I've written to you before about my boyfriend and him not getting a job and helping me out. Firstly, I wanted to say, that he's doing a bit better :3 He has a job now and even though he's not that great starting out, I feel like he'll do fine (I hope >.<). So thank you so much with your help on that matter. ^^
Now my question. So ... we've ben together for a year and almost 3 months now. We're very confident that we can continue to work things out together and some day get married. My only issue, is that I still feel like this is all ... temporary. I talked to him last night about it, and he said that in was still attached to my "safety net." That in the back of my head, I know that if something goes wrong, I can always go back to my parents and my old life and leave the fandom/move on. I feel like that thought is corrupting me. I've realized that a lot of our bickering we do, is because of something stupid that I didn't realize/made up; as if I want him to get mad at me and break up ... I don't know why this is happening. I feel awful and it's depressing me. I love my boyfriend. I honestly do. I just need help to get this thought out of my head because it's only going to make things worse for us and limit what I can do.
If there's any advice our help you could give, that would be amazing, Papa Bear. Thank you so much for your time.
Nature (age 19, Tennessee)
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I’m glad your boyfriend got a job and the two of you are doing better. It’s not at all surprising that you’re nervous about the stability of your life right now. Starting out on your own—even with a mate—can be nerve-wracking. I remember when I was fresh out of college and I left home and moved in with my mate, who had found a job working at a small college. I had a degree, but no real job and managed to find a part-time, minimum wage job at a factory. We lived in a small apartment and ate cheap food, but we managed. The key, of course, was being smart with the money we had and managing it well, which was something my mate handled very well.
Papabear recommends that the first thing you do is learn to manage your money and to try and save some for the future and emergencies. Have you ever heard of Suzy Orman? She’s great. She has a TV show and website all about personal finances. One of the things on the site is a calculator for tracking expenses http://www.suzeorman.com/suze-tools/expense-tracker/ for example. Check out her site. Another page that might be of interest is the cohabitation agreement page at http://www.suzeorman.com/resource-center/cohabitation-agreement/.
The reason I recommend this is that if you feel like you have a financial plan you will feel more at ease about life, which can only be good for you. You’re nervous right now because you don’t feel like you have a net to fall on if you slip off the tightrope. Instead of looking to your parents to hold that net up for you, weave it yourself. Since the main issue here isn’t love (we’re not talking Plan B in case he abandons you), then it’s gotta be money.
(Oh, quick aside: when you are in a tricky financial state, the last thing you want is a baby. Please save family planning for a much later time when the two of you are financially comfortable.)
Back to finances: okay, so far we have budgeting and cohabitation agreement. The other factor is jobs. It’s great you’re both working; now you need to look forward to the future. You’re not going to be in your current jobs forever. Think about where you want to go and make plans accordingly. Also, educate yourself about your benefits (for Tennessee, go here http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/esdiv.shtml).
You also need to think about insurance, health and otherwise. If you have a health emergency, you sure as heck don’t want to have to figure this out at the same time you’re worried about one of you being sick. Assuming you’re rather low income at this point in your life, check out this page http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/tennessee/homeless/healthcare. I’m guessing you already know about car insurance, but the next thing you should consider is renters insurance if you have anything particularly valuable, such as computers or other electronics. Renters insurance is very cheap, but worth it in cases of theft, fire, etc.
When it comes to essentials, like food and clothing, there is a LOT you can do to save bucks. For food, try a store like Save-A-Lot which has the same food as Kroger (same company) at cheaper prices. If things are even tighter, in your area there is Angel Food Ministries, which provides low-cost, wholesome foods http://memphis.about.com/od/shopping/a/angelfoodministries.htm. Clothing-wise, shop at second-hand stores. You can buy good stuff there for a lot less than new.
Finally, avoid luxury purchases like video games and movies and eating out (although, in a pinch, there are some cheap restaurants in Memphis: http://www.ilovememphisblog.com/2012/07/cheap-food-guide/).
The thing to keep in mind here is that your standard of living is not what it was when you lived with your parents. You’re going to need to watch money very closely and develop good financial habits, while you establish yourself as working adults.
If this sounds like a lot of boring adult stuff, it is. BUT it is incredibly important boring adult stuff and the sooner you get a handle on it, the more confident you will feel about making it in the adult world. When THAT happens, these fears you are currently having will dissipate and thoughts about going back home to Mom and Dad will go away. You will grow as a person, and that’s a great thing.
One more thing: the antidote for becoming a boring adult after you get all this money and bills thing in hand is to ... STAY FURRY! You can keep a youthful heart even as you become a responsible, mature, independent human being. Don’t use that child-like spirit of wonder and imagination!
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