Job just cut my salary $12,000/yr. What should I do?

Hi guys. Not sure if this is the place to post this so please delete if necessary.

I am a 21 year old rural carrier with the USPS, just got promoted to regular career earlier this year and finally receiving benefits and retirement but I don’t know how financially secure of a job this is, though I don’t know of any alternative that would pay equally at my age.

This month I recently received a pretty substantial wage cut due to a complete company overhaul cutting salaries for over 66% of rural carriers. This put me from making $54,000/yr to $42,000/yr just like that. Still expected to work the same hours, 6 days a week, but now for $1,000/mo less in pretax income. However, on top of this my check deductions have increased significantly as well too. Now that I converted statuses to career, my deductions have nearly doubled to roughly $700/pay period. This is because of mandatory FERS deductions, union dues, and my election to invest 5% of my checks into TSP (basically federal 401k) as employer matches 5%, I haven’t even selected a health insurance yet which at minimum is $180/mo for an actual good one with no crazy deductibles. Still not sure whether to elect for BCBS or put that much into an HSA instead.

Alright, so normally I make roughly $4,200/mo after deductions. This is because of vehicle reimbursement I’m given to maintain my vehicle as I am required to provide my own and it must be right hand drive. I have been trying to save every penny I can in case of emergencies, enough to cover rent/bills/food for 6 months and/or a catastrophic vehicle repair.

My rough breakdown of my monthly expenses is as follows:

Rent $1,000/mo

Car Insurance $122/mo

Phone $90/mo

Utilities $150~/mo

Car Payment $400/mo

Credit Cards $200~/mo (Had to pay to convert new vehicle to RHD, total cost was around $5,000)

Fuel ~$400-$500/mo

Food $~300-$400/mo

Some months are more or less but on average out of my monthly income of $4.2k I try to set aside at least $1,000/mo in savings. I only have about $11,000 saved up as of today. I’m tempted to pay my credit cards with it but I also realize that with my wage cut saving will be even more difficult for me and I hate the idea of having less than 6 months expenses saved.

I’ve not yet received my new paycheck reflecting the lower salary but I’m going on the estimate of making $12,000/yr less as just cut and dry assuming I’ll go from $4.2k/mo to $3.2-3.4k/mo. Assuming my expenses remain the same (which for the most part is true) that leaves me with SIGNIFICANTLY less headroom to save. After all necessary expenses I may have only $500/mo that I could comfortably set aside. Obviously at that rate of saving only $6,000/yr assuming no big life events it will be very slow going.

The thing for me is, I’m getting extremely burnt out. Mentally, emotionally, and to a lesser extent physically. I have been working 6 days a week for about 2 years straight now, but I’m very efficient and fast at what I do so I usually only end up working 30 hours a week. I know that’s not a lot of hours, it’s not the hours that affect me. It’s only getting Sunday off every week to actually relax and recuperate, and the only day I can sleep in past 7am. Aside from that, I can see the post office slowly crumbling around me, and I don’t know how much job security I really have anymore. If it wasn’t for the reimbursement I receive for my vehicle maintenance I really only make the same as a pizza delivery driver in my area minus tips. I’m trying to get ahead, but I live on the west coast where cost of living is astronomical. I’m very lucky with my rent as everywhere around me is $1500+/mo for a 1 bedroom apartment.


Is there anything more I can do to improve my financial stability and save more money? I’m trying to save enough to pay off my car loan in it’s entirety because I had no one who could co-sign me and the interest rate I was given was 9% because of my age and lack of credit history. The loan is still roughly $20,000. I also have dental work that needs done in the realm of $9000-$16000. But if I’m only able to barely save a little bit after having my wages cut, without getting a second job it would take me forever to save for these things. Not to mention a house or moving out of where I am currently. I just don’t know what to do.