When money gets tight

I recently had an “emergency meeting” scheduled at one of the online universities I work for. This took place on April 1st, that had me suspicious and on one hand I thought, “how fun, a place of employment that likes to joke and have fun”, and on the other hand, “oh crap we are closing”. I was only half right.

First off, it wasn’t a joke meeting like I hoped, secondly, we aren’t closing, (yet), but the meeting was to inform us that instead of being paid on our normal payday that we’d have to wait a month to get a two-week check, and then another three weeks for a two-week check, and then a month to “catch up”. That’s been slightly modified where we will receive two checks on the 30th of April but then not again until the middle of June, yes June.

Fortunately, for me, this job is only 25% of my overall income, I’ll survive, (I did land another course at another university, hopefully that balances it out), but my colleagues will struggle as it’s 100% of their income. This got me thinking, how poor is poor in your perspective?

I’ve been bankrupt, have had failed marriages and businesses, nothing truly phases me anymore.

I gave some tips to surviving a short-term crisis to my bosses to pass along to colleagues that I’ve had to use in the past when the fan was hit.

The first one is to check with your debtors to see if you have a “skip a payment” option. Often on loans and credit cards if you have perfect payments for 12 consecutive months, they will allow it.

Secondly, there is a window of time for mortgages, usually10 days, but then it can be later, and if under 30 days you’ll just get a penalty assessed.

Lastly, truly look at what you have laying around in terms of cash. For me there was the fast-food money in my truck, about $18 in ones in the armrest, (it’s gone now, no need to look). Then was the fun one for me, the change jar. I have an app on my phone that helps me identify and know what coins are worth. I found a penny worth $500 and overall had over $100 in coins to turn in for folding money.

Part of being the Upnorthminimalist is that I don’t spend much money outside of a few gas station meals, (thank you Kwik Trip), and gas, minimal groceries, (I stock up quarterly at Sam’s Club), and miscellaneous other minor expenses. But what is being poor like, and as I’m sure some of you are wondering, have I ever been poor. The answer to that is yes.

As a kid I remember making ketchup and hamburger bun sandwiches, and Miricle Whip and bread sandwiches. Ragu was the one and only sauce to rule the land, it was for spaghetti, lasagna, and goulash. Ramen was for dinner, (and still is, the one poor person meal I still enjoy), and of course the Chef and I were friends, Boy-R-Dee that is, and I still like a variety of those canned meals with the mini raviolis being my favorite.

But what is being even poorer like? When I was 18, I lived alone, working part-time at Kramer’s gas station. I ate government cheese, potatoes, eggs, and any other cheap or clearance food I could find, or I simply didn’t eat. To me when the cupboards are bare, that’s when you are poor. I see articles online of people stating that they only have “$300 for two weeks”, that’s not poor. Poor is when you must pick which utility bill will be late or not paid that month.

Life changes can catch us off guard, make us scramble to survive. The key when life kicks you, you need to get back up, don’t kick back, life doesn’t like that, but get up as this too shall pass. Happy Spring everyone, plant some plants and make your camping plans, take care.


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