DeAngelo Belk, 21, works part-time at a Wendy's restaurant for $7.50 an hour and is constantly searching for other means of employment.
I'm staying at my mother's house. It's the house I grew up in. It's crowded, cramped. It's like sharing rooms and two people in a room, three people in a room. Stuff like that.
I'm barely getting hours. I'm getting two days -- 10 hours, 12 hours per week. It sucks. I asked them about more hours, but they'll be like, "Talk to such and such about the schedule." But I'm telling the head manager about my hours and she tells me to talk to somebody else. It's just like, you go in a circle.
I'm always filling out applications, but I don't ever get called back. Filling out apps, waiting on calls all day.
I'd say I budget $100, $130 every month. Some of it, it's personal items. My family's not forcing me to pay rent, but I have it; I do pay them. But, you know, in case I want to move out, I'm trying to save.
That's the No. 1 goal. The No. 1 goal is to move out. I'll just keep filling out apps and go to school. I'm about to take my GED. I have to take a GED test. Once I do that, then hopefully I'll fill out more apps.
I guess you could say it was normal growing up. We were pretty average. I got an older brother and I got two other young brothers. Me and my big brother was always working. That was pretty much how that worked.
I always wanted a job and I always wanted to buy my own stuff, and so I tried to have the money for it. When I first starting working at Kroger's, that was a peak in my life, when things were getting good and nice.
Basically, for me, getting fired from Kroger's was when things went downhill. I was working there since I was 16 for about two going on three years. I made $7 -- I want to say $7.75 -- but they was giving raises every six months or a year. It was more convenient to get paid every week. I had more hours.
There are a lot of things that've changed in five years. Money wasn't as tight as it is now. I was getting paid every week when I was working at Kroger's. And I had hours.
I would say working at Wendy's is different. You're in an enclosed space. You're generally always dealing with food. Stuff like that.
I want to get a GED and get a better job. I hope it will be a complete change.
I basically just stay positive because there's nothing more I can do. Not having money is the No. 1 worst thing ever, but just, I don't know, pray. Keep filling out apps. Hopefully something with happen.
As told to Farah Mohamed.
DeAngelo's story is part of a Huffington Post series profiling Americans who work hard and yet still struggle to make ends meet. Learn more about other individuals' experiences here.
Have a similar story you'd like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (408) 508-4833, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.