Unemployment has dipped to 8.6 percent, but there are still quite a number of people who are searching for jobs. Even among my circle of friends, I see that some of them are still facing layoffs or are struggling to find jobs. There really is a trick to job hunting, and interviewing is a skill you can pick up. Make sure you're not doing the wrong things by reading a roundup of the best job search tips we've featured in the past, and use those to get your dream job in 2012!
Happy New Year to all you savvy readers! Now that we're right back at the start of a spankin' brand-new year, I'm sure a lot of you have a new set of goals. Let's start the year off right and share in the comments below what your savvy resolutions are — be it related to life, career, work, travel, and more. People are more likely to stick to their goals when they share it with other people since there is more accountability and community support.
So tell me, what goals have you set for yourself this month?
Whether you'll be part of the massive crowd in Times Square waiting for the ball to drop or spending a quiet night in with family, I'm sure many of you already have your New Year's Eve celebration plans in place. I'm wondering how you'll be ringing in the New Year — are you celebrating frugally or are you dishing out some dough for this once-a-year event?
One of the hardest thing to budget in the past year was eating habits, according to SavvySugar readers. Of course, there is always the simple solution of just eating at home more often, but you can still cut your food bill here and there when you're eating out. We've given you plenty of tips in the past on how to save when eating out so we're rehashing some of the best ones as well as throwing in some our new frugal ideas! Here they are:
Use coupons. Go to Restaurant.com and enter in a coupon code for restaurant.com that'll get you a $25 voucher for only $2. You can find the coupon code by searching the keyword "restaurant.com" on the coupon site RetailMeNot. Buy a local Entertainment book worth $15 that will give you lots of buy one get one free coupons for restaurants.
Don't eat out when you're dining solo. Try to save your meal excursions for when you're with friends and family. This means that if you're planning on grabbing a quick bite by yourself, it's better to prepare something at home to eat instead. A big part of the joy of eating out is ambiance and company, so save your money and skip grabbing quick meals when you're alone.
Ration meals with friends. Even if you're saving all your meals out for when you have company, don't be too liberal when you're scheduling them. Try to rotate among different people if you're planning on having one-on-one dinners and space it out. Remember you can always catch up with people over drinks or during a fun activity so don't feel bad about skipping dinner.
Opt for lunch: Oftentimes, the lunch menu is a lot cheaper than dinner. When meeting up with people, try to opt for lunch as your preferred meal. Be sure to also pick their lunch specials.
First rule of networking: always keep in touch! This means reaching out to your contacts on some major holidays and even their birthdays to show your sincerity in wanting to keep in contact. If you're not keeping up with your communications, you may lose your contacts. And if ever you need their help (perhaps for a job lead), it would look bad if you reach out to them only when you need to call in a favor.
It doesn't even have to require much effort. Start by opening an Excel sheet and writing down all the people you need to keep in touch with as well as all of their details. Don't worry about the tediousness of the task, you'll definitely be using the contact sheet over and over again in the future. Then, all you need to do is craft a generic Happy New Year greeting, and tweak it slightly to personalize it for each recipient. Choose whatever delivery method suits you best — ecards, traditional handwritten cards or emails. No matter how you want to convey your message, your effort will be noted. Remember, New Year greetings are small acts of courtesy that really go a long way!