How to Be Broke: The Upside of Being Unemployed

The worst part of about looking for work is the days in between.  You have no idea how long your money is going to have to last, you have no idea when you can expect to work again and you silently curse every tiny expenditure that you made back when you deluded yourself into believing that this was only going to be for a short period of time.

In these dark days of work-searching, it seems like there is nothing to do but scour craigslist and monster.com until your eyes bleed, sending out cover letter after cover letter with decreasing enthusiasm until you no longer remember where you applied.

But these difficult, unemployed days are the days of your life as well, and you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to make the best of them.  Yeah it’s hard to relax and enjoy life when you’re not really sure how you’re going to be able to pay your rent, but it’s critical.  Because you WILL get a job, you WILL have an income and things WILL be okay.  Just trust; there’s nothing else you can do.

But in the meantime you’ve gotta live, dammit, LIVE.  Here are some ways to do that.

NAP

It sounds indulgent, I know especially since America equates relaxing with lazy sluggishness, but all people with jobs do is talk about how tired they are all the time.  Well you have no excuse now not to catch up on all the sleep debt you have accrued over the past 20-something years of your life.  Lay in bed and read, watch something on hulu and then let yourself drift off for a couple of hours.  Remember: every hour you spend asleep is an hour you’re not spending money.

BONUS: Sleeping burns more calories than just sitting in front of the tv. Hey, Ladeeeez!

COOK

As Laura’s post describes, the food network and the internet are rife with saliva-inducing food imagery, most of which is horrifically unhealthy, or at least prohibitively expensive to make.  But there are many websites dedicated to delicious food that is easily made with what you probably already have in your house.  Use your abundance of free time to perfect a cookie recipe, try something you’ve never made before or just simply make a pact to make every single meal at home for a week and see how much cash that saves you. Try 101 Cookbooks, The Amateur Gourmet, or Eat Me Delicious for Baking

READ

I heard a (mildly funny) standup comic talk about prison recently .  “If it weren’t for the ass rape,” he asserted, “I’d go right now.  What do you do in prison beside sleep, work out and read books? It’s what you should be doing anyway.” No one has time to read anymore and when you’re done with your soul-sucking job there’s not much else that appeals other than drinking at happy hour or zoning out in front of the TV.  The unemployed have the unique opportunity to better themselves intellectually speaking,and escape into a novel for a few hours a day while everyone else is at work.  And there’s no financial element at all: a library card in any city is beautifully free, and having to visit the library to get it will give you something else to do.

Not sure what to read?  Check out the Modern Library’s 100 Greatest Novels.  Sure it skews a bit to the white male side of thing but it’s important to know one’s enemy right?  For a bit of a more diverse take on things check out The Guardian’s List.  There’s also Goodreads, which lets you see what people you know are reading and search books, etc.  It’s like a Facebook for nerdy people!

GO OUTSIDE


Really.  I know it’s hot, I know.  But soon it will be cold and it’s a lot less easy to have a sense of humor about poverty in the dead of winter, so take advantage.

SEXIN’

I miss you, Clinton Era...

I miss you, Clinton Era...

This is clearly a no brainer but it never hurts to reinforce!  Its great exercise, very much fun and unless you’re this guy it’s all marvelously free.  When you get a job your brain is going to be all clogged with thought about TPS reports, and casual Friday but for now you have all the time in the world to turn your apartment into a cozy lair of sexual seduction for your partner.  Get on it!

GET CREATIVE

If you’re a crafty type, you’re probably already doing this and have turned several old GWAR t-shirts into tea cosies in the time it’s taken you to read this post.  If you’re Naughty, rather than Crafty by nature (HA!) this is a bit of a harder sell, but beleive me.  Nothing can equal the sense of accomplishment you feel after making something with your own two hands.  For project ideas check out craftynest, the DIY section at Design*Sponge, or Ikeahacker, to change some of your yawn-inducing furniture into crazy original shit!

LAST RESORT: DEEP CLEAN YOUR HOUSE

There is much that is satisfying and very little that is fun about cleaning your house.  That said, it’s free, people, and it really should be done anyway.This sounds a little OCD and cultish, but in a sense, cleaning a space means taking control of it and that does affect your mindset.  Own that bathtub, clean out your refrigerator and splurge on a new box of baking soda; you deserve it!

After your’ve scrubbed, scoured, rinsed and washed, and every surface of your apartment smells lemony fresh, that gleam of accomplishment will shine brightly in your eye and yo, you will know that you can and will handle any thing this universe chucks at you.

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About the author

Ashley Friedman - Cornerstore Correspondent

Like most kids, Ashley grew up in New Jersey. Unlike most kids the Friedman's televison set acted as a third parent, imbuing young Ashley with the stern moral values of Claire Huxtable, the dramatic tendencies of Brenda Walsh and the earnest hopefulness of the blond kid on Silver Spoons. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence Ashley made her way to the Park Slope area of Brooklyn where she can currently be found reading foreign fashion magazines, scouring ebay for vintage heels, eating out in restaurants and otherwise stretching her meager income as far as it will go in NYC.
  • theTsaritsa

    We call it “funemployment” for a reason!

    the Tsaritsa sez

  • Kerrylquinn

    I just wrote an ebook called “FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn.” It offers even more tips and ideas for how to spend your time plus humorous stories of the FUnemployed. Available on Amazon, Kobo, Diesel, Barnes and Noble and iBookstore!