Living on $13,000 or Less: Thriving During Unemployment (Part 4)


This series is based on how our family of 3 ½ made it through the first year of grad school living on less than $13,000 without any federal aid for housing, medical care, or food. I tried a lot of things and failed at a lot of things, but also found success and confidence through that time. I learned that sheer guts can see you through.

This is part 4 of the Living on $13,000 or Less series, if you missed previous installments click on through to read: Storm’s a Brewin’ (part 1),The First Hurdle (part 2), and Christmas Unemployed (part 3).



Soon after Christmas the hubster really started to feel the internship pressure. January/February is the hot time to get them for his emphasis. He was rockin’ the interviews. He’d make it through a whole series of interviews–become one of the top picks–only to be let down, again, and again, and again. Meanwhile our son had arrived and the money was running out as we approached the end of the school year.

Thankfully we had an incredible tax return that would tide us over an extra month and someone generously left an envelope with a month’s worth of rent on our doorstep-if our anonymous sponsor reads this we thank you! We gave a huge sigh of relief, it was enough to make it to June 1st the magical date ‘everyone’ gets an internship by.

Everyone that was, except a very small handful that no one talks about, and we were so lucky to be a part of (why yes that is really thick sarcasm right there). The hubster did get an offer on June first but was told it would take a week or so to have the temp agency do all the paper work.


So we waited and we waited and we waited, our money was gone and the food storage was almost depleted. Finally 3 1/2 weeks later we were informed that he could start. Unfortunately the hubster’s first paycheck wouldn’t be paid out for another 2 weeks, and rent was due in 5 days!

How a family of 3 (with 1 on the way) made it through the first year of grad school living on less than $13,000 without any federal aid for housing, medical care, or food.

It was a very low point we had made it so far trusting in God, not having to ask any one for help, but it seemed like every possible road block imaginable was coming our way. It was finally time to swallow our pride and call the parents.

The hubster asked his parents to cover our health insurance due that month while I asked mine to pay for our food. We then contacted our land lords (also known as our most awesome neighbors) and let them know the situation asking to be a week late on rent, they agreed since we’d never been late before.

Phew! We made it! Our pride might have been a little bruised but we made it!

After all we went through that first year of graduate school there was still one more major lesson to learn…


Update: You can now click through here to read the rest of this series published posts.