More Money, More Problems

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On the same day I huddled under a table at a meeting where there may or may not have been a gunman in the building, I found out I got a promotion.

It was a promotion I had been hoping for for several months, but had to wait until my co-worker put in her notice before I could approach management.

There was a moment when I thought it might not happen, when upon her tendering her resignation, they already had someone in mind to replace her.

But I was lucky that they considered my proposal and now things are a “go.”

Along with the promotion (aside from more work) is also more money. Not the amount I asked for, but not terrible either.

While I haven’t been able to celebrate properly, mostly because I got the news on such a weirdly emotional day, practically, I don’t know how much it will even make a difference. In some ways, only a really significant bump might change things for us, and even then, the more you have, the more issues that come along with them.

Not to sound ungrateful. I am thrilled and feel proud. I was making $17, no joke, at my job only a year ago. I had tried negotiating then and it didn’t go anywhere. I knew I had to work my way back into the world I had left for several years to nanny instead. Still, it felt like a pittance that would never get us out of my parents’  basement.

But the new raise means that next year, my kid will no longer qualify for Medicaid. Yes,  I still make “enough” to qualify for Medicaid. There are tiers for the All Kids program and while I’m in the upper bracket, paying a monthly premium, it’s still a good deal. I mean, aside from the fact that it took five phone calls before I found someone that would accept him as a new patient and then another five calls just to change my address, it’s been fine.

Now I’m going to have to add him to my insurance, which very well may take about 25% net off the top of my raise.

If for some reason our rent was raised in a few months or our landlord sold the building and we were forced to look for another two bedroom apartment in the city, we’d most likely be paying more. So again, the raise would feel negligible.

No matter how much we could sock away, there will always be unexpected things like doctor’s visits and car repairs, not to mention the very real dental issues I have been ignoring for a few years, based in not just terror, but also lack of funds. My sad, sad dental plan just like most dental plans, only covers so much. It is no match for the work I need done.

I’d love to save for a house, but the amount of money we’d need to put down even with first time homeowner assistance is a hefty sum, not to mention, we’d still need a cushion for emergencies.

To be totally honest, having very little money was much easier than having just enough money. It was simple to see your cash just laying there and watching it go. It was very black and white what you did or didn’t have money for.

I went without using a bank for several years and I think it was a blessing in many ways. Sure, check cashing was a nightmare, but I could operate in cash fairly easily. Now everything is just a push of a button away, from dumb meal plans (I signed up for MealPal because I got a promo code), Lyft lines here and there, Netflix, Spotify, HBONow, you name it.

Most of my bills are paid electronically and often times automatically, funds that magically disappear into the ether to keep the lights on or ensure an Internet connection.

The place we could most improve on budget-wise is not eating out as much, but mostly we are spend thrifts. We have yet to buy one new piece of furniture for our apartment. We don’t travel. We don’t have expensive tastes.

I want to be excited about making a bit more money, but it’s hard to face the reality of what it means when making significant strides in one year still keeps us in a fairly precarious situation.

Like not even mentioning my kid’s education or our retirement.

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