Don’t Stress: 5 Things To Do When Unemployment Benefits Run Out

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Apr. 2 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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When unemployment benefits run out, it can be a challenging time, but there are several steps you can take to navigate this situation in an effective fashion. From taking an accurate assessment of your financials to upskilling and tapping into your network, here are five key things to do when government assistance has dried up.

Get A Birdseye View

Gather all data points and outline a detailed budget before addressing your financial reality. Here’s how to do it with ease.

Get real about your financial situation. Start by evaluating your financial status. Calculate your expenses and identify areas where you can cut costs — think streaming apps, pricey membership fees, clothing spending, etc. Then, create a budget to manage your finances better.

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“Because when you’ve got everything covered in your budget, you know there’s space for spending! You won’t worry about the electric bill not getting paid because you decided to treat yourself to a new sweater,” Rachel Cruze, a #1 New York Times bestselling author and financial expert, told Ramsey Solutions. “If you’ve got a clothing or personal spending budget line, and there’s money in there to buy the new sweater — buy it!”

Seek financial assistance and support services. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, try tapping into government assistance programs, community resources, or nonprofit organizations that provide support services for unemployed individuals. These may include food assistance programs, rental assistance, or career counseling services. Organizations such as The Salvation Army or even your local church may have the means to extend emergency assistance for rent or utilities.

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Be Intentional When Exploring Resources

Be deliberate in seeking out additional resources that could aid your situation. Since circumstances vary, explore tailored options available to you, such as veteran benefits, sorority networks, or community connections through the church.

Explore alternative income sources. Opt for part-time, freelance, or temporary work opportunities to supplement your income. Websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, or TaskRabbit offer platforms for freelancers to find gigs in various fields, including graphic design, writing, housecleaning, and much more. You can also consider gig economy jobs such as food delivery or ride-sharing via Uber, Lyft, Doordash, or similar.

Tap into your network. Contact your professional network for a pulse on potential job opportunities, referrals, or informational interviews. Also, consider attending industry events, networking mixers, or virtual meetups to connect with like-minded professionals.

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According to Eric Sim, the author of “Small Actions: Leading Your Career to Big Success,” you should think of social capital in the following sense.

“It’s the goodwill and relationships you have built with people over the years. It works similar to putting money in a bank: Every time you help someone, you deposit some social capital. Maybe you buy them lunch, give them a tip on a job opening, or share some career advice,” he told the CFA Institute. “It is a good idea to treat people with respect even if they’re in a junior position. Then, the law of compounding kicks in. Your social capital grows as the people you help today advance their careers and step into more senior roles tomorrow.”

Invest in further education or training. Nothing says, “I can do this,” quite like investing in yourself. Consider furthering your education or training to enhance your skill set and level up your qualifications. Begin by looking for online courses, workshops, or certification programs that will expand on current skill sets and unique competencies that will make you more competitive in the job market — i.e., a second language, data analysis, and more.

Do you feel as though you’ve turned the tables on post-benefits blues? If so, dive into options, get creative, and strut through the unemployment desert toward your next oasis!

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By: Truth Hawkins

Truth Hawkins, a seasoned wordsmith with over a decade of experience spanning entertainment, culture, and lifestyle news, navigates the dynamic landscapes of pop culture, lifestyle, and music. More than a reporter, Truth is a dedicated storyteller, unearthing narratives that deeply resonate with readers and invites them to engage in meaningful conversations.

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