Thursday, May 20, 2010

Life on $392 Per Week

For the past 4 weeks, I have been temping as an administrative assistant for 30 hours per week at $15 per hour. My take-home is about $392. Of course, my husband still brings home the bulk of our income. But since I used to bring home twice this amount per week, my self-esteem has taken quite a hit. I don't feel like I contribute very much financially, which has always been very important to me. Growing up, I dreamt of having a career that would offer financial security. Since leaving my law job, I no longer have the feeling that I am working toward a comfortable retirement with my husband. I feel more like I am living paycheck to paycheck.

My husband made an interesting point, though. Since we are now living on a budget, we seem to have more money than we did when I worked full-time as an attorney. He's right. We have cut back a lot on our spending, which leaves us with more discretionary income. My concern is that so far, we have not saved anything. I would like to start putting away about $30 per week. In a year, that's $1560. It doesn't seem like a lot, but at least it is an increase in savings, rather than stagnancy. Since leaving my law job, my savings account balance has not increased at all, so $30 per week would be a good start.

Of course, if I didn't have those income-crushing law loans to repay, my husband and I would have tons of money saved. At least I can console myself with the knowledge that in only 25 short years, those loans will be completely paid off!

What about all of you practicing attorneys and recovering attorneys out there - what are your savings goals? Has the field of law given you more or less financial security?

Image courtesy of
Daniel St.Pierre.


  1. Okay... I do a couple of things and they would have worked better if I wasn't a lawyer because my salary has been so up and down during my legal career.
    I have a wachovia way to save account. Everytime I use my bank card as a credit car, 1 buck goes to a high interest yielding savings account from my savings. Also, every month 100 bucks goes to the account. I hardly notice the money is gone, because it feels nominal.. although I have over 3K in that account taday.. after about 2 years. So, def. look into that.
    Now I have my own practice cause I was laid off. If I get a large check I put it into operating. If I get a small check, like 300 or less, I put it in savings. I'm not saving for long term, but for the day when I have no cases.

  2. Excellent suggestion! I think having something automatic like that would help a lot. I'd love to hear how your practice is going. I'll keep checking your blog to hear stories from the front line...

  3. If you can have your pay automatically deducted, that's another way to go too. In the Navy, I had an allotment that went to my savings account. At my present job, I can designate a percentage of my wages to go towards savings; it's the same sort of concept as the allotment I had while in the Navy. Anyway, the money is deducted BEFORE you get your paycheck, so you don't miss it as much-provided you don't leave yourself short, that is.