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Sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it . . .

February 22nd, 2011 at 10:46 pm

To set the stage, I started a new job the last week of October and took a giant pay cut. On top of that, my first five bimonthly paychecks were prorated, and $400 less than they normally would be. I had some money in the bank (knowing I would be switching jobs), but barely enough to get through until my pay went back up. Of course, I had also planned on getting paid for the sick time and personal time that I had built up my first two years at my previous job (75% for personal/25% for sick), using that as a buffer. Apparently you have to give 90 days notice or you forfeit all that money. Okay. FU. It's worth it to get out of that horrible job that had me unable to sleep at night, wake up in the morning, go through lockdowns, and have my family constantly worry for my safety.

That left me super broke though.

I got a tutoring job. I sold books on half.com and classroom sets on ebay. I cut everywhere I could cut. We got in a screaming fight because I said we weren't going to make two damn trips to the Dollar Store in one day and waste gas. We turned the heat down and used only single lamps with high efficiency bulbs. Boiled water for pasta and then shut off the gas to let the pasta cook for 20 minutes with no heat. Spun clothes dry and hung them on a rack. Seriously. We did everything.

We had the most minimal Christmas you could think of. My parents paid our gas and tolls so we would go to their house. By January we were broke, but knew my income was going to go up by $800 that month.

On January 5th my car got towed because someone in Harrisburg screwed up. When we switched insurance, Hbg thought our insurance was canceled, and they sent us a notice to either send our plates or proof of insurance. We faxed in proof. We were actually covered by two different companies during the time they said we didn't have insurance. We got another notice saying our fax wasn't legible, send in copies. We did. We have copies of our fax receipt and the letters we sent with proof. We heard nothing else. Then our car gets towed nine months later.

We brought all our receipts/copies to traffic court so we could prove we had insurance and go get our car from the PPA. It was like a cross between Parking Wars and a Kafka novel. $600 later we had our car and another court date (3/8), and we were informed that we *might* get our money back if we had proof (we also have proof from the insurance company that they notified Hbg) of insurance for that time period. Oh, even if we proved we had insurance and Hbg was notified we wouldn't get back $75 of our money because it was an 'administrative' fee.

Okay. So we're flat broke now. Literally using change to buy milk, and rationing that out.

We start to climb out of the hole. With my Feb. 15th paycheck, I actually splurge and let us each have $15. We did have to get our car inspected, and knew there would be about a $130 repair. Okay. That sucks. But we had money for it -- amazing considering what's gone one. What happens? One side of the emergency brake is frozen, and if I want the car inspected it will be $398. So, again, I'm flat broke. My next paycheck on the 28th will cover rent and bills that are due before the 15th, leaving about $115 until I get paid on the 15th. Thankfully I'll have a small tutoring check and my husband's small check, but those don't add up to much. My check on the 15th will be used to start building up savings again, which I'm sure will disappear to another unforeseen disaster.

Sometimes it just gets so depressing to scrimp and save and go without just to have it all taken away.

14 Responses to “Sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it . . .”

  1. ThriftoRama Says:

    I have totally been there. I once was accused of not having insurance. I actually had a copy of my policy in my car, but the cop said "I don't want to read that" so he took my license and I had to go to court to get it back. Of course, it took a ton of money and a lot of time and hassle to show I was innocent, and then they charged me a $150 license holding fee. Seriously? $150 to hold on to my drivers license for me?? I was so poor at the time, I literally had to skip meals because of this. It still makes me mad. But, you make it through. You have to. Just try not to dig deeper, and do not do no give up.

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I respect you for the way you have made it through to this point. May there be many fat paychecks for you in the near future.

  3. melissalt Says:

    Thriftorama: Thanks for sharing that. It seems like such a crazy thing that sometimes I think others must imagine there's more to the story. Sometimes there's not; you just get really ripped off and there's nothing you can do about it.

  4. momcents Says:


    Been there, done that. Having those pressing needs that trump everything else, only ours was asthma medication for our daughter which cost us our last $263 (this coincided with a bout of unemployment and a brand new baby). Thankfully we had parents to chip in for formula and diapers ... And sometimes we still have those months, DH makes a decent wage but with five kids the grandparents still chip in for extras for the kids.

  5. North Georgia Gal Says:

    I think we have all been in this position. But at least you had the money to cover these expenses. That should be enough to make you appreciate living by a budget.

  6. davera Says:

    It will get better! You are doing all the right things at the right time. The bureaucracy is aggravating, when you have to "prove" your innocence because of their error, but you have the proof and you will perservere.

  7. melissalt Says:

    momcents: While my situation was maddening, your;s must have been scary. Grandparents are very helpful, but I hate not having all the money I need myself (like probably everyone here).

    North Georgia Gal: I am very grateful that I had money available since I do my best to budget. I remember thinking, while paying my ridiculous fee at the court, what if I didn't have the money available? What happens to people who don't? I can only imagine the awful downward spiral.

  8. Miz Pat Says:

    Dear you have done very well. Think of how much worse it would be if you had done nothing to save or budget. I know this is a hard time, but you are building up savings and your talents in frugality and will be able to use this to prepare.

    Part of what savings are for is to meet the unforeseen. I know its hard, how much better to save for a house, or a trip, or a fund for unemployment or anything else we planned for, but this is something you didn't plan for and you were ready for it and you have the tools to deal.

    God bless you dear, and i hope you all do well this month.

  9. CampFrugal Says:

    I hear your frustration. My husband had no work from the week of Thanksgiving until a week ago; and we had to really dip into our savings to keep us going; along with cars breaking down, my computer crashing, my son's extra room heater caught on fire, my glasses broke, just a bunch of small stuff. All I can say is thank God my husband knows how to fix a lot of things and we have an awesome friend who fixed my computer, but I lost all my work.

    But, all of sudden things have turned around for us. Yesterday was a great day. I got some work, calls came in for my husband's work, just a very productive day.

    We made it and so will you. We are working our way back up and you will to. Stay positive.

  10. ThriftoRama Says:

    Wow, Momcents. That is intense.

    But yes. Everyone here is right. It's incredibly frustrating, but the skills you are using now will serve you well when the good times come. I'm a long way from that frustrating day where I basically had to live on rice for two weeks because of traffic court, but because of that experience, I am resourceful, I take care of all my business, and I use whatever resources that come my way judiciously. In the long run, it's laying the foundation for a prosperous and plentiful life.

  11. NJDebbie Says:

    ((HUGS))
    Things will get better.

  12. melissalt Says:

    Miz Pat: You are so kind. You make a very good point as well. I didn't mind scrimping when I thought I was going to be able to save the money, but to have to spend it all two months in a row on car problems right when I thought I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel was just so frustrating.

    You are right. I am exceedingly lucky that I had the money to take care of the problem both times. I might be eating pasta and counting pennies again for another month, but there are certainly people much worse off.

    CampFrugal: I'm so glad things are looking up for you. I am going to try to borrow some of your positive attitude. :-)

    ThriftoRama: I guess the silver lining is that I have learned many lessons. The fact that this happened to happen right after I found this forum again must be a sign. :-) Reading everyone's comments has helped me put things in perspective and come out with a healthier attitude.

    NJDebbie: :-) All of you have been so kind and helpful to someone you don't even know. I hope that one day I will get to switch places and be the one writing the helpful, encouraging comments to someone else!

  13. Jerry Says:

    If nothing else, you have shown that you are resilient and that "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" will not keep you down! That is disgusting about the insurance foul up, and I hope that you are able to make progress. I think that there is something to things being darkest before the dawn, so hang in there! Good luck to you and I hope this month leads to good news for you...
    Jerry

  14. melissalt Says:

    Thanks Jerry -- I have to go to court on 3/8, so I'll be posting an update, and I hope it's good. Of course, they sent me two appearance tickets (I don't know what these are called when they tell you the date and time you need to appear in court), and they are both for 3/8 at 1:00 but in different courtrooms. They made sure to note that if I don't appear they'll issue a bench warrant. Um . . . okay Philadelphia. I'm just biding my time and hoping to save enough money so that when my job expands into Maine I can transfer out of here!

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