public library and check out some free stuff
  • Volunteer with a charity you care about

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

 

Can a Budget Give You Freedom?

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Can a budget give you freedom, or does it have to be restrictive, controlling, and so tight that it makes you feel like a boa constrictor is clamping down on your wallet so tight that it could make a dollar bill scream?

The word budget is almost a dirty word to some. If your funds are low and there’s never enough money to go around, that’s definitely cause for concern. If you’re living in lack or chronic poverty, it’s frustrating to not know how you’ll be able to pay the water bill, the rent, and groceries all in the same month. Robbing Peter to pay Paul gets old quickly. But when your situation is different – and you truly do have the funds needed to cover all the month’s expenses when you start off – having a game plan can set you up for success. Rather than looking at a budget as a dirty word, here are some ways that a budget can give you freedom.

Freedom to make choices: When you make a general guideline for where your money goes each month, you get to make choices. You get to decide. You’re the boss! Do you want to eat out this weekend, or would eating out during the week be better? In which setting, at which time, can you get better tasting food? Will you have more fun ordering take-out at work or does it make more sense to pack your daily meals?  What about at home  – on what nights does it make more sense to cook rather than eat out, when considering your other obligations? Budgeting ahead of time can give you freedom to make informed choices rather than making impulse buys when you’re tired, stressed, or hungry. This might sound like a silly example, but for most people, food costs take up a huge chunk of the funds.

Freedom to enjoy: The ability to budget gives us freedom to enjoy the fruits of our labor to the max. Choosing yes to the items and experiences we only truly want or truly need makes our work more worthwhile. With the freedom to enjoy what we’ve purchased, we reduce the items that will sit in our closets or on our floors unused and unwanted. With this philosophy in place of being more selective about what I buy, I’m much less likely to buy clothing that I don’t wear. I love that I have less laundry to wash, and fewer possessions to care for. I have more time to enjoy my life rather than be a caretaker of things. Enjoying what you buy, and buying what you enjoy gives freedom. If you’re not there, try starting with a budget in just one category or two and see how it goes.

Freedom to stress less and work for less: Considering how long it takes me to work for something always helps me put in perspective if the item is truly “worth it”. You can do the same. If you’re using a credit card, ask yourself if it will really be worth it for the interest rate you currently pay. How long will it take you to really, truly, finally pay for that sweater, that necklace, that ring? Will it be worth six months of paying on the cart of clothes that looks so good right now? Will those clothes even still be in style, or in season, with the changes in trends and fashions? Don’t shackle yourself to buying things just because it’s pay day; it’s ok to just “window shop”. Give yourself a budget and the freedom to enjoy your time rather than taking care of a bunch of junk you won’t like and definitely don’t need.

Freedom to give: Finally, having a budget isn’t just all about saying no and paring down. Having a budget or a spending plan can allow you to say yes. You can say yes to things that aren’t possessions, things that matter, things that can make an eternal significance in your life, your loved ones lives, and the lives of people you will never meet. Do you have the desire, the means, or the interest to support a charity? There are lots of possibilities. Will you do a charity walk or run, or will you make it possible for a child to go to camp next summer? Do you have a church that you want to support financially? When Christmas or Thanksgiving comes, is there a cause you’d like to support with a special end-of-year gift? Having a budget can give each of us just a little bit of wiggle room for those occasions that cause our heart strings to be pulled.. so we can use our freedom to give to say yes to causes we love (and no to those less worthy).

So what are you waiting for? More choices, more enjoyment, less stress, more giving… four wins that you get, only when you budget.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.