Urban Adaptation

Sustainable urban living, rural dreams, and daily change for a homemade life.

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I teach sessionally, and this year, with budget cuts and collective agreements and various other things working against me, I’ve been offered only two courses.  I was hoping for three, if not four.  And for the courses I have, there’s no guarantee that they’ll run if they don’t meet enrollment requirements.

This is…well…upsetting.  Two courses works out to just over $11000 a year (before taxes, which takes it down to about $10000), which is not exactly a whole lot of money to live on.  I’m putting out feelers for as many other options as I can right now, although I may not know anything for a little while.  For now, I’m still making as much money as I can, and putting away as much of it as I can, but I’m a bit shaken still.

To be fair, I have savings.  The Boy has some extra money coming in.  We will not be destitute, not by a long shot.  But I don’t want to dig into savings, if I can help it.  It’s always been a point of pride for me to live below my means, and I intend to keep that up as best I can right now.  So I’m formulating a plan.

The first bit is employment related:

1.     Pull in every reasonable job I can for the foreseeable future.  Every little bit of work helps.

2.     Finish the dissertation.  This means I can finally stop paying tuition.  This was the plan for the summer anyway, but it feels like even more of a priority now.  Over $2000 a semester buys a heck of a lot of beans.

3.     Get published.  The more I can do to make myself marketable, the better chance I have of finding a good, more permanent job.

The next bit is simply tightening the budget.  While I haven’t exactly been lax recently, I could be better about cutting the fat a bit more.  Assuming that I’ll make $10000 next year, that’s about $830 a month to live on (not including groceries, which The Boy usually pays for).  $830 is tight but workable (okay, tight doesn’t really accurately describe it, but groceries would make things infinitely tighter), so that’s what I’m going to try for this next month.

I’m thinking I’ll blog this – keep track of what is spent and where, and also how I’m feeling about the whole shebang.

Logically, I know we’re okay.  I can look for other work.  The bills are low.  I have savings.  There’s a lot of food here.  I know how to eat cheaply.  I have all the shoes, clothes, and outerwear that I could need for a good long while.  The apartment is full of inexpensive entertainment – books, games, and music.  I’m creative and stubborn.  We’re just fine.

But still, it’s unsettling.

And so the final step is to try to see this in a more positive light (in the interest of full disclosure, this final step took me a few hours after drafting the rest of this to get to – this was most definitely not an immediate thought).  I’m looking for the window that opens when the proverbial door closes.

This is a kick in the pants to get the dissertation finished, and to seek out new work in new places with new people.  It’s a chance to slow down a bit.  It’s an opportunity (albeit somewhat forced) to step away from consumerism a bit more, and to figure out how to live pretty darn frugally.  Heck, if nothing else, it means a light teaching load for the next two semesters and a chance to exercise, read, sleep, publish, write, play music, see friends, and catch up on a whole pile of things that I’d like to do.

But for now, well…blah…

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Written by Jenn

March 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Posted in Money matters, Working stiff

Tagged with , ,

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