Like most people, I have been a little stressed about my finances lately. My frustration comes from personal finances, not the Britain exit.
Around this time of year, my landlord informs me that my rent is going to increase. Now, I have a pretty great landlord. During the recession, my rent actually went down. My rent has stayed the same, my rent has taken small increases; but with the way the economy is around me, it was a safe bet that my cost of living was going to go up again. It did.
I have been telling myself for the last month or two that I would find the money. The problem was, I did not know how. I live a rather bare existence. Some of the highlights of my budget:
- No home phone; cellular plan includes basic texting added to a plan so cheap that they do not advertise it
- No internet (which also means no Netflix, Hulu, PS network, etc)
- No broadcast/ cable TV
- Putting gas in my car once a month (buses are our friends)
- Buying groceries that are on sale over what I prefer (with a little wiggle room. Sometimes a guy needs pie.)
- Eating out once a month or less (with “eating out” being Dicks or Subway)
- Never turning on the heat, only lighting one room at a time, and no fans
I do not have much excess to trim. My entertainment budget usually consists of buying a book or two each month. My cat needs medications, sometimes I have a dental appointment; things pop up. As I stood, I had scant wiggle room.
With the proposed rent increase, my surplus went down to nothing. However, if she did not love me, my landlord could charge three to five hundred bucks more and still be within the market. There really is not a cheaper place around.
Thus my stress began. If one cannot cut expenditures, one must look for revenue. I applied for jobs that might fit me. They insist that their position requires me to work Sunday. That is non-negotiable, so we part ways. I know I could get my third job back, but I was getting exhausted working there. For the sake of peace of mind, I feel I should keep my occupations to two.
The comic job cannot afford to increase my wages. The full time job has so many levels and layers that getting a raise on merit looms as an impervious obstacle.
I am not trying to complain; merely stating facts. I am well aware that there are folks that cannot find jobs or live below the poverty line. I know single parents have a much tighter budget than I. And I hear about people with numerous health problems that make their financial position untenable. I do not live paycheck to paycheck. I have something of a savings account. I simply did not wish to keep chipping away at that amount until it was gone.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” –Matthew 6:25
One might understand why prayer entered into the picture. I learned long ago that God takes care of things. Flowers in nature; all that. Even if I ended up homeless on the streets, God would watch over me. I prayed for some assistance.
At the same time, I tried looking around for creative ideas. Could I buy a trailer home or a condo? Possibly, but at present, if anything breaks the landlord is responsible, not me. She offers me replacement appliances all the time. If a roof went out or a washing machine flooded my new home, I would have to cover those costs. In the long run, renting is still much cheaper.
I want to believe that I have a solid novel in me, but I have always heard it takes nine months for a book to be published. And I have not written a novel yet. That is an awful lot of counting eggs that have yet to be laid. (Also, what if the book I write lays an egg, but in the bad way? Better to wait for a solid book than try to rush a poor one.)
I found no easy solutions. I continued to trust that God would take care of things. Somehow God would bless my income or watch over me as I became a homeless man. I certainly had my preferences as to how I thought matters should work out.
Then Monday came along. I was in the library, checking e-mail and such, when I found a letter from my full-time boss. It announced that everybody would be getting a raise in the fall. Complete numbers were not revealed, but I was informed of the minimum amount of my raise. If nothing else happens, if I make no changes and I only receive the smallest of offered raises? Then the amount, before taxes, is more than twice my rent increase. Essentially, I will maintain the status quo, and maybe have a little extra.
I am not holding my breath. I asked for enough, and received it. I do not need a sports car. I do not need to go on exotic vacations. I do not need a new computer or foot massager. My life is rather comfortable and pretty great on most days. My wants are few and I am quite blessed.
If they want to offer me a bigger raise, I will be happy to accept. My savings could use some replenishing. For now, I am content with the answer to my prayer. I have what I need to be me. Another twelve months is taken care of. Someday I may have greater aspirations or more responsibilities (responsi-bill-ities?). For now, it is well with my soul. Thanks to timely intervention, God has provided me with enough once again.