Necessary Evil: Unemployment (and some surprising personal growth)


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.


19 thoughts on “Necessary Evil: Unemployment (and some surprising personal growth)

  1. Your post made me smile. Since being made unemployed, I have gained more friends, a new hobby, and like you, learned not to worry about money. Most of all my house is now considerably lighter, as I don’t spend money on stuff I don’t need.

  2. It is good that you are not letting this temporary situation create negativity in your life. Remember, change is constant; nothing is permanent. Like every thing else, this situation will lead to better things.

  3. As long as you continue to view this situation in a positive light, and continue to push onward with productive tasks (like your blog!), you will come out of this a stronger and better human 🙂 All the best.

  4. Hi Amanda,

    This is the first time to your blog and the first post I’ve read. You seem like a girl who is figuring it out and well on your way to a prosperous life. Cutting costs is a major element of ensuring financial security and, as I’m sure you’re discovering, so is having an a fat emergency fund. I look forward to reading more on your site.

    Ree ~ I blog at

  5. Funny that I’m reading this today…hubby and I just posted about budgeting last night! If you have a minute, check out my latest on We’ll be down to one salary in two weeks and I’m kind of freaking out. Good luck to you!

  6. It’s encouraging to read about your downsizing. Minimalism affects every aspect of life including health. Something that helped me on my journey was this information.
    You may find it interesting to read about or watch: Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days‎
    In my case, the concern was the prevention of diabetes, since it has been a family disease for us.
    Once you don’t have diabetes to worry about anymore, you can travel lighter and healthier.
    All the best to you. NeatNotes

    • I’ve actually been doing research on that very program! My husband already maintains a gluten-free diet, and that helps a lot. We’re working on weaning him off grains all together, but it’s a long process. If he was Type 2, his diet would make a much more marked difference in a shorter period of time. But he’s a trooper. 🙂

  7. This is inspiring to me and just what I needed to read today. I am called to remember the saying “less is more”. Sometimes we don’t really “know” these things until we experience them. I am learning how to “let go”…..

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