10 Things to Do During Your Fur-Cation That Are Free

As the economy continues to struggle, more and more companies are instituting mandatory furloughs. In some cases, this unpaid leave can represent a 25% to 30% decrease in pay. While most agree it’s better to have a job even if it pays less than it did a year ago, the challenge some employees face is what to do with their time off that won’t cost them anything. Here are SMW’s top 10 picks for our furlough visitors:    

1. Try new recipes. Check out foodtv.com and pick a new dish from their online database or from one of your favorite chefs. It’s cheaper than eating out and you might discover a new hobby.

2. Get organized. Clean out your closest, drawers, garage, attic and basement. Separate items into piles for goodwill, trash and consignment. Many people are also opting to sell their designer clothes and more treasured items on e-bay to make additional money.

3. Read a book. Head to the library and check out books you’ve been dying to read but never had the time. How about an inspiring biography?

4. Volunteer your time. There are plenty of charities and non-profit organization that would welcome your help.  Having trouble finding one? Visit Charity Navigator for a listing of charities and non-profit organizations in your area.

5. Workout more. Bathing suit season is right around the corner. Why not take this time off from work to get back into shape. If you can’t afford a gym membership, see if your library has exercise DVDs that you can check out. If all else fails, go for a walk, jump rope, or catch one of those early morning exercise programs on T.V.

6. Catch up with friends and family. Email or send a personal note to friends and family that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Stay connected. Support is important, especially during uncertain times.  

7. Update your professional network (online too). Take this opportunity to make sure all your professional contacts are updated. You never know when you will need a reference or recommendation.

8. Update your resume. You may not be looking or even thinking about looking for a new job. But the reality is, you may find yourself in need of a new job unexpectedly. Having your resume and references updated is a smart move in today’s economy. 

9. Supplement your income. Many people taking mandatory furloughs are looking for ways to make up that lost income. One woman we profiled on SingleMindedWomen.com started her own errands service business after losing her corporate job. She now makes more money running errands for people than she did when she worked full time. 

10. Straighten out your finances. Clean up your credit and educate yourself on investments and retirement strategies. This economy has taught us that we all need to be more proactive in how our money is invested and by whom.  

Relax, be positive and enjoy every day as best you can. Need more career advice, visit SingleMindedWomen.com’s career channel.

Allison O’Connor

Founder, SingleMindedWomen.com