Ways to Make Money and Plan for Your Future When You're Out of Work

Learn how to earn extra cash and save money when you're in between jobs.

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Being between jobs can be difficult, but there are plenty of ways to make money while you’re looking for a new full-time job. Looking online is a great idea for finding short-term or contract work, and finding ways to save will also help you make ends meet while your income is limited. This can also be a great time to go back to school, whether it’s to get an online degree or sharpen your skills in a particular field.


While you’re out of work, think about ways you might make money online. Depending on your profession, you could work as a freelancer or take on some short-term contract work.

Becoming a freelancer can offer great flexibility, but requires some legwork to get started. Dedicated freelancers will often juggle several projects at once, so time management is often important. Once you decide to freelance, find a platform that will help you connect with clients. Build your profile and portfolio to help you land projects, and be vigilant about going after projects that seem interesting to you. Freelancing requires great communication, so be sure to keep in touch with any clients you agree to work for.


If you’re without work, this could be a great time to go back to school. Whether you’re interested in getting a degree in a new field or upskilling in your profession, this gap in employment could be perfect timing for continuing your education.

For many adults, returning to school can be difficult depending on how many responsibilities you have. If you have kids, for example, it might be hard to find the time to attend classes regularly. Online education can be great for older students, and there are several degree programs that are well-suited for virtual learning.

If you’re interested in computers, an IT degree could be perfect for you. Depending on how much time you can invest, you could graduate in under three years. IT work is a growing field, so you’d have plenty of job security for years to come.

Other degree options that can be done online include becoming a physician’s assistant, a software developer, or a market research analyst.


Losing work can be stressful, especially if you have debt or high living expenses. As The Ladders points out, it’s important to develop strong budgeting habits when you’re between jobs so you don’t end up in the red while you look for more work.

One way to save money is by pressing pause on subscriptions. For example, if you subscribe to several TV-streaming platforms, consider canceling them for a while or dropping down to just one. Set yourself up with a budgeting app so you can create good habits and keep track of your spending. Knowledge is power: you might find consistent expenses that you can cut out altogether, helping you save money for more important things like groceries and rent.

If you have large debts, consider working with a company such as DebtMD to find ways to take care of your bills efficiently and without added stress.


Sometimes, being between jobs affords you a rare opportunity to gain perspective on your career. During this time, Mapping Your Future recommends jotting down some ideas for your dream job, and developing a career plan. Even for people who are senior-level professionals, growth is always possible. Making a career plan will ensure you’re always working to improve your skills and fill in your knowledge gaps.

While finding yourself without a job might be devastating at first, keep in mind that you have the ability to take control of your life by either going back to school or starting to freelance. Be frugal during this time, and see where you might save money on subscriptions or other unnecessary items. Always look for ways you can improve your career; a growth mindset is vital for weathering the unemployment storm.

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