I received my first “spam” comment! I’m obviously somebody now.
Money seems harder and harder to come by these days as living expenses simultaneously become higher and higher. However, I’m always watching my money and making sure it’s working for me more than I’m working for it. So below are a few of my money saving tips I thought I would pass along. These were especially helpful this past month, as I experienced some very lean times and an uncertain future.
#1 Crunch the Credit – Now is as good a time as any to become a cash only household. It isn’t wise to put more on your card than you can pay off in a month anyhow, but it’s best to lay off the credit entirely, if you can. Save it for emergencies. If they’re making 47″ flat screen LCD TVs today, chances are they’re making them tomorrow. Hold off until you can really afford it and pay in cash. It’s also the perfect time to call your credit card company and ask them to reduce your rate. You’d be surprised how quick they are to jack up your interest rate for a payment that was three hours late, but they also want to keep your business and will most likely compromise with you.
#2 Budget Billing – My electric company offers various ways to save money and I opted for the “Time-of-Use” program. I’m charged a lower rate for using electricity at “off peak” hours. This means I run my dishwasher/dryer/what-have-you after nine p.m. and pay less than I would have if I ran it at eight p.m.
#3 Thermostat – You’ve probably heard this one over and over again, “keep your thermostat below 70 in the Winter”. Hate the cold? Suck it up. There’s a reason humans have survived for millions of years: They acclimate pretty quickly. Throw on a sweater or even buy a Snuggie, you’ll be OK. I promise.
#4 Frivolous Expenses – Can’t live without your precious extended cable? Try it. I double-dare you. TV can be a major time and money sucker. It’s weird being without cable at first, but really, how many times can you watch the same episode of Rock of Love? (You know you do, otherwise Bret wouldn’t be looking for love for a THIRD season)
#5 Cheap Entertainment – So now that you’ve cut cable, there will be free time you’ll probably want to fill. Go to the gym (don’t get sucked into a contract! I love the YMCA). Visit a used bookstore. Buy a puzzle (a hard one you wimp!). I also recommend the second-run theaters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked out of a $3 movie thinking “Holy Hell, I’m glad I didn’t pay $9 to see that”.
It has been difficult to stay positive during this whole process of job hunting. The news is bleak all over. Some are hiring, most are not. Of those that are, one is expected to assume a role that encompasses the duties of multiple positions. Make lattes and do payroll? Devise strategic marketing plans and clip your toenails? Balance the budgets and re-plumb the entire building? All this splendor for $15k a year?!
Where do I sign?
On top of that, competition is stiff. I’ve read stories of high-level professionals taking a 50% pay cut in order to get by. Of course, something is better than nothing, but with so many overqualified applicants vying for the same position, I hardly stand a chance.
However, my luck changed as of last Tuesday. That’s right! You’re reading the meaningless blog of someone who is now employed (technically as of February 23rd). How was I able to snare one of these evasive jobs and avoid having to navigate the dreaded unemployment benefits system? **I also wrote a blog about THAT little gem which I have yet to post**
It wasn’t the temp agency. It wasn’t Monster.com. It wasn’t Craigslist (ahem, Mr. Scammer, you have been reported and justice will be mine assuming Craig, himself, hasn’t been laid off). It wasn’t even a friend of a friend of a friend. My new employer happens to be my former agency’s client.
Alas, the toil and trouble of perusing the help wanted sections, creating dazzling cover letters, and spending hours on applications turned up completely fruitless. I’m in no way complaining though. I was able to land a job which still fulfills my chosen career path, plus I’m familiar with the company’s inner workings.
I was excited, however, at the possibility of partaking in my very own Ralphie dream sequence moment straight from “A Christmas Story”. Some hapless employer would stumble across my resume after hours of a grueling and exhaustive selection process. It would be the perfect moment to prove myself a shining beacon of light to illuminate the weary HR department. “Poetry! Sheer Poetry, Trish! A + + + + +…”
Also, had I known I would muddle through so many dead ends during my search, I could have spent more time coming up with a better list of “25 Random Facts” for my Facebook page. Not that I would have, mind you, but I could have. Come to think of it, even if I had all the time in the world on my side, I probably still couldn’t come up with 25 facts to entertain you with.
So now I have a new chapter to embark upon and I have to admit, I’m pretty stoked. Not only do I have something to keep me busy during the day, but I’ll have the ability to pay my electric bill as well (by the way, it’s friggin’ cold in the house!). This bodes well for you too. Now that I’m working, there will no doubt be less Twitter updates about cheesy tots. Sorry ’bout those….
Most importantly, throughout this entire process, I’ve received unconditional support from my family, friends, and loved ones…but I didn’t receive any jobs. So get out there and network!!
Random fact #1: I am left handed.
I did it! I got a job!
Details to follow.
OK, I love Craigslist. I’ve sold and purchased many items on there. In fact, the “Best Of” section has provided endless hours of entertainment. And after hearing countless tales from those who have found a job through this site, I’ve been making it a daily ritual to check it.
However, I’ve come to the conclusion that I know several liars.
Craigslist has proven itself worthless in my job search. No, I don’t want to work from home (alright I do, but not selling knives!) and no you can’t have my most recent head-shot (hell, I don’t even have one). How do these fall in the Marketing category again? That’s right, they don’t. Unless I’m selling knives in a bikini using my web cam, this is beginning to look like a dead end.
I’m starting to wonder why I even bothered earning a degree which has such crappy ROI. All I really need in this world is a fantastic set of cans and the ability to be persuasive (let’s face it, the cans will do most of the work there too).
Why did it take me so long to realize this epiphany? Probably because I was stuck in Natural Sciences 102 for a semester figuring out how hard I would have to throw a wrench to propel myself back towards the space shuttle. So until we terraform Mars, I’m stuck perusing Craigslist for some faint glimmer of hope.
Oooh! Maybe someone is selling Hope Glimmer!
My anxiety levels have reached increasingly epic proportions over the past month. I’ve experienced difficulty breathing, stress headaches, loss of sleep, and worst of all…pimples. Two sebaceous glands (who shall remain nameless) have become enlarged to the point of generating their own gravitational pull. Concealer? Yes, please!
Ok, I’m starting to ramble. The point of this blog wasn’t to talk about skin care.
Focus, Trish, focus.
In order to resolve my anxiety issues I thought I would try Hypnotherapy. I don’t have the patience or concentration required for Yoga (see previous paragraph) and I’m starting to annoy myself with pep talks and daily affirmations in which I feign enthusiasm. I decided to try annoying my subconscious instead.
After downloading a budget friendly and generic “Overcoming Anxiety” album from iTunes I thought the best time to try this was right before bed. Plenty of soft, cushy surfaces and few distractions. Needless to say, I fell asleep instantly and don’t remember much past the opening wind chimes. Any anti-anxiety mantras that nested in my brain overnight were quickly destroyed by the panic that ensued upon waking and the realization I’m a klutz even in my sleep. I couldn’t find my iPhone in the mangle of sheets and my headphones were tangled in my hair to the point of me considering implementing a new hair trend.
I’m obviously too spastic in my sleep to try that again.
The next day I found a quiet place (during the day mind you) where I could be alone with my soon-to-be newly minted thoughts. This time I really put forth an effort to listen and absorb. A few minutes past the wind chimes was a comforting woman’s voice. Not only was she soothing, but….familiar? I remember this voice from my childhood. Then it dawned on me, she sounded just like the Childlike Empress from The Neverending Story! It was the same haunting, ethereal voice.
This, of course, broke my concentration. Especially when she encourages me to open my mind and fly above my surroundings.
I now have a Luck Dragon. If this doesn’t help anxiety, I don’t know what will. There is something to be said for the relaxing qualities of riding imaginary beasts across unknown lands. So, for the next 40 minutes I do nothing but re-live the movie in my head.
If you happen to still be reading at this point, I thank you. I also marvel at your resilience. I’m sorry to say there really is no grand conclusion to this blog entry. However, my headache went away and my skin is clearing up, but now I’m having difficulty sleeping because I stay up watching YouTube clips of the film.
Was the album worth $9.99? Sure. I was really only seeking a distraction to begin with.
This is the worst part of it all. I’ve applied everywhere I could, followed up with the necessary people, and even interviewed. Now I wait. And wait. And wait.
In the meantime, Ive been trying to fine-tune and polish my Adobe CS skills. Yet, I’ve really only managed to polish off pints of ice cream and half a bag of tator tots. Not that I’m complaining, but my pants might.
I’ve also been trying really hard to stay motivated (says the girl sitting in her pajamas at 1 pm) and to keep lists of everything I’ve done and everything that still needs to be done. This seems to help me stay one step ahead of the game, and in actuality helps me keep my sanity.
I still have my moments of ups and downs, but for the most part it hasn’t been too awful. Sure it’s stressful, sure it’s depressing, and sure it can seem dire. But so what? Whenever I’ve cursed the Gods above for dealing me cards I didn’t ask for, in the end, things typically turned out for the better. You can still get four of a kind with only twos, right?
So to quote one of my favorite cartoon strips, “Red Meat”: When life hands you poop, make poop juice.