Since May 2013, I have spent six months working, and almost nine unemployed. Two of those months were last summer, but I have had almost seven straight months of not working as of right now. Was this intentional? Not by any means. It never occurred to me when my boss and I made the mutual decision for me to leave my last position that I would spend this long not working.
I have been struggling with situational depression and doing my best to keep positive and not settle for the next thing that comes along. Of course, I am not working because nothing has really “come along”. The one saving grace in this mess is the fact that financially, we are doing just fine, and can survive a few more months of no one in the house working, despite the fact that we spent almost $10k in the last month.
How? You can say some of it is luck- I got a six month severance package when I was laid off at the end of last April, and we got a very large tax return this past year because of adopting our daughter. In addition, my six months of working were timed perfectly so that I will end up with almost a full year’s worth of unemployment. (Unemployment is figured in a benefit year. I applied last May and received UE for 2 months. When I left my next position in January, I simply reopened my previous claim, and received benefits on it until May, when I reapplied and was qualified for another 24 weeks.)
But going on nine months on a six month severance package and unemployment is not all just luck, especially considering C has not worked since 2009, and we have been cash flowing his college expenses. (He finishes up his combined BA/BA in September.) The work we did to get our finances in order when he was laid off five years ago is the only reason we have been able to get through this time period with neither of us working in shape.
How are we doing it? When I lost my job in January, we only had three debt based monthly bills- our mortgage, my undergraduate student loans, and payments on the new windows we had installed last summer. We own both of our cars outright. We paid off my graduate student loans in January 2013, and while we do use our credit cards, we never carry a balance.
We have a budget in place and stick to it. We have made conscious decisions about where our money is going and are careful with large expenses. All of the money that has been spent recently was either planned (C’s tuition, adoption agency fees) or simply necessary- he needed a root canal.
This is not an easy time. I am a worse mother and a worse wife when I am not working. But at least for now, we do not have to worry about finances.