My current lifestyle is unsustainable.
It's not an extravegant lifestyle, by any means.
I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, I don't go out partying, I don't take expensive trips, I don't have any expensive hobbies.
My jeep is paid for, I don't have any credit cards, no outstanding loans. I brown bag it to work everyday. I shop the sales at the supermarket and try to stay stocked up on staple items. I can't remember the last time I bought any new clothes (and it's beginning to show).
The girlfriend and I go out to dinner and a movie occasionally. But that's about it.
The unsustainability of my current situation is due to the following factors:
I'm paying too much for the house I am renting. The girlfriend has been telling me this for the past 2 years. It's more house than I need and it costs more than I can afford on what I am making. When I got divorced a few years back, I was paying almost twice what I'm paying now on a 1st and 2nd mortgage for a 115 year old monstrosity in Richmond. So this placed seemed like a real bargain at the time. Plus, my bank account was fat with a down-sizing severance package and a 401k from almost 20 years at the same company.
My income is half what it used to be. After almost 20 years with a major corp, I took about 6 months off to decompress, downsize, declare bankruptcy. I was also recently divorced so I had some accumulated wild oats to sow. When I finally decided it was time to get a job, I went back to doing what I love, but at about half the pay I was used to. No problem...I had that severance money and 401k to draw from to subsidise my life style. For a while.
All that "buffer cash" from the severance and 401k is gone. I have no savings, no buffer, no safety net and no credit. I am living strictly pay check to pay check. I am one mechanical breakdown or medical emergency away from total collapse. I know what you're saying. Wah, wah, wah. Welcome to the real world like most of the people in this country. Quitcherbitchin'. At least you have medical insurance and enough money to pay your bills with a little left over. Whiney bastard.
I have a teenage daughter. This is the real issue. Yes, I have a few dollars left over after paying all of my bills each payday. It might just barely be enough for me to eek by on my own, if I'm careful. But young Galadriel Tanqueray Onassis is getting more and more expensive with no end in sight. She starts 8th grade this year. I'm already paying $70-80 a month for her cell phone. She needs schools supplies. She needs school clothes. And her 8th grade class will be taking a field trip to Washington, DC next summer so my ex and I need to come up with $200 a month for the next 9 months to pay the tuition for that trip. In another 3 years, she's going to need a car. A couple of years after that, she'll be going to college. I'm not prepared for either of those.
So, I have reached the conclusion that I need to do two things that I really don't want to do. I have to find a new job that pays better, and I need to move into a smaller, cheaper place.
I need to drop my rent from $950 a month down to the $500-800 range. But I'd like a townhouse or patio home. Not sure I can really do an apartment. Want to stay in Missouri and as far north as possible. Need at least 2 bedrooms and an office area. Really want a fireplace and garage too. I'm going to start looking today, but if anyone knows of something I might like, let me know.
My current salary is in the $50k area. They got me on sale. I'd like to boost that up to at least $70k or more, but I don't know how realistic that is. I'm pretty damn good at what I do and I've been doing it a long time. Plus, I've spent the last two years working on a $15m project that is kind of on the cutting edge of the industry I am in. A lot of other companies in the industry will be folowing suit and they could benefit from what I've learned. If you are curious about what I do and think you might have some ideas for me, email me and I can send you my resume.
So, I have lots of change on the horizon. Which sucks because my philosophy is "Change Bad. Same Good."