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Month Two: I Made It

May 1st, 2006 at 09:31 pm

April books are closed, and Iím making it. Success for month two of the (Modified) Minimum Wage Challenge. I have a total of $145.06 ďbankedĒ to use for future larger purchases (such as car insurance in July).

I tell ya, the health situation knocked me a bit. Darned body, causing me trouble. I spent more than I should have for the month, but I spent no extra on fun stuff. I was very lucky that all our hard work on the electric bill resulted in such a decrease in that bill.

Itís shaken me, a little. I know that Iím going to get a bill from the doctorís office for the mole removal, but Iím not sure how much it will be. I know that Iím due for my 35,000 mile tune up Ė my brakes are starting to squeak, and my Change Oil reminder is lighting up. In June, I think I might have to renew my water aerobics; Iím weighing whether I should or not. (The woman I go with is a friend of mine who, due to bad knees, canít do other activities. If it werenít for her Iíd likely drop it but being her Pool Pal is a real factor for me.) And Car Insurance is coming due soon.

What has shaken me is not the above expenses, or that I might wobble on the challenge. The reality is I have money to ďcheatĒ with if it comes to that. I worry, knowing that others donít have the safety of drawing on reserves. For many, living on minimum wage is not an idle Challenge for someone with too much time on her hands to blog about. I get a dose of humility when I think of myself in this position without my actual income. Meeting all needs while satisfying some wants is manageable, but it takes time and effort and desire and attention must be paid.

It crossed my mind to cut down on medications due to this challenge. I wonít do that, no worries, but I bet others do. A person with limited income facing some larger bills might think of halving the dosage on meds, driving uninsured for a couple months, not getting preventative maintenance on the car, or putting some of the bills on a credit card. I have the luxury of not having to do those.

Iím sticking with the Challenge. I plan to make it, and if I donít make it, it wonít be because of a couple rough months. I have to remind myself, I didnít think this was going to be easy. (Well, maybe I thought itíd be easier.) Iíll remind myself of the reasons for doing this challenge, and remind myself to give thanks for what I do have. I have a warm bed in a safe house with a full pantry, and to be ungrateful would be a dishonor to any person who goes without these this evening.

A raw dollar reason I was doing the challenge was to save money for the $20 challenge. My spent of $1073 is $519 less than my average per month last year. (I know I have some unspent as of now, but it will be spent on budgeted purchases.) Adding back in the $39 I put into "savings" under the challenge, I saved an additional $558 for the $20 challenge.

(Boring full disclosure: I drive to the airport in my car each month for work, 32 miles round trip. I get money back per mile, .44-1/2 cents. I didnít want to include the ďincomeĒ I get from driving for work in this Challenge. On the other hand, that trip is about a third of my monthly miles. I decided that I would allow myself one gallon of gas ďpaid forĒ by work each month to compensate. So I took $3 off the gas I paid in April, and Iíll do the same in May. It seemed like a fair compromise.)

Total on the $20 Challenge for two months: $1116.

1 Responses to “Month Two: I Made It”

  1. boomeyers Says:

    I think you are an inspiration for trying to do what you do and being sensitive enough to realize your good fortune and that others don't have it. I also think it shows with careful thought and decisions, it can be done!

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