Over 14 million Americans are unemployed.
Now I’m one of them.
My savings are gone.
I’ve lost my house
I’m a single parent
And I’m down to my last $1,000
I’m not sure I can make it through the month…

I go to find a job, but there’s nothing available in my field. It doesn’t matter that I have a law degree, the best job I can find is through a temp agency. After I pass a short typing test, I’m hired at $9/hour. Hopefully I will be able to get 40 hours a week … but you just never know. They offer me health insurance, but the cost is $275/month. I just don’t know if I can afford to pay for it. I choose to opt-out, praying that we don’t get sick any time soon.

Now it’s time to find a place to live. The guest bedroom in my best friend’s house is too cramped for the two of us to live in permanently. And now that I have a job, we can afford something – even if it is 45 miles away and only 500 square feet. Even though I’ll spend more on transportation, it’s still cheaper than living close to the office. Maybe our good friend Joe can store all the stuff that won’t fit.

Word has gotten out. The neighbors are offering me old hand-me-downs. Are we really that pathetic? I guess we are … my winter coat has holes in it and barely keeps me warm. I take the coat and thank him for his kindness. After all, I’d do the same thing if the roles were reversed.

It’s Day 6 and I only have $230 in the bank. My best friend’s wedding is coming up, but it’ll cost me $350 to get there. I can’t imagine missing it – but there’s just no way I can make the trip. I hope she’ll understand.

Ugh – laundry day. I can’t put it off any longer. Little Timmy has no clean underwear. And I’ve been wearing the same pants for weeks. I could either go to the laundromat or beg Susie to let me use her machines. Maybe she’ll even feed us dinner while we’re there. We could use a good, healthy meal.

My favorite co-worker has just been diagnosed with cancer. Like me, she has no health insurance. And we don’t get sick days. People at the office are so wonderful – they are collecting money to help her out. It’s just $20 … I hope that if it were me they would do the same thing. I get paid in 2 days … and with $230 in the bank … I can afford it. After all, it’s the right thing to do.

I can remember when I loved grocery shopping. Whole Foods never had a better customer than me. For now, I have to think thrifty rather than healthy. Organic produce will have to take a back seat. Toilet paper, milk, bread, peanut butter, eggs, nothing but the basics this time around. Thank goodness tomorrow is pay day.

It never fails … when the paycheck comes in, there’s always something that comes due. This time it’s the car registration. It costs everything I just brought home. But if I don’t pay it, I might get caught. A ticket would cost me way more – and I just can’t afford to take the chance.

My credit card bill is due. $219. I only have $206 in the bank. If I pay it, I’m sunk. Payday doesn’t come around again for 4 more days. I could donate plasma, but that wouldn’t even give me enough money to get by. I guess I’ll ignore it for now – maybe they’ll be understanding.

Three days later, I’ve had to take an unpaid sick day because of that nasty flu, someone siphoned all the gas out of my car, and my electricity got cut off because I couldn’t pay the bill. It’ll cost me $375 to get it turned back on. Payday is tomorrow, but with that unpaid sick day I won’t be getting enough to make the payment. We can’t eat without electricity.

I can’t do this anymore…

This was my experience as I took the SPENT challenge. Take a shot at it … can you make it through the month?

i’m spent [a homeless experiment]

by Crystal Rowe time to read: 4 min
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