Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Unemployment - Getting Creative

My last day at my job was Friday and yesterday was a holiday, so I count today as my first official day of unemployment. My first priority was applying for unemployment benefits at the office in Evanston. There's some scale that determines how much you get based on what you were earning, but it tops out early. So if you earn anything over some very modest amount, you get a set amount that's nowhere near what you were earning. My monthly expenses swelled in my two years of earning $40,000/year, so the $326/week I'm going to receive from unemployment isn't going to cover it. But I still said yes when they asked if I wanted federal taxes deducted from my checks (10%). If I had said no, I would have to pay those taxes on April 15th, so I figure just take it out and get it over with. I hate owing big sums on April 15th.

As I came home I calculated and re-calculated. I looked at my monthly budget: the expenses that are fixed, the ones that are flexible and the ones I can cut. I determined my bare bones, survival only needs. Besides rent, health insurance, utilities and food, these include things like my Bally's membership (there's no getting out of that one for another year), renter's insurance and monthly payments for my Apple laptop. I determined that there's a $600/month shortfall between my bare bones needs and what unemployment will pay.

What do people do with that shortfall amount? I mean besides trying to find a new job as quickly as possible. I have some savings, but if I have to pay $600/month out of them, they aren't going to last long. The bad news is that I'm alone and have no one else with whom to shoulder expenses. The good news is that there's no one to fight with as I make decisions about this situation. I might have to make some interesting financial moves in the next few weeks and I don't need anyone saying, "We can't afford that" or "That will never work" or "If I can live on canned beets, you can live on canned beets."

So, it's time to get creative. How else to bring in CASH without drawing federal government attention to myself?

Music. Childcare. Writing. These are the first things that come to mind as being sources of CASH. Under music is performing at venues, selling recordings, street performing, joining a working band (like a wedding band), and figuring out how to sell my original songs. Under childcare is babysitting, part-time childcare and...that's about it, I think. Under writing, well, it's time to investigate how I might sell articles/stories/poems/essays/etc. to online and print publications.

And "miscellaneous" would be things like selling that almost new $60 flamenco skirt I bought to take one class. I guess I have a lot to do. And, of course, anyone else's input is more than welcome!

Okay. My tasks are clear. It's a good thing I don't eat as much as I used to. And this all takes place at the same time that I figure out what I want to do as a day job and then find that job (no more secretarial work, please). It's got to be possible. This has all got to be possible. Why wouldn't it be possible? I now have all day, every day to do it. It's like being retired...

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