You pick up the mail and see something you've been dreading for months: notification that your unemployment benefits have finally run out. This has been your only income for the past year and you still don't have a job. Things might seem dire, but there are ways to keep money flowing in and less flowing out.
Desperate Times Call for Desperate (Financial) Measures
Get rid of any expenses, contracts, and payments that you (1) don't truly need and (2) can get out of without paying a penalty fee. I recommend keeping your internet and cell service since they are necessary for your job search, but everything else can go: cable, gym, Netflix, eating out, etc. In a recent JobsInME.com poll, "Dining Out" was voted the first expense to cut.
Without an income, your goal is to spend as little money as possible. If you want a humorous take on this experience, try to get your hands on a free copy of Bitter Is the New Black, a very funny account of how one couple handled unemployment.
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, to the Temp Agency I Go
Working as a temp is a tried and true strategy for people in search of both a job and a paycheck. Register with a few temp agencies in your area, and contact them on a weekly basis to see if they have any jobs that meet your needs. Temping is a great way to network and showcase your skills to potential employers. Don't hesitate to let the temp agency know if there are specific companies you want to work for.
The Best Things in Life Are Free
You've been given the gift of time in lieu of a paycheck, so get out and do some things that you didn't have time for when you were working. I had an unemployed friend who complained that they didn't have money to do anything fun. Another friend pointed to the local paper, which was full of promotions for free activities. Check out the event listings in the back of your local newspaper for some free or low-cost activities.
Running out of unemployment is not ideal, but there are other ways to earn money, reduce your spending, and have a little fun in the meantime.