Wow, I don't know if I'll be able to keep up with all of these posts, but I will try! I'm glad this thread is here... it seems like a very supportive place.
I'm new here, if you couldn't tell.
I've been hurting financially for the past 9 months and it's really been weighing me down lately. I have 3 part-time/sporadic jobs, but work has been so slow - my hours keep getting canceled, usually at the last minute and for various reasons beyond my control, and it's so frustrating.
I just applied for food stamps last week, but my interview isn't for 2 weeks.
What's been hard for me lately is feeling so "deprived," in comparison to my friends and the people around me, and in comparison to all that I used to have. I feel embarrassed by that and I keep trying to change my mindset to being grateful for what I DO have, especially since I, as a poor American, am still wealthier than most people in the world... but... I keep sliding back into bitterness.
For example, I'll hear a friend make some off-hand comment about how she needs to get a new iPod cover because she lost hers, and to myself I'm thinking, I can't even afford an iPod, nevermind a cover for one; I don't even have a working TV, since mine broke 8 months ago and I can't afford a new one or a repair person; I had to cancel Netflix long ago, I have to turn down friends' invitations to shows, etc. I start feeling sorry for myself because I miss these things.
I get so discouraged, because I am SO FRUGAL - I do not spend money on restaurants, movies, Netflix, cell phone, new clothes/books/movies/etc, alcohol, cigarettes, make-up, concerts/shows/events, classes, etc.; I am mindful with the electricity, I use coupons and buy in bulk, I have an old car, I walk instead of driving as much as possible, I eat what's on sale whether it's what I prefer or not, I make gifts instead of buying them, I barter a lot, etc. But it doesn't seem to matter, when the problem is really not that I'm not being wise with my money, the problem is really that I do not have enough work bringing in enough money to cover my non-negotiable, fixed expenses, such as rent, car insurance (I already switched to a different company to get a lower rent), credit card payments, etc.
I am so tired of having $5 in my pocket and having to decide between bringing my sheets to the laundromat because they haven't been washed in months, or buying some kale because I haven't had anything green in several days. I get so down when friends invite me out for a meal when the most I can do is scrape together enough change from bottle deposits to buy a small coffee. Then I feel equally down when I say "screw it" and buy a big fancy frappuccino to ease my feelings of deprivation, mentally calculating how many meals I could have gotten out of that same $4.50 and feeling guilty.
Thanks for letting me vent. I don't have (m)any offline people to vent to, because if I vent to my mom she just worries (and feels guilty, because she's no better off financially than I am), and none of my friends are as low-income as I am so they don't really understand and it's awkward.
Okay, I will try and end on a positive note. Here are wonderful things I am grateful for:
- heat is included in my rent
- I am healthy and able-bodied
- I have friends and family who love me
- I have very cheap health insurance that my state makes available for low-income people
- Living in a tiny apartment with many broken electrical appliances may be frustrating, but on the upside, my electric bill was only $21 last month.
- I have an awesome, working laptop that was a gift from family
- I found a stainless steel travel mug at the thrift store for 27 cents today
- I have a good spiritual life
- Being underemployed means I have lots of time to spend with family and friends, and resting
- There are these cool things called libraries, with thousands and thousands of BOOKS TO READ FOR FREE! (I don't think I'll ever get over that
Editing to clarify, in case my post was confusing without this info: I am single and don't have children yet!!