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What to do when income equals outgoing?
My husband’s job recently got new management that dropped everyone’s hours from 60 per week to 40, with no plans on giving anyone overtime. He went from bringing home $800+/week to $500, and our bank account is already suffering.
We’ve done all we can to lower our current bills, neither of us has enough time to work a second job, and I discovered today that the amount we both bring in is the exact amount of our bills. This doesn’t take into account a higher-than-average electric bill or anything like that, but it also doesn’t take into account the money I make as an on-call bank teller, because the money is unreliable. So, any money I make there is “extra.”
We’ve got a tiny bit saved, but nothing worth bragging about. Our money is slowly dwindling and I’m freaking out. We’re getting a few thousand dollars back for our income tax refund, but we’ve been waiting over 21 days since our return was accepted and still have not received our money. I’m worried that fiscal cliff delays will push back our refund for months.
I graduate in December and will be working full time, but the next 9 or so months look awfully daunting. We haven’t gotten to the point where we’re late on bills and we do have quite a bit of money available on credit cards that do not charge interest for 14 months. We only plan to use the card(s) until we get our tax money, and then pay it off, but using credit when I don’t have the money makes me nervous.
I know people use credit frivolously all the time. I know a lot of people are late on bills because they can’t afford them. I know people lose their jobs and are way worse off than we are. I know people live paycheck-to-paycheck their entire lives. However, I’m 23 and we’ve never had to worry about money until now, so it’s a foreign feeling to me. We bought a house late last year, and so things are a bit scarier when you know you can’t just move out if you can’t afford the rent.
I don’t need advice on how to cut expenses – I’ve done so much searching on that recently that there’s nothing anyone could say that I’m not already doing or have tried doing. What I’m wondering is if any of you have been here before, and how you dealt with the anxiety. How can I make myself feel better about this and just be thankful we make enough to pay for what we’ve got, even if there’s no wiggle room in the budget?