Friday, May 27, 2011

A Layoff and No Savings

2853328_blog With this crazy economy, no one seems safe in their jobs. My estranged husband has been working for a family owned company for a couple of years now. He’s always had issues with getting paid, always having to go to them to ask for his paycheck on paydays, getting his mileage & trips paid for, etc.

Yesterday he told the owner he was going to take a 2 week vacation because they haven’t paid him since the beginning of the month. Well, they did give him $500 because I had to pay for my life insurance and a couple other bills. Anyhow, last night the owner called and asked R to go into work early to have a meeting. He went in, the owner was already in a meeting with a coworker and they asked him to come back in a couple hours. R said he’d rather stay and they said if he didn’t leave and come back later he could just leave his tools and everything else on his desk.

He left.

R was called back about an hour later, but his coworker was at the apartment and they were trying to clear all their personal information off the computers: personal emails, contacts, etc. The owner tried calling R, then texting him telling him to head to the shop, nothing bad was going to happen. R, I think, told him he’d be there in a bit. Well, the owner didn’t like that so he showed up with the accountant and saw the coworkers car there. Guess what he did? Called the cops! CALLED THE COPS!! They wanted to make sure they got their property back. So be dramatic and call the cops? Who do we call to come and force this guy to pay R what he’s owed?

Did I mention this is a guy I go to church with? The whole family in fact. I’m mad and heart broken at this fact. How do you do this to someone who is part of your faith “family”? I am seriously restraining myself from going to their house and saying, “What kind of people do this? R did the job you asked and you should pay him. It’s the right thing to do. You are going to reap what you sow and if you continue to do this to people, you are going to reap some bad stuff.” Now, that’s not very eloquent, but I can tell you this, when I’m in the moment, I can fight an amazing argument.

So, the cops show up and they take the computers back as well as their cell phones. R asks the owner when he’ll get paid and the accountant chimes in that R should’ve been at work that morning because they cut the checks. R said the guy didn’t know what he was talking about and that he HAD been to the office that morning, but sent home…withOUT a paycheck.

By the 1st, when R’s supposed to be paid again, they will owe him around $3800. We have a mortgage and an apartment rent, 2 phone bills, cell phones, car, health insurance, etc to pay for. I barely make squat. He pays for nearly everything. I can’t do a thing to make up what he’s lost.

I told R to go to our church and ask an Elder or a pastor to go with him to confront this guy. That’s what we’re supposed to do as fellow believers. We’re supposed to go to the church to intervene, but if the guy doesn’t comply and pay R, we’ll have to report him.

I’m going to ask my boss tomorrow if I can work every day possible until R finds a new job. Thankfully we’re at the busy time of the year, but that doesn’t change the fact that our store has been very slow this year. Of course, that’s because the weather has been terrible and everyone else is financially strapped. Now that summer is around the corner, I can work nights because I’ll be home with the boys on some days so they won’t go an entire day without seeing me. If I had to work nights now, while they were in school, that would be terrible.

We have lived paycheck to paycheck for so long we have absolutely ZERO saved up. I understand that you’re supposed to have months, if not a couple years worth of saving so when something like this happens there’s not absolute pandemonium. How are people like us, who have NO way to save supposed to come up with extra money to sock away?

Have any of you dealt with the loss of income from the major bread winner? What did you do? How did you not freak out? What did you cut out of your budget to make things work? I’m totally freaking, just so we’re clear!


Book Lover said...

Oh my goodness, that is a lot of money to be owed! I hope this gets resolved soon. ((Big Hugs!))

Amo said...

So, my husband lost his job in 2009. I completely freaked out. He was the sole bread winner. His uncle had also passed away and the day he was let go from his job, he had to leave the meeting and go straight to his uncle's funeral! Talk about a bad day! About a week later, his cousin died and I found out I was pregnant. I totally freaked out again. How were we going to pay for this baby? Two weeks after that, I had a miscarriage on my birthday from all the stress. So, I understand your panic and difficulty! We have lived paycheck to paycheck ever since. My husband found another job a few months later (we lived on unemployment until then), but he makes much less than he did before so he is having to work a second job at night on the weekends to make up the difference. We have absolutely zero savings, as well. All I can tell you is that worrying does no can only have faith that you will be fine no matter what. Use your faith in God and prayer and KNOW that you are going to make it. Live simply, pray often, and try to smile. You will feel better. I know that is easier said than done, but if I have learned anything through all of this, I have learned that we are all stronger than we think. Much stronger. Take care!

Lori B said...

I'm so so sorry to hear about this blow to your family. You are correct though, people DO eventually reap what they sow. Perhaps not in this life, but when they're standing in front of their maker, all such actions will be held forward for accountability. I know that doesn't help you specifically right now, but try to find the strength of heart to let anger go and instead focus on what you can do to move forward.

I don't have any get cash fast schemes, but as an accountant I can suggest a few things. Firstly, immediately shut down all non-essentials in your home. Have cell phones? Turn off the house phone or vice versa. Shut off cable (painful, but not essential). You get my meaning. Review your bills and honestly decide what you TRULY need to live. Try to live without AC. (Depends on what part of the country you're in of course.) Take good stock of what's in your freezer and pantry and try to live as much as possible off. Bottom line is that you need to focus funds on those items which you're paying on that have major consequences if you don't pay them. Keeping the cable on really isn't as important as keeping the house. Tough! I know.

Lastly, if you get to the end of a payment grace period and you realize you can't make the payment on the creditor. Open communication is REALLY important. HOWEVER, don't be "too" forthcoming with information. You don't want to be red flagged. Instead of telling them your husband lost his job, tell them his paycheck was stalled and you just need more time.

You'll be in my prayers. Just breathe..take each issue one at a time and work your way through slowly. **hugs!**

Ashley N said...

Contact L&I, they should be able to get him his money. Unless he was working under the table, they can help him get it. If he was working under the table then I would suggest going the church route. Also, you mentioned that the employer came to the apartment and was angered at the fact that the coworker was there. Is this the employers apartment or yours and your husbands? The employer has no say who comes to someone elses apartment, and as for the accountant saying he should of picked up his check this morning when it was cut, they would STILL have his check and should be able to give it to him, and if they dont then that means that they did not cut the check. By law, they have to pay him, but in most states the law says they have up until the next payday to do so. So talk to L&I (Labor and Industries) in your state and find out what your local laws are. If he was being paid under the table, and they refuse to pay him, then he COULD threaten to turn him in to the IRS, although it would hinder your finances as well since you would have to pay back taxes on any income earned that was not deducted from. But the employer would have MUCH more to lose and would probably fork over the money if he knew what was good for him.

I am not one for "blackmailing" but sometimes, when dealing with scummy people like this in particular, it ends up being the only thing that will work. Your husband is owed more money than I make in 3 months, so I would say its worth it if all else fails.

As for what do you do when you lose your main source of income and have no backup? You keep your chin up and look for a new job, or your husband would in this case. Its hard, and you will probably have to cut back on luxuries such as going out to eat, movies, cell phone usage, cable package, etc. but it all adds up. See if your cell phone plan can be downgraded, or if not then check out other companies. Virgin mobile is pretty cheap ($25 for 300 mins and unlimited data, text, web, etc.), but if you need minutes, then shop around, there are some good plans out there, just gotta find them.

If you have cable service, consider downgrading the package to a cheaper one if you can. And if you are already on the cheapest package, then check into netflix. Its like 10 or 11 bucks a month and they have a LOT of TV show series on it. We have cable and netflix, and we rarely watch the cable, specially with the kids, they all watch whats on the netflix.

Switch to generic brands on anything you can. The foods usually taste about the same (if not exactly the same) and if you are cooking with them then it all pretty much tastes the same when cooked. Anywhere that you can get a cheaper alternative, do. Get basic needs. Dont buy something if you dont need it. With chips at 2 bucks a bag ON SALE its just amazing how much you can save by cutting out stuff you dont need! And its healthier ;)

Its a major lifestyle change when your budget plummets, trust me, I know. I have been through this numerous times over the years, and Im going through it now (have been on an income drop for 2 years now, with no hope of it going back up), and it can be extremely depressing. Do not let it get you down. Sometimes you might want to just break down and cry, and thats ok! Its normal. But you gotta keep looking at the bright side of things and keep looking for ways to bring more money in.

I wish you luck hun, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Please keep yours and your hubbys chin up, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, you just gotta take the long walk through the darkness to get there.

Linda Kish said...

I wish I had answers for you but I don't. I hope things turn around for you soon.

Mimi N said...

Hi Ashley & Lori. Thank you for your detailed comments! Rick is paid on the up and up. *grin* He has all his work records, as he's very meticulous! Can't turn off home phone as my cell phone doesn't come in at the house and the house phone is required for the internet. Rick went to Verizon and got an new phone and added it to the package we already have, which is pretty low for 4 phones (my girls pay their own part of the bills). We have the lowest possible Dish package and I can't afford the fee to turn it off. We turned it off after Rick & I separated 4 yrs ago and I could do it again. And you're right, it's not easy. I'll have to see the comparison of keeping it vs the fee of shutting it off.

Rick said the same as you that the owner is required to pay him by June 1st or I guess the owner has to pay Rick's wage amount as a fee every day (while still owing Rick).

Last year I think I turned on the A/C once because I was already cutting back. Will do the same this year, although it's been so chilly my heater has stil been kicking in!

We never go out to eat. Well, maybe once a month. Movies we have only gone to lately because they were offered through my blog, but those will have to be put on the back burner because driving to the cities is too expensive in gas.

I also know that once a month there's a group that brings all this food from Walmart to a church and distributes it. I went a couple times a couple years ago. If I have to do it again, I will.

My boss let me pick up hours at work so I'll be taking as much as I can. I won't like it, and it'll be a major change, but that's life and I just have to suck it up! =)


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