On top of states and our country being in debt, many individuals and families are in debt as well. It's not a secret either that a good portion of citizens in the U.S. are unemployed. I have many friends who are on major job hunts, either because they were let go from a job or simply because they need money. I was in the same position a couple weeks ago.
I had one part time job. I say part time because the company I work for only gives its employees a maximum of four days a week and I normally get a maximum of three days...it varies (last week I only had two days and this week I have four). I was on a job hunt and lucked out in getting a second part time job. This will just cover my bills with some savings. However, it will not help me to start paying off my college loans in November. I was hoping to avoid deferring them again.
Even though I do not like/support the company, McDonald's conducted a study about their employees that puts a spotlight on our current situation. Even the full time employees being paid minimum wage cannot support themselves with that one full time job. Our economy is getting so bad that even if you have a full time job, you will need a second job just to pay your bills.
Entry level jobs are also getting increasingly sparse. Nowadays, majority of jobs require you to have some college or a college degree or experience. When I was applying to jobs, I got extremely frustrated when I saw the words "experience required." All my experience is with an office or food environment. I tried to get a job outside of food. But most of the jobs I wanted asked for experienced workers. Well why can't you give me a chance so I can get that experience? How are you supposed to gain experience without an opportunity? You can't.
Like most Americans, my debt isn't getting any lower. Since I got my second job, I have been able to halt any more debt accumulating. I know I am luckier than most since I only have one credit card to pay off (I refuse to get a second one since I hate credit cards) and my college loans. Altogether I have about $26,000 of debt. If your debt is less than that, even $0, you're luckier than me! And most of my friends. I have a friend from college who went on to grad school. She now owes $93k! I cannot imagine having that much to pay off. She can luckily already pay monthly to start decreasing that number. However, that means she's paying $800 a month! That's my rent! I have other friends who are in the same boat as me and cannot start paying them off yet.
Luckily, I can start decreasing my credit card debt. I keep my credit card at home. I never use it if I can help it. I only use it when I really need to and I don't have the money in my account. When I say need, I mean toilet paper or toothpaste...necessities. I'm waiting to get my first paycheck from my new job to figure out a budget. But I'm hoping that I will get enough to pay off more than the minimum on my credit card each month. During college, I paid off my credit card every month. I didn't really use it until after graduation and it became a necessity. It's interesting how much changes in a short period of time.
My favorite blog, www.blissfulanddomestic.com, gives wonderful frugal tips. The blogger, Danielle, has a family of four (her, her husband and two kids). They are currently debt free and live on $14,000 a year! They eat all homemade and she even makes some clothes. If they eat out, go shopping, or do anything, it is budgeted. She meal plans for an entire month and then goes grocery shopping at the beginning of the month (yes, only once a month!). I'm slowly trying to adopt her tips.
After I see what I will be making at my second job, I'll be able to figure out my income. That will help me budget. I already have my set bills (rent, internet, utilities, Netflix, credit card, and public transportation card). After that, I need to see what I have left to work with every month and see where I can decrease costs. I will post a detailed entry about budget and another about being frugal while grocery shopping.
Remember to keep calm, breathe and focus on a little bit at a time. I'm only focusing on paying off the minimum every month for my credit card. I pay extra when I can. Just focus on one thing you can change to decrease your debt. If you are debt-free (lucky!), what can you change to save more money? Think of something you might want to do with that money - go on vacation, take a dance class, go back to school, go skydiving - and print a picture you can put where you would most likely see it everyday. That way you will have a visual of what you want. Then when you have the money, you can go ahead and do it!
Make sure to stay calm and breathe when it comes to money. And breath again. It'll get better.
"Keep Moving Forward"