6 Ways to Save Money During a Job Search

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: March 5, 2013

Go for Broke Without Being Broke

Currently, there are around 23 million people either out of work or underemployed, and the number of people out of work for more than six months has doubled in the past three years. Understandably, the pressure to get a job can make it easy to develop a find-work-at-all-costs mentality.

However, this approach isn't necessary and can even be hazardous to your job search. To launch an effective job search and avoid going into unnecessary debt, consider these money-saving tips.

6. Apply for Unemployment

It may be obvious, but applying for unemployment is the very first thing you should do when you find yourself jobless.

The process can be time-consuming, but it's an essential security measure in case you're unable to immediately find new employment. Plus, you've earned it. Are you really in a position to turn down the extra cash?

5. Use Free Services First

If you're considering hiring a head hunter or job coach, make sure it makes sense for your profession. For example, if you're willing to relocate and work in a specialized field, hiring a head hunter who specializes in that field could be to your benefit. But in many cases, such services are overrated and overpriced.

If you're unsure, circulate your resume on your own (for free) before you hire the services of a professional. Only spend the extra money if you have to.

4. Cut Expenses

Losing your job requires adjustment and tough choices.

In order to survive living on a slashed income, you need to slash your expenses. List out everything you spend money on monthly in order to find where you can cut back. Start with your regular bills and services, then pore over bank and credit card statements for nitty-gritty details like cups of coffee and fast food. If you spend cash primarily, save your receipts.

Things to cut back on may include your TV package, your cell phone plan, lunches and dinners out, and "fun" purchases like new clothes or electronics. Also incorporate ways to save into your routine: use coupons at the grocery store, reduce home energy use, and consolidate errands to save on gas.

Every little bit helps.

3. Generate Income on the Side

Use your new-found free time to generate income any way you can.

Collect small electronics you don't need or use as well as any other unwanted valuables and sell them online at eBay or Amazon. For items you can't sell, donate them and save the tax receipt. Depending on your income and the item you donate, you could actually net more from the tax deduction than from selling it.

Selling and/or donating your "stuff" has the added benefit of clearing the clutter from your home and keeping you active and productive, which can both keep you optimistic during this difficult time.

2. Save All Your Receipts

Job search expenses are often tax-deductible.

Save receipts for resume preparation fees, travel expenses, employment agency fees, and anything else you purchase specifically to find a new job in your current occupation. The IRS will allow you to deduct the amount of qualifying expenses that exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

1. Reconsider Direct Mail Campaigns

You'll find this as a recommendation from many online resources and career counselors, but it's just not an effective use of your time or money. Postage and paper supply costs are significant, and your return on investment is minimal.

Save Up for a Great Resume

Saving money when looking for work is a good goal, but one thing you don't want to skimp on is preparing a great resume.

Many people benefit from the services of a professional who has seen hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes and knows what sells. Since your resume is likely to be your first contact with potential employers, it pays to ensure that it's high-quality, error-free, and polished. And by implementing the money-saving tips above, you should be easily able to afford this small investment.

Leave us a comment and tell us the other ways you've saved money when looking for employment?

Let Salary.com Help You

Once you've saved all your money during job search, it's time to get it all back and then some when you get an offer. And Salary.com can help you with that.

The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.