This time around, I'm not quite as confident. For starters, it's possible I'll be out of work longer than the 3 months it took me last time. And without severance, things get real pretty fast. I'm erring on the side of caution and giving up as many non-essentials as I can stomach. In particular, my entire allowance and entire gym membership. If you read my entry about working out for less then you know giving up the gym is not a big deal. I'll run and lift weights at my house for free.
Allowance is the real sacrifice. When my husband and I first got married, we opened a joint checking & savings account, but also opted to each keep a private checking account. All individual purchases come out of this account: clothes, shoes, haircuts, makeup, dining out, classes, entertainment, gum, magazines, books, music, etc.
Luckily, I had a bit of reserve saved up before becoming unemployed, which should get me through the next couple of months if I'm frugal. In the meantime, it's a fascinating study in what is and isn't essential to spend money on in the short run.
- Clothes: I shouldn't need to buy new clothes. I have enough suits for interviews and jeans and t-shirts to wear around the house. Nonessential
- Hair: My hair is really short right now, but no job = no bob. I'll need one last trip to the salon to get things evened out and ready to grow. Semi-essential
- Makeup: I don't wear very much, but I stockpiled the expensive stuff at a Christmas sale. All the rest, I buy at the beauty bodega down the street for less than $6 a piece. Semi-essential
- Entertainment: First, DC's full of free museums and many lovely parks. Second, my bedside drawer is stacked with books I haven't read. Third, we've got NetFlix, TiVo and various online viewing options. Nonessential
- Eating out: This is both an easy & hard one. It's extremely easy for me to eat what's in the house. On the other hand, one expense that's always worth it (especially in unemployment) is connecting with people over lunch and drinks. Essential