What do you do when its summer and you have no money coming in because you are a drain on society and have no job? Well I'm really glad you asked because I have spent the last 3 weeks or so figuring that out.
When you have no money coming in, you kind of want to hoard the little bit that you do have. So while it may not be pleasant, there is going to have to be some belt tightening (how fortunate are we then, that belts are totally awesome?). You can't just be a hermit and tell everyone that you can't afford to leave your apartment. Being jobless is the perfect time to re-connect with friends you may have been neglecting. But it can get expensive if you let it.
So here are some of my tips for saving some of your hard earned money (or the money they gave you to go away):
Eat in. When you're rolling in it, it doesn't seem like a big deal to go out and break some bread with friends. Lobster? Steak? Yes please. But when you have a mortgage to cover and you are steps away from EI (I really need to apply for that this week!), you start hankering after free bread sticks instead of steak and that's no way to live. So break bread with friends at home. Who doesn't appreciate a home cooked meal? No one is the answer. And when you live with someone who is at expert level in the kitchen, its basically a crime not to share that with others.
Hang Out. Who says that you need to spend money to hang out with your nearest and dearest? The corporations that's who. What better way to get back at them for ruining the last 2 and a half years of your professional life than by hanging out with people and not spending a dime. You can invite them over to watch a movie. You could go old school and invite them over to have coffee (assuming you have coffee in the house and know how to work the coffee machine, being a tea drinker). Go for a walk on a trail or seawall-esque route. When you actually try, its easy to get out and hang out with friends while spending no money.
Window Shop. Obviously with fall coming, the lack of funds for shopping is a hurtful situation (Vogue's September issue is showing me all the beautiful things that I can't buy). I would love to buy new shoes, cozy sweaters, pretty well all the things that my friend Niki discusses on her blog, A Haute Mess , or engage in an accidental shopping spree at Sephora. But as previously mentioned, I'm poor now so I can't. Eventually, of course, the money will start to come in again, and then I will be in a position to buy all the things that I am denying myself now. Research will be key to fulfilling my retail dreams when the time comes. So a-window-shopping I will go.
Befriend a Librarian. Aside from shoes, I love to buy books. Turns out, books can get expensive, something I never considered when I had a job. While I haven't actually stepped foot in a library since this all started (The Boyfriend has taken pity on me a couple of times and let me buy books), the plan is that I will. The only distasteful thing I find about libraries is that you have to give the books back. I would rather just keep them.
Parental Concern. My parents, my mother especially, were incensed to hear of my unemployment (mostly about the way that it all happened) and since then have shown a considerable amount of concern about my continued unemployment. They aren't understanding that at this point, the unemployment is a choice. One that I'm really OK with (talk to me when I'm drinking and/or in another month if I still don't have a job). But parents can be helpful. They bring dessert if you invite them for dinner and agree to share in a bottle of wine. They can make you lunch when you go shopping (strictly window) with them. Or keep you out of trouble for a morning by requesting your help in painting your little brother's room. Maybe your parents have a house somewhere vacation-y and you can go there and spend time lake-side, playing with a puppy and drinking, none of which you are allowed to pay for because you are a "guest". Show them the love and they will help you out as much as they can.
Speaking of which, I have some painting go do. Do the best you can with your Monday!