As per usual, I have come down with something a few days after our visit to the ER, a nasty stomach bug. I am on the way back up, though, so fortunately it isn't going to be some long, drawn out thing. My food is staying down today and my head feels better, and I finally woke up feeling well-rested. My tummy is still a little tender, but I think by tomorrow I will be okay. I am supposed to be beta testing a finance thing for someone, but haven't been quite up to it yet. Maybe tomorrow.
We have five days to go until payday. This will be DH's first paycheck as a permanent employee and will have two weeks on it. I have set up my budget for August with two bi-weekly pay periods instead of weekly pay periods. The first week will have 15 hours of OT on it and the second week will have 6. DH was so tired after spending Thursday night in the ER with DD, so I told him if he was too tired to stick it out, not to. OT is nice, but not at the expense of his health.
From now on he is only authorized to get 10 hours of OT a week. He won't be able to set up the 401K until after he gets his first automatic deposit, so the paycheck on the 24th will start the 401K contributions. We have decided to start them even though we haven't paid off the debt yet. We both feel like we are already too far behind on retirement to wait, even though Dave Ramsey says to wait until the debt is gone. It is messing too much with my security issues not to start it up and DH also wants to do it.
I am having DH run the numbers for me on how much to contribute. We are debating 5% and 7%. 5% is how much the company matches. 7% is the break even point on taxes. I just need to see what the end numbers will be. Then we can make a decision and I can do the final tweaks to the budget. The August budget is going to be weird and not be able to follow the budget template, but from September on it'll be set for the rest of the year.
DH will be getting what amounts to a 12% raise, but it is because our insurance premiums will be so much lower in September. He is not getting an actual raise, although his boss did try and says he will try again in 6 months. It will feel like a raise. Also in 18 months another guy is going to retire and his boss says he wants DH to take over his position which would be a promotion and likely a raise with the increased responsibility.
We will not increase our level of spending, though. All extra money will be put in the 401K and to pay off this last debt. Once the debt is gone, then the debt money will go to an EF of 3 months of expenses. Once we hit 3 months expenses, we will split that portion in half. One half will continue to build the EF until we hit six months of expenses. The other half will go towards a down payment fund for a house.
Once the EF hits six months of expenses, we will adjust our retirement savings to 10% and the remainder will go into the down payment fund. We may be saving for some time as I don't want to have a mortgage of more than $200,000.00. I really would prefer $100,000.00 mortgage, but that is not practical where we live.
If MIL gives us the $13K a year, we will fund a spousal Roth IRA with some of it and the rest will go into either the EF if we are still building it and then the house down payment fund.
I probably should start a sinking fund for a vehicle replacement. Right now our vehicles are in excellent condition. The 2011 Sienna has only just hit 40,000 miles. The 2007 Tacoma has a lot more miles, but is in great repair, so I think we have many years to go. But when something does go, we will want to get something nice, a used car in the $20,000 range or less. I reckon the Sienna will last another 15 years, but the truck might not. With Toyotas, though, as long as you keep them up, they last a very, very long time. Both will need new paint jobs, the truck first, and then eventually the van.
I'd like to take a vacation at some point, too. We haven't been on one in several years. So that should likely be one of our sinking funds as well. Hopefully, we will be able to achieve all of these goals in the next six years or so. I would like to get out of here sooner, but I just don't think that is to be.
Viewing the 'Emergency Fund/Coin Jar' Category
As per usual, I have come down with something a few days after our visit to the ER, a nasty stomach bug. I am on the way back up, though, so fortunately it isn't going to be some long, drawn out thing. My food is staying down today and my head feels better, and I finally woke up feeling well-rested. My tummy is still a little tender, but I think by tomorrow I will be okay. I am supposed to be beta testing a finance thing for someone, but haven't been quite up to it yet. Maybe tomorrow.
Well, we've decided to go ahead and put the $5000 into the Emergency Fund until we know what is going to happen with DH's job.
$4117.15 Starting Balance
+5000.00 Amount Added
$9117.15 New Balance
I am hoping to get this to $10,000 by the end of the year.
MIL gave us $5000 yesterday. I have a lot of mixed feelings about what to do with this money. The strongest emotion says to stick this right into the Emergency Fund. That would bring it to nearly two months of expenses. It has been very hard having it down so low. And we still don't know what the future holds job wise. His job with this company keeps getting extensions, but we are living 3 months at a time, it seems.
Another part of me feels like we should throw it at debt, we are supposed to be throwing everything there, but DH and I both feel weird about taking money from his mother to throw at the loan to my mother. Yet at the same time, we both want that debt gone. It has been hanging over us too long and prevents us from saving for our future. I also don't know how my mother would feel about taking that money if she found out where it came from, which I have no intention of telling her, but she's nosy and has a way of finding stuff out. We are not telling the kids about this money. So if we do decide to pay it to her we might stretch it out over a few months so it doesn't come in a big lump.
Another thing we could do is open a Roth IRA. Probably a spousal IRA since I have nothing saved for retirement at all and I'd feel better if some was in my name, too. If we were out of debt, that is likely what we would do with the majority of the money she is giving us, open a Roth for both of us. But we aren't. I know once we are out of debt we can really contribute, so it comes back to that. It always comes back to paying off the loan.
There are a few things we could really use the money for, like I need new glasses, and we need new rabbit cages, and DH would like a new laptop or at least to have the money available to get one when his laptop gives up the ghost, which it has been threatening to do for the last year or so. It would also be nice to get DS into a driver's class so he can actually learn how to drive. DH hasn't had the time to teach him and my brain hasn't been in the right place to do it, either.
But I know we can get by with the old cages and that we have started a fund for the laptop. We need to find the time to teach DS to drive even if DH has to do it on the weekends. The glasses I can probably afford to buy outright in another month out of our medical fund, but my eyes are really, really bugging me and my prescription has changed a lot so the temptation there is strong.
So maybe we put $4000 into the EF and I get my glasses, and the rest of that $1000 we put into the laptop fund. Then when we know for sure what the situation is long term with DH's job, maybe we can take the remainder to throw at debt.
I do know that MIL plans to give us another $7000 this year. She's given us $6000 so far. I am not sure when that will happen, though. At that point we will have to figure out what to do with that money all over again.
Maybe with the momentum we make on debt in these next several weeks with all the overtime, it'll hyper focus us on getting the loan gone, or maybe it'll make it easier to keep it in the Emergency Fund.
I really don't know how people manage to stay gazelle intense on debt payoff if they are worried about future employment. We've got to figure it out though, if we ever want to be done with this and save up for a house and contribute to retirement. Right now buying a house again seems so far out of reach.
I'm not sure what we are going to do. I think for now just let it sit in savings until we are more sure of what we should do and have had a chance to discuss it more.
What would you do, not knowing if you had a job past the end of August, but things seemed somewhat promising? Wait until September? That probably makes the most sense.
I don't usually buy books, but I made a book purchase on Saturday. Yes, my library does have this book, but I was 13th on the waiting list. High demand books mean that people can only keep them out 2 weeks instead of 3, but that was still looking at a possibility of 26 weeks before I could read it, assuming people turned it in on time. Most people don't.
So I handed over my cash, $27.51, to the young man at B&N, who tried to sell me a membership card, but no. I don't buy books often enough to earn back and then benefit from the savings. What book did I buy, you may be asking by now? Well, I finally gave in and decided to read Dave Ramsey. I bought The Total Money Makeover.
I have been avoiding Dave Ramsey for the last 12 years, to be honest. Yes, I did do a debt snowball, but I didn't know about it from reading him. I just figured doing it like that would make me feel like I was making progress faster. Yes, I did build and keep a $1000 emergency fund before doing it, but that was on advice from people here, not based on his method. Although it probably was, since a lot of you have read him. But I wasn't going to.
It wasn't that I thought he was bad or anything. I just didn't want to give up my paid off credit cards. Well, I did give up some of them, but we still have 5. We pay them off in full each month. But...oh, and here's the big but, I've been feeling for a while that we weren't using them responsibly enough, because they are just too easy to use.
But my chiropractor's office plays Dave Ramsey and I kept hearing him on my visits. And then he came up in my suggested videos on youtube. God has been putting things in my path right now that I have been struggling to deal with. Dave is just the last in a line.
First I was struggling with tithing while still in debt to my mother and my internet preacher answered a question on tithing. Then I was concerned that I lacked motivation, but in getting the spending back under control and in doing my five times a week Bible study. Then I was struggling with forgiveness for DH's sister and nieces over the stuff they pulled at Thanksgiving.
Forgiveness was in the next lesson and in such a way that it heals the person who forgives, not the one who holds on to the anger. Doesn't mean I'm willing to have holidays with them, but I might be able to at least see them now. So I asked for help about the budget and in walks Dave Ramsey, so to speak.
So I just finished reading the book last night. It took me 3 days. And I figured out how come I felt that way about credit cards. It's because we just buy what we need with no thought to it. And because I know we will pay it off each month in full, I haven't really been sticking to a budget when it comes to groceries and household expenses or clothing or eating out.
And with these bad habits getting out of hand, things felt tight every month and I didn't feel like I could possibly make payments on the loan to Mom, the only debt we have left. So I sat down and made up a better budget and if we actually stick to it, then yes, I can start paying Mom at least $500 a month.
DH's mother just gave us $1000. We had thought to put it in the Emergency Fund, but I think instead, we will use it to get current. The next two paydays will pay off what we have left on the credit cards before they are due and then we will go down to simply charging the auto pays, which total $407.50. It might be a little lower, but I am allowing $50 for Ting. We don't always go that high, some months we are lower, but we have never been above it, so that is what I put in the budget. But we won't use the credit card for anything else. Nothing but the auto pays. And we will use paypal from our bank account for online purchases, but not until we've had a moratorium on online purchases for six months or so.
I have also budgeted $1000 for groceries/household. I do think I can keep it lower than that, but I haven't been. Since I track my spending, more or less, I know I haven't. We are switching to cash for that. I will start with putting $250 in the groceries envelope. I figure $200 for groceries and $50 for household. Maybe I should break it down into two envelopes, except I usually buy household stuff when I go grocery shopping. We'll see. I know I need to get toilet paper, deodorant, and quart size Ziplocs, which will take up a good share of that $50.
I have transferred all the auto pays to one card, and as soon as the last little bit on the AMEX is paid off, I am going to cut it up and cancel it. I was just using it for Netflix and Hulu. I am also going to cancel my Best Buy card and no longer do any 18 or 12 month same as cash deals. I paid off the last one with part of our tax return. Instead I will be saving up money in a computer fund, though that won't start for a while.
I am not sure I am ready to cut the cord completely with credit cards, but I can't see having more than 3. One is the miles card, which DH will need if he starts working in Alaska again and has to fly all the time. He usually got 2 free flights a year, sometimes 3, so it definitely was worth it. Then there is the one my daughter is a signer on. Then there is the Costco Citi card, but I am not sure if that is going to be worth keeping yet. Without charging all of our groceries and gas, the amount of cash back will dramatically drop, and that was the only reason I got it in the first place.
My head knows that the best thing for us to do is to get rid of all but one card, but I am scared to do it. Mostly because the EF is not where I want it to be. I know you aren't supposed to use credit cards as a back up EF, but you know what 2016 and 2017 were like for us. If we had run out of money at least we would have had those cards to fall back on, which of course, is exactly that attitude I'm not supposed to have.
I knew Dave would let me have it over these ideas and I wasn't wrong. It sure has shown me what I need to work on and try to not rely so much on my security gland ruling what I do.
So next, I go back to an envelope, pay with cash system, except for those auto pays. I am looking into whether or not there are ways to pay them without paying by card. I think you can pay both Netflix and Hulu through paypal, but I'm not 100% sure. I think we can put storage on direct withdrawal, but I don't know about Ting. I haven't been able to find anything about Ting. But one of the reasons I really like doing auto pays on the credit card is so that I only have one due date to worry about, not an additional five. Right now I only have two to worry about and they come out on the same day.
So I will fund this coming payday's grocery/household envelope with $250.00 from the gift money, so all the money in the paycheck can go for the tithe and the Citi card.
I have already handed DH an envelope marked vending for the vending machines at work with $7 in ones that I had in my purse. He is to get $25 a month to use in the vending machines at work (he's been charging them). This gives him a little over $1 a day and the charge is 85 cents, so anything left at the end he can spend or set aside and save it for something he wants. Or he can save it all and quit using the vending machine altogether.
I will also have my own $25 envelope for something I want to do. I have no idea what I want to do with it, but sometimes just saving makes me happy.
I really would like to be able to squeeze out more than $500 a month to pay Mom. It might be $100, it might be $25, who knows? But whatever I can throw at it. She won't like getting weird amounts, but I don't care. It is not up to her how much I pay back at a time. It is up to DH and me.
As soon as we know what is going on in June with the job, I can decide what to do with the Emergency Fund. If I want to bump it down to $1000 and pay Mom with the rest or if we need to keep it there in case of possible job loss. It is scary to keep it at just $1000, but Dave says it keeps you more driven to pay off the debt so you can build the EF up to 3 to 6 months of expenses.
I get it. I get everything Dave says. I think I'm in the stage where I am not yet drinking the Kool-Aid, but I have read the ingredients and directions on the package and started preparing the beverage. He has his baby steps and I have mine. I do want to get there. And I want to get there fast, so time to put our heads down and start pushing that stone uphill.
Today I cashed in the coin jar. There were a lot of ones in there, too.
$6036.61 Beginning Balance
+__52.50 Deposit Added
$6089.11 New Balance
$910.89 to go to hit my next goal of $7000.
$5936.61 Starting Balance
+_100.00 Amount Added
$6036.61 New Balance
Insurance Sinking Fund:
$200.00 Starting Balance
+100.00 Amount Added
$300.00 New Balance
$100.00 Current Balance
My goal for the EF is to try to get it built to $7000 by the end of the year. If I contribute $100 a month, then that will cover $800 of that and then I'll just need to come up with $163.39. Since I bank all my youtube income and my Thrive Life income except the $10 a month it takes to run my website, that should be doable.
For the insurance sinking fund I'd like to contribute $100 a month. I am not sure how much it is going to cost to insure two vehicles. I think it will be more than $100 a month, but the truck will only carry liability and uninsured motorists and we will get a multiple vehicle discount.
We just paid the policy for the van in March, so I'm not sure how much additional we'll need. Once I see what the new policy will be, I can adjust the sinking fund accordingly. We like to save up and pay six months at a time, not pay monthly. Up to now I have been saving $80 a month, but I did fund this account some with some of the tax refund.
I don't know if I will be able to contribute to the college fund by any significant amount. DS knows he is going to have to work a few years to pay for college, but if I can save enough to help at all, I'd like to. I hate the fact that we can't pay for college. Several years ago we could have cash flowed it, but all those years of high taxes and a sucking economy hit us hard. Follow that with the 10 months of unemployment in 2016/2017 and we don't stand a chance with our current income. If DH can pick up a higher wage job than his current one, we still have to spend years rebuilding what we lost.
I won't feel comfortable until we have a $30,000 Emergency Fund and a $80,000 saved for a down payment.
On the writing goal I am at 6160 words so far this week. I have two more days to hit 10,000 words. I'll get that easily the way things are going.
I have met my step goals every day this week. The diet is back under control again.
We spent the weekend working in storage again. I found 55 cents, bringing my total of found money this year to $2.68 American and $1.60 Canadian. We pulled out 5 big black garbage bags of stuff and filled an 18 gallon and a 25 gallon tote with paper to recycle. I also have another box we filled about 8 inches high with papers to be shredded. We donated two more boxes of books.
I paid off all of the medical bills from my daughter's ER visit. It was upwards of $8000. Our Emergency Fund is down to $5000 or so. I don't have the exact numbers. It is depressing and a little scary to have so little in savings, especially when we still don't know how long DH will actually have a job for.
We have no safety net now if he loses his job. DD still needs to have her sinus surgery, so we will use part of the tax refund for that. It really can't be put off any longer and who knows when we will have insurance again if DH gets laid off. The insurance is really good at least for however long we get to keep it, even if they are taking a boat load of money out of his paycheck for it.
It was nice to see the extra money in the paycheck this week from the tax cut. We'll only see it for this month, though, since in March it will go into the 401K. We really don't want to not put money in the 401K, so as soon as he qualifies it is going in even if it is only 2%.
I've been doing a low carb diet for a week now and lost 10 pounds. I am keeping my total carbs to 60 grams a day, which is what the bariatric specialist recommended last time. This time I am doing it without a weekly cheat day. I am really pushing the water. I feel better already, which is nice because last week I had that nasty stomach virus that's been going around.
The only thing that is bad about this diet is that my acne is acting up. It is supposed to be because when you lose fat the toxins that were locked in those cells come out whatever way they can. In my case it is through cystic acne. It hurts and I hate it, but I'm not going to give up, because I have to get this weight off my body. I don't want to spend the rest of my life like this. It physically hurts too much.
There really hasn't been much going on. Well, other than we lost another rabbit and now I'm afraid there might be something going around the herd. We lost Bonfire, who was out of Firefly and Wildfire, who are both gone, too. But we have her daughter Sadie and we haven't yet sold or butchered her other three offspring so if we want to keep another one, we could.
Then again, I've been thinking of downsizing, so I don't know. But right now this puts us at only 3 breeding age does and I'd like 4. But I might like a doe out of Sadie and Vincent when I breed them, so I don't know. They might not even have a likely candidate in their first litter, either.
The garden is starting to put some volunteers up. There is spinach growing and sorrel. There are onions and garlic as well, that I did not plant in the fall, so maybe they seeded or maybe ones I planted early last spring that never came up, came up now. The kale overwintered and there are some beets, too. I am looking forward to spring and rebirth and growing things and green coming back to the trees and flowers. It always makes me feel better when the dreariness of winter lifts.
Yesterday was DH's first paycheck at the new job and I am a little excited to finally be able to add money back into the Emergency Fund. Watching it lose money as we had to live on it has been pretty devastating to me, considering how hard I worked to build it in the first place. But now, at least for a few months, we can add to it again.
$17,804.90 Starting Balance
+__,500.00 Deposit Added
$18,304.90 New Balance
$1695.10 to go to hit my milestone goal of $20,000 and $695.10 to go to hit my mini-goal of $19K. Monday I have to deposit my coin jar and a reimbursement check from Verizon so it'll go up a little. It is so nice to be on my way again. I feel energized.
$26,511.87 Starting EF Balance
___,_16.12 C1-360 Interest
___,___.82 CU #1 Interest
+__,___.04 CU #2 Interest
$26,528.85 New EF Balance
$26,495.82 Starting Balance
+__,_16.53 Interest Income
$26511.87 New Balance
$3488.13 to go to hit my next big goal.
$26,477.87 Beginning EF
+__,_17.47 Interest Added
$26,495.34 New Balance
You can't imagine how much it made me smile to write that title again. I made a monthly deposit of $500 as well as a deposit of $34.50 from ones and rolled coin out of the coin jar.
And I'll get to make another one in a couple of days when the interest hits.
$25,943.37 Beginning Balance
$26,477.87 New Balance
Alright, so after all is said and sifted, I am left with a grand total of $25,943.37 in savings. I have made the decision for it all to be the Emergency Fund and to have an empty Down Payment Fund for now. DH being unemployed set us back about 3 years, I think. There is no way we can think about moving at the moment, so I'm taking that fund off the table until I get the EF where I want it to be.
So where do I want it to be? By the end of this year I want it to be at $30,000. I'm not stopping there, either. Based on our expenses while DH was unemployed, we needed $6000 a month to survive. $1337 of that was for our monthly medical insurance premium, and about $650 was for medical out of pocket a month. So $2000 for medical each month and $4000 to pay bills and live on.
So we never figured he'd be unemployed more than 6 months and that wiped out our $20,000 Emergency Fund in 4 months. It would have been gone faster if we hadn't had a month without insurance. So my ultimate goal will be to have $72,000 in the EF, a full year of expenses. I know that will take a while to get to, and that's okay.
My incremental goals will be:
I figured that way divides it up into living expenses for a month. To hit $30,000 by the end of 2017 I need to deposit $500 a month for 8 months. I can do that. I will probably scrape up more here and there as well. I'd like it to be $1000, but I need to start paying Mom back on the loan, something that will take 3 years to pay off if we can swing $1000 a month. I still want it gone more than anything else.
Of course I will also set mini-goals for the EF. Every $1000 is what I used to do, so probably what I will do again. It will feel good to start making progress again each month instead of hemmorhaging money for 3/4 of a year.
I have never understood why it is that when you sign up with direct deposit with a new job, the first paycheck doesn't get direct deposited. In this day and age especially of quick electronic transactions, it doesn't make sense to me. Back in the day when this sort of thing was new instead of commonplace and they were still working kinks out it was a bit more understandable, but it should not be an issue anymore.
So while DH will get his first paycheck next week, it will be a paper check he will have to mail home. I was expecting that, though, and did not have any plans budget wise until the following week when he will get the second paycheck direct deposited.
It's going to be very weird going back to an income based budget. It has been 9 months living off of savings, the Christmas bonus, and the income tax return. I'm sure I will get back into the groove and be used to it again in no time, but it'll take some adjusting.
Except for automatic payments from the bank account I have been running everything through the credit card and then taking a chunk out of savings at the start of each month and paying it off. Watching the balance on the card made me more careful while savings was dwindling. I hope I maintain some of that carefulness as we go back to the previous method of doing things.
I have a feeling I'm going to want to spend freely when income starts rolling in again, and that is not something I want to have happen. We can't afford to do that if we want to get our goals accomplished, especially a 12 month Emergency Fund.
I'm not sure how fast that will happen, but it was certainly proven to us that $20,000 is not enough for a family of four when there is a prolonged job loss and you have to pay for your own insurance. My ultimate goal there is $72,000. That would give us $6000 per month to live on and pay for insurance. It took 10 years to get it to $20K the first time. I need it to get there sooner than that. It is just going to be hard figuring out how.
In other news, I missed my blogoversary. It was April 9th, 11 years and over 77.6 million hits ago that I started this blog. Seems like forever and just yesterday all at the same time.
I think, barring any further unforeseen circumstances, that we are going to come out of this whole ordeal with $30,000 left in the bank. I've been going back and forth on whether or not I want to still consider that the down payment fund or just make that be the Emergency Fund and start the down payment fund over from scratch.
That might be a little disheartening. I know we won't be doing anything whether the money is called one thing or the other, until both funds are to goal, but I just don't know.
I could split the difference with $15K into each or $10K into one and $20K into the other. I know it is all semantics. I just hate having to start completely over with both.
I guess I am being silly. I need to do whatever will screw with my brain the least. I just need to figure out what that is.
Company B came through. DH has a job. He starts April 14th. He'll be making more than he was when he was laid off from Company A, but not as much as he was before Company A's 9% pay cut. They said they'd mail out a benefits package and it should be here on Monday, so we will know how much medical costs through them and whether or not there is 401K matching and how long it is before he can contribute.
He'll be working 3 weeks on/3 weeks off, which is not the most favorable of schedules, the 2 and 2 is much easier on the family and is easier to budget, but a job is a job and we can't afford to be picky right now. The way I did the budget in the past on a 3 and 3 is that I'd take 2 weeks, which was for one month and the third week I'd put in savings until the next month's budget. Each month's budget only dealt with two paychecks, whether it was a month that had 2, 3, or 1 paycheck.
That's another thing I'll need to find out, whether the pay is weekly, every two weeks, or once a month. The norm up there has always been weekly, but who knows with this company?
DH ran the numbers for me so I could figure out the new budget. At least what the numbers will be before they start taking out health insurance and retirement. I should be able to start rebuilding the Emergency Fund, though not at the speed I'd like. My goal for it is going to be $30,000, because $20,000 was not enough. If it wasn't for the Farm Down Payment Fund, we'd be living on credit right now. So $30,000 with perhaps $60,000 as a longer term goal.
$60K would cover a year's expenses with health insurance for the four of us. Although I'm hoping that if there is a next time, my kids will be on their own and it would only be the two of us, which would be much cheaper to cover. Or at least working jobs where they can pay for their own health insurance.
My earnings from youtube and AdSense and Pinecone will go into the EF. And if I do publish my novel (which is coming along) after I finish it, any earnings from that will go to rebuild the EF as well, I think, though I would like to start an IRA for myself also. Plus the old coin jar and $1 bills trick, which always serves me well.
Once the Emergency Fund is rebuilt, we can start adding to the Farm Down Payment Fund again, although somewhere along the line, I'd like to purchase half a beef.
We have learned to live on so much less, but with income again we'll be paying my mother $1000 a month again for 3 years and that's a big chunk. Maybe buying a farm is a pipe dream. Maybe it'll be something I have to give up. Or scale down. I know we can be pretty self-sufficient on two acres, but I have always wanted five with at least two acres in trees so we'd have our own renewable wood supply and not be dependent on propane.
I don't know. We'll have to see. The important thing is that DH has a job and we can at last get things turned around and going in the right direction again. Thank you all for your prayers. They have meant the world to me.
It seems like I always end up posting after midnight. So when I say today, I mean the previous date to this entry, but it's still part of my today even though it is technically the next day.
DH got his last unemployment check on the 9th. My Pinecone check came in the mail. It was $12. Our safe driver's refund check came as well. It was $22.74. I had $26 in rolled coins as well, so I deposited it all into savings at CU #2. I am not sending it to C1-360 just yet. It may or may not be the start of refilling the Emergency Fund.
I don't want to jinx things, but yes, we might have a reason that we can start rebuilding the Emergency Fund. Waiting for offer paperwork to be signed off on before DH receives it. But it is with Company B (you remember Company B, don't you?) so I won't believe it until I see it. If it all works out, he could be back on the slope by the 22nd. Please pray for us like you never have before that this thing actually goes through.
If it does, then I will officially start the Emergency Fund over and will add my Youtube/Google Ad Sense paycheck if it ever comes as well. Hopefully there will be no screw ups this month, because it seems they only issue payments once a month. I think payment is supposed to happen on the 15th. I guess I'll find out in 36 hours or so when I wake up on the 15th.
DH has been unemployed for 15 weeks. So far I have withdrawn $14,000 from our Emergency Fund to live on. Of that $3597 has gone to pay for insurance premiums, $2970 went to pay for out of pocket medical costs the month we had no insurance, and the stuff insurance does not cover, $1100 went to cover 2 eye exams and 2 pairs of glasses, and $560 went to pay for dental. So $8227 of the $14,000 withdrawn so far has been for medical related expenses.
Of the remaining $5773, $1325 has gone to pay for utilities. $681 has gone to pay for storage. $292.92 has gone to pay for life insurance, $327 for our family gym membership, $91.23 for Netflix, $26.07 for hulu, $350.70 for our cell phones (4 phone basic plan), $242.46 for internet, $200 on feed and bedding for the turkeys, ducks, and chickens (the rabbits are self-supporting), $100 on toiletries, and the rest on groceries, which is about $700 a month or $2100.
Medical costs will remain high. There is no way around that, but we certainly won't have to worry about glasses again for a year or more and dental will be spaced out so we don't get a big hit all at once and will just be cleanings for the four of us.
So there is $6000 left in the Emergency Fund and then I'll have to start dipping into the $45,000 down payment fund. DH has had two phone interviews with one company (not an oil company) and is scheduled for an in person interview with them on the 14th. If he gets it, it won't pay very well, we'll still have to use savings, but it will help until he can get back on elsewhere. And it will be very valuable experience in the aeronautics industry.
The oil companies seem to be holding off on hiring until after the Electoral College confirms Trump as president. One or two have said they are waiting until after the swearing in ceremony, just to be sure. I don't think at this point the election results will be overturned, but the industry is very jumpy still. Hopefully they will be hiring by the time unemployment runs out. Unemployment has all gone to medical, not that it is very much to begin with.
We're getting by. It's hard to see our savings dwindle, but this is precisely what I worked so hard to save this money for. On the bright side it appears as if DH is going to get some sort of company bonus for the portion of the year he did work since they sent him the paperwork asking if he wanted to deposit it to the 401K or just be sent it as a check. No idea how much it will be. It's been running around $3800 for the last several years. With only 8 months instead of 12 months qualifying, it'll probably be 75% of that. Or less.
Whatever week we receive it, we won't get unemployment for that week as it will count as income, obviously. So that will stretch the unemployment out another week. If he does get 75% of the usual, that'll be $2850 which will stretch out our Emergency Fund a little while longer. Then we'll have our tax refund in the February since we always file immediately. We might be able to stretch through February without touching the down payment fund if the timing is right and DH doesn't get hired before then. One can hope.
DH has officially been unemployed for 10 weeks (and 3 days) now. I did the math for what we've been spending up until now. So far I have withdrawn $9000 from our Emergency Fund, which works out to $900 a week. We don't use it like that, my withdrawals have been $2500, $3500, and $3000, and we go until it runs out before I transfer more. Close to $2000 of that went to pay for glasses and eye doctor visit, dentist visits, doctor appointments, and prescriptions during our uninsured month.
We have also received 4 unemployment payments, but one came today and is going towards November and the other we haven't used yet so is also going towards November. It will pay for the November medical insurance and whatever other medical we have until it runs out. Each payment is two weeks of benefits. So we have used 4 weeks of benefits, which is $1576. That has all gone towards paying for medical insurance, co-pays, c-pap supplies, and prescriptions.
We have 14 weeks left before DH runs out of benefits. He's worked a job that has paid into unemployment insurance for 32 years, far more than he will ever see back in his lifetime. It's too bad that he can't withdraw based on what's been paid in for as long as he needs to. I'm still hoping he'll find a job by the end of the year, but if not benefits will run out by the end of January and we will have to cover our insurance and other medical costs without any help.
There is $11,000 left in the Emergency Fund, so at the rate we are going that should last until the middle of January, at which point it will be gone and we would have to start dipping into the farm down payment fund of $45,000. I don't want to have to do that, but if we have to it gives us the option of another 10 months or so. After that I don't know what we'll do.
I think if the refineries don't start hiring in November we're going to have to tighten our belts. I know its not as tight as it could be yet. I've not wanted to go full on if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I know where to cut and I'm prepared to do it.
DH has been unemployed for 6 weeks now with not a lot of progress, unfortunately. He did have his resume accepted by a local refinery and was contacted to say he had been placed into the pool of candidates to be considered for upcoming jobs starting November through February. And that's pretty much what we've been hearing. Most jobs in his field won't be hiring for a few months.
A short term (4 to 6 month) job listing came up today here in town for a job he is qualified for, probably over-qualified for, so he sent a resume in for that. Even if there is no prospect for a job before the refineries start hiring again, we will be okay for a while. But I do hope he finds a good job soon. I am trying hard not to put pressure on him, since he is working hard at looking. These lulls happen. He's just never been caught in one before, and shouldn't have gotten caught in this one, but you've heard that rant already.
I made the second withdrawal from our Emergency Fund today, $3,500. We should be able to get through most of October on that, plus the unemployment when it comes again. That brings the EF down to $13,500, but remember we still have $45,000 in the House Down Payment Fund we can tap if we need to. And a few hundred in the Moving Fund.
The reason why we won't make it through the whole month on the $3,500 is that we will have to make an insurance premium payment and that is somewhere between $1100 and $1200. Ouch. I'm just not sure when. We will likely charge it to get the cash back points. We finally got approved and our acceptance letter came today with a paper we can use temporarily until our cards come which should be later on this week. That will put our prescriptions at $10 each and regular doctor visits at $20 each and specialist visits at $45, period, without the deductible kicking in. It is a $5000 deductible for everything else for the family.. No vision or dental for anyone but DS, since it is law to require it for anyone under 18, but they don't care about adults (even though 75% of the population in the US wears glasses or contacts).
We ended up going with a silver plan, because when we plugged in all the numbers it was going to be cheaper for us to do a silver plan than a bronze plan. And while the gold plan has a $2000 family deductible, it wasn't worth the difference in costs since doctors visits and prescriptions were so reasonable outside the deductible.
Both DD and I had to buy glasses in September out of pocket as we both had severe prescription changes in just one year. Out of pocket costs were close to $1000 (including her eye exam which happened after losing our insurance). But seeing is necessary, and it has made a tremendous difference for me. My headaches are gone and they were getting quite bad.
I didn't post much in September. I pulled that muscle in my back again and was in a lot of pain. Still am in some, but it is starting to improve. I have to budget what I can do, though. I have to make choices. If I need to go grocery shopping, that is all I will be doing that day. If I need to can tomatoes, they get chopped up one day and canned the next. I finally made dinner tonight for the first time in a while, but had to have help with chopping things. And it was exhausting.
DH has had to take over my rabbit duties. I miss them and have only managed to go out twice in three weeks to do general health checks. Good thing I did, as Ruby had an abscess. DD (vet tech student) was able to drain it and treat it, but if I hadn't checked on them no one would have known to do so.
I didn't get too much of a fall crop in, as the time I should have been planting was when the muscle pull happened and I went down really hard. I can still plant some carrots and turnips and put some greenhouse plastic on the supports that normally hold netting to keep out the birds and squirrels. I can put in radishes, green onions, and kohlrabi as well. I just have to have the energy to do it. I worry about bending over the garden bed, too, even from a chair, as I don't want the muscles to spasm again. I have another month until I need to plant my garlic.
We are getting kale, lettuce, broccoli, kohlrabi, peppers, tomatoes, basil, and sage still. Chard will be ready to start harvesting in another week or so. No sign of the first frost yet, but that usually doesn't happen until Halloween at the soonest, sometimes not until well into November. Last year it was December before we got a frost hard enough to kill anything except the tomatoes and we overwintered kale and chard.
Tomorrow I need to chop and freeze peppers. I have serrano, ancho, jalapeno, Anaheim, and sweet bells. And we need to start chopping and freezing onions, too, though they will last a lot longer than the peppers without it. I'll have to take it in steps with DH helping me. Fortunately peppers are easy to do, just have to wear gloves.
Not much else to talk about, though I'm sure I'm missing all kinds of things.
DH finally got paid by unemployment, he's been unemployed for a month now. They pay 2 weeks worth at a time, so he got $788, or $394 a week. 4 weeks of this should cover our monthly insurance premium with enough left over to cover our prescriptions. That will make our Emergency Fund stretch a lot further. I do wish he was getting WA state unemployment instead of AK state unemployment as that is $600 something a month. Oh, well, this still helps so much.
So far for September I have used $3000 from our Emergency Fund, bringing it down to $17,000. I will end up using at least another $1400 this month. Right around $520 will go to pay for our 6 month car insurance premium due on the 28th (though we are looking at other insurance, we are not really seeing much savings). $90 will go to physical therapy. $392.12 will go for the autopays that come due the first week of October. $400 goes to Mom to pay the utilities for October. And the rest will be for groceries. So maybe some of that will count towards October money, but it still has to be in the account by the end of September.
DH submitted his resume to the local refinery owned by the English on Friday and got an email yesterday saying it has been reviewed and passed on to the next stage of consideration. They are going to be hiring in the next 3 to 4 months for numerous jobs DH will qualify for. Hopefully he will get something there. It would be even better than a job in the next county over.
We have not heard anything from the mollusk refinery in the next county that will presumably be hiring in the next 3 months yet, other than that they will be using the placement company DH is signed up wtih, but there aren't any official rumblings so that's to be expected.
DH still has not heard back from the school he signed up with to pursue his BS in Electrical Engineering, though the money has been charged to the card. How long does it take to review transcripts anyway? It shouldn't take a month. I'll need to prod him to follow up with them again.
Not much is going on here otherwise. Some canning of tomatoes and some freezing of peppers. We lost Firefly, but she was getting old. One of the chickens is recovering from an injury. One of the other chickens swatted her off the roost and she fell 4 feet onto her wing and leg. She couldn't walk for a couple of days, but is standing now. We have her in a cage so the others won't pick on her. Chickens can be really mean to their wounded. We keep her in the garage at night, but leave her outside where the other chickens can socialize with her during the day. If they forget about her, reintroduction later will be brutal, so they need to see each other every day.
That's about it, I guess.
$99.15 Starting Balance
+38.84 Interest from C1-360
$137.99 New Balance
$45.15 Starting Balance
+20.00 Rabbit sale
+10.00 Egg Money
+_9.00 Coin Jar Money
$99.15 New Balance
$2400.85 to go.
Now that the EF has hit $20K, I am starting a Moving Fund. I will be holding off contributing to the EF further and funneling that money into the new MF. I know that we still don't know anything about DH's contract situation, but I am going to plow forward like we do. If worst comes to worst this money will just end up being dumped into the EF to live off of.
My goal for the Moving Fund is to save up $2500. I think I probably only need $1500, but I always overestimate things like this and then if I need more I have it. We'll need to be able to rent the biggest U-haul for 3 to 5 days and to pay the mileage variance for several trips, plus insurance.
We'll likely be eating out during that time period at least once a day, possibly twice or at least getting deli meat and chips for sandwiches, so I'll need to have money for that. I'll need $400 set aside for utilities for my mother, to pay for the final month after we move, since the bills will be for the previous month.
I'll need around $200 for piano movers. Maybe less if we don't go as far as the next county, but it'll still be $150 if we move in county. (And I'll need money for a month later when it will be tuned as that is how long the thing has to settle before it will hold a tuning).
Of course we'll need gas money above and beyond the norm, both for the U-haul and for the van. And we may or may not need deposit money for new electric, gas or propane, garbage, and internet hook-ups. With our credit history we shouldn't, but who knows?
I'd rather be over prepared than under prepared. Anyway, so the opening deposits are these:
$24.50 Coin Jar and Egg Money
+20.65 Remainder of normal EF Monthly Deposit
$45.15 Opening Balance
$2454.85 to go.
$19,870.62 Starting Balance
+__,129.38 Monthly Deposit
$20,000.00 New Balance
My monthly deposit is usually $150, but now that I've hit $20K, I am going to take a break from adding to the EF for a while and work on our Moving Fund. So the remainder of that deposit will go there instead until I get it where I want it to be.
$19,807.97 Starting Balance
+__,_62.65 Refund Check from the ENT doctor
$19.870.62 New Balance
$129.38 to go to hit my milestone goal. I should hit $20K next Friday.
$19,715.97 Starting Balance
+__,_92.00 Amount Added
$19,807.97 New Balance
$192.03 left to go to hit my milestone goal of $20K. I will hit that this month. I am excited.
Between the Emergency Fund and the Down Payment Fund we have $64,523.97 in savings. I've never had so much savings in my life (not counting 401K). It is a good feeling, especially considering where we started.
Another deadline for the contract announcement has come and gone. It's very frustrating. But we could live on our savings if we have to, which is very comforting, even if I would hate to see it go.
$19,679.92 Starting Balance
+__,_36.05 Deposit added (C1-360)
$19,715.97 Ending Balance
Currently I have $284.03 to hit my milestone goal of $20K.
I also sold $74.35 worth of rabbit so that will be going in on Monday.
We had some sales so I was able to add even more to the Emergency Fund today.
$19,591.92 Starting Balance
+__,_88.00 Farm sales and Coin Jar
$19,679.92 New Balance
$320.08 to go to hit $20K. So, so close.
$17,591.92 Starting Balance
+_2,000.00 Overtime Money Deposited
$19,591.92 New Balance
$408.08 left to hit my milestone goal of $20K. I don't know if I will hit it before I have to give my mother the $10K lump sum. It would be nice if I could just for the sake of doing it. But if not I'll have the new goal of getting it to $10K.
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