Back again

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2012
Back again
Tue, 01-01-2013 - 10:13pm

Hi everyone.  My name is Michele and I was here for a while before the end of October.  I am not sure if my screen name is the same as before or not but it was madismom (I think, anyway,  I can't remember. lol). 

I live in NJ and in October, we were hit with Hurricane Sandy.  I rent an apartment downstairs from my mother.  Our house was fine other than being without electricity for 8 days.  My job, however, was greatly affecfted.  Before the storm, I already knew that there was a good chance that I would be unemployed because my boss was leaving the company.  Before the storm, after being here for about a month and a half, I started to get an idea on how to really budget my money.  In the middle of November, my husband was supposed to go to the dentist so we had $700 in savings.  That was it.  Before the storm and before this board, I thought I had an idea on how to budget but I was really clueless.  I will admit that I still unsure but learning.  But before the storm, I would try to put as much money towards the credit card, often shorting myself and then causing me to charge on the credit card, all while having about 300 bucks in the bank and that be all.  You will note that I refer to the storm alot during this post but that is because the storm was a very big life event for me, even if my house was okay.

So back to the job.  The job has been greatly affected by the storm.   We work in a 15 story building built in the 70s. The utilities were all in the garage which was flooded by bay water.  There are about 20 people at my company - about 12 support staff.  For two weeks, all the support staff was laid off and told to collect unemployed but I didn't do it.  I already knew my boss was leaving and I didn't want to start collecting in November, only to then collect again after my boss left.  I would rather have a full 26 weeks of unemployment than take 2, work for a few more months and then be unemployed again.  But what I didn't know, and neither did anyone at my job, would be how severly damaged our building was.  Only myself and two other support staff, along with the attorneys, went to a satellite office for a month.  Everyone else was still on unemployment.  We were eventually let back into our building after over 6 weeks but even then, it was still the attorneys and only myself and two other support staff.  Eventually they brought one other support staff back and had to let everyone else go.  All the plans for the firm separated was sped up by the affects of the storm.  Thankfully, though, I was offered a position with a few of the other attorneys.  I am not sure what my pay will be yet but it will be comparable to what I am making now so I am okay.  I will hopefully find out in a few weeks.

Also during this time, my brother got a job in San Diego and moved with his wife. That wasn't a financial situation for me but what an emotional mess I was. 

Now it is the start of the new year and what better time to come back to the board then now. 

There were two positive things that came out of the storm for me.  One, I was able to spend time with my brother before he moved since I was unemployed for those two weeks (and he got power back before I did so we camped at his house for two nights).  The other, and a miracle I say, is that the storm financially scared me straight. 

I know this post is long.  I apologize.  I am long winded.

The storm hit on October 29.  Before the storm, I had $700 in savings. My paycheck was several days late and I lost two weeks pay.  I also had to pay double for my insurance premiums when I did finally get paid.  (My husband's job and his pay were untouched.)  I used that 700 to make up for the two weeks pay I lost.

Today is January 1.  I have 3300 in savings, All but two January bills are paid off. I only put one charge on the credit card in the last two months when I took my cat to the vet but then paid off the bill as soon as I came home from the vet with money I transferred from savings to checking.

Don't misunderstand me.  I still have the same debt that I had before (almost $40,000) but I have savings which I never had before.  It feels weird.  Every time I see that money, I want to put it right to the credit card but I won't do it.  I know I need that cushion God forbid one of us loses our job or something else happens.  This is also the first year I have ever bought Christmas gifts completely in cash.  And man have I become frugal (and in come cases just downright cheap.).  I like having this money in the bank.  I am proud of it.  I can't wait to see it grow against next week when we get paid again.

Okay, this is a long enough reintroduction.  So to be so wordy.   My future posts won't be as bad, I promise.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Wed, 01-02-2013 - 9:58am

Hi, welcome back!

You what they say....if something isn't working....using every cent to pay down debt then recharging...try something else. 

It sounds like as well as saving, you have changed the way you spend and you needed to do both. I build up savings all the time. Then sometimes I get tired of the debt and use half of it so reduce that debt. But guess what I still have some savings and the debt still goes down. Then I build it back up again. I find I am that way more when I get close to the end of one of the phases of my debt repayment. 

I am sorry for your Sandy troubles. I know that was a big blow to a lot of people. You sound like you are on the right track. Keep going.

Keep posting!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2012
Wed, 01-02-2013 - 10:07am

Thank you.  I was a real wreck for about 6 weeks with Sandy.  It was the closest I ever came to being truly depressed.  I am trying to find some positives and life lessons so that I can at least say I learned from it.  This was definitely one of them.  I have to admit that seeing money in the bank for the first time ever has helped.  lol


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2008
Thu, 01-03-2013 - 10:35am

Sometimes it takes a long post to make sense of all your situation, so don't apologize.  I enjoyed reading and understanding how the storm affected you.  My heart goes out to all the people in that area.  I had a friend on FB that also livied in NJ and she was without power too for a long time.  

It's sad that it took the storm to put everything into prespective for you, but I'm glad it's all working out.  Make and good workable budget and I hope everything falls in place with the new job and the new year. 

Best of luck and let us know how it all goes.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Thu, 01-03-2013 - 9:34pm

Sorry to hear the storm hit you so hard - 8 days is a really long time w/o power :(

Keep up the good work. Every little bit helps!


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 01-04-2013 - 11:12am

Michele, no need to apologize.  First of all, it wasn't that long a post. ;)  Second, big events really can shake us up in unexpected ways.  I live in NY and 9/11 affected me very deeply, though not as a direct result of losing a loved one (though DH lost a friend in the WTC).

Whatever the reasons, I hope the changes you feel are positive and permanent.  Welcome back.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Sat, 01-05-2013 - 8:27pm
I just wanted to comment on what an amazing thing you've managed to accomplish! Not only did you have to deal with a horrible event (storm) but you lost pay AND went through one of the most expensive times of year (Christmas). Yet despite all this, you managed to save $3300!!! I would suggest determining what amount of savings you need to make you comfortable, and then go back to taking on the debt! Congrats!

Bex -