Last week I was let go by one of my jobs. My social media boss told me that she had to let me go due to budget constraints. She was very complimentary about my work and my work ethic, which is always lovely to hear. (So my fortune cookie is a tad misleading there.) But at the end of our email exchange, I was still out one job and a paycheck each month.
While the financial loss isn’t huge, it is still a blow. The social media work was my lowest source of income,but it was still playing a key role in my debt payoff. That paycheck came in once a month and helped round out my non-debt expenses. Without it I’m looking at cutting back even more and smaller debt payments each month. It’s just a bummer because of the roll I have been on so far this year.
The thing is, I’m torn about losing this job. On the one hand, I have more free time and less stress now. I have been feeling burnout and it’s great to feel some of the pressure lifted from my shoulders. I can focus more clearly on my other jobs. That is really wonderful.
On the other hand, the whole reason I have (had) five jobs is because none of my jobs pay me enough to live on. Combining all five jobs together has yielded a wonderful paycheck these last three months. I’ve been able to make huge gains in my payoff as a result. Losing even one of these jobs is a blow.
It’s easy right now for me to say ‘this isn’t that big of a loss’ because I still have four jobs. However, coaching ends in a month and a half, which brings me down to three jobs for the rest of the year. The income I’ve been enjoying and the progress I’ve made on my debt is definitely a time-and-place kind of achievement. And that time is coming to an end. My income is going to drop drastically in a month and a half. Losing this job makes that looming drop-off look a little bit scarier.
I do still have my saving grace: catering. While catering more is a good way to replace some of that lost income, it’s also hard work that I am really sick of. It too ebbs and flows- summer and winter tend to have fewer events than fall and spring. So while right now there is plenty of catering to go around, that may not be the case this summer when I’ll need the money more.
So what’s a girl to do? Plan, plan, plan. Right now while I am making big bucks (relatively speaking), I need to save a little extra. I do have my emergency account at the ready, but I need to give myself a little extra cushion this month. Unfortunately, that means pulling back a bit on my debt payments. While I was really hoping to clear the MyCampus loan with it’s balance of $2,603 by the first week of May, it may take me until the first week of June. Not a huge setback in the grand scheme, but it is one that means more interest being paid out, and thus more money being lost in the long term.
I also am so close, with just $6,203 left on my loans. I just want it over! To be so close to the end and have this new roadblock pop up is demoralizing. I’ve been paying off this debt for three years. I have been stressed about it, beaten down by it, excited about it- a complete roller coaster of emotions! I want to get off this and see other parts of the amusement park.
Still, who knows what the future brings? I have had some wonderful opportunities pop up in the last two months and I’ll keep an eye out for more. Staying positive is important to me, both in life and in this process. Getting let go when you’re still in debt sucks. For me, this is a small-ish road bump because I have other streams of income. But when your income is so small every little bit counts. I’m really looking forward to the day that I won’t have to choose between debt payments and other aspects of my life.
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.