Day 53: Still Unemployed and Looking

May 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. I did have my telephone hearing a few weeks ago with the VEC. After receiving documentation from my doctor, as well as hearing evidence from both me and my employer, the VEC officer did ultimately decide that being absent due to illness does NOT constitute misconduct, so I am now receiving $164 a week from the VEC. It is paid electronically into my checking account.

Coupons have helped lower my grocery bill some, but since I already buy most of my groceries in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, it has not helped as much as I had hoped. Due to my husband’s income we do not qualify for food stamps. He is now clearing less since our health insurance comes out of his paycheck now. It is very hard to make ends meet.

Some of the things that I am doing to trim our budget is to shop Wal-Mart’s deli on Wednesday mornings, this is when they put the clearance bread on the rack. I buy several loaves and pop them in the freezer, taking them out a slice or roll at a time as we need them. I shop my local Food City and Save-a-Lot stores as well, and I always check out their marked down produce. My faithful crock-pot also helps. I combine whatever marked down meat I can find with some chopped vegetables and some spices and a few hours later we have a tasty, cheap, filling, meal. I make rice or potatoes on the side to stretch the meal.

My oldest duaghter is leaving in less than a week to travel to China with a college group. Thankfully all of her expenses are being paid by scholarship or she would not be going. Still, there are lots of little things she needs for her trip, and this has not helped our budget. My next oldest daughter leaves for college early, beginning in July instead of late August, so there are expenses there as well. When Fall begins we will have our youngest daughter at home in her senior year of high school, and our oldest son is still at home commuting to a local college. It bothers me that there is part of me that is relieved that there are not as many at home to worry about feeding. I wonder what it is like for people who are loosing their jobs in this economy and they have really young children at home that they have to worry about clothing and feeding, I am so thankful that my situation is not as dire as many.

I am thankful also that the gas prices are coming down. I have an older car that requires premium to run, so filling up the tank has been a challenge. Since my local Food City has a program that they call Fuel Bucks, earn 150 points, get 15 cents off a gallon, I have been trying to use this as much as possible. On Fridays premium is the same as middle grade, so I try to fill up on Fridays and then use the 15 cents off. Since gas has come down, I have gone from paying $72 to fill up my tank on that Friday to $53, this savings has happened in the past two weeks. I pay a lot more attention to only making a few trips out each week, and then combining as many as stops as possible to save on the gas. I even apply to most job opportunities online to save on our gas bill. Gas is the biggest expenditure in my household. My husband commutes 45 miles a day, one way, to his job and spends about $120 a week in gas, so the 15 cents off program at Food City really helps us.

So, that is where I am at this moment, still unemployed, still looking for work and trying to rake and scrape by and keep my sanity and sense of humor while I am getting by. I wish all of my fellow unemployed Americans well in their job search. Hang in there everyone.

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Day Six of Being Unemployed: Cleaning Out My Desk

April 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

That I would be cleaning out my desk six days after being fired may sound a bit strange to some, as most people probably see to this chore on the day that they are terminated. In my job as the Web Librarian and Support Specialist for a well known Electronics retailer, I normally worked three days a week from remote location at home, and two days a week in the office. As my illness progressed, I was eventually doing all remote shifts until I was terminated over the telephone, so it took a few days for me to be able to come back into the office to remove my personal belongings.

Even getting ready to make the drive into the office was a surreal chore; I dressed as carefully, and nervously, as a preteen going on their first date. I am not even sure why the occasion brought about the “jittery nerves”. After being fired its not as though I had any motivation to impress anyone there. Maybe I was actually dressing for the “now you wish you hadn’t broken up with me but it’s too late” moment that we have all experienced. Surely you know what I am talking about, that moment that you go out on the town, dressed to kill, hoping to run into your ex so that you can see that look in their eyes, the “damn what was I thinking, I am an idiot and I want her back” look.

It took about two hours to bring in the teleworking equipment and to pack up and carry out two boxes. Seven years of my life fit into two boxes. The actual packing didn’t take that long, but the conversations with various and assorted co-workers and supervisors did. Almost all of the conversations followed the same pattern that began with the acknowledgement of “regrets” (I regret/hate that this happened, or, this so sucks/blows) followed by the “statements of loss” (I am going to miss working with you/how will we survive without you/your leaving is an end of an era) then the attempts at “bridging” the loss by bargaining (you will keep in touch, call me, holler at me sometime, we can do lunch/walk at the park/shop together sometime) and finally statements of closure so that we could all move on(well, it was great to see you, you look great by the way, you will not miss us, you will move on to something greater).

I still haven’t filed for unemployment or even began looking for another job yet. I hadn’t actually planned to file in the begining, I was fired, after all. But several of my co-workers seemed to think I should try, and appeal if the company protests the filing. A few other co-workers thought I should try to file for disability. The most helpful comments to me came from one of my former supervisors. She had pulled me off to the side when I first came into the building, and asked me what I was going to do, how I was going to survive. I looked at her and smiled and told her I honestly didn’t know. She nodded and told me that she knew that I had a lot of talents and that I would eventually move on to something better. “In the meantime,” she said, “you need to survive, you need to become ‘the crazy coupon lady’.” She then told me how she buys multiple Sunday papers each week and clips coupons to save on groceries and that she has reduced her grocery bill from $800 to $100 a month for a family of four. She then emailed me a list of couponing sites as well, check them out below if you are interested. Her comments and suggestions to me were the only “practical” comments that I received that day, and I will see this Sunday if her advice was worth coming into the office for one last time.

Coupon Sites:

Hip2save.com

Dealseekingmom.com

Stockpilingmom.com

Iheartthemart.com

Iheartcvs.com

Iheartriteaid.com

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