6 Things to Buy When You’re Almost Out of Grocery Money

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What would you do if you were almost out of money to buy groceries? It’s understandable if that would cause you to go into a panic mode.

But it’s not just a hypothetical scenario – some people are actually facing that question now. Due to the government shut down, some people are actually having to ask themselves: What bill will I pay first? How will I pay my rent? How will I pay my light and water bills? How much can I really spend on groceries? These folks have jobs, but their employer – the government – isn’t open for business. So, no work = no pay.

It’s a tough spot to be in. I’ve been without work before and the process of a job search that will go on indefinitely was, for me, an anxious time of waiting and wondering.  But wondering where your next meal is going to come from doesn’t have to be part of a time of unemployment if you can do some planning in advance, as much as you can.

I like to keep a list of grocery staples for when times are lean. This might help you if you’re trying to trim your grocery budget when times are good also. Each item has a specific reason for why you should buy it when your funds are running low. This isn’t a comprehensive list that will keep you fed, but it is a starting point for how to start planning if you’re running out of grocery money.

Coffee

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Unless you don’t drink coffee, this would be at the top of my list in a budget crisis. Although it’s not a food, coffee is highly addictive and running out of it could not only cause headaches but a cranky mood! If you drink coffee every day, having that first cup in the morning can give you energy and motivation to start your day. Pick it up at the grocery store – get the grocery’s store off-brand – that way you avoid any morning trips to the cafeteria at work, fast food restaurants, or gas stations to get your fix. These little purchases add up when you charge it on a credit card.

Tea

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If you don’t like coffee, you might want to pick up some tea. And even if you do drink coffee, there are some added benefits to hot tea. If you’re in truly desperate times, hot tea can distract you if you have nothing to eat. Peppermint tea can assist with mental clarity and alertness. Chamomile tea can help with relaxation and alleviating stress. Because I’m trying to lose weight, I also find that hot tea distracts me from food. You can pick up a box of 10 or 20 tea packets as cheap as $1 at a dollar store. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that.

Bread

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What you want to do is look for bread that is marked down, buy some extra, and freeze it. Get your extra loaf of bread, wrap it in a plastic bag, tie it down, and freeze it to prevent freezer burn. Don’t be discouraged by the “sell by” date- be smart about it! The “sell by” date is NOT the expiration date – it’s the date the product must be sold by, not the date it must be consumed by. I would not serve to guests bread that has been frozen because yes, there is a difference in quality. However, it is still safe and will meet your needs when you’re looking at potentially going without.

Butter

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Butter is an item I love to pick up and freeze; it has so many uses. If you’re doing the ketogenic diet, you may have heard of putting butter in your coffee to get sustained energy. I haven’t tried this, but it’s a possibility. I like to buy butter (not margarine) in stick form and freeze it, and for my purposes, freezing doesn’t compromise the taste or quality.  Butter on toast will keep you from going hungry; put butter and pancake syrup on toast and you’ll have a gloriously unsophisticated breakfast.

Corn

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I love that corn is a stand-alone item: you can serve it by itself without any addition and it’s just fine. But, you can also try to make salsa if you dare, or serve it in a salad, or place it in some Southwest Mexican burrito bowls, or serve it alongside steak. Corn is versatile like that. For lean times, corn is great because it’s so cheap and it is healthy.

Pasta – Noodles – Spaghetti – Macaroni Shells

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Pasta, spaghetti, bowtie shells, noodles, call them what you will. The final flavored product is pasta and that  is my final item, the item that could keep you afloat for a very long time. It’s been a while since I cooked any of this because there was a long, long spell of time when I cooked it and practically lived off it. I’m pretty sure I gained some weight as a result. This broad category of food I call pasta (a dressed up noodle) can keep you from starving and keep you full. You can buy a box for about a dollar and I recommend this over the ramen noodles that come with the flavoring that is loaded with MSGs that are so harmful to our health.

And there you have it, six items to help you with your planning of  what to buy when you run out of money for groceries. I hope this is helpful to you if you’re experiencing a job loss, a layoff, a budget crisis, or if you just want to save money! Feel free to share your comments in the comments below, and good luck!

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 views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

How to Live Without a Job

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Congratulations, you’ve just received notice that you are about to have no job. What a terrible way to celebrate during the holidays. Unfortunately, many people across the country are getting such news. In spite of a widely celebrated recovering economy,  many people are finding that for their own personal household economy, things won’t get better for them in 2019, but rather, they’re about to get worse.

If this is your situation, you can do something beyond just experiencing the stress and anxiety that naturally comes with this situation. Having a heads up on how your situation is going to change can help you get your financial house in order, as best as you can, before your job is eliminated.

And, if even if your job is totally safe, and you work in a very stable field, you can still take steps to get your financial house in order, just in case you’re spending beyond your means. Being aware of how things can change for the worse can help you cope best when you need to know some tips from this link about how to live without a job.

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 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.

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 be Charitable When You’re Broke

 

Dealing with job loss, unexpected bills, or other tough financial times can make Christmas a trickier time to navigate, financially speaking. As you look ahead to your budget, it might be awkward when people ask you to be charitable. The warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you help other people could conflict with the fact that you could use some extra money. But the good news is that if you’re between a rock and a hard place, there are ways to be charitable when you, yourself, are broke. There are three charities that I believe are doing great work, year round, not just at Christmas, that you can support even when you’re broke.

Goodwill

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The catchy slogan used in some of Goodwill’s commercials has been “good deals, good cause, Goodwill”. And it’s true – Goodwill operates thrift shops that fund programs for homeless veterans and people with disabilities. By providing job coaching services to people those with disabilities in a job search, Goodwill helps people achieve their full potential. The stores in my area offer special discounts every week, typically a half off everything weekly (some exclusions apply). Goodwill even holds auto auctions if you’re brave enough to take a chance on a car you’ve never drove. So whether you’re shopping for household items or just purging your closet of some clothes that no longer fit, you can be confident that you’re funding a good cause.

The Salvation Army

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This distinctively Christian organization has a very practical, relevant mission. Long before the heroin crisis gained national attention, The Salvation Army has understood how addiction can ruin lives. That’s why The Salvation Army supports people on a journey of recovery out of drug and alcohol addiction. If you or a loved one could benefit from free alcohol or drug treatment services, The Salvation Army may be able to help. When you donate goods or shop their stores, you are funding positive change in someone’s life. What better feeling than knowing that your donation or purchase can help give someone a better life?

St. Vincent DePaul

The Society of St. Vincent DePaul is a Catholic charity that works for the poor. Similar to Goodwill, you can donate goods to their thrift shops, and they also hold auto auctions. St. Vincent DePaul’s mission is to “end poverty through systematic change”, and they operate different programs in different states. In my area, one amazing program they operate is the Charitable Pharmacy, a safety net for people who have no other means of obtaining essential medications. So, if you’re upset about the state of healthcare, why just complain? Donate your junk to St. Vincent Depaul, a great charity that is doing something about it and helping people.

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.