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Old 05-04-2019, 07:18 PM   #1
Gs550
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Default Overspending and under-earning

Briefly, I have bipolar 2 and have struggled with it for about 20 years. I'm in my mid thirties and moved back to my hometown last year because I've been having a really tough few years and thought things would be easier here. Problem is, I'm making about half as much money as I used to, but my bills aren't that much less. The job I have is good experience and will help me in the long run, but for right now the pay is crap.

I make about $1300 take home pay, and my rent is $890. That's obviously the biggest expense, but in order to move somewhere cheaper I'd still have to come up with about $2000 for first, last, and security. So I'm on food stamps, I get a discounted bus pass, I don't have WiFi, and I have a relative in the psychiatric field who can get me samples of my more expensive prescription.

I'm trying to start an Etsy store because I'm an artist, but I doubt I'll see any real money from that for a while. My meds make me so tired all the time that I really don't think I can handle a second job.

Every time I spend on something unnecessary - recently I bought some plants and a new bra - it means that I'm scrambling the first week of the month trying to come up with rent. I don't have enough to cover it, and I don't know what to do anymore. My parents don't have much and have already helped so often, my siblings don't have anything to spare, I don't have good credit so I can't get a loan.

Otherwise my life is pretty good. I'm not feeling too bad, I have friends, I like my job. I'm just broke all the time, and the stress makes me anxious and depressed. I don't know what to do.
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Old 05-05-2019, 04:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Overspending and under-earning

Give plasma? It's easier than a second job. I know lots of people who have to do it so they can eat. Not ideal but it seems like you see few options.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Overspending and under-earning

Any chance you could move back with your parents temporarily? Then you could save up for a less expensive place to rent. Is the $1300 your take home for a month?

Depending on where you live, it can be hard to find low cost apartments. But it sounds like it might be a few years before you'll be able to afford the rent you have right now.

Since you qualify for food stamps, you might very well qualify for TAP (telephone assistance program.) That's a federal program that will get you a land line for about $10/mon. through your local phone company. Then you can get high speed Internet with WIFI, also through your phone company, for about $20/mon. In some locations, Comcast offers Internet service for about $10/mon. to low income individuals. (They'll even sell you a nice, refurbished laptop for about $100.)

If your parents have a bedroom that is not otherwise used, it would give you some space of your own.

Give yourself credit for maintaining employment. It sounds like you are trying. Bipolar II can be disruptive, but you've managed to keep going.
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Overspending and under-earning

I was giving plasma for a while. With the time spent committing by bus, waiting to be seen, etc it seemed like a part time job would be better. I tried a second job in the evenings but it just didn't work out. But you're right, it's an option I should take advantage of. I just wish it weren't so far away (it's about an hour by bus from my house)

As for moving in with my folks, we have a.....better relationship with less contact. Not that we're estranged, I just like to keep my distance. They just don't want to accept me as I am - my mom in particular is always commenting on my haircut or my clothes, stupid things. And I got really upset at her last year because I realized she didn't know anything about bipolar disorder - I was diagnosed at 16 and she only read a book about it last year because I freaked out about it. I had a terrible time in high school and college until I moved out, she was so unsupportive and it's obvious now that she just didn't understand what I was going through, nor did she care to try.

Anyway. They're an option, but only of absolutely last resort.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: Overspending and under-earning

I understand about your parents, I'd have a hard time living with mine too.


I wonder if it would be cheaper to find a roommate situation when your lease runs out. I know it's not ideal, but you could probably save some money.


Are there any other things you could do to bring in extra money like pet sitting/dog walking, tutoring or similar? I used to earn some extra money doing mystery shopping. It didn't pay a lot, but every bit helps.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Overspending and under-earning

I know what you mean about keeping moving back with parents as an absolute last option. I was the same way, and there was no estrangement in my family either. So I lived in some really, really low rent apartments. I've even lived in furnished rooms at times. Humble digs, to be sure - but the room was mine. I would look for the cheapest accommodations I could find because I was afraid of being in the situation you're in. Even when I had very good paying jobs, I kept my overhead low. I figured - jobs come and jobs go . . . especially with a mood disorder. So I recommend that strategy to you.

You've been trying to maintain a certain standard of living that you feel is where you belong. If you grew up in a middle-class environment, it can feel tough to go live in a poor neighborhood. So you have to revisit your thought process that led you to getting this apartment. You probably ruled out low rent places, as being unsuitable. Time to get realistic. There is a price for everything. If you want to be independent of your folks, you've got to figure out what is sustainable.

That initial cost does make moving to a different apartment quite a challenge. I'm not sure how you can work around that. Going back with the folks for a few months might let you get the money together.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Overspending and under-earning

If it is a Mon-Fri job, have you thought about a weekends only job? When I had a M-F job, I also had nothing left energy wise in the evening. Due to my own issues with job insecurity, I have three part time jobs (though one is just temporary with work in the Springtime). The one that I occassionally do on the weekends is a security job at NFL games and concerts. The company paid for my security guard training (unarmed type of course since I also may have mental health struggles). Though they encourage us to sign up for the major events, they don't make us sign up for everything. I usually just work two days a month, either Saturday or Sunday. It is a job that doesn't require much concentration for me compared to my other two jobs. I am familiar with the area you live in and know there are a lot of sporting events. At the NFL games here, some of the bartenders make good money in tips.

My other two jobs are done on the computer at home and only require a bachelor's degree but do require a lot of concentration so your medication could make it a challenge to do these jobs while working a full time job. I have noticed that the medications which calm me down interfere with my concentration. It is a real dilema. I try to cope with it by taking them after I am finished. I plan on discussing the concentration issues with my Psych doc. Have you done this?
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