Empty Nest – Empty Bank Account part 3

To wrap up my first post (yes, these three parts are really just one long post in my mind), Here I am, paying off my student loans, paying my living expenses, and sending every extra cent to help my daughter get her education. I sent over $18,000 to her school last year and I cannot do the same this year. I am tapped out.

Essentially, I am supporting two households on one income – an income that isn’t even enough for one at the moment. Every bill is overdue. Except medical! I think I am finally on top of the medical bills! My daughter has a summer job (paid) at her school. The pay isn’t great, but it includes summer room and board. She also has an unpaid internship with the athletic department that I am hoping can morph into either a paid internship or a work study position.

I started selling on straight commission in January on the basis of a job posting that listed the wage range as $55,000 – $80,000. I know I am still improving my skills, but sadly, I think the job listing was unrealistic. Most of my co-workers do not hit the minimum $55,000 as posted either. One or two make more money, so it can be done, but really the posting should have had a range of what people actually earn in that position. I am actually down compared to my previous years earnings at this point. I accidentally took a pay cut instead of gaining a pay raise.

Looks like a second job is once again on the horizon. I have worked two jobs almost continuously from 2008 through 2015. At one point I had three jobs. When my daughter started her Senior year in high school, I decided that I needed to be able to attend her last events. I was able to go to more sporting events in her last year than I had attended in the previous 5 years combined. I was able to attend Honors Day, Senior Luncheon, the Homecoming game, and all of the other things I had worked through in the past. So I will never regret cutting back on work. Now however, I am finding it hard to actually go out and apply for a second job. I know I will have to, and soon, but it has been such a nice feeling to leave work and go home, instead of to a second job.

I’ve looked into and done a MLM gig. I actually loved the product and the company and most of all, the people I met and worked beside, but I wasn’t wildly successful. Or even mildly successful. I either wasn’t properly motivated or I am just a person who needs structure imposed on their day to get things done…

I’m researching options and alternatives to the traditional job market. I’m following budgeting blogs and marketing blogs. I’m cutting expenses as much as possible. My only two “luxuries” at the moment are phone and internet. No cable. No magazine subscriptions. No memberships (except to Costco. Medicine alone pays for that.) No unnecessary doctor visits. No necessary doctor visits either. No new shoes. (I own the same 2 pair that I’ve had for several years now.) No new clothes. Basically living the same as I have since 2011, when we cut cable and gave up TV.

I want to use this format as a way to post what I try and how it works (or doesn’t work) for me. I want to share things I find interesting along the way. I want to be inspired again! I’ve done this in the past, but get sidetracked and lose sight of what I was hoping to accomplish. Having a blog and a set time to post will keep me on track. Hopefully, ha, ha!

 

 

Empty Nest – Empty Bank Account part 2

Well, so. It should be no surprise that it didn’t go very well.

Married seven long, hard years. I had one son, who was my whole life. Divorced and swore I would never do that again.

I got an Associate’s Degree during the early divorced years, going to night classes on the days his dad had him. Had a student loan; paid it off. I wanted to continue on and get my Bachelor’s Degree. I was signed up for classes and I was so excited, but the reality was that I couldn’t go to school full time, work part time, be a single mom, keep up with house payments, etc., etc. Something had to give. First it was school; then it was the house.

But I always wanted more kids… What to do? What to do? For a time, I had my nephew’s daughter living with me. She was so sweet and totally a people person. An absolutely gorgeous girl! Unfortunately for both of us, it didn’t work out.

I had my daughter without the benefit of a husband. This has its pros and cons, but overall has worked well, except for financially. Her biological father and I had an agreement – that I would be the parent. He owed me nothing. We had our rough patches, especially when he wanted all of the rights without any of the responsibilities. But, he’s basically a decent guy and after he got married when my daughter was four years old, he suddenly became much more responsible. All credit goes to his wife 🙂

I feel that my son paid the price when I had another child and sometimes I feel bad about that. His dad remarried and had a daughter and I didn’t remarry and had a daughter. He was going through turbulent teen years but who knows? Maybe another child made no difference in his behavior. A little late to be second guessing. My son had no real interest in school, even though he was (and is) smart. He didn’t like attending high school, so we never had college discussions. (He is now an electrician, making buckets more money than I ever will, so all’s well that ends well.)

During this time, I went back to school several times. Once while my daughter was in preschool and again about four or five years later. Both times I had to stop due to the difficulty of juggling work, parenthood, and school as a single person. No family near to help out, so I’ve done it all on my own.

My daughter has always wanted to go to college. In Middle School, she decided she needed to attend  a better high school to prepare her for college properly. I told her to decide what she needed in a school, research schools, and we would visit them to find out about financial aid. If all the stars aligned, she could attend a college prep school. They did and she did! Her biggest requirements were a Latin program and challenging classes. We couldn’t have found a better school for her.

The cost was a bit more than I was comfortable with, but not totally out of reach. I couldn’t pay high school tuition and save for college at the same time, but I reasoned that  paying for high school would pay off in better college options and better future financial aid. But at the end of 2012, my job disappeared. The company I had worked at for twelve years was bought out and our location closed. So, I was looking for a job. I did find one reasonably quick, but at a much, much lower rate of pay.

I also found that having a degree would have helped me find a better paying job. I decided it was back to school for me, for that final push to get a Bachelor’s Degree or die trying! So, when my daughter was between her Junior and Senior years of high school, I finally got my Bachelor’s Degree.

 

 

Empty Nest – Empty Bank Account

Somehow I didn’t expect to be so broke.

I knew college was expensive. I’d read up on it and attended all of the information sessions offered. I went through it my self recently, and yet, here I am, unprepared to pay for another quickly approaching academic year.

I always told my daughter that she could go to school anywhere she wanted. She had to do her part and get good grades in high school and get scholarships. And I would do my part and help financially as much as I could. I didn’t know it wasn’t going to be enough…

I grew up as the youngest of seven and wanted to attend college after high school. I thought I would like to be an attorney or librarian or do some sort of historical research. But in my Junior year of high school, when I told my mom about the upcoming college planning night, she just said “We don’t have any money to pay for college.” That was the first and last discussion we had about it. We did, however, have many discussions about “when you grow up and get married.” My mom started a “Hope Chest” for all of us girls starting in about 6th grade, filling them with dish towels, measuring cups and spoons, glassware, pots and pans, anything you might need to set up housekeeping. It wasn’t an actual chest; just boxes with our names on the outside, containing our futures.

So, I swallowed my disappointment and went along with her. When the College Counselor/English Teacher walked up to my desk, slammed down my ACT scores on my desk and demanded to know why I wasn’t going to college, I just shrugged and said I wasn’t interested. There was no way was I going to get my hopes up over good test scores when I knew college wasn’t a possibility.

Soon enough I had a steady boyfriend, got engaged, and was married the fall after high school graduation, shortly before I turned nineteen. I had a September wedding – a gorgeous fall day and my mom was happy. Although, she would have been happier if I would have gotten married in June. She pushed hard for me to get married on June 5th, which was not only her wedding anniversary, but also her birthday. But I just couldn’t.