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You either have it or you don’t.

I don’t.

Ok, I admit I’m not living in poverty. I’ve seen and lived among people with much less. Who am I to complain? Everyone has housing and household expenses…mine are relatively modest compared to my peers… I make a decent income but nearly half of it goes to my ex-wife.

January, however, has been an especially nasty month for me…a perfect storm of financial challenge. The only thing that hasn’t happened is a car breakdown (am I jinxing my good luck by saying that?) although I swear it’s starting to make a funny noise.

There’s a lot of hoopla in the public about 1% vs 99%. That the 1% are clueless regarding the hard facts of earning a living is self-evident. I find that far more than the 1% are clueless. I once had an employer not pay me a promised bonus at the promised time and actually give the explanation that she thought she’d couple it with my next month’s bonus and that I’d really like getting it all in one big chunk instead of 2 medium sized checks.

To even utter that sentence one has to be someone who has always had a cushy savings account.

I’m probably among the 40-50%

My current story is actually quite uneventful compared to others but it would probably do me good to whine and get it all out…sorry. Here’s the quick run-down…

I make a salary plus commission. The last 3 months of 2011 I saw no commissions in my checks. I sold. I earned the money. I just didn’t get paid because they had incorrectly paid me too much earlier in the year. I can scrape by on just my salary…but then there was Christmas. Due to a company merger our pay periods were switched on Jan 1st with the end result being I’m getting 3/4 of my usual pay in January with which to pay my February 1 bills. This comes on the heels of my aforementioned Christmas spending. My January commission check, a sizable one with bonuses and such, which I anticipated on the 15th, was now going to be paid on the 20th. Except now with the new company it’s not automatically deposited. It was mailed meaning I really get it sometime next week…when I’ll be traveling for the company…on my own dime because the new corporate card that everyone else seemed to get never arrived and they had to reissue and re-mail…which will arrive next week..again, while I’m gone working for the company on my own dime. Of course I’ll be reimbursed eventually, and the corporate card will come but it doesn’t erase the fact that I don’t have money NOW and am having to cover work expenses out of my own pocket which is very, very shallow at the moment. I’ve been informed that the new company doesn’t issue cash advances.

My ex-wife is already generously holding off depositing 2 child custody payments. My credit cards with already very small credit limits are maxed out.

I don’t think it’s only the 1% that don’t understand this sort of hand to mouth struggle. A very generous portion of the 99% don’t get it either.

Why am I not handling my money more smartly so as to not be in this position?

My life is the sum total of my own choices. That I have a large child support payment and that I am living on the cusp of my own budget is of course the result of choices I’ve made. None of that escapes me.

I’ve followed through with the best of intentions at getting things under control over the last couple of years. I moved to a cheaper town, to a smaller apartment closer to my kids to reduce travel expenses. I drive a car with 150k+ miles to not incur new auto costs. My shabby furniture remains mostly the spoils from the divorce 6 years ago. I travel economically. My next vacation will be paid for with earned airline miles and lodging by way of Home Exchange…my only costs will be food and entertainment. Any extravagance of mine is usually spending too much on things for my children…wild and crazy things like taking them to a movie or buying them new shoes.

True to the original intent of this blog, this post is just a primal scream out of frustration. I’m not finding a point to this message other than knowing that NONE of the current political candidates get this sort of thing.

I have a job and for that I am grateful. In a week this will all be resolved. I see light at the end of the tunnel in spite of the current darkness. I just need to plan for such events in the future so that this never happens again…Get a raise, another job, a different job, reduce expenses even more…whatever it takes.