5 Ways Caitlin Banked Big Bucks

dw_savings2Caitlin O’Toole writes the Miss Jobless Chronicles for MediaBistro.

How have I survived months of un- and underemployment?

I put away emergency money away for years. I was always the annoying friend who would say, “No, I can’t go to that new movie, I’m trying to save money”; or, “Let’s get a six-pack and go to my house, it’s cheaper than happy hour.” But it paid off:

I saved one full year’s worth of expenses—enough to get me through a lot of my underemployment crisis.

Besides wielding that big money-saver, “NO”, here’s how I did it, despite living in New York, one of the priciest cities on the planet.

I quit smoking. I had been smoking two packs a day—$20 a day X 7 days = a whopping $560 a month. I don’t know where I even got the money in the first place.

I learned to cook chili. It lasts five days and it’s a great protein-jolt.

I tossed my checkbook. Seriously. Paying with cash or money orders for everything can be a pain, but I always knew down to the dime how much I’d spent and how much I had left. No more late fees, no more negative balances!

I saved long-distance. I transferred all my savings to an account that didn’t have an ATM card attached to it.

I joined the cheapies. Big cities offer lots of freebies if you keep your eyes peeled, and scour websites geared toward the livin’-on-less lifestyle, like Brokelyn, which list everything from free yoga classes to beer tastings.

Bottom line:
I still had a life, I just didn’t pay as much for it.

How are you all doing?
How have you learned to cut back, especially in times of un/underemployment?

Caitlin O’Toole writes the Miss Jobless Chronicles for MediaBistro.

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