I was hoping to get some accountability for my spending habits and maybe get some feedback from people on how I am doing
I went back to school two years ago and am now finished my degree. It has been hard to find a full-time job because there is a lot of red tape (I am a teacher) but I was able to take an additional qualification this summer in a high-demand area, so I am hopeful I will get an okay job by Christmas. People keep telling me I am ont he right track, and I have to believe them
I also have a modest tutoring business which brings in a few hundred dollars a month, and I teach Sunday school. I feel like I am doing everything I can, professionally, to get ahead. It is hard when I keep hearing that I just have to be patient. I have fairly modest needs and a proper job would have me well-set. Right now, I am working in a temporary summer job that is not paying the bills. I may start moonlighting at an evening job just for the month. I do have enough in my savings to cover me even if I don't work this month, but I do not want to deplete all of my savings.
I did my grad school degree overseas, and am still paying off some credit card expenses related to my coming back to North America. This was stuff like my plane ticket home and my fees to get my professional certification transferred. I still have about $1500 on my credit card. Once I get a proper job, I can pay that off in a month, but right now, it will have to stay there. It is down from a high of $5000 so that's some progress. I have a student loan as well which costs $120 a month, but I am not too concerned with it. When I get the teaching job, hopefully in September, I may start paying it down faster, but for now, I am happy to pay the minimum.
What stresses me out a little, money-wise, is that I feel there is really no more wiggle room left to cut. I live in the cheapest area of the city, in a basement apartment. I do not have roommates, but I have cousins who live in the same area and do have them, but it does not cost them less because they pay extra for utilities. All of my utilities (water, power, heat, air conditioning) are included with my rent, and I was able to get free laundry, internet and cable too. I am not very into the cable, but since it is here, I don't mind
The only extra I pay for is a cell phone (I do not have a landline). My cousins pay over $100 just for cable and internet, so getting a place with included utilities was really a bonus.
I do not have a car. I live near a subway and pay $100 a month for a bus pass. It is well worth the money. A car would be much too expensive and I would have to buy a parking spot because I live downtown and parking is at a premium. I also live near a lot of thrift stores and Asian markets, so food and clothing can be cheaply had. If I buy something like a dvd, I am usually able to sell it back to the used book store. I admit, I do have a bit of a weakness for books and dvds, but I have a rule about not having more books than shelves, so I do purges fairly often and sell stuff I don't need.
I have a very cheap food budget because I have a recently diagnosed food allergy. I cannot have anything with corn in it, so most frozen foods, prepared foods and snack foods are out. I had not realized how much I used to spend on these until I was not buying them anymore! Frozen dinners often have the fat replaced with corn starch as a thickener, and many foods are sweetened with corn syrup. Between that and the large assortment of cheap Asian markets, I have been able to get my food spending down to about $30 a week. My mother thought, when I moved out, that I should budget $100 a week!
Periodically, I do get medical expenses for which I am presently uninsured. I had to get money from my mother when my doctor said I had to get an epi-pen for the food allergies. I hate having to go to her for money! I also made the decision to stop using disposable menstrual products due to the cornstarch in them. I feel much healthier and I know the investment will pay off both in terms of my finances and the environment, but it cost me a little to get it all set up. I also have been seeing a counsellor for a stress issue which was affecting my health, and it has been a good thing, but it costs money. I was able to negotiate a reduced rate with her.
I feel like I am doing a lot right in terms of living frugally and in an environmentally responsible way. I am stressing about what I will do if I do not find a good job come September. I have had offers already for part-time, but I need something full-time. And I will feel a lot better when this credit card is paid off! It is just hard right now because my plans for September are not firm yet and I have little control over that at this point since I am waiting to get in with the school board. I have already upgraded my credential, done some moonlighting to get extra pay, reduced my grocery bill by almost half, and found a living situation that will allow me to save a lot of my take-home pay once I get the proper job which I am pursuing. What else can I do? I am just stumped for other options, and I have no idea what will happen if I can't get a teaching job in September.