Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Being poor sucks

Well, ok, I know we're not really poor... even for where we live (where cost of living is CRAZY high for being in podunknowheresville) we're really just lower middle class.

I've mentioned this before, I know... but you see, the lack of money, it just gets in the way...!

It was pointed out to me that 4 years ago when I was making $28k I would have given my right arm to be making what I'm making now ($44k). It's true, I know.  And while my expenses have not really gone up, I also don't seem to have that extra $16k laying around anywhere. I mean, I've started putting more into my 403b, but I don't have $16k in there either... I've even cut my cable from the premium international channels to the basic channels (ok, 2nd tier basic, not BASIC basic... I'm not uncivilized or anything), I've been aggressively paying down my credit card bills, I don't have a car payment at the moment (though I'm terrified I'm going to have one any day now as my car is totally rusting out)... but, that still doesn't explain where my money is going! So, assuming, generously, that maybe $6k is going to the above items... where's the rest?

The most I can figure is that the cost of living is just going up. I mean, I was pretty marginal at $28k-- I probably couldn't really afford my oh-so-luxurious lifestyle in my 600 sq ft studio apartment which is located on the freeway and across from the electrical grid. But, well, costs are just going up. For example, when I moved here the condo fees were $115 a month... they are now $187.  The taxes were $1800... they are now around $2500. My heating bill never used to be over $150 in the middle of winter... it's now regularly over $150 even in the fall spring, and in winter it's closer to $250. The cost of my health insurance has gone up $1500 this year... the copays have gone from $10 to $20-$40...

Does all that add up to the missing $10k? I don't really know. It's sort of death by papercuts, isn't it?

This is all coming up right now because there are a few condos for sale in my area that I'd be really interested in but I'm only torturing myself (and Jedi) in looking at them.  More than that, we're also trying to consider where we'd like to go on our honeymoon and we've come up with...


Staying home! Because that's what we can (barely!) afford! Whee!

And it's not like we were looking at trips to France or anything... (Ok, I'm lying, we totally were! But only because  my mom's family is all there and we could stay for free and it's either my relatives come to the wedding or my grandpa pays for Jedi & I to go to France... Which sounds awesome, until you realize it means that we'll be sharing a bedroom with my 11 year old cousin. Oooo how romantic!)

We were then looking at a little cottage in Rhode Island, which is comparatively cheap for $1000 for 5 days... but then we do the math and we realize for the same price we could get our leaky, moldy, mildewy windows replaced... and if we go on the honeymoon we will have to live with those windows for another year. Probably not the wisest choice health-wise, huh? But oh, a week at the beach! Or, a persistent cough due to fungal infection... It's such a close call.

I would be willing to take this trade off of living a lower-middle class existence if it seemed to come with a greater freedom where free-time was concerned. I mean, I really enjoy my current job and it certainly encroaches on my personal life less than my old job, but I would love to work only part time ... and still be making (close to) what I'm making.

I was thinking about this today because there's a woman who just resigned and she only works part time (I don't know if her position will stay only part time) and just based on what the salary for the full-time job is I'm guessing she probably makes around $35-40k... working only 2.5-3days/week.  I would be COMPLETELY willing to make that trade off.  I don't think I'm qualified for her job at this point, but it's something to think about for the future.  I just feel like I would feel so much more rested and calm and centered having that kind of schedule... so much so that having less money would be more a matter of lifestyle choice than of -gee, aren't I getting screwed-ness.

But working my ample ass off 5 (+) days a week and still having to choose between moldy windows and honeymoons? That sucketh mightily.

How do other people do it? I'd really like to know.

(BTW, apologies for the slow posting schedule... I've been under the weather this past week)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman to thank for the massive inflation he has created by printing money.

He's doubled the US money supply, effectively watering it down even more.