- Posted January 11, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Surviving a tough economy
Economy = lemons, so we made meringue!
Old Occupation: Restaurant Manager
Old Salary: $55,000 base, plus bonuses
Laid off: July 1, 2008
New Job: Pizza Delivery Driver
New Salary: $10 base, plus tips (if any)
The bad economy hit my family with all the grace and forewarning of a nuclear explosion. One day, hubby and I were discussing my going back to school. Literally the next day, he arrived at his restaurant to find that he no longer had a job. Just like that, my family lost 2/3 of its income, and I was suddenly the sole breadwinner of a household with 6 people. Lovely. No pressure here.
Eventually, my husband found a new job...As a pizza delivery driver. It's not much, but it pays the bills for now. We have a Scion xB, and the gas prices are low enough to make this temporary job marginally profitable. Aside from being scared witless that he's going to be mugged while making a delivery, I'm finding that it's really not too bad. We don't have credit card debt, so we're very blessed that our bills are on things we need right now.
We've had to make a few concessions regarding our bills. My husband's pride and joy, his motorcycle, is up for sale. We've stopped buying the best of the best at grocery stores, and make do with sale items, coupon deals and meat bulk specials. (As a matter of fact, we just bought 50 lbs. of meat, including beef, pork, and chicken breast fillets, for $65!) The local thrift store employees know us by name, and we have been replacing furniture, appliances and clothing through resale shops and major sales. Last night, my daughter attended her first formal dance in a dress which was originally $110, but which I bought on clearance last month for $35. Along with her shoes, accessories and ticket, we spent a whopping $60 to make her night special. I spent most of the day doing her hair and makeup, instead of bringing her to a salon. Oh, it was worth it! She was, I can say unabashedly, one of the most beautiful young ladies swaying elegantly through the sweatsock-scented air of the gym dance floor.
We've gotten inventive with our "luxuries". My cell phone is a Palm Treo which was given to us. Its screen was shattered, and the original owner called it useless. My husband ordered a screen off of eBay for $30, did the repairs himself, and I now have a very nice smart phone for what most people pay for a battery. We go bike riding, watch TV, take walks, or visit a library. The best things in our life right now are free, or nearly so.
This isn't to say we're in our personal little utopia, because it's far from there. But being happy in our circumstances is far better than wishing futilely for what is not here at the moment. Who knows, maybe the tricks we're teaching the kids on thriftiness will last through their lifetime. I hope so.