I now know what it’s like to be poor. Over the past year, since my marriage, we have struggled financially. I haven’t been able to get a full time job, I’ve been going to school, and we have bills and things….fallout from the divorces…..it’s been rough.
We did ok at first, but then things started to go wrong. My laptop died, we couldn’t replace it…..my husbands car started acting up, my car’s air condition died, my dog got sick. I got a ticket….it seemed everything was happening at once. When I talked to my parents about it, I thought they might help us out, but I think they have their own financial things going on right now and it’s tough for them. I started losing sleep over it.
Bill collectors have been calling, and they can get pretty nasty. I never had any experience with that before. It’s hard to ignore phone calls and it’s hard to take the phone calls.
At the end of the month, we have had to plan strategically to make sure we had gas in our cars to get to work. I literally have counted out change at a gas station to get enough gas to get home.
I would buy my son’s food first. I haven’t wanted him to stress out about not having what he needs. I hate telling him no about things, but I’ve had to say no. But I put his things first.
I did the right things. I spoke with my husband about my feelings and I reached out for help. My health plan gave me some free visits with a therapist. That helped.
Finally, my dad told me I could take out money for my classes from my retirement plan without a tax penalty. So I called, and it turns out I can take out money from my plan. I pay a small penalty and taxes on it, but I can get enough to fix the cars and pay for my classes. It’s a blessing. I know it’s not good to tap into that money, but if it gets us through until I finish my school and get a job, then that’s a good use of it. What a relief.
I think it’s a good lesson though…..there aren’t guarantees in life, and it’s important to have a safety net. I know now, how it is to be scared, and that gives me compassion and empathy. I hope I remember, so I can help others, and I think I will always be a little more prudent in the future. Lesson learned.