Will the real unemployment please stand up?

I waffled on whether or not to attempt this because it’s such a hot button issue and it may spark lots of comments or who knows what else…then I decided that’s exactly the point.

The media is a good way to keep abreast of what’s going on regarding the economy, job stats, etc. but it can also be a very nasty and unforgiving biatch. If the whole of our nation believed what we are spoon fed on a daily basis, then we would truly be in a sad state of affairs. I don’t think that’s the case though. I think we’re all tired of being told so many different stories, yet we still try to find at least a modicum of truth in that “crap on a crap cracker” (borrowed phrase from my BFF) we see on the bazillion news channels broadcasting out there. I’m beginning to wonder if there is any network and/or reporter with enough balls to report the honest truth. I like to think Christiane Amanpour is a very forthright and conscientious journalist and might be up to the task but even she might be influenced by some suit screaming for ratings and  pepper a report with sensational BS. You just never know.

So I decided to present how unemployment has affected me and my family, since I’m already putting my personal story out into the cybersphere. I want to begin by waving the mea culpa flag regarding my piece o’ crap car. My son is the one who wrecked it and though he was run off the road by a tool who ran the stop sign, it was me who let him get his driver’s license at 16, without asking his father. That being said, it’s currently not in running condition. The other vehicle, affectionately called VanDamn, is an older van from the mid 90’s. It’s seen better days and it’s mechanical state is dodgy but workable. So those two things make it pretty damn hard to get to job interviews.  Moving on…

Unemployment insurance is a very good thing and we have FDR to thank for it. On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security bill, which contained provisions for UI (unemployment insurance). This legislation was key in establishing a UI system in the United States. It is a federal-state joint venture in all states and it’s financed by both federal and state unemployment taxes. I’m sure most employers would rather not pay into that fund but I, for one, am glad they do. But it still isn’t enough to cover my bills. Sad, but true.

Without giving away the amount of my UI compensation, I will tell you that it is helpful but I still have to overlap my bills from one payment period to the next. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s say the cell phone bill is due but if I pay it in full, I won’t have enough to cover the cable bill. And then there’s the car insurance. That HAS to be paid but it takes a big chunk of my UI funds. Typically, the first half of the month is easier for me financially because I only have $150 for mtg. ($300 total for every month. I pay half. My “ex” hasn’t paid much in the past 5 yrs.) $20 for water (I pay half) $165 satellite TV  and approximately $65-$165 for groceries, just depends on what the mother in law buys. I should also state that the grocery amount is my 1/3 of the cost. My ex is supposed to pay 1/3 and then his mother covers the last 1/3. Except lately, I can’t cover my part. He said he would cover my part when I was laid off…but clientele dropped at his old job so he couldn’t cover mine and his share. So his mother covered it all. Still is. These amounts are paid every two weeks, as is the payment schedule of my UI benefits as well as most of the office jobs I’ve held. Oh! I almost forgot about the pawn shop. Most of the jewellry my mother left me when she passed away is in the local pawn shop because I had to have money. I only got loans but some of these pieces have been in pawn for a while. Hey, had to cover bills. Except for the two rings I got a loan on so my husband and I could go to a tournament he was in a few hours from here. Glad I went but I still pay the interest on all my jewellry. That comes to about $45 per month for all of it. Doesn’t sound like much until the due date comes around and you don’t have the money. Moving on…

Now for the end of the month. This is my least fave part of the month because my bank account is usually overdrawn within a couple days after receiving my UI payment. Here goes: $150 for mtg., (this makes the $300 monthly total I pay) $80-$180  for electric (I pay half; amt depends on time of year; summer is on the high end of the range),  approx. $200 for cell phone bill, another 1/3 of the grocery cost [see above for $ amt] (let’s pretend I can pay it, ok?), $75 for land line/internet (it’s all we can get out here in the semi-country) $191 car insurance (liability only for my SUV and VanDamn). I haven’t factored in gasoline for both vehicles and personal items but since neither of the beaters can be driven, we won’t worry about that. Most of the time, I can’t pay all of these in full because I just don’t have it. And there’s my dilemma. So I have to be perpetually overdrawn and pay the bulk of these or pay some here, some there and try to keep myself in the black and avoid the NSF fees at the bank. *SIGH*  Think I’ll post and continue…hold please!

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