Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bills, Bills, Bills

I moved in with my boyfriend last August. I quit my job and moved into the city, assuming it wouldn't be that hard to find another lousy retail job to work part time while I went to school. I'd never had trouble in the past. I've worked pretty much steadily since my second year of university.

Unfortunately, the economy is a toilet at the moment, and so I wasn't able to find a job right away. I got a low-income bursary mid-term, I did a three day temp job sorting garbage for a waste audit in October... and over Christmas I worked some retail shifts at two of my old jobs, but no steady work.

So, I've been pretty much living off my savings. My love has helped with some of my rent (we have roommates, so it's not too bad) and I've been able to keep on top of my other bills, but it's getting down to the last of what's in my bank account, now...

Thankfully, I managed to slip into a job at my university in mid-January. It's only 3.5 hours a week though, which at $10/hr, isn't great. It definitely doesn't cover my expenses, but it does mean less money that I have to scramble for.

I'm working an inventory shift tonight at one of my old retail jobs, so that will be a nice chunk; it'll pretty much cover my cell phone bill with a little left over. to go towards rent.

So, I'm still job hunting. I sent a resume off yesterday to a local pub (only a few blocks away from me, too, which is convenient) that is hiring a busboy/busgirl. The job posting is just enough hours for me - I can't take too many because of my school schedule. Hopefully I'll at least get an interview! I might stop in tomorrow evening to talk to them in person.

So, living is hard, and not cheap. I've applied for this term's bursary at my school, so hopefully that comes in and I can use it to pay down my credit card a bit. I've been trying to avoid using it, but the interest builds, which isn't cool. I'm also listing some furniture on classified ads, hoping to get a little cash-in-hand (Want to buy a bed or a chair? Make me an offer!). I also recently cut down my cell phone plan to be pretty much as basic as I can live with - unlimited text messaging is the only extra I paid for, and I cut off $15/mo from my phone bill by doing so.

So, here's some advice. If you're moving out on your own for the first time, and are expecting to get a job after you move, have some money saved up, first. I had just over $2,000 saved when I moved out. It's lasted me five and a half months, with augmentation from a few small income boosts, like temp work and school bursaries. I also have 5 roommates, so rent and bills are kind of low because of that. So, keep a little saved and expect to spend as little as possible on things like food or heat. Stock up on sweaters. Use the food bank (if you're a university student, your student union might have one... mine does, and I've used it.)

Good luck, and wish me the same.

Wooden Bird

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