Soft Skills

9 minute read

Tips From Experts: How to Manage Your Finances While Looking for a Job

Catherine Schwartz

Catherine Schwartz

Are you looking for a job and struggling to manage your finances? It can be challenging to make ends meet while searching for employment. But there are some strategies you can use to help keep your head above water until you land that dream job. While you're working at building the skills that employers are looking for, you have the opportunity to manage your finances responsibly.

In this article, we'll give you some tips on staying afloat financially while job hunting so that all of your energy is focused on finding the right opportunity. So let's dive in and see what we can do.

Take on temporary or freelance work

Taking on temporary or freelance work can be a great way to stay financially afloat while job hunting. Not only can you make some extra money, but it also allows you to meet new people, learn new skills, and explore different career paths. Plus, it's a great way to get your foot in the door with potential employers who may offer full-time positions later. If you're not sure how to build freelance skills, you can learn how to master a skill by building the right habits!

GoSkills managing finances while looking for a jobKnow where to look for short-term work and how to market yourself effectively. Start by researching job boards like Craigslist and Indeed, which have dedicated sections for one-time gigs and freelance contracts.

You can also use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to find jobs related to your skill set or industry. Finally, several free resume templates are available online if you need help crafting an eye-catching resume that stands out from other applicants. You may even need to learn how to make a video resume, since they're becoming increasingly popular.

One of the benefits of freelance or contract work is that it allows you to gain valuable real-world experience without having to commit long-term. Since you'll likely be working remotely and/or part-time, you'll still have the flexibility to take care of other responsibilities.

Furthermore, if you're searching for a full-time job during this period, being able to discuss these experiences will help you feel even more confident in a job interview

GoSkills managing finances while looking for a job

If freelancing isn't right for you, consider taking on temporary assignments. Companies often hire temp workers when they don't need someone on a long-term basis, but they do need someone with a specific skill set or qualifications right away.

Greg Heilers, Co-Founder of Jolly SEO, states:

Temporary work can be a great way to stay afloat financially and get some experience under your belt simultaneously.

In addition, there are often opportunities for short-term and long-term placements, so it's a great way to explore different industries and roles until you find the right position."

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Negotiate expenses with family members or roommates

Negotiating expenses with family members or roommates can be a great way to stay afloat financially while job hunting. Not only can it lighten the load of financial stress, but it can also help you save money in the long run.

However, it's important to remember that you don't want to approach this as an ultimatum - it should be more of a conversation between both parties to come up with a mutually beneficial agreement.

For example, if you are living with family members and your goal is to move out once you find a job, consider negotiating for reduced rent or agreeing on a payment plan for any back rent you owe them. This will help keep your finances steady until you have secured employment and have the means to stay on top of your bills. 

Negotiating expenses with family members or roommates can be an effective way to manage your finances while job hunting.

This suggestion comes from Carter Seuthe, author at Credit Summit. "It might be as simple as agreeing to do the dishes every night or splitting up utility bills. The key is to find a balance that works for both parties."

GoSkills managing finances while looking for a jobIf you live with roommates, negotiate on utilities such as electricity and gas. You may need to establish specific limits on consumption or usage depending on how much each roommate contributed towards the utility bill splits.

There may also be other areas where costs can be cut. Take food shopping, for example; instead of buying individually packaged items, consider getting larger packs and splitting the cost among all roommates who will consume them. 

Cut back on luxuries

When job hunting, cutting back on luxuries can be a great way to stay afloat financially. Luxuries are not essential for day-to-day living but provide extra pleasure and comfort. These include small items like expensive coffee or takeout meals and larger ones like vacations, luxury cars, the latest tech gadgets, and designer clothes.

While it may seem like a good idea to indulge in these luxuries while searching for employment, it is essential to remember that this spending can quickly add up.

Rather than purchasing these items during your job hunt, consider ways to save money instead. For example, you could opt for less expensive options like home-brewed coffee or making meals at home.

Additionally, you could look into cheaper forms of entertainment, such as watching movies at home instead of going to the theater or hiking in your local park rather than planning an overseas holiday. Finally, cutting back on services such as gym memberships or subscription boxes can also be beneficial during financial duress. 

GoSkills managing finances while looking for a job

It is essential to differentiate between needs and wants when budgeting during job searches. The basics needed for survival should be prioritized over luxuries; if something is not necessary for basic sustenance, then it should likely be avoided until more stable employment is secured.

Take advantage of unemployment benefits

Unemployment benefits can be a great way to stay financially afloat between jobs. However, the amount of unemployment benefits you receive may vary depending on where you live. In the United States, for instance, you'll likely get around half of what your last paycheck was.

This money can cover living expenses and other costs associated with job hunting, such as transportation costs, interview clothes, and resume printing. 

To qualify for unemployment benefits, there are usually specific criteria that must be met. Generally speaking, you must have been laid off or let go through no fault of your own and have worked enough to qualify for benefits under your state's regulations. Filing a claim online or in person at an unemployment office will take some time before any funds are disbursed. 

Mark Pierce, CEO of Colorado LLC Attorney, observes,

Unemployment benefits can be a great way to stay afloat financially while you're in between jobs.

He adds this reminder: "It's important to ensure you understand your state's specific regulations and qualifications, though, as they may vary."

GoSkills managing finances while looking for a job

Once the money starts coming in regularly each month, it's essential to use it wisely and ensure all of your bills are paid on time. With this extra income cushioning your budget while you look for a new job, make sure to budget wisely so that you don't put yourself into more debt than necessary. Of course, make sure to save some of the money as well.

Streamline your budget

One of the first things to do when looking for a job is to look honestly at your finances and identify any unnecessary expenses you can cut out. This could include anything from pricey streaming services to daily coffee runs - anything you don't need but are spending money on just out of habit. Once you've identified these extras, plan how much you want to save by cutting them out.

According to Shawn Plummer, CEO of the Annuity Expert,

Creating and sticking to a budget is the best way to ensure that you can manage your finances while looking for a job.

Make sure to track your spending and set a realistic budget to cover all necessary bills, save some money each month, and still have enough left over for some small luxuries like an occasional coffee or takeout meal."

GoSkills managing finances while looking for a job

It's also worth looking at your fixed costs, such as rent, utilities, and loans, to see if there are any areas where you can reduce spending. For example, can you:

  • downsize your living space?
  • consider switching providers for cheaper broadband or mobile contracts?
  • speak with loan providers about reducing payments temporarily?

Every little bit helps.

Finally, ensure that you focus on building up an emergency fund if something unexpected (e.g., car repair) or the job search takes longer than expected. Then, you have some buffer cash available to cover the cost. It might seem like a daunting task, but every little contribution will put away towards this fund can make a big difference in the long run.


Managing your finances while job hunting can be a difficult task. However, with careful planning and budgeting, it is possible to stay afloat financially until you find the perfect new job. Look into unemployment benefits, streamline your budget, and focus on building up an emergency fund so that any unexpected costs don't derail your plans.

Meanwhile, why not take advantage of this downtime to gain the skills you need so you're ready when that perfect job opportunity comes your way? If you're in the process of figuring out how to find internships or jobs, we've got you covered! Get access to over 100 expert-led courses, including How to Prepare for a Job Interview. The first 7 days are on us!

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Catherine Schwartz

Catherine Schwartz

Catherine is a personal finance writer covering a wide range of investment topics with the aim to help people achieve financial freedom. Passionate about financial literacy and considers it one of the most important life skills.