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Our Unemployed Budget: $1200 per month


Our Unemployed 'Crisis' Budget | How to budget when you're unemployed. How we cut back our expenses and survived unemployment. Plus, how we made money while we were unemployed. I’ve mentioned it a few times that life has been pretty crazy around here lately.

Here’s the run down: I quit my job in April to attempt self-employment. Austin has been a full-time student all year and spent a few months in an unpaid internship.

Basically, we didn’t have an income for the summer.

I won’t pretend that quitting my job was the most financially sound decision we ever made. It wasn’t. But I was feeling a lot of stress and frustration that was making me not a great person to be around.

I’ll explain more later, but basically, we had extra money saved up and many backup plans in place so we knew we’d be ok.

At the very least, we knew that Austin would be done with his degree by the end of summer, so we knew he’d get a good job sooner or later (luckily, he got a job a few weeks ago!).

Still, we slashed our budget back as far as we could and did all kinds of things to make money. If you want to know what our regular budget looks like, look at my post on our $1500/month budget.

Oh, and just because someone will want to know, we didn’t qualify for food stamps or any government assistance because of the amount of money we have in savings.

Our Unemployed Budget: $1200 per month

How We’ve Survived With No Income


We were doing our best to save extra money leading up to when I quit my job.

Also, we had an emergency fund that would last a minimum of six months, though we really didn’t want to use any of it.

Selling Stuff

We’ve made money selling books and video games through Amazon FBA.

We also had a yard sale, sold things on a local Facebook resale site, and through a local online auction.


My goal all along was to be self-employed. I worked on many different ways to do this like it was my full-time job. I worked my tail off.

Austin and I gained a few clients that we provided technical help for and Austin built a website for a local business.

I also put countless hours into this blog and it has started to pay off. I’ll be sharing about my blogging income soon!

Related Posts:

How & Where to Cut Your Budget 

13 Ways to NOT Spend Money

Our Unemployed Budget

Fixed Expenses

Some bills can’t be changed. We pay our utilities on a budget plan, so those are the same every month. Our mortgage didn’t change either.

We have a good deal on our cell phones, internet, and health insurance, so that stayed the same as well. I asked around for better rates on our car and home insurance and found that we were already getting a good deal.

Mortgage: $410.00

Yes, that number includes taxes and insurance. We got a great deal on a foreclosure and have worked hard to make it nice.

Gas: $33.00

On a budget plan, so it’s the same every month.

Electric: $91.00

On a budget plan, so it’s the same every month.

Cell Phones: $50.00

No smart phones over here!

Austin and I are on a family plan with my parents and we don’t have any kind of data plan. You’d laugh if you saw our phones. Austin has a flip phone with giant, large-print buttons and I’ve had the same phone for six years!

Internet: $52.00

We couldn’t give up internet because Austin’s classes are all online and I need it for blogging and other self-employment opportunities.

Car Insurance: $75.00

We have one car without a loan, so we just have to pay for insurance on it.

Health Insurance: $62.00

Because of our low income, we qualify for a tax credit through the Affordable Care Act.

We have a plan with a super high deductible, so it’s really for just in case of a major emergency.

Credit Card Payment: $27.00

My computer completely died a few months ago. I got a refurbished MacBook and we financed it on a card without interest for a year.

We actually have the money to pay this off, but we wanted to keep cash in our pocket until our income went up. We’ll for sure pay this off before our interest-free period is up.

Related Posts:

13 Secret to Saving Money on Food

The Huge Financial Benefit of Staying Home

The Big List of FREE Entertainment Ideas


I automatically save money each month for various categories (more on that here). When we lost our income, I stopped contributing to some of these savings accounts.

I completely stopped adding money to our Christmas, Medical, House, and Giving funds. I’ll start adding to these categories again now that we’re making money. Below are the categories that I’ve kept contributing to.

Car: $20.00

Oil changes and our plate renewal fee happen no matter what. We’ve kept adding to this fund so we could cover the bare minimum.

Mozzie (our dog): $30.00

We lowered the amount saved in Mozzie’s fund a little but.

Since he has to go to the groomer regularly and have shots and heart worm meds, we had to keep saving this much.

Gifts: $10.00

We don’t spend much on gifts for family, but we still wanted to be able to show our family that we care.

$10 has been enough to get family members a small, thoughtful birthday gift. Check out some inexpensive gift ideas here.

Water & Trash: $30.00

We get a quarterly bill from the city, so we didn’t want to get behind on saving for it.

Life Insurance: $33.00

We pay for life insurance once a year. I didn’t want to stop adding to this fund because it would just cause a problem later when this bill comes.

Related Posts:

Our Emergency Fund: Why You Need One & How To Get One

The 5 Biggest Ways We Save Big Money

17 Expenses You’re Forgetting to Budget For

Variable Expenses

We cut back on our variable expenses as much as possible.

We ate out of our freezer and the cupboards. We almost completely stopped going out to eat. We didn’t buy any clothes or extra “stuff”. Basically, we didn’t spend money on any fun stuff.

We did still enjoy the summer with a bunch of free activities, like picnics down at my in-law’s river cabin.

Gas: $50.00

We actually have spent a little more on gas than usual.

We didn’t drive around town at all, but we had to drive an hour into the city for interviews for Austin multiple times.

Food: $200.00

I did my best to eat the meat I had saved in the freezer. We also shopped at Aldi once a month to stock up on necessities.

I use Ibotta to get money back on our groceries. They even have rebates for fruits and veggies. If you sign up with my referral link, you will get $10 added to your account when you scan a receipt for your first rebate.

I’ve even created a tutorial for exactly how I save money on fruits, veggies, and non-name brand foods.

ibotta banner

Toiletries and Household Products: $30.00

Eating Out: $10.00

$10 is enough for us to eat at Sam’s Club twice.

Since we had to drive to the big city a few times for interviews, it made sense to have a little money to stop for a meal.

Monthly Total: $1213.00

This is what our budget looked like for most of the summer. It was definitely stressful, but we made it through.

Austin has started a great job and I’m making a little money from home. I am so glad that we can relax a little now and get back to our normal budget!

⇒ How have you covered expenses when you were unemployed? Where did you cut back?

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Be sure to click over to my Recommendations Page to see some of the ways I save money, make extra money, learn new skills, and make money with this blog.

If you’re interested in starting a blog, click over to read why I think you should do it! Plus there’s a tutorial to get you started.


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Paying Cash for College as an Adult (it can be done!) - The (mostly) Simple Life

Wednesday 23rd of November 2016

[…] Our Unemployed Budget: $1200/Month […]


Sunday 13th of November 2016

Nice and tight - I too try to keep expenses as low as possible - I am retired and the income is fixed, until I start making money with my blog - in fact I make it a fun challenge to see where I can save money


Sunday 13th of November 2016

It's so much better when you make it fun and you get creative!


Sunday 18th of September 2016

Hi Christine, I liked the info. The only thing I would add whether money is flowing in or not would be "Health Insurance for Mozzie/your dog." There are a lot of them out there, but the benefit of having insurance is that you will be able to cover any "unexpected health situations that Mozzie/your dog" has...just like for yourself, but actually better. Many plans will reimburse you 80 - 100% depending on your deductible and what you pay. Meaning you could put the VET bill on a credit card, submit some forms to the Dog Insurance Company, and then get reimbursed a certain percent which is helpful and will save you money. There is also a credit card called "CARE CREDIT" which can be used to pay for VET bills. Many many times I see people leave the Vet office and not get the care they need for their four legged family member, because they made no financial plans which is really awful.


Sunday 18th of September 2016

Thanks for the info Melissa. We've got plenty of money in our emergency fund to take care of anything that comes up for Mozzie, so we haven't looked into pet insurance.


Monday 12th of September 2016

Really inspiring post! I'm unemployed at the moment and although we've made some saving plans it's hard sticking to them


Monday 12th of September 2016

Thanks Hanna! You can do it!

Charlotte Burkholder

Sunday 11th of September 2016

Just an fyi, you might be able to get a cell-phone with a data plan for cheap these days. My husband bought me a used Iphone off a facebook yardsale page and I pay $30-$35 monthly with Boost no-contract plan. Something to look into.


Sunday 11th of September 2016

Thanks! I know there are some inexpensive options out there. We live in a really rural area and have a hard time getting service sometimes with the best providers, so we don't think a lot of the cheaper ones will work. When we move to the city next month, we'll probably look into it.