Jack and I have been unemployed since the last week of April. We had saved some money from our tax return, and tried to skimp in every way imaginable since we knew we’d be out of work for a couple of weeks. What started as two weeks off work has become a month, and we still don’t have jobs. So.
But, as we rapidly approach the end of our financial rope, we have made a pretty exciting discovery. We’re not freaked out over our financial conundrum. My whole adult life I’ve panicked whenever money got tight. When we lived in an expensive apartment, paid for a big cable package, and spent money on things we didn’t need, losing a job was devastating.
Don’t get me wrong – we still have our fair share of unavoidable expenses. Jack has quite a bit of medical debt from years ago that we’re still paying off. My student loans are pretty embarrassing, and we still have a car payment. Because the car is under loan, our insurance is pretty high. Jack is an insulin-dependent diabetic, so we have to maintain decent health insurance and buy medication on a regular basis. These are things we can’t do much about by our day-to-day choices.
But our new lifestyle has provided a lot of opportunities to cut costs. By moving in with our friends, our rent is half what it was a couple of years ago. Since going gluten-free, our grocery budget is lower (and we’re healthier), and being minimalist means we don’t go shopping for clothing and housewares all the time anymore. We no longer have cable, and we share internet, electric, and water costs with our roommates.
This lifestyle has helped us lower our monthly expenses from $2500 a month to just over $1700 a month. Once we have gotten rid of our debts, that number will lower even further. Obviously I’m not a huge fan of having no idea how our $1700 worth of expenses is going to get paid in June, but I’m optimistic. I wrote not long ago about my battle with fear. Even if I was terrified about our current situation, the situation itself wouldn’t change. We’ll either be able to pay our bills or we won’t, but I refuse to be controlled by my money. Living simply has allowed me to let go of the stress of this transition, and that makes me happier than any amount of money ever could.