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Little by Little

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I am in a tough financial situation these days due to an unemployed spouse. He has been laid off before, it's not uncommon with his position (Quality Engineering Manager-Quality always seems to get cut first). We are in a situation that we have never been in because of the recession. In the past, we always had lots and lots of credit to fall back on, and our house WAS worth way more than our debt. We have no credit this time, just debt. Our house still might be worth as much as our debt, but there really isn't much equity above what we owe. There is nothing to fall back on, and the job market isn't great.

So, I have a part time school job as a para-educator, and I have a second job as behavior therapist, both working with children with autism. I am working late hours. I am bit stressed out because I am working a lot of hours and not making enough money to pay for everything. I am making enough to pay the necessities, but even then my parents have helped out a bit with things like my COBRA payments. I haven't really lost anything lately because I keep eating too much when I am tired, but I figure as long as I can kind of maintain that is okay. I will be fine. I am riding it out.

Then there is summer.

My first job, as a para-educator, is a 10 month position, and I did not get picked up for summer school. Oh geez!!! Now what do I do? Well, I am going to look at my money the same way I would look at calories and exercise. It all adds up. I started yesterday by counting all the spare change I could find, and we had plenty. I counted the change in the coffee can which gave me $65. Then I counted all the change my husband throws in the drawers (which put me at $190). Then I found little containers that I had emptied change in. I even found some in old purses and on the floor. I think I am at $230 now. The coffee can is full of pennies that I have not gotten to. That is probably at least another $40. So that gives me about 1/4 of what I bring in during a month at my school job (yes, I know I don't make much, especially since I have a college degree). I know in this messy cluttered house there is a Cosco sized pickle jar full of change that I haven't gotten to either. We have things in our garage that we could sell and they would not be missed. For example, my husband has had a VW engine in our garage since we married in 1997 (he's had it longer than that). We don't own a VW. He had a very cute yellow Carmen Ghia when we met. I bet he could get a few hundred for that engine (which would put us near $500-almost half of my missing income). Maybe I could have a garage sale (de-clutter and make a little money). I told my parents that we wanted their recycling (I figure it could add another $20 or so). I just got a $1 an hour raise at my school job, so my last check should be about $80 more than usual. I am hoping to get a few more hours at my second job too, and perhaps that will make up some of the difference. I think I might put up a babysitting ad at my local college for moms going to summer session. My coworkers suggested some silly things like being a surrogate, but I hated pregnancy. I am sure I can float us through the summer somehow. Who knows, maybe my husband will be employed before the end of June, but just incase I am gathering my acorns.

I use the "10 minutes here and 10 minutes there" for exercise all the time. It's done me well with weight loss. Every calorie burned adds up. I know a handful of this and one of those, adds up fast in terms of calories. Each and every pound has added up to 160 over the course of 2 years. That change added up quickly too. So little by little I will find a way to make it through summer too.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am up to $350, still have not counted pennies.
    2820 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/4/2010 8:58:00 AM
    I am up to $316 from change around the house. I still haven't counted many of the pennies.

    I probably will put it in the bank. I definitely will make sure we have the lowest rates on credit cards, although some cards have allowed us to make good faith payments already.

    I will look into a low rate on utilities. Victor will lose his unemployment benefits if he works, so it will have to something that makes more than what he is getting through that. I am sure he will get something soon. I just want to be sure that we can hang if he doesn't.

    Oh, and a big tree hugger plus for the recycling. My dad doesn't recycle, and has always refused to. Denies any weather change. So, I have my dad recycling for me. Even if it only adds another $5, my dad is recycling.
    2824 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/31/2010 9:22:57 PM
    You have a plan and you are right - it all adds up! You can also work with utility companies - as long as you are paying something I don't think they can shut you off. Is Vic able to get a part time somewhere? Sounds like it may be time....

    Hang in there! You will make it!!!
    2824 days ago
    I'm sure you may have done this already, but make sure your interest on the credit you already have is lowered. Call and see what they can do - you can let them know that you are in financial stress, and they might set you up on a 6 or 1 year 9% interest, etc., or something like that.

    Making the minimum payment with minimal interest won't ultimately get rid of the credit debt, but it will greatly reduce those monthly payments when you need it most.

    Good luck!!
    2825 days ago
    Once again, you are showing what a great role model you are, what a great mother you are, and what a great person you are. I love you!
    We did a garage sale last year to help us through the period where aj was unemployed. It did help - both by bringing in $$ and by helping to get a clean start in the house. Both made me feel so much better! And, as to selling stuff, it's so much easier these days now that you can just post stuff on Craigslist. I sold most of our furniture that way before we moved. It was nice! xoxo
    2825 days ago
    Every bit helps.

    Change jars, as you know, do not accrue interest. Can you put that $$ into a savings account? Even if only for a month, you could get at least something out of it. Same thing with sale/garage sale profits. Even if it barely kisses the savings account on its way out the door, you have a chance to get a little bit for it.
    2825 days ago
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