Money and Main Street

Life on unemployment

6 readers tell their stories of making ends meet on $300 a week.

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Jim Kelley
Jim Kelley
Jim Kelley, 44, with his wife, Suzanne, and his two children at Great Sand Dunes National Park in southeast Colorado.
Family: Wife and two children
Former job: Marketing director
Hometown: Boulder, Colo.

"Last fall I was laid off from my position as marketing director at a Boulder, Colo.-based company. I feel I have a very strong resume, but after five months, I am still looking for my next job.

My wife is a genetic counselor working a part-time job, and her employer covers our health insurance. We just have a negative cash flow.

Thankfully, I do have my unemployment check, but at just over $400 per week, we're not making ends meet. In the years leading up to my layoff we did everything we were supposed to: We put away six months salary in savings; we bought a house within our means; and we had no credit card debt.

But as time ticks by, our savings account is disappearing. To slow the decline, we cut all unnecessary spending. Mortgage payment, food and gas. We're trying to keep our financial situation from harming my two kids as much as possible.

Our kids are our priority. Suzanne and I can, have, and will continue to make the sacrifices. We want to do the little things we can do to protect our children from the 'adult problems' of the current economic situation. We know we'll land on our feet. With our children at such a critical stage in their development, we just want to make sure they do, too." -- as told to Julianne Pepitone


NEXT: Robin Sherwood
Last updated June 15 2009: 10:12 AM ET
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