Home > In the hole for the month of May

In the hole for the month of May

May 29th, 2010 at 11:49 am

I was kind of hoping that all the extra money I was earning from the Census Bureau could be socked away for, I don't know, winter heating oil expenses or something.

But because of a number of extra expenses this month, some unavoidable and one, umm, due to my own fiscal weakness, I've finished up May in the hole to the tune of $138.

I netted $1882 from 3 Census Bureau paychecks; that's about $454 more than what I'd get from 3 weeks of unemployment. In addition, I still got $188 from partial unemployment and $450 from freelance writing, which for me is a lot in a single month (as an out of work person). Plus I made $52 from online surveys. So my total net for May was $2,590 which is not bad at all, except for the following atypical expenses:

1. Cost of a plumber to declog a kitchen sink (my friends tried first) and fix a leaky toilet: $296 (THe toilet had been out of commission for well over a year.)

2. A set of 2 bamboo folding chairs: $117 (UNNECESSARY EXPENSE but i like them)

3. Clothing: I had an interview recently, plus the Census Bureau asks you to dress "business casual." Since gaining about 15 to 20 pounds since my layoff, none of my pants fit and i ended up spending $199 on pants, capris and a few tops. I really needed them; seems all i have in the way of summer clothing is tight-fitting t-shirts. but I could have tried harder to buy only discounted items.

4. The battery on my lawnmower died this spring, its 4th cutting season, and i picked up a new one yesterday to the tune of $136. This was definitely not on my planned list of expenses, but when the grass is growing, you can't delay mowing for long.

5. I spent $118 on gas this month, but that's due to the Census work I've been doing and much of it is reimbursable about 4x what I actually spent.

I'm wrapping up the Census work with just 2 surveys to finish. So I can expect 3 more paychecks from them, 2 of them for full-time work and this past week for about 15 hours worth. Doing the census work will also help me extend my unemployment benefits which, at this rate, it looks like I may well need to the bitter end.

Living absolutely minimally with absolutely no unnecessary expenses is possible for a month or even a few, but having done it now for 8 months, you sometimes feel you must "splurge" on entertainment or a meal out or SOMETHING or you'll go crazy. It's hard to keep it up without cheating a little. So today a friend and I will be visiting a garden. I'm using a coupon so we'll each pay just $3.50, but she'll likely be wanting to eat out, and I hope to avoid caving in to that, much as I'd like to. The Census work lulled me into a false sense of, "I'm earning money and can afford to spend a little more than I normally do here and there." I'm not sure I absolutely needed to spend $200 on clothing; I probably could have gotten by spending $75. The chairs, of course, unnecessary. I really need to try harder to stifle those spending impulses when they come, becus I often give in to them. A little here, a little there and it really does add up.

So after I finish up these last 2 remaining surveys, I should have a lull of no Census work for the month of June, and then hopefully will get a call early July for some "cleanup" work in other towns. That work will undoubtedly be harder becus finding addresses somewhere other than my hometown will be more difficult, but it will also translate into more money due to the mileage. I have no idea how much extra work there will be, or what towns they may send me to.

2 Responses to “In the hole for the month of May”

  1. HouseHopeful Says:

    The garden sounds like a great and reasonably priced splurge. Is this one garden of flowers, or are there several?

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    What is it like working for the census? The one that came to my house seemed extremely dogged. Almost as though he was camping outside the front yard or something. Mis that normal?

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