How to Bridge the Gap Between Jobs
Full-time workers who suddenly find themselves between jobs often have a difficult time dealing with the excess of free time and lack of regular income. However, if managed properly, this gap between employment can play greatly into your favor. Here are a few tips for making the most of the time, while keeping yourself financially sound.
1. Balance Constructive Time with Relaxation
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Most people between jobs find themselves in one of two categories: they either do nothing constructive or wear themselves out physically and emotionally by trying to make up for everything they’ve been putting off. Take off a couple of days and think about the things you would most like to accomplish, and be realistic about what you can do. Unsure how long the employment gap might be? Take it one week at a time. Schedule time to enjoy hobbies and include some to-do items to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.
2. Prioritize Your Spending
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Without a regular paycheck, you’ll need to take a look at what’s going out. Saving a few hundred dollars per month keeps you in a solvent financial position, and lowers your stress level so you can actually enjoy your free time.
There are several ways to cut back on monthly expenditures without suffering.
- Adjust the thermostat a few degrees. Every 2-3 degrees you raise the thermostat in summer or lower it in winter saves as much as 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
- Drop extra channels on your cable or satellite. Movie and sports packages are expensive and less TV removes some of the temptation to bum around.
- Scale back on entertainment. Schedule family movie nights or family game nights instead of frittering away $100 or more each week on dinner and a movie out.
- Eliminate housekeepers, lawn care and other services. You’ll have time to DIY.
3. Keep Your Health Insurance Coverage
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It may be tempting to let your health insurance coverage slide if you’re healthy and aren’t taking expensive medications. But consider how much one trip to the emergency room would cost without this coverage. For up to one year, you may be eligible for COBRA insurance through your previous employer. Or, you can get private health insurance. Laws covering private health insurance differ in each state, so contact your area health department to find out your rights. If you need to, take out a payday loan to pay the premiums. One serious viral infection or broken ankle could empty your savings account without insurance.
4. Manage Your Savings
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In addition to trimming expenses, take a look at your savings account and how long you can make it last. What is a realistic time frame to head back to work? Add up your monthly expenditures and divide it by the amount you have in savings. This is the number of months you can take before heading to the next job. Avoid new clothes, shoes and vacations to make savings last longer.
Above all, have a healthy attitude about your downtime. Once you are back to the day-to-day grind, you’ll be glad you took time to rest, catch up on some hobbies and get a few things done.