Empire State of Broke: Budgeting and Job Hunting

NYC career change move adventure

One thing I didn’t anticipate was such a competitive job search. So today I’m discussing my budget, and dealing with a long job search. For those of y’all just now tuning in, thanks for being here! This series is a realistic look at moving across the country with no job, starting over, and all the hardships each step of the way. I find that a lot of bloggers simply shy away from anything negative. That’s not realistic. Especially if you’re a 20-something trying to figure out where you’re headed. I’m sharing it all, the good, the bad, the scary.

It’s hard to estimate how long it’ll take to find a job. Even harder when you’re changing careers. Trust me, plenty of times I want to throw in the towel and say never mind, just kidding. Then I remember, this is a field I genuinely love everything about. Shoutout to all y’all out there fearlessly pursuing your dreams! So in the meantime, I’ve taken on a serious budget. It’s simple, and anyone can do it.

I hate plotting things out in an excel spreadsheet or following my expenses on Mint. It makes me anxious. Instead I stick to a few basic rules, spend as little as possible, buy necessities, allot some money for entertainment/going out, make all food at home. For example: Starbucks, I love a PSL or Chai Tea Latte in the fall and winter but it’s not a necessity. Sweaters? Definitely necessary, but walking into Macy’s and buying one off of the rack makes very little sense when I can just as easily scour the internet for a similar style and much cheaper price. At the same time, it’s easy to go a little stir crazy when you don’t have a 9-to-5.

One thing I’ve recently started doing is roughly meal planning, and buying cheap but filling foods. So on my side of the pantry you’ll find Cheerios, pretzels, Ramen, peanut butter and a bag of candy. In the fridge? Milk, eggs, tuna, carrots, grapes, apples, chicken and the cheapest wine I could find. The healthiest diet? No, but my grocery bill was $35 and I’ll have plenty left to where I’ll only need to buy more fruit/veggies, eggs, ramen, chicken and a bag of pretzels or popcorn.

Another area I’ve cut back on is beauty. There are so many awesome dupes out there and cheaper, but fantastic skin care products! Later this week I’ll be sharing my beauty essentials with y’all. Similarly, clothing wise, I look for basic, must have items at great prices. Since I’m looking at a harsh winter, I will be stocking up on sweaters, jackets, scarves and hats. Spoiler: I’ve picked up some fantastic items and I can’t wait to share them with y’all.

NYC career change dreams move no job budget

Long job hunts are tough, really, really, incredibly tough. Facing rejection on a daily basis, and sometimes sheer frustration constantly is hard. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s just how things are, either way it is a tough situation to be in. Sometimes it’s hard to just stay sane waiting to hear back. This is why it is so important to have other goals outside of your job hunt. Whether it’s learning to how to cook the world’s best pot roast, getting in shape, learning new skills like HTML or photography, or volunteering – pick something or a lot of things and do that too.

So for me, I’m setting a goal to get in shape and learn enough web code to not have to hire a web designer for this blog since I’m a complete cheapskate sometimes and a huge fan of DIY.

TL;DR: if you’re going to leave everything behind, move across the country, start a new life, change careers, give up something to pursue your dreams be prepared for a huge lifestyle change. It’s totally worth it, but budget accordingly. Budget smart and it won’t be so challenging and make an effort to get out and do things that you really enjoy!

  • Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom

    Good luck on your job search! I stopped working a few years ago to stay home with my kids, but I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when I return to the work force. I am expecting it is going to take time and I know I’ll have to take a huge pay cut at first. Ramen noodles were my dish of choice when I was in college and you can add ingredients to make them tastier! Lol!


  • FreelanceGal

    Congratulations on making the decision to make yourself happy and do what you want. This is the perfect age to do it. And by that, I mean, not tied down with a lot of responsibilities. I am 43 and am trying to do a career change now. Didn’t have a lot of direction when I was your age. Just went with the flow!

    I was laid off in 2012. I’m a single mom and had a house I was paying my mortgage on. If you budget wisely, you can make it. I made a 4 1/2 months severance package last until past the time I found a job (back in a field I HATED) 7 1/2 months after I was laid off. But, I was also able to get side gigs freelancing, so that helped. And regretfully, I was also put on food stamps when I went to sign up for medicaid insurance since my insurance expired. If you’re not working, have you looked into doing those as well to tide you over? Or, are you not qualified due to making the decision on your own?

    Now, I’m off to read about the rest of your journey! Good luck!

  • These are great tips, and for one – I say happy day to you following what matters to you – cheers on that! I agree that budgeting will help to make it a much happier move 😉

  • Kelly Hutchinson

    My daughter ran into a lot of the same things you did when she graduated college. The job market was saturated and she found it very difficult to find a job.

  • Job hunting is very tough. You either don’t get called back or you find a job that the salary is just horrific it’s not worth taking:( I think more professors and teachers need to be straight forward with students about what to expect in the job market of their field of choice. That way we can decide early if we want to change to something else.

  • Mistee Dawn

    Job hunting is very hard. And budgeting can be even harder. But in the end it is all worth it.

  • Gosh, job hunting can be incredibly stressful. It’s good that you’re able to meal plan and cut costs in the meantime.

  • Pam W

    It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to keep your budget under control while job hunting. I agree that there are many great dupes for beauty products.

  • Lori Who Needs A Cape?

    There’s definitely the good, bad & scary that goes along with all age ranges. Keeping your budget reasonable is always a smart move.

  • Caitlin

    job hunting is awful! keep your spirits up and i think you are being smart about trying to be frugal.

  • TheMummyToolbox

    you are so brave to have moved across the country without a job because of how competitive it can be. To be honest I am not sure I would have done it even if I had a job lined up!!

  • J-Man and MillerBug

    These are all great tips! We budget big time and we actually don’t miss having debt at all! We wait to buy stuff that we want and if we can’t afford it then we just don’t get it. We also just started menu planning! That helps SO much! Good luck with the job search I know it is hard! We were there not too long ago ourselves.

  • Rebecca Swenor

    These are great tips to others who want to start over or pursue their dreams or change careers. It really is going to be a life style change and you really do need to prepare ahead. Thanks for sharing your experience. Good Luck in the job hunting.

  • It really takes a lot of guts to change jobs and careers. One has to be patient and be focus on the shift.

  • Madi Vachon

    Good luck on the job hunt, I really hope something works out for you soon! But these are such great budgeting tips!

  • I ran into a long term job search when I moved to Washington. It sucks to go through, I wish you luck on your job search!

  • Wow – very brave of you to go out and change your job to pursue your passion! Best of luck and looking forward to the follow up post about your success!

  • Chrissy Hme

    You are braver than I am! What a big change and so many new opportunities, good luck!