Job hopping is a way of life for many professionals, especially millennials who balk at the notion of staying with one company for their entire career. While moving from one job to the next to get ahead is acceptable, particularly for younger workers, it’s how you do the jumping that matters.“Everyone is allowed one or two instances of ‘bad fit,’ in which case you change jobs after a year or less, but in general, you should aim to stay with a company for at least two years,” says Aravinda Rao Souza, senior marketing manager at Bullhorn, a recruitment software company. “You want a chance to put down roots somewhere and really get to know a specific business.” Younger workers in their 20s will be given more leeway if they’ve made a lot of career changes. But once you hit your 30s experts say recruiters and hiring managers are going to be less forgiving to job hoppers.When it comes to job hopping, J.T. O’Donnell, founder and chief executive of CAREEREALISM, a career advice and job search magazine, says there are two types of people. There are the serial hoppers whose entire career is made up of one or two year stints. Then there are the job hoppers who went through a rough patch when leaving one company and trying to find their ideal job elsewhere. Often those people make a couple of jumps before they find the one job they stay at for a while.If you fall into the latter category it will be easy for you to explain what happened and for hiring managers and recruiters to look past the hops. But if you are a serial job hopper, you will have a tougher time convincing employers that you are someone they should invest in. O’Donnell says people should aim to stay at their job for four or five years before moving on. “For the first two years you are developing…and after five years you are looking for progression,” she says.According to a survey conducted by Bullhorn, 39% of recruiters said the single biggest obstacle for an unemployed candidate is having a history of “job hopping,” or voluntarily leaving a company before one year even if the person keeps moving up. “When I see that someone has hopped jobs and gotten increasingly better titles with each new job, it’s a gigantic red flag for me as a hiring manager,” says Souza. “It shows me that they weren’t doing good enough work to get promoted within a single organization, so they had to climb the corporate ladder by continually going somewhere where they have no history.”For people who made a couple of wrong choices, the best thing they can do is be ready to have an honest explanation of why they did some hopping. Mary Marino, founder of EmployementPipeline.com, says the job candidate has to be able to substantiate why the job hopping was necessary. For instance, if there was no room to grow within the company, or if the job turned into something that wouldn’t further their career are two valid reasons for making some changes. “Since previous job history is only one of many metrics used by employers to predict new hire commitment levels, I wouldn’t say it’s frowned upon or expected,” says Marino. “What is expected however is that job changes be thoroughly explained and are clearly in the best interest of the candidate’s career advancement.”One of the worst things job seekers can say during an interview to explain away job hopping is, “I’m always looking for another opportunity,” says Jeffrey Agranoff, principal at accounting firm Friedman. Using that statement as an explanation will actually back fire instead of helping. “It’s a very popular answer lately but to me it’s an automatic turn off,” he says. “It doesn’t show loyalty. Why would I hire somebody who is always looking?”At the end of the day, the best thing people can do to advance their career and avoid hopping from one job to the next is to think strategically about their employment. That means before you accept any job, inquire about your progression within the firm. For instance is there a way to move up or will you be doing the same role in three or five years from now. You also want to work for a company that provides you the opportunity to enhance your existing skills and learn new ones. “It’s really about communications and having a game plan,” says O’Donnell. “If you can’t move forward at your current employer, then carefully choose your next employer to have that opportunity to grow.” Growing by switching companies is not the solution, she says.
Your grocery bill can add up fast. From dinner entrées to snack items, the amount you spend makes a difference in your budget. Luckily, there are some guidelines to ensure you’re not overspending. The USDA publishes a monthly food plan suggesting how much your groceries should be. The average cost of food per month for one person ranges from $165 to $345, depending on your age and gender. These national averages also vary based on where you live and the quality of your food purchases. Different geographic locations and types of stores play a role in the price of your food.Getting your food budget on point takes practice. With the right spending habits, you’ll have enough for your living expenses and exciting financial goals like paying off loans or buying a house.Monthly Grocery BudgetBased on your family size, here’s an outline of how much you should plan to spend on groceries each month. These numbers are a national average. Adjust the amount depending on your location and the store you shop at. For instance, shopping in New York City or Los Angeles is more expensive than in other parts of the country. Organic grocery stores like Whole Foods are pricier than places like Walmart or Aldi.As you consider these numbers, factor in any dietary restrictions. For instance, if you eat gluten-free or nut-free, you may have to pay more for certain products—increasing your overall monthly grocery budget. 1 person$251 Post navigation 2 people$553 6 people$1,230 4 people$892 FAMILY SIZESUGGESTEDMONTHLY BUDGET Finding a reasonable monthly grocery budget ensures you and your family have what you need, while not overspending. Look back at previous months using a budgeting app or credit card statements to see what you’ve spent at the grocery store. Decide if you want to maintain your current budget or cut back. Purchasing Groceries vs. Dining OutWhen you think about the total amount you spend on food, don’t forget what you spend at restaurants. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend on average, 11% of their take-home income on food. It doesn’t all goes toward groceries, though. Approximately 6% is spent on groceries, while 5% is spent on dining out—including dates, lunches with coworkers, and Sunday brunch.With this framework in mind, you can calculate your total food budget based on your take-home income. For example, Rita makes $3,500 per month after taxes. To budget 6% for groceries, she’d spend $210. For dining out at 5%, she should set aside $175. In total, she’ll need $385 for food each month. If she finds herself not having enough for meals with this amount, it’s likely she’s spending too much on food. She can either reduce her grocery bills or scale back on eating out.Tips for Reducing Your BudgetThere are several ways to cut back on what you spend without sacrificing the quality and taste of your food. Trimming your food budget can help you stow away more for your goals, such as building an emergency fund or saving for a dream vacation.Use CouponsGrocery stores and food companies offer coupons with a discount on a product that are often distributed via mail, newspapers and magazines. You can also find coupons online or through your email. If you buy your groceries online, like through Amazon Prime Pantry, there may be discount codes to input at checkout. While a single coupon might not give you a large discount, you can save a lot with multiple coupons. Before using coupons, though, make sure you actually need the item. If you don’t need maple syrup or cashews, don’t buy them just because you have a coupon.Plan a Weekly Menu Ahead of TimeBy deciding on meals ahead of time, you can determine the food items and quantities you need. Before heading to the grocery store, your list will be specific. You can buy the items you need—knowing you’ll have delicious meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try recipes that use some of the same ingredients so there’s less to purchase. You can also make larger meals so you have leftovers—which limits the number of meals and ingredients to buy.Here’s an example of menu items for your week:Breakfasts: Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, oatmeal with raisins and nuts, toast with peanut butterLunches: Salad greens with chicken and vegetables, wrap with lettuce and lunch meat, soup and garlic breadDinners: Ground turkey tacos, grilled chicken breast with vegetables and rice, lasagna and saladBring Lunches to Work A $13 lunch out might not seem like a lot, but if you spend that much a few times a week, it can blow your food budget fast. Make your monthly food budget go farther by making lunches and bringing them to work. Inexpensive but healthy options include salads, sandwiches and dinner leftovers. Buy Store Brands You can buy the same product, such as pasta or oatmeal, for a variety of prices depending on the brand. In general, store brands, like Safeway, are cheaper than name brands. A box of store-brand cereal might save you $1 over a name brand cereal. While the savings on a single item may not be much, when you multiply it across several products, there will be a difference on your bill. Shop at a More Affordable StoreThe differences in prices among grocery stores can be considerable. Check out the different stores in your area to find the best prices. Some stores might even offer bulk items—great for products you consume in large quantities. Choosing cheaper staple items like milk and yogurt can also make a huge difference over time. When you have a food budget that works for you, you’ll feel more confident and in control of our finances. With a set amount for groceries (and dining out), you’ll have a solid vision for your month. You’ll feel more in control of your finances, and be on your way to bigger goals like a new vehicle or a downpayment on a house. Sources: USA Today | USDAShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedLiving Expenses: What Are They and How Do I Budget for Them?March 27, 2019In “Budgeting”Budgeting 101: How to Create a BudgetAugust 19, 2019In “Budgeting”How to Create a Comprehensive Budget for Your Dream WeddingNovember 10, 2018In “Budgeting” 3 people$722 5 people$1,060