Three weeks ago I quit my job.
Some people might think I’m mad, but right now I’m having the time of my life.
While I plan to go back to full-time employment at the end of the summer, for now I’m thrilled not to set an alarm clock, or to be ironing my work uniform, or to be doing a task because I’ve been told to rather than because I want to.
Of course, not everyone wants to live without a job – some people have to thanks to personal circumstances. From being made redundant, to retiring, to raising a family, there are ever more people than ever before trying to get by without traditional work.
In today’s article, therefore, I’d like to discuss how I prepared for this situation, and how you can live well without a job too…
Become Debt Free
The biggest issue with not having a job is of course a lack of dependable income. Whether you have found yourself without a job right now, or are planning to become “job free” in the near future, it therefore makes sense to slash any outstanding debt.
Being debt free immediately reduces your monthly expenses – because you don’t need to worry about repayments. What’s more, if you have plenty of credit available you can always use this (carefully) to help you get out of a muddle.
Create Passive Income Streams
Just because you don’t have a job doesn’t mean you can’t have any income. With the advent of the Internet it’s ever easier to earn a side income from home, no matter what your technical knowledge or level of experience.
Personally speaking, I have a number of semi-passive income streams. I now own five different blogs at various stages of development, which help to bring in a decent income each month like clockwork. I’m also just dipping my toes into the world of ebook creation and t-shirt design to further expand my earning potential.
If you’d like to learn how anyone can start a profitable blog then read my detailed tutorial here.
Create an Emergency Fund
Financial emergencies happen for all of us sooner or later. When it comes to personal finance, it’s best to “plan for the worst and hope for the best” – don’t gamble on the fact that nothing bad will ever happen to you.
As an example, I’ve had a number of problems with my past car, but all were resolved quickly and without pain thanks to having an emergency fund in place. Aim to save some 3-6 months worth of living expenses in an account that you can access easily.
In this way not only can you weather any storms that life throws at you, but if you decide that the “job free” life isn’t for you then you’ll have suitable funds to keep you going while you search patiently for a new job.
Reduce Your Housing Costs
One of our biggest expenses is the cost of housing. If you want to live well without a job then it’s critical to get this financial beast under control – because the lower your housing costs, the easier it is to live without a traditional job.
To make my own situation easier we opted to move to France for the summer, where we were able to rent a beautiful property for far less than we would have spent in the UK. What’s more, the food, the climate and the way of life are all better, so it’s been a great move.
Cut Unnecessary Expenses
Living well without a job doesn’t just entail trying to earn money through less traditional avenues, it also means controlling your expenses. Grab your last 3 months of bank statements and go through each line with a sharpie.
Look for any expenses that can be cut, or reduced. Be brutal – your goal is to cut as many expenses as possible. In this way, your living expenses will drop significantly, making it much easier to live well without a job.
Develop New Skills
Many of us spend money unnecessarily – if only we knew the alternative. Learning new skills, from car maintenance to basic DIY, from sewing to gardening can all help to make your money go further.
Suddenly you find that you can do chores that you previously paid other people to do. If you get really good, you might even manage to turn one of these new skills into a side business, helping to increase your income at the same time.
Find Free Ways to Enjoy Yourself
Lastly, living without a job shouldn’t just be about the financial side of life. Sure, you should have this covered before considering anything else, but when this is done it’s time to enjoy yourself!
Remember that the real benefit of living without a job is all the time that is suddenly available to you – a luxury that full-time workers just never experience. Suddenly you have weeks and months ahead of you that you can use for good.
So don’t squander it, sitting around the house feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, find cheap and free ways to enjoy yourself – or even improve your prospects in the future.
Read books. Hike in the countryside. Spend time with friends and family. Start your own blog about a subject you’re interested in. Garden. Learn yoga. This is your time – the time that many of us only dream about – so live well by making the most of this most precious of resources.