This 30-something single guy moved to Columbus two years ago when he was laid off from his job in a Bellefontaine warehouse.
I work 27 hours a week at a gaming store called the Guard Tower. I'm a cashier; sometimes I run the games if people need me to do it. I make $12 an hour.
Two years ago, I was living in Bellefontaine and working in a warehouse. I worked there for 10 years, and I was good at it, actually. But they laid me off with two weeks of severance. I ended up really struggling to find another job. I was married at that time, and that ended up being a primary reason for me getting divorced. I lost my job, lost my wife, and so I decided to move to Columbus.
I was really lucky to get this job. I walked into another location for Guard Tower and I didn't even think that it would be possible to work here, but I found out they were hiring, so I jumped on it.
There was a little bit of time where it was really rough. I got by with people's good graces. My girlfriend really helped me out. I have a little bit of a 401(k) left, although I had to dip into that. My girlfriend owns a house, and I pay her $250 a month in rent. Four people live in the house. I've got credit card debt that I'm trying to pay back, and I owe money on my phone, so I don't have service. I use email a lot, kind of going back in time. And I've found there's some really interesting messaging abilities that you can use on your phone as long as you have Wi-Fi.
I had to sell a lot of my stuff. The one thing I kept was my car. I don't think I can get by without having a car. It's a pride thing. It's the one thing I worked to buy. It's a newer car, a 2011 Honda Accord. I didn't actually get it until I was 33. It's the newest car I've ever owned. It's my prized possession.
I'm trying to live as much of a minimalist life as I can. I cook as much as possible, because takeout is expensive. I'm a smoker, so buying cigarettes is difficult. It's almost like a Catch-22; I probably wouldn't smoke if I didn't have the stress, and the stress comes from the money. I have health insurance through my job. It's not great, but it's something. I don't usually go to the doctor; I'm too stubborn.
If there's a bill I can't pay, I look at it this way: I have to eat, I have to have a mode of transportation, and I have to have a roof over my head. That comes first. If it hurts my credit, it's too bad—but I've got to live.
I'm trying to prove myself here at the Guard Tower. I'm hoping that eventually they'll put me on full time, which I'm really waiting for. They said maybe January or February, so that's not too much longer. This is like a dream job to me. Despite everything else, I'm actually very happy with my life right now.
What would I do if I had money? I'd probably spend it right here at the Guard Tower. I'd give it right back to them. This is what I like to do. Then maybe I'd go on a shopping spree. I haven't had new clothes in years.