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Q: My husband is currently between jobs. Are there simple ways to cut back on spending during this period?

Photograph of a cheque book.Diana says...
When my husband and I lost our jobs a few years ago—in the same year, no less!—we quickly became the king and queen of thrift. After we consolidated our credit-card debts into one bank loan payment, we cut out all unnecessary expenses. The first to go was my underutilized gym membership. We also switched to a basic cable package, ate all meals at home, and started shopping at discount food chains. The monthly savings of $85 for the gym, $25 for extra cable, $400-plus on lunches and suppers out for two, and $60 on groceries added up to $570 a month—or $6,840 a year!

Diana Cawfield is an award-winning financial writer with more than 10 years experience. Send her your questions here.