Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Something's Gotta Give

So my expenses have diminished since finding out I'll be laid off. Not dramatically so. But I've definitely been more mindful of my spending. In a normal month, my current expenses are totaling around $2,100, including paying minimums on my credit cards. 

Broken out: 
- Rent: $777
- Utilities: $480 
- Groceries: $300* 
- Shopping: $160 
- Gas: $75 
- Restaurants: $50
- Credit cards: $300

*I know!! I'm only one person!! But I am working on a plan of combining coupons and sales. I promise!

These expenses would change in the following way once I become unemployed: 

- Rent: no real change; could take in roommate though to cut all expenses in half
- Utilities: would cut out lawn service, home phone and cable, leading to a drop of $220/mo. 
- Groceries: going down with time commitment and planning 
- Shopping: decrease; even though I still need clothes, I am looking into more cost-effective means [Goodwill, etc.]
- Gas: would decrease without driving to current job across town
- Restaurants: cooking at home 99.9% of time; no more work lunches out since I forget to pack a brown bag
- Credit cards: no change

Yes, I have grappled with the thought of implementing all of these changes now. But I hold out hope that I will not have to make these radical changes in my life just yet. I feel I can cross that bridge when I get there. While I may just be avoiding the inevitable, I can at least cherish what few months I have left with my familiar ever-employed life. And my cable tv. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


So here's where I stand, financially... 

credit cards - $14k (interest rates ranging from 0% to 12.99%)
student loans - $10k (5.25% interest)

cash - $7k
401k - $14k
car - used, no payments, little trade-in value

net worth: ($3k)

I recently came clean to my boyfriend about my credit and loan situation. That was a huge step in our relationship, but a much needed one. We were spending way too much together and only digging our debt holes bigger. He abhors debt and really hasn't been underwater at all. That made it harder. Though recently he was struggling with money a bit. Which made the coming clean easier. I figured that if he loved me through and through, he would love me with debt. The judgement comes from within, I know. But also from our family's standpoint, it's just not something to have or even share with others. 

The Background: I would have halved my credit card debt by now and been living on very little cash each week if it weren't for the fact that everyone in the news [read: Suze Orman and other bloggers] is reversing their thoughts on paying down credit. Oh, and it's a grave possibility that I am going to be unemployed soon. I've seen other bloggers call their credit card companies and have temporary six month freezes on interest charges. That's something I am definitely going to look into. I've never been shy about calling up my credit card companies. Now is not the time to be bashful. I learned that from my mom, who would call and ask for late payments and interest payments to be removed off of her cards and would get results. I've also been plotting on how best to use balance transfers if a company doesn't bend to my will. I will have more time once I'm jobless to analyze my plan of attack. For now, those are the numbers. 

Normally, I would want to set goals and plan for my credit to decrease and cash to increase by the end of the year, but I almost don't want to set myself up for failure. Once I have a job secured [working over 90 days], I will take most of my cash and pay down the debt. Then I will plan my numbers for year-end. No use in dawdling with figures with no cash coming in. But then again, I believe procrastination may have gotten me into the financial mess that I am in. And adults don't procrastinate. 


So how will I know when I have reached adulthood? My definition of adulthood is when I have: 

- no debt
- monetary responsibility
- a professional career
- separation in beliefs and needs from my parents
- and someone to share the rest of my life with

Simple enough. I threw that last one in just because everyone I know is either married or getting married and I am allowed to have some schoolgirl dreams invade my plan for adulthood.

There are plenty of step stones toward these goals that I must map out and accomplish before achieving it all.  My hope is that this blog keeps me accountable and provides me with external support along the way. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Revving the Engine, But There's No Fuel

Knowing I am going to be unemployed is a bit like nausea. Some days, I will forget it's every going to happen [okay, maybe not forget, but I distract myself enough to not notice it]. Other days, it's like staring down the hall of death row. The end is near and my fear is palpable. I can't sleep, don't exercise, and won't clean. All I can do is job search, cook and eat. Oh, and watch reality tv... while I can still afford cable.

This past weekend was a bad slump. I became emotional about everything and couldn't even put my mind at ease to sit down and edit resumes and write cover letters. I got a [much needed] haircut from a new-to-me [also much needed] stylist who got rave reviews. He couldn't style my hair to save his life. I didn't think he would change my entire look, but I went in thinking my mostly unmanageable hair would come out much better and it just didn't happen. My sky-high expectations were not met and I spent a lot of time and money there. I cried as soon I left the salon and most of the rest of the day and was just angry about everything and everyone. Weak, I know. I rolled everything I have been feeling in a newspaper and took it out on him and my hair. Thankfully, he did cut it well. So I styled it my way for work this morning and I think I'm over it. It just really scared me to think that a haircut could get to me so much. I just want a huge change - a new me - to appear and take over so I don't have to go through the rest of my life. Let someone else deal with the rejection and constant worrying. Let some other hack stay up all night for fear of the inevitable, only to have to rise and shine and go through another worthless day at the office.  

Nine weeks of work left. That reminds me of high school. I wish I could go back in time and only have nine weeks to go until the end of school; I would be on the completely opposite end of my feeling spectrum right now. But instead, I have that long until my position is collapsed into other employees and I am all but forgotten as a unique talented individual who added value to the firm.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ten Weeks and Counting...

As of today, I am officially ten weeks away from my permanent vacation. 

Hence the blog. 

Like millions of other people out there, I am starting my blog due to an impending lay-off. And while at first I wanted this blog to be all about my job woes and subsequent employment search, I thought I could encompass the whole lot of issues I am dealing with right now. Mainly that I don't feel like an adult yet, even though I'm in my late 20s. My peers seemingly float through life making (what are to me) huge decisions flawlessly, while I'm the indecisive jellyfish who still hangs out in the wading pool. 

This job loss hit me hard and even though I know there are countless others being affected in similar ways (I am reading all of your blogs!), I can't help but still feel alone. And afraid. Very afraid. Losing a job in this economy is forcing me to grow up and out of my comfort zone. I would really rather just stay in my jammies all day and eat Pop-Tarts.   

I'm Auditioning for Adulthood: I hope I get the part.