Budgeting 101: Unemployed

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 3 tips on budgeting and finances while unemployed.

If you’re new to the blog, you should know that I’ve gone public with my career status: laid off and unemployed at the age of 23. It’s been rough applying for jobs. But it’s also been a change for the better. I want to be selective with my next job. Plus, I’ve been handling my money   a little better.

All thanks to smart budgeting, which is what I want to talk to you guys about today! 🙂

You think about things differently when you’re unemployed. How will I stay afloat with my financial obligations? Do I need to cut costs? Where do I cut them? Having dealt with these questions, I’m excited to share 3 TIPS on how to handle your finances while you’re unemployed and looking a job.

Photos via Apple App Store

Employee Benefits

First things first, look into unemployment insurance. Canada and the United States both offer this. You should get approved if you were let go at no fault of your own. Some simple paperwork will be involved and you will have to obtain a record of employment from your previous employer to complete the process 🙂

If you were fired for misconduct, you won’t be paid benefits. But in Canada, you could still get maternity, parental, sickness, or compassionate care as long as you qualify. You won’t be rolling in the dough from receiving benefits from the government but it will help you out for a period of time.

At first, I felt weird – almost lame and embarrassed – about pursuing an EI claim but you collect EI every paycheque for a reason, Canadians. Use it. It’s meant for times like these – or so people tell me.

Note: Make sure to check how long you’ll receive benefits for so you can set job goals accordingly 🙂

Organize Expenses

Next, lay out your expenses so you know exactly what is going out and when each month.

One way is to type it all into Notes on your phone. This is the method I use because I can access it quickly wherever I go. I also don’t need the internet to view it.  I like to set mine up by date of the month. For example, I know that $5 goes to Google Apps on the 1st and $8.99 goes to Netflix on the 10th.

Download my Notes template.

You can also set up an Excel sheet if you’re obsessed with colour-coding and tables. Personally, that’s me depending on the subject i.e. event planning. Download this template I modified from Mike’s to start.

If you’re an app gal, try Spending Tracker or Mint. I’ve tried both and like them for different reasons.

Mint has a gorgeous UI and you can connect your bank accounts and credit cards to it – handy if you want to manage your finances in one place. Spending Tracker, on the other hand, isn’t as pretty but it’s simple and easy to use. This app is so convenient that I actually forget that it’s so ugly! 🙂

Photos via Apple App Store

Cut Costs

Now that you’ve got an idea of your finances, it’s time to purge the things that aren’t necessary. This is very similar to purging your closet of the low quality, unnecessary, or unflattering things you don’t need 👿

Start by ranking your expenses in order of importance. For example, your rent, car payments, and phone bill may top the list while a recurring charge for a phone app may round out the bottom. Once you have your list, start cutting from the bottom of this list. They are the things you will miss the least.

The first thing I cut was my gym membership. I wasn’t going. Not because I wasn’t being active but because I hated being at the gym by myself without a trainer. Ask your gym if they will do a temporary freeze on your payments. My gym let me go 3 months without making any payments rather than cancelling 😉

Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, shares 3 tips on budgeting and finances while unemployed.

Final Thoughts

Being unemployed is scary. You don’t know how long you’re going to be unemployed for and it can take a hit on your social life and self-esteem. Don’t be afraid to seek the support of your loved ones during this time and try to be flexible about lifestyle changes while you’re in this tight spot.

After that, all it takes is perseverance 🙂

You go, Glen Coco.


Do you have any special tricks for managing your finances? Let me know in the comments!

Photography by @dressupchowdown

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Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down, styles a geometric top and olive shorts.
Geometric Top + Olive Shorts