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Posts tagged with: unemployment

4th Month of Unemployment – Status Update


I am now entering our fourth month of unemployment.  It is only by the grace and generosity of others that I have not accumulated any additional debt and am not too far behind on bills.  (I was so grateful that so many took my post What I have Learned being Poor to heart.  One reader even graciously reached out and offered to pay a bill for us.  I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, but I did want to acknowledge the gift and generosity.  So thank you for the generous gift of paying our electric bill last month!)

I am continuing to job search and interview, but as of today am no closer to a full time job.  I am happy to report that I’ve picked up three small website projects for the month of February, so I have high hopes of catching up with monthly bills and being in a better place going to March.

I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around to replying to everyone on my post regarding the lower paying position I interview for (Is it Worth It?), taking the job or not did not become a question as it was no offered, but I reached the same conclusion as many of you that it just didn’t make sense financially any way I looked at it.  I am interviewing for another part time job tomorrow, but hopefully the pay rate will be more in line with what I need…I hope.  I don’t mind piece-mealing together a paycheck with a variety of part time jobs and projects, but I am hoping to at least have steady income of some sort while I continue to search for a full time position.

I can’t remember if I have mentioned here that with certainty we will be moving in April.  I will write a whole post on this part of our lives.  But essentially, because my initial plan when I signed this lease back in August/September was that we would for certain move to better housing at the end of April (our school year end) even if it meant moving away from here.  So when I signed the lease, I signed the move out notice at the same time.  Fast forward to the first week in December, and I was notified by the complex office that our apartment has been rented out, so staying put is not an option.  So we will be moving…but without a job, what kind of housing can we move too?  This has been a constant prayer request for me, but an answer/option has come.  I will share that plan in another post soon.

Another status update is regarding our pets…we are down to two from the original four. (You can read about this plan: Re-homing Pets.) I’m continuing to only solicit homes from people we know, and while there are currently no placements, with 2.5 more months, I am hopeful. Although it is getting tougher and tougher to think about.

Other than that, we are moving right along…basketball season is coming to an end for Princess, robotics season ended this past weekend for the twins and gymnast is approaching the end of his season.

One side note:  I am going to mention this because it is financially related, but I do not and will not revisit the discussion of my ex or child support….My ex, the youngest two children’s dad has gotten a job.  He has 6 weeks or so of training to do at a minimal rate, but then he assures me he will begin providing regular support for the kids….woohoo!  And even better…health insurance.  So I will keep you posted, but many will remember that it was a year ago this past October that he let me know he could not provide any support for the kids due to job issues.  So this will be greatly appreciated and quite timely due to my job situation.

Unemployment Mistakes…


I read an interesting article in Time magazine by Nina Easton about the fifth extension of unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits can now run up to 99 weeks.


She believes the extra long extensions to unemployment benefits are detrimental to pulling the economy out of the gutter.

My first reaction was to disagree. This is a tough economy and finding a job is difficult but… now I’m beginning to wonder if she’s right.

When I was laid off in late 2008, I didn’t apply for unemployment. I was so sure I’d find a job quickly that I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork. I hand delivered 5-7 applications a day and before I knew it, 4 weeks had slipped by. I started to panic and a sense of desperation overwhelmed me. I bumped up my search, applied for any and every job including dog trainer and street sweeper, and found a job before 2009 started. I worked pushing shopping carts and boxing groceries until I found a permanent position.

When my husband was laid off in late 2009, he searched for jobs in his field and applied for an average of 3 jobs a week. We knew unemployment bought us about 6-9 months worth of time and were willing to wait for the right position. He was eventually re-hired for his old position a few months later.

No, I don’t think this is true of everyone but I do wonder if nearly two years of unemployment checks is only making the problem worse.

Unemployment Update…


The unemployment checks have started to arrive with somewhat regularity. What we didn’t understand at the start was that the unemployment office in California requires an interview. You receive no checks until the interview has been completed. My husband’s interview with the unemployment office wasn’t until 6 weeks after he filed the claim. Claimants have no control over this date and cannot request a sooner time.

My best advice to the recently unemployed, be ready for a long ride. Prepare your finances immediately and don’t assume a check is coming anytime soon.

Our finances took a hit since we were carrying our mortgage and bills on my paycheck and savings alone but we’ve been able to level out a bit since the checks arrived. Whew!

Looks like I can finally buy some splurge items – and by splurge, I mean an occasional sale priced ground beef instead of a cart full of Ramen alone.

Avoiding the Dreaded Gift Exchange…


My family started exchanging names for gift giving about 15 years ago. When you have a family of 9, buying for one is a huge cost savings – not to mention a time savings.

When my husband and I married, I participated in his family gift exchange as well (turns out, his family of 10 was interested in saving money too). It was a great way to feel a part of the family.

Now that the economy has tanked, everyone wants to do a gift exchange rather than a mass gifting. Aunt May, Grandma Joy, and co-worker Suzie want to exchange gifts this holiday. While it’s easy to bow out of work related exchanges (‘My husband is unemployed’ is always a fabulous and acceptable reason), it’s difficult to get out of extended family exchanges. Family members say “it’s only $20 or $30!” but I can’t afford toothpaste much less a $20 Sham Wow. $20 or $30 multiplied by ten or so exchanges just isn’t happening this year.

I know what you’ll say, “Hey, it’s family. They’ll understand.”

Um. Hello?

It’s family. The very definition of people who are allowed to make fun of you and feel no guilt.

Wait. Maybe that’s just my family.


Since I don’t particularly want to say, “Yes, I bought you the Sham Wow but I can’t afford to buy deodorant until February”, I’m going to hold off on gifts entirely this season.

Whew. I said it. No gifts.

Stretching Cash Flow…


In order to survive unemployment for the next 6 – 9 months, we have to really limit our spending. We absolutely can’t spend a dime more than our weekly allotment.

For the most part, this isn’t a problem. If we run out of food, we invite ourselves over to dinner at our parents…er.. um… I mean, we visit our parents because we love them and the free food is just an added benefit.

This week presented a new problem…

We ran out of toothpaste and mouthwash.

Determined to stay on our budget, I robbed my luggage of two travel size tubes of toothpaste. We’re running low but we have enough to last until Friday when our new budget begins.

I dug through our closets but failed to find any mouthwash – travel size or otherwise. I went into the kitchen to see if I could find anything there. Soap? Comet? Dishwashing liquid? And then I stumbled upon a bottle of vodka.

“Sweetie?” I called to my husband in the living room “Do you think I could use vodka as a mouthwash? They’re both essentially alcohol right? Either way, the results will be positive. It will work or it won’t and I won’t care that we don’t have mouthwash anymore.”

My husband laughed as if I were making a joke.

I wasn’t.

I put the vodka back in the cabinet and figured that regular brushing and flossing will have to do until tomorrow.

But this morning, I searched my hypothesis and…


So if you ever run out of mouthwash, you can make your own – and yes, you use vodka.

And just in case my mother reads this, let me clarify – you don’t actually have to drink the vodka.

Turning to Reality TV for Help…


I’ve been trying to figure out creative ways to remodel our home for low to no cost. As I watched HGTV this weekend, I thought, ‘I’ll have reality television remodel my home!’

I assumed this wouldn’t be a difficult task. It’s not like there’s a strong filter for reality tv. Come on. I’ve seen Jerry Springer and Tila Tequila.

California’s official nickname is ‘The Golden State’
San Diego calls itself ‘America’s Finest City’
Humility isn’t our strong point.

It only seems obvious that we would point a camera of reality tv at our Southern California city. I went to the HGTV site, Pie Town Productions, and the DIY network. Do you know how many home remodeling shows are based in ‘America’s Finest City’?


But, there are two shows that film anywhere, anytime – Extreme Home Makeover and Deserving Design. For Extreme Home Makeover, we lack a compelling unique story. ‘My husband lost his job… just like everyone else’ isn’t nearly as impressive or distinctive as ‘Timmy is allergic to the sun’ or ‘Little Bonnie Sue doesn’t have sweat glands’.

And remarkably, Deserving Design didn’t call me back after I submitted my husband as ‘deserving’ because only once during the last five years of our marriage has he left the toilet seat up. It’s sweet but not as gripping as Jane Doe saving the world over the last 20 years rescuing one sweatshop child at a time.

Bummer. I really needed a new back patio before the toothpicks, dental floss, and tin foil holding it together collapse.