Get my 5-day email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch

Want an email sales funnel that's already proven to work? Get the entire word-for-word email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch and apply it to your own business.

Yes! Send me the funnel now
Start Here: “The Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance”

The Money Diaries: The unemployed web developer who struggles with her desire to give generously as she’s running out of money

90 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

align
1

I love hearing how people spend their money. Unfortunately, people lie — they share purchases that are socially acceptable (“organic fruit”), but not the purchases they really make.

So we created The Money Diaries (based off New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries), where we’ve collected stories from real people about their spending habits over seven days and anonymized them. To be featured anonymously in a future Money Diary, click here.

In this week’s post, an out-of-work Web developer is starting over from scratch financially at age 30. Given her financial and professional situation, what advice would you give her?

* * * * *

Day 1

8:00 a.m.: The latest hurricane has left us without power for the past 36 hours. No microwave. No hot leftovers. I convince myself going out for breakfast would be a waste of money and make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

9:00 a.m.: At the library—which has electricity—I spend time writing cover letters and sending out résumés. I also work on my personal project, concluding there’s no possible way I can earn enough money from it before I run out of money in 3.5 months, and I don’t have friends or family to tap for startup funding.

A 30-year-old Web developer living in CA, I’ve been out of work for 4 months, resting and figuring out the next stage of my life. Now almost broke, I’m starting to look seriously for a new job while traveling on the East Coast. Over the previous 2 years, I had paid off all debts (except student loans), saved $17,000 in cash and put $5,000 in an IRA.

Unfortunately, 7 months ago, I had an accident without health insurance and built up $13,000 in medical bills. A month later, I discovered my dog had cancer, and I spent $11,000 for multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. 2 months later, I had become so miserable at my job that I quit. My bills exceeded my liquid assets.

Deciding my IRA was the most important thing, I put $5,000 into that, only to discover the bank posted it for 2011 instead of 2010, causing me to lose $5k from my retirement anyway. I kept $5,000 in cash for myself and paid my bills with $7,000 in cash and $8,500 in credit card debt. I have $8,500 in unpaid bills and am keeping my eye out for when they send me to collections.

My boyfriend owes me money, so he is paying most of my living expenses, while my student loans and credit card payments are coming out of my $5,000 in cash reserves. I was actually ahead on my student loan payments before, so I don’t owe anything for 10 months.

1:00 p.m.: Returning to my friend’s place from the library, I give in to a $5 slice of pizza that turns into a $10 dinner, plus $5 tip—leaving anything less than a $5 tip is almost an insult. I put the $15 on the joint spending account I share with my boyfriend.

6:30 p.m.: The friends I am staying with decide to go out for pizza, and they nearly pay for my fried dough without my noticing! I argued, but they insisted on paying. I hate when people pay for me. I was raised in a poor household, and to me, paying for myself shows I am self reliant. Even though I chose to quit my job, and even though I’ll survive 7 months without income, I’m still self conscious about my economic image.

8:00 p.m.: Back at the library with my friend, I continue looking for jobs. I’m happy I can ignore jobs that don’t interest me. I decide to apply for a part-time job teaching Web development. Hopefully the salary is better than my worst-case estimate.

Day 2  

8:30 a.m.: The owner of a cat sanctuary returns my call about my mother and grandmother adopting a cat.

10:00 a.m.: I’m at the library. It’s the end of the month, and I have to do my finances. I’m a bit scared to see where I am at. What if my projections were wrong? What if I look at my checking account and find it’s overdrawn? These are ridiculous fears, considering my projections for the past 4 months have been accurate.

I handle my finances once a month, paying then any bills not on autopay. I use Quicken because it tracks future expenses and provides a graphical projection of a given account. These projections help assure me I’m safe for the next 6 months and that it’s OK for me to relax. Several years ago, I was so poor I had only $15 a week for groceries. Even after two years of economic comfort, I still have anxiety.

I share my savings account with my grandmother, so she can draw on it in emergencies (which, unfortunately, she has had a lot of lately). I feel awful that I only have the minimum $300 in there, instead of the $5,000 I promised her. I still haven’t told her about my medical bills, because I don’t want her to know I’m barely keeping my head above water.

My checking account now has $5,684.27. How did I get more money? When I left work 4 months ago, I only had $5,000. Sometimes I think money just magically appears. Even at my poorest, I always seemed to be able to scrape up money. The old me would have spent days figuring out the discrepancy, but to reduce stress, I’m going to let it go.

The interest on the $5,778.28 balance on my primary credit card this month was $62.66. I have been meaning to transfer the balance to a new credit card with a 0% promotional rate, but I don’t want a fifth credit card. My indecision is costing me money.

It turns out I messed up my projections for our primary joint account, so we’ll be overdrawn by $55 by the end of the month. I will contribute $200 for this month to cover the shortfall. I texted my boyfriend a reminder that he needs to put $2,650 into our joint account for the next month’s expenses.

2:45 p.m.: I finally finished doing my finances!

4:30 p.m.: The good news is the electricity turned on a few minutes ago. The bad news is my friend who picked me up at the library might lose her job.

Day 3  

8:45 a.m.: I wake up to crying and run downstairs to find my friend in tears and her mother comforting her. She was fired. Her earned overtime, two weeks of pay, vacation, and severance compensation come to over $4,000—two months of living expenses. I advise her to use that time to rest and build her portfolio.

10:30 a.m.: My friend and I hunt for jobs. I find an incredibly awesome prospect and draft a cover letter.

11:00 a.m.: I decide to create a portfolio website for my friend to help her be more competitive while job hunting and to improve her salary prospects. This 2­-3 week project means dramatically less time for me to work on my own job applications and projects. I try to talk myself out of it, but can’t. I can’t stop giving to others, even at the sacrifice of myself.

11:30 p.m.: I was so excited about going to the cat sanctuary tomorrow that I couldn’t stop thinking about the cats. I am going to buy for my parents all supplies the cats will need.
I shopped on Amazon until 2:30 in the morning! It was a lot of fun. I like “window shopping” on Amazon, building wish lists, putting items in my cart…and then not buying anything! I have no problem walking away from my full shopping cart and coming back to it weeks or months later. I get the satisfaction of shopping without spending money. Win win in my book.

Day 4

9:00 a.m.: I reviewed my selected cat supplies on Amazon. The total is now $147 without shipping. Not bad.

11:00 a.m.: The owner of the cat sanctuary and I decide on two male cats that would be perfect for my grandmother. Next step: get the OK from my parents.

11:45 a.m.: My friend decided to cancel a job interview for a position that’s totally beneath her. Thank goodness!

6:30 p.m.: I finished off the last of my leftovers. Between the two sets of leftovers, I spent around $28 for 5 meals. $5.60 a meal isn’t as much of a deal as I thought it would be.

9:30 p.m.: My boyfriend returned hungry from his visit in New York, so I gave him the other half of my sandwich. At $7.22 for two meals, it comes to $3.61 per meal.

Day 5

9:00 a.m.: The four of us go out for breakfast on main street. My boyfriend insists we pay for everyone. The total comes to $28.24, which we put on our joint account.

10:45 a.m.: I called my grandmother to talk about the cats. She said they sounded great and that she’d love to adopt them!

11:00 a.m.: I called the owner of the cat sanctuary with the good news. She tells me the typical donation requirement is $125 per cat, but since we are taking two cats and neither needed medical care, that I can donate whatever I want. I want to be generous, so I had planned to give $100 more than their asking donation, which would come to $350.

My boyfriend said he would be happy to pitch in on this as a gift, so I should put all the expenses on our joint account. I declined. This was my idea and my responsibility, so I should pay for it.

12:30 p.m.: We arrived in Providence, RI and had sushi for lunch. After tip and taxes, the total came to $34.08.

2:30 p.m.: We stopped by my old favorite pet store on our way to the dog park. I walked in knowing I wanted to buy something, and left having spent $112.84 from our joint account.

Day 6  

1:45 p.m.: Headed to New Hampshire to visit my parents.

7:00 p.m.: Went out to dinner with my parents and my boyfriend, who elected to pay the whole $69.98 from our joint account. I’m a bit nervous; after breakfast ($17.85) and getting gas ($44.50), we only had $100 left, and I’m not sure we have enough money to cover it.

8:30 p.m.: Bought my parents the cat supplies on Amazon. The total had grown to $180, and feeling anxious, I chipped the purchase down to $155 and put it on my personal credit card.

10:00 p.m.: Received an email from my roommate saying our landlords received a lien notice on their house! Ugh. I am so embarrassed. I should have found out exactly why I wasn’t receiving the garbage bills, instead of just waiting around.

Day 7

7:30 a.m.: Sent an email to my landlord profusely apologizing for the lien. I am embarrassed beyond words.

9:30 a.m.: Stopped off at Subway for two sandwiches and water, for $12.54.

10:30 a.m.: We arrived at my friend’s house again. Her boyfriend tells us she’s at her new job! I am astonished and disappointed. Taking the wrong job because she’s anxious about money could seriously jeopardize her long-term career. She was given two months of expenses and yet couldn’t wait a week to polish up her portfolio.

11:00 a.m.: My boyfriend wants to cook lunch for all of us and the dog. $35.50 for groceries and $39.90 for gas, on the joint account.

7:00 p.m.: My friend finally comes home from her job. Fortunately, it’s a contract position, which gives me hope that she will find a good job for herself. We talk a lot about her anxiety and I coach her on how to be more confident in herself. Then my friend and I head to Staples. Fortunately, I resist buying anything.

In Sum

Total expenses: $1714.62
Total income: $0

$222.43 on food, despite my desire to reduce food expenses; from my joint checking account
$222.54 for other expenses; on the joint account
$519.65 added to my overburdened personal credit card
$750 for the cats, replacing a lost dog license, putting money in our joint account, and my credit card

In reading back, I realize just how anxious I really am over money. Regardless of the fact that I am trying to preserve my current cash supply, I still appear to have residual issues. Expenses add up. However, despite that, things always manage to work out, and because of that, I feel it is OK for me to not stress about my finances.

* * * * *

What do you think?

Given her financial and professional situation, what advice would you give the author of today’s Money Diary?

PS — Be nice. Through years of writing this blog, I am hardened against bitter commenters who foam at the mouth, flailing around for something to get offended by. Money Diaries authors are not. Feel free to offer honest feedback, but let’s keep it polite.

Join 200,000+ others for private material on psychology, money, careers, and entrepreneurship

1

Related Articles

standard post picture

How to not hate live events

I recently spoke at a conference in the Bay Area where the speaker introduced me as saying, “AND WE GOT ...

Read More
untitled-design-9

The diffusion of responsibility: Why you need to stop CC’ing people

I receive 1,000+ emails every day. And while I read every one of them, most emails get ignored. That’...

Read More

90 Comments

1
 

Leave a Reply

90 Comments on "The Money Diaries: The unemployed web developer who struggles with her desire to give generously as she’s running out of money"

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Bill
Bill
4 years 3 months ago
God, this is just sad. $11K to prolong the life of a dog. Quitting a job when you’re in financial straits just because you don’t like it. Leaving a $5 tip on a $10 meal. “I’m happy I can ignore jobs that don’t interest me”. Checking your finances monthly. Letting your family ignorantly draw on finances you don’t have. Not taking advantage of 0% rates because you “don’t want another card”. Mixing your finances with someone as fiscally incapable as you. Spending your time building your friend’s portfolio instead of your own. $500+ for cats? Picking up the tab with… Read more »
Barbara Saunders
4 years 3 months ago

Can agree in a tough love way about everything except the dog. For me the life of my dog is absolutely the first measure of my honor. WAY before creditors.

Ginger @ Girls Just Wanna Have Funds
“Even though I chose to quit my job, and even though I’ll survive 7 months without income, I’m still self conscious about my economic image.” I think we’re all reading this wide eyed and flabbergasted that someone can graze through a financial crisis in such a careless manner. But I can’t help but be saddened by how oblivious she seems to be as it’ll have dire consequences for her financial timeline over the next few weeks and months. Her desire to “keep up” is coming at a great cost, one she will soon regret. Bill’s comment above comment sums up… Read more »
Hungry Hippo
Hungry Hippo
4 years 3 months ago

Agree with Bill 100%. And this: “I want to be generous, so I had planned to give $100 more than their asking donation, which would come to $350.”

Why? She wants to be generous, but WHY? So the lady at the cat shelter will think she really loves cats? So she can feel good about herself? She’s unemployed, but wants to give $100 above what’s being asked? WHY?! (Not trying to “yell,” I’m just mind-boggled.)

Jessica
4 years 3 months ago
I see a lot of invisible scripts at play here. Well, one is not invisible, but explicitly stated: “paying for myself shows I am self reliant.” But the author takes it further than that, with the notion that she should pay for other people, and she should pay for anything that is her idea. I would ask, first, is this a personal thing (I just feel too bad letting others pay for me) or is it an image thing (what will people think of me if I let them pay for me)? If it’s a personal thing, then it may… Read more »
Amy
Amy
4 years 3 months ago

This is the best comment so far. Right on.

Erin
Erin
4 years 3 months ago
Don’t get a pet when you have no money. Pets are expensive, and lets face it, for many people once they bond with a pet they are going to spend money on it where they deem necessary. If her grandmother needs to dip into her savings for regular life expenses and emergencies, then she will surely dip in when the cats get sick. And they will get sick eventually. When you don’t have enough money to take care of the cats, they are either going to end up at a shelter, euthanized, or suffering. The humans suffer, too, for putting… Read more »
Brian
Brian
4 years 3 months ago

Reading this just made me sad.

The worst part was her summary at the end. She is still upbeat after having laid that catastrophe out in front of her – oblivious even.

I am stressed out for her, and hope she sees the light and starts making better decisions.

Tsa
Tsa
4 years 3 months ago
Your behavior, decisions, and goal doesn’t add up. Your goal is to find a *good* job, get out of debt and be financially self sufficient, yet you mentioned job search 3 days out of 7. Your week sounds like a vacation. “Window shopping” means not buying anything, not buying them a few days later. You traveled and donated in addition to what’s already a donation. Your spending is as if you have income. You’re anxious and stressed and it sounds like your wallet’s paying for it. Maybe you should consider contracting like your friend did, it will build your own… Read more »
Casey Camilleri
4 years 3 months ago

You do realize if you kept at this pace you would be spending close to $7,000 a month! I don’t even bring home that amount every month and I make a very decent salary. If I spent money like you I’d be in debt within months. Time to start giving yourself a daily budget.

Brian
Brian
4 years 3 months ago

“Time to start giving yourself a daily budget.”
“a daily budget”
“budget”

Lindsay
4 years 3 months ago
Jessica’s comments above about invisible scripts are right on – it seems like there’s a combination of real generosity coupled with huge concerns about being self-reliant. Self-reliance is cool, but this person is actually really, really entangled with the boyfriend, who’s paying her living expenses because he owes her money (apparently quite a bit), which means she must have given him a loan back when she was working/saving. Now she feels that somehow money will turn up, but she has that feeling because she built up a cushion of savings while she was working, and also built up this large… Read more »
AJ
AJ
4 years 3 months ago

I have to agree with Jessica, these are action steps that you need to handle right now. And please, just STOP with the over tipping and gifting. You do not have the money to do that and if you truly want to be there for your grandmother, stop spending money that you don’t have because she will continue to use your money and eventually you won’t have any. You are overspending and it’s making ME anxious.

attgig
attgig
4 years 3 months ago
There’s nothing wrong with giving to help others, even when you’re struggling, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to turn a blind eye to very real problems in your financial world. This is a small snippet of your financial world, and there are people here writing honest comments that I think you should internalize and not be defensive about. You may also benefit from someone looking at your overall financial health and getting honest feedback about. Not because they’re necessarily going to give you the keys to how to fix everything, but rather, because they would have a… Read more »
Ben
Ben
4 years 3 months ago

You’re a web developer in CA – how do you not have several web companies and 10x recruiters falling all over themselves to hire you? Seriously its impossible to find talented developers these days.

sarah
4 years 3 months ago

I know! I’m totally baffled by this. She could probably easily pick up some freelance projects for at least $125/hr. I think there are other “invisible scripts” that are keeping her from getting a job.

Lisa
Lisa
4 years 3 months ago

Exactly. This is where I’m getting stuck. Doesn’t make sense – EXCEPT the whole part about “advising” her friend to not take a job that’s “below” her. It’s possible that nothing is good enough for this woman.

Roy Patterson
Roy Patterson
4 years 3 months ago

After reading this, I think this person doesn’t really want a job. If she is really a Web Developer, there are lot of jobs out there. Go to any big social website, look at the jobs. They always need Web Developers. Another question I might ask. Can she really do the Web Developers job?

Laurie
Laurie
4 years 3 months ago

$1,700 for a week’s worth of expenses? I think that’s close to my monthly expenses, and I live in an expensive part of Southern California and have all the costs you do – rent, gas, food, student loans. I also don’t understand not taking up a job because it’s beneath you – take the job, then use it to leverage yourself into the next good one. Why would you give up a chance to get a positive cash flow?

sarah
4 years 3 months ago

How can a web developer in CA be out of work for 4 months? We are in the middle of a tech bubble!!

AA
AA
4 years 3 months ago
There’s a LOT going on here, as others have mentioned, and it would be impossible for the author to fix everything all at once, so I think she needs to prioritize based on the things that are important to her. But if I were here, I would: 1. Go into spending lockdown mode until I had found a job. As a good short-term goal to reduce spending, plan out a week’s worth of meals and buy groceries for them, and then see if you can go the whole week only eating out, say, once or twice (rather than everyday, which… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 3 months ago

The script of “I should get an awesome job, not just some random way to pay the bills” is great, but the actions don’t match. This person needs Dream Job, stat.

Timmy
Timmy
4 years 3 months ago
Why is she spending so much time at the library? This is the only thing I don’t understand. Unless she’s trying to get a job at the library it seems like a waste of time. Maybe she doesn’t have internet at home? Searching for jobs online and emailing countless resumes isn’t all that productive anyway. She should be doing gigs on craigslist for her web development, she should join elance and oDesk and pick up freelance web development jobs, instead of eating out, she should be working as a waitress part time at one of these places to see how… Read more »
Kelly
Kelly
4 years 3 months ago

Power was out, so she wouldn’t have been able to use her computer at home once the battery ran out, plus no power for her router.

Maybe being at the library also helps her focus? Sounds like she was her most productive when she was there.

EE
EE
4 years 3 months ago

I had a glimmer of hope for her when reading about window shopping on Amazon – not a bad idea to set some goals for things you may want to purchase once employed…..but then she actually buys cat supplies for someone else????sheesh!

Victoria
Victoria
4 years 3 months ago
1. Negotiate down your medical bill. She is unemployed and broke, this should be no problem. Most hospitals offer a payment plan or waive a certain portion of it if you qualify for assistance. I was shortly unemployed last year and was able to get a $3000 ER bill down to $500 simply by asking for help and sending in my last paystub and some other forms to qualify for help. This took a couple hours of my time to knock $2500 off a medical bill. She most likely qualifies for something if she sucked in her pride and just… Read more »
trackback

[…] read todays post on Ramin Sethis Money diaries and I had to comment on it. It's about 30 years old web designer who has been unemployed for 4 […]

Mika
4 years 3 months ago

Oh my. Four months unemployed and still spending like she earns six figures. When you are unemployed you need to stop spending immediately. If it’s not bear essential for living or something that helps you get a job you don’t spend that money. If your friends and family doesn’t understand that then you need to distance yourself from them for a while and get your act together. No job is beneath you and there’s plenty of freelance web designer jobs out there to keep you a float until you find something better.

Her Every Cent Counts
4 years 3 months ago
This is a sad post. This woman sounds like a good friend of mine who is only in a better financial situation because she found herself a fiancee who is a well-paid engineer. First of all, the whole pets thing is something I don’t get as I never grew up or had pets. I understand they are expensive, especially when they get sick, which happens. Don’t have pets until you can afford them. If you are so desperate to be around animals work with them, don’t own them. As everyone else noted, it is unfortunate that she feels so responsible… Read more »
Kerry
4 years 3 months ago
I have realized that following my every whim is not the path to financial freedom or peace. Having a plan and following it is. Sure, on a given day I’d love to get a pedicure, eat in restaurants, buy toys for my dog, etc. But if I follow every whim I’m going to be stressed and broke — not worth it. Instead you should prioritize based on your values. If treating friends to a meal is really important, then plan to do it once a month, and decide in advance how much you’ll budget for that. Better yet, make a… Read more »
christie
christie
4 years 3 months ago

Love this post.

asraidevin
asraidevin
4 years 3 months ago
Wait, wait. She maintains a residence in California while she travels the East Coast with $8000 on credit card and another I presume $8000 unpaid (unless I misunderstood). How what why do you travel with that on your mind? I notice a lot of putting of job searching for either shopping, eating out or doing favours for freinds. I question her desire for a job, she seems happy juggling her bills and letting her boyfriend pay. Maybe she feels entitled because she paid for him in the past. As well as worrying about a job that is “beneath her” ruining… Read more »
Tish
Tish
4 years 3 months ago
The invisible script that jumped out at me was “I can’t stop giving to others, even at the sacrifice of myself”. Here, she’s specifically referring to helping her friend find a job instead of helping herself. To me, this seems like she’s avoiding getting a job for some reason. Fear of success? Depression, as someone above mentioned? Lack of confidence? I don’t know. Ramit talks about how people get caught up with researching about doing activity X (job search, finances, weight loss) rather than getting in there and doing it, and I feel like her “selflessness” about helping her friend… Read more »
Lexi
Lexi
4 years 3 months ago
I understand wanting the perfect job, but sometimes you have to take a not so perfect job. Remember that a long gap in employment is also detrimental to your career the make you apear lazy. Go do something, temp work or freelance even if it isn’t perfect. Look for jobs related to your career but slightly outside your areas of expertise. This will help expand your career option in the future. Also, when you are busy, the desire and time to spend money goes down. Its also easier to get a job when you have a job (or someone told… Read more »
Tara M.
4 years 3 months ago
Her predicament makes me nervous because I work in her field and am almost the same age…it’s not hard to envision myself in her shoes. But my overwhelming advice for her is that she NEEDS to tell her family that she is out of work. By ignoring her problems and pretending that everything is fine, she is really just digging her financial grave at an even faster rate. There is nothing shameful in being unemployed, millions of people have gone through the process. To that end, however, she should definitely NOT be paying for other people’s pet adoptions, lunch bills,… Read more »
Concerned
Concerned
4 years 3 months ago

This sounds far worse than overspending one’s means…the details sound an awful lot like bipolar disorder.

– Agonizing over $5 per meal or $3 per meal, but spending $750 on pet stuff in a single week
– Being overly generous with tips and the extra $100 for the cats
– Overall spending like a rich person while taking time off from work for “resting” rather than looking for new jobs

Ellen
Ellen
4 years 3 months ago
This diarist has a lot of explicit “scripts”, like “paying for myself shows self-reliance” or “I can’t stop being generous”, or the really confusing one, “money just keeps showing up”. I worry about the scripts playing out that she is not even able to articulate, like: “Being confident in myself means following my feelings, no matter how impractical. Making decisions for practical reasons shows weakness/lack of self esteem” This one seems to be leading her down a very hard road and may wind up damaging her relationship to her friend. “I need to have everyone depending on me, whether I… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
4 years 3 months ago
I can honestly say after reading this thread that I would rather throw battery acid on my face than ever sit down to lunch with anyone commenting in this thread. “A gap in your employment may make you seem lazy?” I view a gap in an employment history as a discussion starter. I have several gaps in my employment history by choice, and let me tell you, it never affected me. Anytime I was asked about a gap, it spawned a wonderful conversation between myself and the interview. Listen. Let me tell you the truth. You’re all nuts. All insane.… Read more »
Cassandra
Cassandra
4 years 3 months ago
I agree it can be a discussion starter, but you have to have done something worth discussing for it to work that way. I’ve been a hiring manager several times and have a friend in the same field who took 2 years off from work. He had all kinds of grand plans, but in reality did nothing. Once his savings ran out, he started getting desperate and kept asking me to help him find a job. Finally I had to tell him that I wouldn’t hire him, and couldn’t really recommend him, since this 2-year gap just made him look… Read more »
Revanche
4 years 3 months ago

Yes – there’s definitely a good and kind of gap. Doing something interesting/educational/SOMETHING during gaps, definitely. Doing nothing whereby your answer to the HM is: “I redecorated a relative’s house cause it was ugly and did absolutely nothing to improve myself.” (nearly an exact quote is problematic). I suspect that people see more of the latter than the former.

I took a long employment gap myself, traveled a lot, had informational interviews and freelanced. I still landed a job after that.

Dave
Dave
4 years 3 months ago

Short and sweet advice for you.

1) Stop worrying about finances for the time being – as you’ve said, there is money in the bank
2) Invest the time you’ve spent on cats into finding your new dream job, and direct all your efforts in this direction. As you say you don’t need a job immediately so make sure that the next job you get is absolutely fantastic. Either that or line up some quality freelance work so at least you can show what you’ve done over this time at an interview and how you’ve used/improved your skills.

Anonymous for this
Anonymous for this
4 years 3 months ago
Perhaps this person is spending money on others to compensate for feeling awful about being out of work. And maybe she’s only able to look for work 3 out of 7 days because she’s depressed, or angry, or anxious. If so, I can assure you that those feelings are difficult to hide from a prospective employer. It may be why she can’t find a job in southern California, even though she has a skill set that is in demand. As someone who has had to start over from scratch (literally, with nothing, or with co-signed debts) 3 times, I know… Read more »
John @ Married (with Debt)
4 years 3 months ago
Much like Ramit hates it when people ask him for the “ONE KILLER TIP THAT WILL MAKE ME RICH,” I hate being asked for personal finance advice from people who truly don’t want it. It is obvious that this person has too much going on in their personal life such as low self esteem and a poor image of self worth. Telling them to “make a budget” is meaningless to them. They need to work on whatever issues make them feel obligated to not only refuse generosity from others, but to feel compelled to pay for everything for everyone. This… Read more »
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward
4 years 3 months ago
Honestly, Ramit, there is no amount of money this person can make because there’s something wrong with her that she is determined to be a martyr and destroy herself. I’ve seen it many times. In poker we called these people the fish. Even her vet is exploiting her. $11K to torture a dying dog? Really? Even her grandmother (!) is hitting her up to drain her savings account. If I knew a fix for these people, I would tell her to get it, but it’s the old story about how many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb. The… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
4 years 3 months ago
Injuries sustained that helped with piling up that medical bill? Hard emotional time with the dog. Quitting work in a fit. This all sounds like someone that desperately needs someone else to take over, and care for her for a while. Her personality probably wouldn’t allow it, though it is what she most greatly and secretly desires. The sad truth is when you hit these emotional black holes, you have to pull yourself out. The rest of the finances is just background noise here. Get thee to a doctor and speak about the hardships, the ups and downs. Consider exercise… Read more »
Erik
Erik
4 years 3 months ago

I don’t understand how she’s unemployed after four months. Web developers are probably one of the most sought after employees today. I was just hiring people for an ‘entry level’ position at $40-$50k — it took us 4 months to find a single qualified candidate.

Ian
Ian
4 years 3 months ago
This is a tough call because it seems like you have competing value systems during a time of scarcity. This way of living may have been manageable during a time of abundance. I am not interested in telling you about the things that may not have the same value to me, i.e. pets. As Ramit has reminded us, these kinds of things are difficult to manage psychologically. At the end of the day, I think you know longer have the luxury of being selective with work options. Find a job, take the job, and keep applying for dream jobs. Also,… Read more »
Cori J.
4 years 3 months ago
HUGE red flags on the backstory: 1) You didn’t have health insurance and had an accident that has all but bankrupted you. And yet you don’t mention if you have health insurance or not. Do you? If not, you have learned nothing or you’re hoping that next time the accident kills you. 2a) You had an accident that landed you in the hospital and depleted your savings and you DIDN’T TELL YOUR FAMILY? You’re a nutjob. How would you feel if they did that to you, and when you asked them why they didn’t tell you they reply that they… Read more »
Sean
Sean
4 years 3 months ago
I completely sympathise, knowing full well that spending a lot of money is often a fallback, especially when boredom strikes in. Sometimes it helps me to flip the script, and think about things differently, breaking out of the rut. I have two pieces of advice, and only two: 1. First of all, no matter what anyone says, TIME IS MONEY. You can waste time, i.e. waste money, or you can use it wisely. Next to your daily dollar expenses, you might want to actually look at your daily time commited to various activities. You are a web developer, and you… Read more »
Matthew
Matthew
4 years 3 months ago
While I understand that this is a financial blog, the financial problems the author is currently experiencing are manifestations of deeper issues. Many previous commenters have already touched on them and even discussed them at some length. The “scripts” are arising from pathologies that she needs to sort out with a psychotherapist. Other commenters suggested “soul-searching,” which is the right idea, except going about that process solo is usually quite difficult and ultimately fruitless. Unless she sorts out the underlying reasons why she can’t stop giving and can’t accept help from others, she will continue these patterns of behavior even… Read more »
April
4 years 3 months ago
Keeping a money diary may be the best thing this woman has done for her finances all year! She sounds like she may have gotten so anxious about money that she can’t face the reality of her expenses. So, hey – good first step! I disagree with everyone who says she shouldn’t be generous until she’s buckled down and gotten any old job. That might be what she needs to do, but it depends on what she wants from money. Does she value security a lot, or can she be happy in such an insecure position? Is giving to her… Read more »
Jocelyn
Jocelyn
4 years 3 months ago
I don’t understand commenters who suggest to “get rid of the boyfriend.” That is ludicrous, especially when it seems he is keeping her afloat right now – a sign that he’s not a total mooch. This is a relationship, not a sterile boss-employee interaction. Instead, the pair should spend an evening or two brainstorming: a) ways to have fun and develop their relationship together without spending money, b) meals that they want to make at home and enjoy together c) ways that he can support her in finding a new job, and d) their actual financial situation – this probably… Read more »
mark
4 years 3 months ago

Just keep working and stop the web development BS. If she’s going to be in business she should do something people will actually pay money for. Something people need and want. And please stop being a pushover.

christie
christie
4 years 3 months ago
How did this gal save up 15k in the first place ? To answer the email from Ramit… how to give generously when you are broke…. You can be generous of spirit. You can give compliments for a job well done. ( this does not mean it is okay to stiff your server.) You can give of your time to a charity or an individual in need. You can volunteer at the library. You can help an elderly neighbor or single mom with some yard work. Being generous is not just about money. There are those who can write large… Read more »
Hungry Hippo
Hungry Hippo
4 years 3 months ago

Great point. I volunteer with a charity that I’m very happy to contribute to–and since what I’m volunteering is what I do for a living (writing/editing), I include this on my CV.

Moo
Moo
4 years 3 months ago
Really, the spending is mostly because you’re feeling posh. You can lean on your boyfriend — if not for him, you’d have been homeless awhile ago. It’s amazing how much family loves you when you’re paying for them, but how little they care when it’s your turn. As for the income, by far the most important thing, just go on elance and odesk and make a couple grand a month. I can do it writing penny-per-word articles, so as a web designer you can kick a lot of ass. Plus, every project you apply to can be something you’d be… Read more »
Bronwyn
Bronwyn
4 years 3 months ago

I know it is an antiquated notion, and not always true, but people, please, don’t quit your job unless you have a new job OR at least an interim job that will float you a bit and give you health insurance, or pay the COBRA. As for the overspending, well, feeling the need to overpay and overtip and pay for others expenses as if it is your responsibility may be one for a therapist to figure out.

Tony C
Tony C
4 years 3 months ago
I think she should focus on getting a source of income, it doesn’t matter whether that source is W-2 or from self employment. She needs to get her self straight financially. She could do more volunteer activities in place of cash donations. She should not continually eat out when she can pack lunch and get small cooler bag to carry it in. Frugality doesn’t equal cheap. She needs to figure out why she has this need to give even though it is running her into the red. If she is giving to create or get acceptance she needs to address… Read more »
steve
steve
4 years 3 months ago

Joint account with boyfriend, why?

Ed
Ed
4 years 3 months ago

The dog’s own family would cull it. That’s Nature’s way of dealing with the circle of life. The cat can fend for itself. Get your priorities right. If you must tip when broke, tip just enough to cover their tax. The waiter has a job… you don’t.

When you’re drowning, you need to save yourself before you can save someone else. Philanthropy and other stuff is fine when you can afford it. But this mindless need to come across as “nice” can be problematic.

Vicki
Vicki
4 years 3 months ago
She needs to take care of herself first, and resist demands on her money from others. Nix the eating out with friends – that will put her in the hole even worse. It’s depressing to be left out of dining opportunities with friends, but maybe throw a potluck dinner at your apartment instead, and have them all over. I understand about wanting to take care of your pets, but at this point you might need to surrender them to a friend or relative willing to look after them until you get back on your feet. If you have no one… Read more »
Cristina
4 years 3 months ago
+1s to Jessica, Lindsay and Andrew Here’s my recommendation, by far the hippie-dippiest one on this thread: go on a retreat. (A free one — they exist.) Or you don’t have to go on a retreat. But find some real quiet to figure out what’s actually important and what lasts. Then experiment with going without the rest. (Pro tip: that self-righteous feeling of not having ‘insulted’ a waitress? Not important. Definitely temporary.) We make the biggest mistakes and make the worst choices when we feel frantic, desperate and overwhelmed — which is what shopping on Amazon until 2AM and traveling… Read more »
Justin
4 years 3 months ago
Almost all of the comments mention reducing spending. The major issue here is not the author’s spending but her lack of income. Most of the expenses that commenters are mentioning are relatively small (except for the pets) and it sounds like she has marketable skills that have allowed her to more than pay for her expenses in the past. $1714.62/week in expenses may be high, but there are many web developers who make more than this. My advice: It sounds like you have skills are in demand. Follow Ramit’s advice on finding a (dream) job: http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/dreamjob/80-20Guide instead of just sending… Read more »
Kathleen
Kathleen
4 years 3 months ago

She is delusional. Not a reality based philosophy about money.
She needs help and quickly.

Grace Morris
4 years 3 months ago
I’ve decided to go a little off topic here with “money advice”. Clearly everyone’s given a lot of good advice to budget. Here’s my professional development advice. An unemployed web developer?? really?? I work in the Internet Marketing business, this is a huge industry and sometimes has A LOT of turnover, but there’s always a big need for help whether it’s a programmer, an SEO Analyst, PPC analyst, Social Media consultant, a copywriter, the list goes on. If you’re a web developer, I imagine you really only need to learn a few more specific technical tasks to get these kinds… Read more »
Quinn
Quinn
4 years 3 months ago
Dear Unemployed Web Developer – first a virtual hug! I understand what you’re going through. Such significant and dramatic changes can really throw your life out of whack. A lot of times when things like that happen, our automatic coping mechanisms kick in. That’s a good thing because they keep us going. Unfortunately – sometimes those coping mechanisms are ones that we learned in childhood. Before things started going wrong, it sounded as though you were doing fine and being very successful! So, if I were to make a guess, I’d guess that how you’re handling things now is how… Read more »
Caroline
Caroline
4 years 3 months ago

Great reply. I agree- A real-life support network will help so much. Start with your boyfriend and family. Let them know you are struggling to keep afloat and to kickstart your next phase of life. With someone whom you trust to hold you to your promises, set discrete goals with hard deadlines.

Please realize that this spending, which seems emotional and anxiety-inducing, is not sustainable. You certainly cannot rely on “things working out.” Again, have your friends and family help you- that is what they are there for! Godspeed.

sha
sha
4 years 3 months ago
I guess everyone see this posting in a different light. This is what I see. I think, this is deeper than just financial issue. She likes to take care other others and others comes first. If she takes care of herseslf that would enable her to take care of others. If she does not position herself better she is not only going to hurt herself and get in deeper trouble but she will aqlso hurt others that she loves and takes care of and those that depend on her (i.e her grandmother). She says things works out. There will be… Read more »
Sam
Sam
4 years 3 months ago
Your generosity is a strength when it’s focused correctly. Reframe it like this – You owe the world big time if you have a talent for web design. You owe the world to show them what you can do. Be incredibly generous to the world by sharing your talent and get paid. The value in generousity you show returns to you in money. Money is you showing how generous you can be. Generosity is value and value is money. How generous do you want to be? How many people who need your talent are you willing to help in return… Read more »
Gilda
Gilda
4 years 3 months ago
First of all I have to say that you can’t afford pay for dinner/breakfast/ or lunch for others when you are barely making it. I was unemployed for some months and I know how it feels not to be without a job/positive workplace to be in. I was lucky to have a family and girlfriend who supported me unconditionaly. These are my tips: 1) Don’t forget that you are worth searching for your dream job! You have something special to give to the world and you have to keep at it. 2) Stop with the eating out and paying for… Read more »
Chris C.
4 years 3 months ago
$1715 is just about $100 shy of my income for a month so I can’t imagine spending that in a week. Actually, I can, and a glorious week it would be! It sounds to me like the first step is to have a serious conversation with the boyfriend about your shared financial situation because it is a shared situation. Taking time off to find something you love makes sense, I walked away from a job in web development that I hated and found something I loved six months later. I also took a 63% pay cut to do it. And… Read more »
Wain
Wain
4 years 3 months ago
I was unemployed twice in one year. Went through a divorce, blah blah blah. My main focus was the four walls, 1 housing, 2 transportation, 3 food, 4 Insurance. I was able to cover these basics and then I devoted myself to the job search. Little splurges are OK. But a dog is a dog, not a child. Now that my situation is stable again, I am looking at what kind of side business I can start. Now this young lady has been doing some things that may be useful as a side business or to build her portfolio. She… Read more »
Janet
4 years 3 months ago
Go on a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. They’re free and they will kick your ass with issues you need to resolve. If the invisible script/theme that keeps coming up is ‘self reliance’, then this is being self reliant with your emotional health, and from there, you can access whether you need/want psychiatric help. The journey to change starts within the self. Before you throw money at the health industry, I seriously recommend meditation. You KNOW you shouldn’t be spending the way you do. Somewhere deep down, your subconscious knows. But until you address the blockages, you will get… Read more »
Antoinette
Antoinette
4 years 3 months ago
Huge, really huge, ego: “I hate when someone else pays for me”, but “I pay for others ’cause I can’t stop giving” and “I coach my friend so she could gain confidence”… Really? Whoever you think you want to be, or are, it’s OK, but truth is, this story shows a person who has NO idea of where she’s going, totally immature, arrogant, and basically wasting here time and money. Honestly, don’t fool yourself, if you don’t want/like to work you don’t need to hide behind “I’m sending resumes and working in my projects” (which projects?), if you don’t want… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
4 years 3 months ago
Ditto on those who said that this is a case of coping mechanisms and issues of self-worth. I have had to work through the very same issues of worthiness stemming from childhood, feeling like I need to take care of others, unable to accept help from others, feeling like I need to hide any pressing needs that I currently have. Money management skills go down as stress level and denial go up, all contributing to a pretty hard reality check that is definitely in the mail. I don’t know what would be the fastest way to help this woman. Therapy… Read more »
Christina
4 years 3 months ago
It was actually upsetting to read this because it could have been me five years ago. To make a really long story somewhat short, I also grew up poor, got an education and a highly paid career, then totally crashed and burned in the face of my late husband’s severe mental illness. My collapse was both physical and mental- my doctor advised me to quit my job and leave my husband if I wanted to survive. I left the job, but didn’t feel I could do the same to my husband. For a long time, I was depressed and in… Read more »
Travas
Travas
4 years 3 months ago

Looks like someone has no idea what is really going on. Stop spending money you don’t have and find a way to save more. I mean it seems that your days are spent doing errand and spending $$ while at the same time you have unpaid bills. Your money could be going elsewhere than pet food, fastfood, and gas.

Riley
Riley
4 years 3 months ago
Due to some morbid fascination, I read through most of the comments here, and I feel overwhelmed by the thick, putrid stench of fear. How can you possibly make a good decision out of fear and what ifs? My advice is surrender your attempt to control the situation. It’s obviously not working. It’s just creating more knots of anxiety that you’ll probably never escape from (many of which will probably be the result of reading these comments, if you’re masochistic enough to read them). Ask yourself why you nuked your life in the first place. Was it just so you… Read more »
Johnnie
Johnnie
4 years 3 months ago
I want to thank Ramit and the diarist for sharing this. It warms my heart to know that there are people like this. Sure, her current financial situation leaves a lot to be desired, but maybe we’re missing the point: she’s not fundamentally miserable. She just has different values and hit a rough patch. Keep in mind that this lady was able to build a career and set aside a decent amount of money, so she is by no means gullable. No doubt she can do it again, probably better this time around. Kudos for not caving and rushing to… Read more »
martin
martin
4 years 3 months ago
No health insurance, 11,000 for the dog and quitting because you dont like your job. Right there are the real issues. I wonder if the writer was fired instead. But ultimately these finacial issues have zero to do with being unemployeed. Get a job with health insurance that would be a big step kn keeping this from happening again. Next let a dog pass away with dignity. Why the surgeries when dogs only live 12 years or so anway? There were finacial issues before the job loss. A new job may stop the bleeding but it wont solve the other… Read more »
elle
elle
4 years 3 months ago
This diary entry saddens me quite a lot. Some people are such givers, and so generous by nature, just like this diarist. For whatever reason they are that way, it remains that they are so readily give, even at the expense of themselves. It is great to give and to share, but only if you have the capacity to give and share. If you do not have the capacity to give, then what is it that you are giving, really? I understand that filial piety might have kicked in and you feel somewhat responsible for your grandmother’s financial well being,… Read more »
bchase
bchase
4 years 3 months ago
First, I do like the notion that generosity begets generosity and so I do advise her to continue to find ways to be generous. I have a question? Are financial gifts the only meaningful measure of generosity? As long as that is the story that you follow then being unable to be financial generous will make you feel poor and one thing I see here is that the author will do anything to avoid feeling poor again. The operative word in that sentence is feeling. Can you rewrite what it means to be generous so that you don’t feel poor… Read more »
Lindygirl
Lindygirl
4 years 3 months ago
I am not going to re-hash all the scripts and issues that are apparent or implied by the diarist’s post. I will speak to three major areas. 1. Your first priority is yourself not family not friends not pets. Take the time to find out what your needs and wants are. Then look at your actions in relation to your stated objectives. If an action is moving you forward then fine if not then stop the action. e.g. “gifting” 2. Sort out the total owed by the boyfriend and set up a repayment plan. You cannot know how much has… Read more »
Julie
4 years 3 months ago
This is a blog about making money after all, so I guess most commentators would talk budgets and low self esteem. The diarist seems like a nice girl who has hit hard times. She’s helping her friends and family members out, loves animals and gives to charity, loaned her boyfriend money and he is a nice guy, nice enough to be paying it back now she needs it, as he can. Nice girls may not get the corner office, but her self esteem seems quite high to me. It might be logical to tell a family member I can’t help… Read more »
Patty
Patty
4 years 3 months ago

Is there a followup to this?

shawn miles
shawn miles
4 years 3 months ago
oh man I couldn’t get past day two. I’m like WTF? Really shopping on Amazon, Cat s what planet do you live on that you can keep spending and not worry about how you’re going to pay your bills if you don’t find a job. Wait what if you find a job and for some reason don’t do the math right and don’t get paid for the first month? I love the unrealistic 1st world problems people have. The next part I lost my mind over. she paid to save a dog and didn’t pay buy medical insurance. I love… Read more »
sun
11 months 20 days ago

hey this blog for more use ful and get more information http://www.indiagktrick.blogspot.com

wpDiscuz