Get through unemployment without borrowing

Budget, cut back, work part-time — anything but more debt


Credit Wise
Credit Wise columnist Kevin Weeks
With more than 20 years experience in the nonprofit credit counseling industry, Kevin Weeks joined the Financial Counseling Association of America (, @TrustFCAA) as its president Dec. 1, 2014. Weeks has extensive knowledge of both the credit counseling industry and the FCAA organization, having served in leadership positions for three of its member agencies and on the FCAA board of directors. In addition, Weeks is working with FCAA members to help develop a long-term solution to the student loan crisis through the website Weeks holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration, management information systems from Salem State University.

Ask a question.

'Credit Wise' archive

Question for the expert

Dear Credit Wise,
I'm in a bit of a financial bind. I'm out of money and have no job. Seriously, what do I do? I am job hunting as we speak and also a loan was offered at 14.25 percent to borrow $15,225 to pay off credit cards. This still doesn't put money in my pocket. What should I do to get money fast?  -- Karen

Answer for the expert

Dear Karen,
Being unemployed and out of money is a bad place to be, but adding a $15,000 loan to the mix will only make your problem worse.  It is easy to panic at times like these, which makes this type of loan attractive. But resist the temptation and let's talk about what you can do to, as you say, put money in your pocket now.

Expand your job hunt to include part-time work. While this type of work probably will not pay what you are accustomed to or want, it will serve to give you some income. Accepting a part-time position will also give you some time to continue your job search for a more permanent solution.

Look at your belongings and see if you have things you no longer need and could sell. If you have enough, a garage sale may be in your future. If not, consider an online source for selling select items.

Examine your expenses and see where you can make reductions. Now is the time to tighten your belt and go to a bare-bones budget. Your priorities should be your housing, food and utilities. If you have a car payment, that should be next, along with gas for your car. You will also need to keep up your insurance payments. Student loans and credit cards are last on the priority list, but if at all possible try to make the minimum payments to keep from falling behind.

Even within your priority list, though, there are changes you can make to free up a little more cash. Forgo the takeout and eat at home; turn down the heat and put on an extra sweater to save on your heating bill; turn off the lights and unplug appliances to save electricity; remove extras from your phone, or even consider going to a prepaid phone plan. If you have cable and Internet, look for cheaper plans with fewer channels and slower Internet speed. Consider raising the deductible on your car insurance to free up extra cash monthly.

I know it can be very difficult and it may not be an option for you at all, but you might consider asking a family member or friend for help until you can get back to work.

Be wise with your credit!

See related: Poor credit can leave you joblessUnemployed? You can get an extra free credit report5 steps to tackling debt while unemployed 

Meet's reader Q&A experts

Does a personal finance problem have you worried? Monday through Saturday,'s Q&A experts answer questions from readers. Ask a question, or click on any expert to see their previous answers.

Published: January 23, 2016

Join the discussion
We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

Follow Us

Updated: 10-23-2016

Weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, advice, articles and tips delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.