Snow Days Always Get Me Down

In case you haven’t heard, there’s this new weather phenomenon affecting most of North America called the Polar Vortex. I had never heard of this term before, about three days ago, and if you are lucky enough not to have experienced this, count your lucky stars!

A polar vortex means that all that damn cold air only exists in places that no one on earth wants to venture to except scientists, fictional Christmas characters, and Canadians. It means that those unimaginable temperatures that exist at the North Pole have crept their way down to the United States.

The cold temperatures are causing schools to be canceled across the country, including the one I teach at. After two weeks off due to our winter break, I was off work today and tomorrow. (The weather should be warm enough soon to return to school.)

Typically, a couple of extra days off work is a good thing. When you are a full-teacher with a contract, you celebrate the additional snow days right along with the students. When you are a part-time, hourly teacher, snow days mean days off work without pay.

This is what I’m dealing with right now.

There is already quite a decrease in my income due to the current situation. My pay was reduced by about $400. Add that to some unexpected extra expenses and higher utility payments, and things were tight. Next month is going to be even tighter.

I will be receiving one less paycheck this month due to the winter break, and when my next check comes along, it will be 20% smaller thanks to these snow days.

My current plan of action to survive this month is:

  • create a strict budget that decreases the grocery budget and all extras
  • use the envelope system for budget items like food, gas, and kid expenses
  • contact the county about qualifying for unemployment, food assistance, and utility assistance due to the decrease in my income for the past two months
  • tap into the bank of mom (unfortunately)
  • cancel HuluPlus
  • call internet provider and work out a lower rate
  • contact cell phone provider and negotiate a lower bill

I’ve gotten good at stretching a tight budget, and I’m going to do everything I can to survive the next couple of months.

Can you think of anything else I can do to survive a loss of half my income? Has anyone had to do this themselves?

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