10 Ways to Save Money While Looking for a Job

by Amy Adair

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Almost everyone nowadays knows someone who's been laid off, unemployed, or simply unhappy with his or her current job. At times such as these, keeping expenses down can seem difficult, especially with the added expenses of actually looking for more work. But there are ways to look professional and save money while looking for a job.

Mailing Expenses

Don't use too much postage. One stamp will do for a letter-sized envelope containing a resume and cover letter. If you prefer to mail your resume in a manila envelope, two stamps will suffice. If you have multiple enclosures and feel the weight would justify another stamp, have it weighed at the post office.

Keep your paper neat. Plain white resume paper works just fine, but make sure you keep it from getting wrinkled or torn. If your paper comes in a ream without a box, store it in a Rubbermaid container or other storage box.

Consider email. If you want to cut out mailing expenses all together, consider emailing your resume and cover letter if an address is included where you see the job. However, here's a word of caution. Make sure your documents are formatted properly, and that you use the same professional tone you would use in a mailed cover letter and resume.

Clothing Expenses

Try used first. Your interview suit does have to be neat and professional; it does not have to be new. Try asking friends and family members of similar proportions if you can borrow a suit. Chances are, they have one in their closet they haven't used for awhile. Also, check out rummage sales and thrift stores for gently used outfits.

Go beyond your usual department. If you decide to buy a suit new, try looking in departments you may not normally shop in. For example, the Junior's department has suits that are much less expensive than those found in the Women's department.

Don't spend a lot on shoes. Your shoes don't need to attract attention, and don't need to be anything fancy. A pair of black flats from Payless (bought on sale) or a well-polished older pair will do just fine.


Visit your library. Instead of buying expensive books and career guides, make use of your local library. You can find books on career changes, industry magazines and information to research companies you want to work for.

Check out your college. If you went to college, see if your college offers job assistance programs for alumni. Also, some fraternities and sororities have career counseling or networking programs.

Surf the Web. Check out company sites and find job-hunting tips and open position postings on the Internet.

Know where you're going. When you schedule an interview, make sure you know how to get there. Consult several resources, such as MapQuest, a road atlas and the person with whom you make the interview. If you are going that way for anther reason, drive past to see exactly where the building is, and note if there is a parking lot for visitors. You will save time and gas money by not driving around in circles!

The most important thing about looking for a job is keeping a positive attitude. By not spending a fortune while you look for a job, you are not only helping your pocketbook, but also your peace of mind.

Take the Next Step

  • Dont be in denial. If you feel that your job maybe at risk, have a contingency plan.
  • Take action today, so you will be better off tomorrow. For instance: find a new job, get additional training, and get out of debt.
  • Do you struggle to get ahead financially? Then you'll want to subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!

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