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I'm stressed about my finances and I can't sleep.
Career / 2:39 AM - Tuesday June 23, 2009

I'm stressed about my finances and I can't sleep.

I am 23 and a college student. For the summer though, I'm working at a pizza shop.

The problem is they only schedule me to work on Sunday nights. This obviously isn't enough to pay any bills when I only make 7$ an hour.

I have 719.23 in savings. I have a 50$ a month phone bill. I have a 40$ a month car insurance bill. I spend about 60$ a month on food. I make about 230$ a month. Fortunately I don't have to pay rent or utilities since I live with relatives.

I've been trying to find a better job, but at this point, I guess it's just not worth it. I should just work at McDonald's or Walmart because I need the money. The problem is that I've had 5 service industry jobs in 7 years (through high school and college). I can't stand them. Eventually I always have to leave them and find another because they won't work with my school schedule or I'm too stressed out or it's not enough money.

I know that I will just end up in a similar situation if I leave this job to find another in the service industry. But being a full time student, I can only do part time work. I only have one semester left before I graduate. I have no real work experience. I feel like I would be wasting my time in another service job. I want to find work that will give me more experience so I will have a better chance at finding a job in my field, but I just can't afford to keep looking.

I can't afford to keep the job I'm at. I feel like I will be cheating myself if I find another shitty job, but my financial situation leaves me with little wiggle room. I don't know what to do.

I know this is very long, and I'm sorry. I would truly appreciate any advice. I'm worried sick.

Update: June 26, 2009.
Thank you to everyone who responded to my question! Everyone had such good advice. My manager just called me this morning and offered me Friday and Saturday mornings every week. Of course, I said yes and thanked him. This will definitely help out. Hopefully I can save up as much money as I can, and when I go back to school next semester I plan asking about work study as well. I also want to ask my school about part time work over the summer at the computer help desk. Yeah, the service industry isn't easy work, but I'm finding out that just sticking with it and working hard will pay off. Thanks again everyone. Your help and encouragement meant so much.

- Asked by A Sweet Sarah, Female, 29-35, Who Cares?

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Never lose sight of your goal. With one semester left your goal is to graduate and ultimately find a job in the field of your choice. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this is a natural consequence of life and being a student and paying for school etc.

So you have a couple of options. You can bear with the situation and SAVE your summer earnings for school. The other option is to find another summer job which may or may not improve on your existing financial situation.

Finally, I wouldn't worry about the experience thing. Throughout university, (I studied engineering) I never found an experience worthy summer job. I have done everything from working long hours in a bakery, to working the night shift in the merchandise department at Home Depot. Even after I graduated I had to find a part time job washing dishes, just so I could make it to interviews and pay a few bills.

I can say with certainty today, that even though the experience was unrelated it did not prevent me from acheiving the career related work that I am doing today. "Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

- Response by miasma, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 29-35, Toronto, Science / Engineering

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This is more of a long term solution. One of the keys to getting a better job is having a positive personality and professional attitude. A lot of people don't get the kinds of job they want (even if they are qualified) because the potential employer didn't like the vibe they got. Below are basic requisites for any interview.

Speak eloquently. Don't ever use slang. Dress professionaly. Be always on time (at least 5-10 minutes earlier). Meet your deadlines. Always be respectful. Be courteous. Don't slouch. Have a neatly printed resume in a folder and a couple of copies to hand to prospective employers. Speak plainly and to the point. Do a little research on the company your interviewing with. Be honest. Keep learning.

What do you mean "no work experience"??? You've been working for 7 years. That's a lot. Look at this thing differently. You've worked for several industries which means you're adaptable. You've maintained good relationshiops (I hope) and have a lot of experience interacting with people. You manage your time, work, money, and school well enough to survive on meager wages. You know these service industries in and out. You can use these experiences to further your skills when tasked with other jobs.

- Response by kanji2000, A Creative, Male, 36-45, Los Angeles, Artist / Musician / Writer

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This is not supposed to be a solution to all your problems and I do realize they are many BUT:

With the economy the way it is (TREACHEROUS) have you considered getting a job at a couple other pizza places, one night each per week? It sounds like maybe they have one night available at some of them; so why not just try them all and work more places? There are so many pizza stores, in so many places, you could probably find them ALL very close to where you live.

Just a tiny idea...

- Response by randyl, A Thinker, Female, Who Cares?, Technical

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you are not alone dear as millions of us can not make our bills now I wish you the best

- Response by bigcurt, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65, Pittsburgh, Self-Employed

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I give you a high five for trying to stay at school even though you have to deal with all the financial burden.

Getting a job is not easy these days and with your lacking of experiences and scheduling form school(!), I idea might not be the best but you can always find a nice bf who is willing to support you in finance, place your personal ad on local sites and see what happen. You might meet your genius guy, there are many guys like to help out girls who chose to stay in school.

I would be with someone who would care for my living and such in life rather than with someone who only wants to joy when I'm shine and bright


- Response by azianchemistry, A Player, Female, 46-55, San Francisco, Who Cares?

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Well, good for you that you actually saved up some money instead of being in debt! when your salary can't keep up with your expenses, you either need to find a better paying job or reduse your costs. Yes, stop wasting your time with service jobs and go for the jobs in your field. One semester can be done easily. Summer is a perfect time to get a new job and settle and make friends there. Student life is difficult but it'll pay you off in the future, believe me BIG TIME! Best of luck!

- Response by chichek, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Moscow, Other Profession

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Being a student and working jobs which don't reward you financially of mentally can be disheartening. From what you say and because there is a recession can you really expect to just get another better paid job right now. I think you need/should see what skills you have learned form your work experience and then when you graduate put all this together in a Curriculum Vitea so you can seel yourself to employers who want your skills, hopefully those jobs will pay you more money.

I know your between a rock and a hard place, hold your breath till you graduate......all you can do is prepare, look around for those other jobs.......that might pay you more never no.

Our worries are caused by things that rarely ever happen. Think about the things including money that are making you worry. I hope this helps you to worry a little less......

Go and treat yourself to a new hair do, get your nails done..........

I know its hard, I was and still am robbing peter to pay paul and I'm 40..........but I've learned that money is a worry I just can't do any more.

- Response by spadeace, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 46-55, Who Cares?

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Most colleges have part time jobs available to students and/or part time employment assistance. The other good option would be a paying internship, they're rare but they do exist. Either of these would be limited or nonexistent during the summer, but worth the time to look into. If nothing is available through the school then you could also look into temp agencies to supplement your existing income. Temp agencies are unreliable at best, and tend to not care about their employees, but right now it's just a means to an end for you. There's always the chance that a local agency could lead you to a job you really enjoy (happened to me)!

I understand you situation, having a hard time making all the bills myself. At a minimum you can take some comfort in the fact that you still have a job, even if it is one you hate. Sadly not everyone is lucky enough to have that with the current economy. Try not to let it get you down too much, only one semester to go and you can start searching in ernest for something that you will enjoy. Best of luck!

- Response by crimson151, A Guy Critical, Male, 29-35, Managerial

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Keep your chin up, your so close to graduation, I know you can make it! By my calculations you have about $80 left each month to cover other expenses, such as gas for that car, clothes, etc. You need to create a tight budget and really discipline yourself over the next semester.

One option you should seriously consider is looking for work at your college. If you find something at school it will likely have very low pay, however, you won't have any additional gas or parking costs as you can simply before, between, and just after classes end and it could get you some more professional office experience, depending upon the job.

I recommend that you stop by your career center first and talk to one of their staffers. Do everything they suggest - take a career placement test(s), build a resume, look through all of the available job listings they have. Often times you can find good part-time work or paying internships to get you through if you just keep your eyes open and keep looking.

Also, swing through the financial aid office there and ask them if there is still time to get into a work/study program for the last semester and explain your financial situation. It may be too late in the game, but you will never know if you don't ask. And, to keep things in perspective - that's all those folks are there for - to help you out!

Also, make sure you ask at both offices if they know of any offices on campus that are looking for help. Talk with your advisor as well. Just get the word out that your looking and don't be afraid to ask for help - someone famous once said, "Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid."

Good luck!

- Response by gypsylove7, A Creative, Female, 36-45

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First of all let me congratulate you on "sticking with the stuff" and are now so close to graduation!!! As a suggestion, my girl found a job with a "temp service" in our area. She asked to work in an office environment. The first summer they placed her with a large corporation a few miles from home who used college students to help them during the summer months with projects they couldn't seem to get done. The second summer they placed her as a cashier with our local electric company. They loved her so much that they asked to keep her on a part-time basis throughout her remaining college career. Even though these jobs did not prepare her for her field of study--biology--she graduated and now works as a biologist. Could this work for you also?

- Response by fullofjoy1, Female, 66 or older

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