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Posts tagged with: job loss

Hope’s Weekly Budget – Week of 10/15

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This has been a very hard week. I mentioned previously how my kids have been struggling. One in particular has been seeing a counselor for some time now. Between the big move, the sudden change in our lifestyle, some of my parenting choices and teenage years, in general, led to a battle with depression and a very tumultuous home life.

To be honest, I wish I had the time and resources to see a counselor myself. Life has just been slamming us!  I don’t feel like I have time to take a breathe between emergencies. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as we work toward a new normal, and I work really hard toward being a better mom, creating a more regular schedule and being more patient.

Celebrate Adoption

That being said, we have a lot to celebrate this month. Six years ago this month, the twins were placed with as as foster kids and three years ago today, their adoption was finalized.

Job Loss

In addition, it was two years ago this coming Monday that I lost my job. Our lives changed forever then. It has been hard, but we have so much to be grateful for. We have had so many new experiences that we would never have experienced without that push. We got to experience Tiny Living, Glamping and then a big move to a new tiny town. October is a big month for us.

Next Week’s Budget

I am more and more committed to becoming debt free, creating some security for my little family and getting healthy mentally. I must keep moving forward for my kids if for nothing else.  Without further ado, this is our budget for this next week:

Gas 16-Oct-17 -35
1099 17-Oct-17 150
Groceries 17-Oct-17 -25
W2 19-Oct-17 1786
Debt Pymt 19-Oct-17 -83
Gas 20-Oct-17 -35
Allowance 20-Oct-17 -100
Utility 20-Oct-17 -154
Cell Phone 20-Oct-17 -286
Car Payment 20-Oct-17 -400

We have been much more successful in our No Spend Month this week. We didn’t even spend our grocery budget last week. I am really excited that I have found a way to cut my cell phone bill a bit beginning next month. I am also excited that I am starting to pay for my new car, and am already anticipating paying it off by 2019. Debt update getting published this weekend…finally!


Panic Mode to Inspiration – The Nuts and Bolts (Part 2 of 3)

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So yesterday I woke up with a vengeance, time to look at the reality this job loss puts us in. The first thing I did was get to work.  I completed my tasks for the existing clients and put some work into a new website I am working on, sent out bills and THEN I sent a thank you note/reference request to these clients:

Thank you for the advance notice of your downsizing. I cannot express how sad I am about this for you both and XXXXXX but also for myself as I have been truly gifted by working for and with you both for these last 7 or so years! I certainly would love to be kept in mind for further projects or on-going work if the need should arise again.

In the meantime, would you mind doing me a favor….would you please write a reference for me on LinkedIn as a consultant under my EPOH business and also provide a letter of reference I can include in job applications (or take blurbs from for website presence.) I would greatly appreciate it.

I full intend to continue work as normal through the end of the month, please let me know if there are specific tasks you want me to complete….on my list are: ….

They responded in the affirmative that they would be happy to do this for me.  For that I am truly grateful.

Then I started looking at the money.  THANK GOD for MY EMERGENCY FUND!!!  Based on a cut throat budget and estimated income from all existing clients and projects, I figure we are good through the end of the year, maybe a bit longer depending on what we do with holidays and the twins’ birthday this month.  I can BREATHE!

And then I exhaled for the first time since the call on Monday.  And I started poking around on the internet looking at local jobs…just a tiny bit.  And then I started making lists.  I made a list of:

  1. Things I could sell
  2. What are my passions in rank order
  3. What are my priority in rank order
  4. What are needs I see around me that my skill set could meet
  5. What other resources can I reach out to for temporary assistance

And I decided to give myself a small break from panic mode.  I need to process and decide what the next step is without rushing into a wrong decision.  Not that I am going to sit back and twiddle my thumbs.

 


Panic Mode to Inspiration – The Call (Part I of 3)

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Mondays are my least favorite days.  They require from 3-5 hours straight in the car for me.  I run the twins and sometimes Princess to another city to work with their competitive robotics team, run back here to drop off the Gymnast, a few miles down the road to coach Princess’ volleyball team and then back to the other city to pick up the twins.  It is a grueling day…and this is all after I take Princess for a couple of hours of volunteer time at the local shelter.  I am not complaining, although it does sound like it, I choose this, I could say “No” – I own that this is my choice.

But this past Monday was a whole other roller coaster in and of itself.  First the day started out on a high…we celebrated four years of being a family which I wrote about on my personal blog.  In years prior to our tiny space living, we would celebrate with a visit to the local pottery painting place where we would all paint a dish including the number of the anniversary and a meal out.  This year and last, we opted to skip the painting due to financial reasons and because we just don’t have space for more dishes.  But we did go out to eat.  So a good day.

However, in between my marathon chauffeur duties, I got the dreaded call.  My biggest, longest running client, the bread and butter of my business for the last 8 years…they are downsizing.  They gave me three weeks notice.  Tears sprang to my eyes.  All the plans for housing, out the window, all the debt pay off plans, out the window.  All with one phone call.  I was devastated.  But I had to pull it together and go coach Princess’ first ever volleyball game….we WON!

There have been sleepless nights since then as I toss and turned, panicking, wondering what if as I look back at how I got here, and just worrying.  It took me a year when I first started my business to get to the level where I could support us.  And I have to admit while I do have some smaller clients and occasion bigger projects, I’ve become complacent.  So I will essentially be starting from scratch again.

I ended the day with dinner with my kids to celebrate the four years that we’ve been a family…since the day the twins moved into our life.  They all knew about the call as I couldn’t hide the devastation.  But we spent the meal reminiscing about those first days, learning more about the twins’ feelings at the time and being grateful for the experiences we’ve had to this point.

 


Steps I Took to Reduce Debt and Get Back on My Feet After a Job Loss

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By Mary Greenhalgh

I’m Mary and I used to work for a big firm in London as a Legal Assistant, earning £28,000 a year. Life was good until the credit crunch. After that I lost my job, and ended up having to find a new firm to work with. Now I’m just earning £22,500 a year, but life has never been better. You’d think I’d be in a horrible mess – and I was at first, but losing my job was the best thing that’s ever happened to me because it forced me to learn how to reduce my spending, shop smarter and actually start saving money. I’d like to let you know what I went through and how you can use my experiences to reduce your own debt and save money.

To be honest, the first thing I did when I lost my job was to start freaking out. I had no idea where I would find work, and no way to pay my rent since I was living from month to month off my pay checks. I had student loans I needed to make payments on, a car payment, and a phone on credit from O2. My bills were so much that I couldn’t figure out where I was going to get the money to pay them all, even after I found work. So I consulted Doctor Google, and found out that I wasn’t the only one with these problems.

Of course as everyone knows, Google always tells you you’re going to die, but there was good news too. Even though it took me six weeks to get hired, I was able to find help and get back on track. While everyone’s situation is different, I thought sharing might help others that might be in a similar situation or who just needed to know that it could be done. This is what I learned, what I did and how it can help you if you need to get back on your feet and reduce debt after a job loss.

Step One: Find any job you can to get some income. The very first thing I did was to pick up a part time job on the weekends and a few nights a week as a waitress. It’s thankless work, but I got my tips in cash every night, which was what helped carry me through the worst of my unemployment scare. It also let me meet my immediate expenses and gave me some hope that I could sort out the mess I was in. Having some cash in your pocket makes a world of difference and even though I was working bad shifts, having something is better than nothing. As a plus, there was usually off time between split shifts, which gave me a chance to look for other work (and everyone over 20 waiting tables is always looking for other work). Plus I got free meals, which saved money on my weekly shop.

Step Two: Find a real job in your field or profession. The next thing I did was to start looking for work in my profession. Unfortunately I wasted days filling out job applications and online CVs on every job site and hire site I could find. I barely got anything back from them, which was depressing to say the least. I had more luck with the government’s Universal Jobmatch site, and that gave me some hope. They let me quickly find places that needed my skills and cut through the mess I had been dealing with in trying to find work with the other sites.

Step Three: Cut your costs as much as possible. Then I changed my flat. I was paying £900 a month for a little one room, but I found a flat share for £400. It wasn’t great, but it was good enough, and let me save £500 a month from what I had been paying. Plus I didn’t have the costs of my utilities and Internet plan, which also saved me money. I also sold my car, because it was more of a convenience than a need. It took me almost two months to sell it, but I got everything in order with my papers, and made sure to tell DVLA that I had sold it. I ended up with an extra £800 after the sale, and the loan was closed in my favour, which was great for my credit.

Step Four: Take a hard look at your spending habits. The other thing I did was to take a hard look at my credit cards and my spending habits. Part of that involved researching sites out there that had good tips, which showed me that I was actually paying interest on my pants. Seriously, who does that? It’s just crazy when you think about it. Since I had good credit, I was able to get a Tesco 0% card for 18 months, and transfer my balances over. I lied a little on my application and said that I still had my old job, but that let me shift all of my high interest payments to a no interest card and start paying things down without the interest. That made a huge difference in what I had to pay out every month.

Step 5: Start saving money to protect yourself. Finally, after I’d reduced my debt, cut costs and put myself in a better financial position, I took a look at what I had been spending before. By cutting my rent payment, moving to a flat share, reducing my outgoing payments and consolidating debts, I was saving more than £1,200 a month. That was almost half of my previous yearly salary when looked at over the course of a year. When I realized that I almost cried. Not because I had lost the salary before, but because I had just jumped into this crazy financial circus without even considering how much money I was wasting. Three years of wasted money was more than £30,000 I could have saved if I had just known better. Now I save every week, and I’m on track to save more than £6,000 this year, despite my pay cut.

Step 6: Look at your long-term financial goals. I used to just live for the moment. I had a great time, but if I could change it I would definitely have focused more on my future. Now that I’m saving, I can see that in a few years I’ll have about £20,000 saved up. That will let me buy my own flat, which means I won’t be wasting my money on rent every month. That means I will have the security of a home, and as I build equity in it, I’ll be able to get a secured loan if I find myself in a jam. That’s something I could have done before too if I had known better, but no one ever taught me how to save money or even pay attention to debt. I just lived for the moment, but now I actually feel like I am living. I’ve got security and a plan for my future.

Reducing debt isn’t easy, especially if you’re pushed into it by a job loss or unexpected change of circumstances. The thing is, looking back I can see so many ways I could have done this before I found myself in a pinch. Now I’ve got enough extra cash to do what I want, and to go out when I like – but I’m always aware of how much I am spending and what else I could do with the money. I’m no longer binge shopping and I always buy things on sale when making my weekly shop. These are things you can do too, and they’ll make a big difference in not just how you live, but also the quality of life you enjoy.


Please, Forget My Name…

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Throughout this year, and likely into the next, I will be shipped off for work training. These training modules run anywhere from a day to two weeks and are scattered across the country.

I’m excited about the training. It’s new, it’s interesting, and it allows me to see states I’ve never been able to visit. But… with this excitement comes a pretty high level of perfectly legitimate terror.

These training modules are conducted by high ranking federal officials. Officials who could oh, say, re-evaluate your taxes, make your job disappear, or… make YOU disappear.

I had ONE goal (OK two goals if you count ‘learn something’ as a goal), don’t let them learn my name. I figured in a sea of 40 trainees, it wouldn’t be hard. Blend. Easy right?

‘Alright guys, I’m going to bring an unlucky staffer up here and we’re going to dissect federal regulations together. I want to see how much you know your stuff’ the trainer said as he wandered the front. He glanced around the group while I silently prayed, ‘Please God, not me.’

‘Rebekah! You are the unlucky victim!’ he said with a smile after reading my ID badge.

Of course.

Thankfully, his questions were fairly easy and I think I was vaguely able to cover my terrified knocking knees.

Naturally, I thought I would be in the clear for the week.

Naturally, he continued to call on me every day – and some days, I was the ONLY person he called on.

‘Rebekah, since you’re so great at federal regulations, let’s check your algebraic skills!’
‘Rebekah, would you like to share your feelings on state regulations?’

By the end of the training module, I was ready to move my chair to the front to save time. On the last day, he asked if I was attending the next scheduled course. When I told him I was, he smiled, ‘Good.’ He paused then said, ‘Look, I hope you don’t think I’m picking on you. On the first day, I gave you a question that throws everyone off, but you got it right. I wanted to see if there was something you’d miss but you didn’t miss a step the entire week. It’s refreshing for trainers to see that. See you next time.’

My feet didn’t touch the ground for a couple hours.

When coming off the low of job loss, it’s hard to feel like you matter anymore. You apply for jobs and spend hours trying to sell the fact that you have value. And even when you get a job, especially a job several levels lower than you were before, you wonder if your work life will ever return to ‘normal’.

It will.

And, I guess in this case, I don’t mind if the feds remember my name.


Harassed by HAMP?

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Bank of America left a flurry of voicemail messages over the weekend.

*Beep* Rebekah, this is Bank of America calling about the HAMP program…
*Beep* Hi, this is Bank of America. We’re calling about the paperwork…
*Beep* Rebekah, please return our call at 877…

If Bank of America were an ex-boyfriend, I’d have a restraining order by now.

On Saturday, after the third phone call, I finally picked up.

“Hello Rebekah. This is Carol from Bank of America. I’d like to walk you through the application package we mailed to you last week. Have you had a chance to complete it and mail it to us?”

‘Carol’ kept me on the phone for nearly 30 minutes explaining what I had to do to get approved for the program. I find it incredibly odd that two years after my first application, they are ‘coming to my rescue’.

Did they come to my rescue when I lost my job? Did they help when I had to take a job making more than 30% less? How about when my husband lost his job and our mortgage payment was 115% of our income?

Not a peep.

The came to ‘save’ me now…two years later. Two years of not one late payment despite everything.

To add insult to injury, I received another copy of the package yesterday as a ‘back-up copy’ in case the first copy didn’t get to me.

I don’t understand why B of A is suddenly taking an interest in me – and only after I got my head above water.

I didn’t think it was possible to lose more respect for Bank of America.

Turns out…

It is.

Is Bank of America saving me? Or am I saving them?



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