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Money-saving tips for the unemployed, unpaid

Jenna Johnson

Maybe you just graduated college and still haven't landed a job. Maybe you scored one of those "great" unpaid internships. Or maybe you are just poor like many college students.

Whatever your situation, here are seven money-saving ideas for living on your own this summer from Teri Gault, the founder of and author of "Shop Smart, Save More."

1. Used furniture is stylish
Garage sales and second-hand stores are the best places to get furniture at a fraction of the cost of buying new. Choose a rustic or shabby chic decorating theme, so that refinishing is easy or not even necessary.

2. Bundle your bills
Your TV cable, Internet and phone may be available from one provider. By bundling these services, you can save over-paying individual companies. Don't be afraid to barter and ask for discounts. You can also save by bundling your insurance and asking them to match or beat their competitors.

3. Cut down your food bill
Food is the second-biggest expense for many households. Instead of buying groceries when you run out and paying full price, stock up on things you like to eat when they are on sale. You'll save about 50 percent, and if you add a coupon, about 67 percent.

4. Take your lunch
You don't even have to "make" a lunch to take your lunch to work. When delicious frozen meals are on sale, stock up. Bringing lunch just three times a week can save more than $100 a month.

5. Check your drugstore for savings
All the major drugstore chains sell groceries, as well as health and beauty items, cleaning products and household items. Check weekly sales, and combine them with coupons for even more savings.

6. Buy linens on clearance
Linens, including bedding and towels, have styles that go out of season. Search for the best deals on clearance items online.

7. Hit holiday sales for dishes and kitchen supplies
Year-round holiday sales are the best time to buy for great savings on everything for the kitchen. Shop online for the best deals and price comparisons. Search for promo codes to use at checkout for additional savings or free shipping.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all D.C. interns. So, make sure to bookmark You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  |  July 1, 2010; 12:14 PM ET
Categories:  Real World  | Tags: Internships, Job Search  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: That intern: The vacation intern
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Another great way to save is using online coupon sites. Just because you don't have a job doesn't mean you shouldn't send your mom flowers for mother's day or your kid sister a gift for graduating high school. For these examples you can use coupons such as these to save. there are many other online coupon sites too. Check out for more selection of coupons.

Posted by: FreePromoCodez | July 1, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Tip: Do not get a degree in English, Sociology, Women's Studies, or any other major that can be learned at your public library or from casual observation of strangers. In the long run, this tip will save you more money than anything else in your entire life.

Posted by: zippyspeed | July 1, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as someone who earned a BA and MA in English Lit (yep, many Women's Studies and Art History classes in there) and now earns well into the six figures...those studies taught me to think critically, to write well in a a variety of settings from press releases to white papers, and to communicate well, which has served me well in project management and leading teams. Yes, balance those classes with business courses as well. But, don't listen to insufferable boors who downplay a quality liberal arts education, which, by the way, was half funded by scholarship at Stanford, and half by working my way through school. My savings tip: don't take out unnecessary loans, and work any odd job that pays the book bills.

P.S. When I hire staff to work for me now, a degree that shows investment in learning to think and write is a big asset.

Posted by: charlottes_b | July 1, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

zippyspeed, as someone who has a B.A. in History and a M.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations, I can attest to the fact that liberal arts degrees do not hinder employment, and may well benefit the job applicant. I have continuously moved up the ladder in my career- job/performance/pay-wise, and this is mostly due to the skills developed while pursing my "useless" degrees. The problem with many may be experience- not enough diversity in their skill sets. So my tip- diversify what you bring to the table, even if that means developing new skills by volunteering while out of work and truly leveraging the opportunities available as an intern (paid or unpaid). That will pay off in the long run.

Posted by: devilsadvocate3 | July 2, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

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