Sorry for the delay between my last post and today.  I wish I could tell you I was away on vacation or managing an exciting new project–all while juggling my family, awesome social life and solving the world’s economic crisis.

Alas, this is not the case. What has really been keeping me from posting is that I’m in the midst of scrambling to figure out a way to deal with a huge pay cut. And, I’m afraid, I haven’t figured it out yet.

I won’t get into the details here, but let me assure you that I am now a few dollars away from total poverty. I’m kind of used to this. I’ve never made oodles money (see the earlier post, “My minimum wage journey”) and my husband, has yet to sell his business to a venture capitalist (if you happen to be one, please call us!), so we aren’t exactly swimming in extra cash. We do buy the occassional lottery ticket though (has to be over $50million jackpot because apparently anything less is not worth our while) and keep the dream alive.

We’ve always done OK on our modest incomes. We own a home, we have low credit card debt and an impeccable credit rating. But we haven’t been able to save much and are therefore one paycheck away from total devastation.

Which leads me to our current situation. What to cut when you don’t indulge in a lot of extras? I make my morning coffee at home, bring my lunch, pack my daughter’s lunch and make my husband starve on a daily basis. I’ve been wearing the same clothes from five, even ten years. My husband wears tee shirts and jeans to work and doesn’t replace them until they disintegrate off his body. I get my hair cut twice a year. I shave my husband’s head (baldness does have its advantages). I tell my daughter her hair looks great long.

Apparently, that’s not enough, so I also sell stuff we don’t use anymore on Craig’s List. We shop at BJ’s and Marketbasket (not Wholefoods or chichi specialty stores). We don’t go on expensive vacations–we go to NJ once a year and stay at a family member’s house for free. We put off essential house projects for another year…but still not good enough.

What to cut? What to cut? So far, childcare–I’m working half days at home and mothering in front of a laptop. Refinancing our mortgage–giving up eight years of payments to lower our monthly payment by $300 bucks. My husband’s working extra shifts at the restaurant to pull in a few hundred more. Still not enough.

No more soccer team, no more dinners out, no more spending of any kind. We will scrimp and save. We will manage. Somehow, some way, we’ll pull together and make it work. Poverty is a familiar place and may always be, but what can do but work hard and hope for the best?

Start buying more lottery tickets.

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