18 March 2014

American Dream?

Been going through the hassle of looking for a new apartment. My other two room mates are moving out and I can’t afford to live there on my own. I am finding, however, that living anywhere on my income is difficult at best. I’m making about $36k a year before taxes yet there are few places I can really afford to live. I’m looking for something in the less-than-$800-per-month range, and most of them are either too small, utilities would be too much, there’s no where to park, and/or it’s a run-down sack of poo.

Although my girlfriend will be living with me, she’ll be attending college full-time, so any income she gets will be negligible. It’s kind of a rude awakening when you’re brought up being told: “Do well in school so you can get a good job and a house and a car etc etc.” Here I am, with a Bachelors of Biology, a full-time job (granted, people with less education are making more here),  I did good in school, all that stuff. I can’t afford a house. Barely afford an apartment. Can’t afford a new or even pre-owned car. Can’t afford to get a smart phone with data plan. Some American dream, eh?

Now, perhaps if I was better at making a budget and sticking to it, I could eek by with all that stuff. Sadly, trigonometry and calculus classes don’t make for good financial planning lessons. It doesn’t help, that while I supposedly make $36,050 a year on paper, after taxes and benefits, it’s a lot less. My most recent paycheck was 966.xx. Get two paychecks a month, that’s  $1,932. Times that by twelve months: $23,184. Now there some other factors; yearly bonus, tax return, the odd month with three pay periods, et al. Still, I feel I had more spare cash when I worked part-time at Home de Pot and lived at home. mint.com tells me I made $26,910 in 2013. So that’s about ten thousand dollars less than I technically earn. 

It doesn’t help matters that although I work the glorious third shift, there’s no shift differential. Also, even though I have a bachelors degree, I make the same amount a high school graduate would if they got hired there. Yip. Eee.