Before we knew it, it was Labor Day - the biggest weekend of the season. A coworker told me we wouldn't make hundreds...we'd make thousands! Of course this was the same coworker who told me the Zoo-De-Mac bike race started in Kalamazoo instead of The Zoo Bar in Harbor Springs....and I was the same person who believed him both times.
So Labor Day wasn't a jackpot...it was actually kind of slow. But we still have 2 months left...or so I thought. The day after Labor Day the head servers started making cuts. They said business was going to drop right away. Some were cut for the season. Some (like me) would have their hours cut but basically the money-making part of the season was over.
Now we were in a bit of a panic. Yes we had been able to save a little during the last few weeks but it wasn't even enough to cover our bills for a whole month. It certainly wasn't enough for Barbados, St Lucia, the Keys, Mardi Gras and a whole new warbrobe. There were no jets of any kind in our near future.
It was a bummer. I worked HARD and made tons of money so where was it? What happened? Where did it all go wrong? This was when we had to learn some very important lessons. It's just a shame we learned them too late.
Lesson #1 - DO NOT SMOKE!
We paid $3.50 for a pack of cigarettes in NC. We were used to it and it was just a normal part of our budget. Up here they cost $7 a pack so that's $7 more a day than we were used to spending. $7 a day times 30 is $210 a month MORE than in NC. Over a span of 6 months thats $1300 EXTRA on cigarettes and over $2500 total spent. I have not smoked in over 5 weeks now. I just wish I had quit a long time ago. $2500 is definitely enough money for an awesome time in the Southern Caribbean.
Lesson #2 - DO NOT WORK IN ST IGNACE!
It cost $3.60 every time Brian crossed that bridge. Sometimes he would come home for lunch or to pick me up for work. 6 days a week that's almost $100 a month. We spent about $700 on bridge fare during the season. I had no idea $3.60 added up so fast!
Lesson #3 - GO TO THE GROCERY STORE
The closest grocery store is 35 miles away (unless you count the way-overpriced tourist trap mom & pop place that sells cans of soup for $5). Since we each had only 1 day off a week and hardly ever the same day, we never made it to the grocery store. Not that I really felt like cooking anyway after busting my ass until midnight. So we bought sodas at the gas station everyday for $1.60 each (we have well water at home - it's awful even with a filter). For dinner we would do Burger King, take-out from work or even worse....junk from the gas station. I can't even begin to total the amount of money we wasted this way. Next summer we will go grocery shopping! We will be richer and healthier!
So we decided all the ways that next year would be better. It was too late in the game to change anything this time around. Yes, it sure sucked that we couldn't take a vacation but at least our unemployment will be enough to cover our bills each month and the little bit of savings we had would get us to NC to pick up our winter gear and take us home for the holidays as well. Even though we knew it could be worse, we didn't actually think it would get worse. But it did...