Let me break my finances down for you all. I'm really going to put this out there and really talk about this issue quite honestly.
Let me start by saying that I'm extremely lucky. EXTREMELY LUCKY.
Because of my parents helping out with as much as they have been helping, I've yet to go hungry and no debt collectors are knocking on my door. Because I'm on a family plan, I am able to have my awesome Droid with me at all times. Because they love me and trust me, I haven't broken down and moved back to Los Angeles.
I'm really of the mind that I need to be able to make it on my own before I can consider myself an independent adult. Now, being Filipino, it's part of our culture to share some of the finances. If I were more wealthy, I would be able to help my brother and sister through difficult times as well. Fortunately, my brother was the smarter one between us three, and is making more than I can even imagine at this point. Regardless, as the eldest, I know that I also want to help financially support my family.
Now, of my own money that comes my way, I have my side job, which I love. I really should have been trying to turn that business into a full-time business since October 2009, when I first signed up for unemployment. Alas, hindsight is 20/20. So, while it does provide some income, I'm still trying to make it so that I am really earning more than $500 a month from it. That means, more parties, more exposure, more selling. I know I'm up to this challenge, mainly because I get so much satisfaction from this job.
Every Sunday, I log in to the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment website and let them know that I was able to work, that I looked for work, and that I had or had not earned any pay from smaller jobs. Then on Tuesday, $355 gets deposited into my account. It's not bad, but it's not enough.
On Tuesday morning, when I take a look at my bank balance, I take a minute to breathe. Then I get to work on paying bills (Comcast, Old Navy, Victoria's Secret, Best Buy, and Capital One) or paying the boyfriend back whatever amount I owe him (most of the household utilities are under his name because this was his apartment before it became our apartment). Then this happens:
As of this 2nd week of October, I'm dying to get a pedicure (approximately $40). I want to keep going to yoga and pilates ($15 per class, but I've already paid $70 for 5 sessions). I want to be done paying for my half of rent for this month ($200 out of $550 left).
The boyfriend thinks that I spend way too much money on things I don't need. I'm sure that's true. I don't need to eat out with friends. I don't need to buy coffee or pastries. I don't need to buy more belly dance related items. I don't need to buy new jeans just because my best pair have a whole in the crotchal area. I don't need to go to Mexico in 2011 (though I'm still definitely working on that!).
I wish there were things I could barter with people. I would gladly spend the day cleaning at the nail salon if I could just get a free pedicure. I could teach a very-very-very-introductory belly dance lesson for a yoga or pilates class.
I mean, I guess there's no harm in asking. No harm at all. I might actually see if I can do some bartering.
As of now, I have 2 job interviews this week. One as a full-time Program Manager at the Boston Center for Adult Education and another as a part-time Front Desk Staff at the Commonwealth Sports Club (a gym I'd love to have a membership at because of their salt-water pool). As of now, I would consider working both if they both offer me a position, depending on the hours obviously. I would also keep working my side job, because I feel like I want to keep moving in that direction.
But, I just don't want to feel like my hard earned money is continuously flitting out of my reach.