I can't believe it has been nine days since I blogged. I did fiddle around last night and revamp my blog's appearance. I like to freshen it up every year or two, so I changed the color scheme and the avatar. Well, the avatar is basically the same, I just updated the background, clothes, and hair. I tried to keep the hot pink to a minimum on the blog layout, because I know that can be very hard on the eyes for some people, but I like it as an accent, along with the black for the sidebar headings. That's why the blog title is in white. It attacked my eyes when I tried it out in hot pink. I think the electric blue goes very well with just that hint of the hot pink, though. I changed my avatar to reflect how I look now, which I generally do after a haircut, though this was not that. I still haven't gotten one of those. No, I just have my hair tied back all the time now because it is nearly to my waist, so the photo reflects a long pony-tail.
I'm still spending way to much right now and I have lots of excuses for it, but won't bore you with most of it. I am still saving heavily to the medical fund, just not the EF. I did have to buy my son some plain black shoes and some dark blue jeans for the uniform at his new job. They provide the shirts and aprons. Yes, my son has been hired for his first job! He has orientation on Friday. The position is full-time I've told him he is on his own for buying clothes from now on. I am not making him pay me back for this, but I am making him pay me back for the bento boxes and insulated lunch bag for packing his dinner to work out of his first full paycheck. He will also pay $100 a month towards the utilities since he is pretty much personally responsible for the high water bill, and he will contribute $50 a month towards food along with his 10% employee discount.
He's going to be working at the grocery store six blocks from our house which means he can walk to work, weather permitting, and then we'll drop off a vehicle for him in the parking lot or pick him up depending on how late he'll be. He's supposed to be working the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, but you know how that sort of thing goes. He'll be a courtesy clerk which is a fancy name for bagger and cart fetcher/cart sanitizer, and other sanitizing through out the store. I'm sure there will be other things he does during the slow times. As far as I know he won't be restocking for now. He wanted to be a cashier, it was what he interviewed for, but they hired some people with more experience. Still, he can work his way into it once he has proven himself to be a good employee.
It's union, which is good in some ways and bad in others. The job security is good. You can't opt out of the dues and not be in the union which is bad. The union doesn't have a 401K, it has a pension, which is nice. But you have to work there seven years to get it, whereas with a 401k you always have access to what you put in yourself and whatever has vested so far from employer match. I'm not sure how pensions work, if they are strictly company provided or you pay into them. If you pay into them, it would suck, because this is not a forever job for him.
He'll be opening a Roth IRA with his first full paycheck and will be contributing 15% of his income. He will be tithing 10%. We will have to determine what the pecentages are on the $150 he'll pay to us each month for his expenses. I think he said he wanted to save 40% for the car, maybe more, and then have the rest for his spending. He'd like $100 out of each paycheck. Of course we won't know what he'll even be making after taxes and benefits, so numbers may have to be adjusted accordingly, just not tithe and IRA contributions. Then we can set up a spreadsheet for his budget or get him on the Every Dollar app from Dave Ramsey. Personally, I prefer a spreadsheet, though.
15% to the IRA is non-negotiable while he lives at home. He needs to get into the habit of it from day one. We all see the position my mother was left in when they made her spend down Dad's IRA and 401k for nursing home care to $100,000. And we see what happens when there is enough money to take care of the left behind spouse and help your kids and grandkids as is the case with DH's mother. I want my son to have so much money in his 401k by the time he retires that he never has to worry about losing all his money to that if either he or his future wife end up in the same position.
I want there to be enough to have end of life care and still have so much money left over he doesn't know what to do with it all, besides charitable giving and world travel (if that is ever allowed again) and taking care of his sister if she lives that long (doubtful as her life expectancy might make her go before I do with all her disesases). And that any possible kids he might have can get an education outside the public school system and be able to put their own kids through a college that has hopefully corrected back to the center from the divisive and often communistic brainwashing that has taken over in many universities today. It all starts with 15% every paycheck and no debt.
I am thinking out of the $150 he gives me each month to put aside $100 a month to go towards his car, but use the $50 towards the utilities. I'm not sure yet, since we are paying his portion of our car insurance still. I planned on doing that, though, until he gets his own car. He's also considering moving to his own Ting plan, so he can get unlimited data on his phone. I won't let him do it on ours. Since he won't be getting an allowance anymore (but will still be paid for jobs DH and I loathe, like washing and detailing the van), but still expected to do his portion of jobs as part of his continuing to be mostly supported by us, that money will be mostly freed up i the budget now, too.
His plan is that he's saving up and emergency fund first, then for a car second, and then for school. He's decided he wants to become an electrician. It's a two year course so it'll take some time to save up. He won't get an expensive car, just maybe something in the 5K range. I'm hoping we'll be able to help him a little, but the cost of the orthodontia work I'm saving up for makes it kind of prohibitive. We won't be able to help him with school. My focus has to be on retirement as we are so far behind and I don't want to ever end up in the position my Mom is in or the one my eldest sister is in.
But it does have medical which he doesn't need yet, really as he is only 21 and can stay on our insurance for five more years (you can't opt out). But it does include dental and vision. I am hoping the dental includes orthodontia as most plans that have it cover half the cost. He'll get a big paperwork packet with all the info when he goes to orientation. Not sure what other benefits there are. Maybe life insurance or something.
The other thing I don't like is how they schedule. It is based on senority so basically the people who have been there longest get to pick their shifts first and the person hired last picks last. It's not done on any fair basis based on availability and a scheduler who makes sure everyone has to work some good and some bad. It is cherry-picked. That's why I said that while he was hired for 4 p.m. to midnight, he might not actually get those hours. Although the lady who interviewed him said that most people don't want those hours, but he does because it fits with his sleep schedule and still gives him the opportunity to go to the chiropractor and schedule doctor's appointments.
It's hard to believe it took until 21 for him to get a job. He tried before Covid, but first he was under 18 and no one was hiring teenagers here, it was employer's pick, and the picked over 18 every time. They said as much. All the kids complained they couldn't get jobs. Then after 18 unemployment was so incredibly low that no one was hiring so no interviews were even offered. Then Covid hit and I didn't want him out in the workforce, we didn't know what was going on yet, and he has asthma so wearing a mask for 8 hours a day was not doable.
Now that he doesn't have to wear a mask here (fully vaxed), he got hired the first place he applied. Employers are desperate because people can still make more on unemployment in most states due to those extended benefits being at $15 an hour. Most of these entry level jobs can't match that or they'd have to skyrocket their prices to raise wages to entice people, which always triggers inflation. The benefits are supposed to end soon, though and then people will have to start working again. I really hope they don't reinstate masks now, like some places are talking about. I'm not sure he could manage the job if it keeps interfering with his breathing. Maybe I could get him one of those helmeted electric respirators, although they probably wouldn't let him wear that! And they cost $1000. He'd have to pay that back, for sure.
I'm having a little bit of a "my baby is leaving the nest," going on. He's not planning on leaving any time soon, but this is his first step towards really being an adult. Other than working on the farm when we had animals, he hasn't had to be consistent about anything. Not even school, since we homeschooled. It's weird thinking about having a first job be your entry to adulthood. My first paid job, I was little. I only earned $35 that summer. It was before they changed the labor laws, so I could work in the strawberries and the blueberries as a wee one with my mother (she was a teacher so worked the farms in the summer) and sisters. There was no greater satisfaction than buying that powder blue Snoopy watch with my own hard earned money. I had worked 4 jobs by the time I got my first job as and adult at 18.
Times change, I guess. If you didn't know anyone, you couldn't help get your minor kid a job. If they don't hire, they can't get themselves a job. I bet a lot of kids will be able to work, though, with all the hiring going on now. The faces are getting younger and younger behind the cash register everywhere we go and it's not because I'm getting older. It's because they are sixteen. And not just because it is summer.
I also don't like that most places don't take applications in person. Everything is online now. The experience of handing an application personally to a manager is just gone. No first impression to leave with the manager, nothing that might help you get past the pre-interview barrier. It's a lot easier to ignore online applications than in person ones. Without that face to face there is no chance to get an edge by presenting yoursef as a neat, well-groomed, nicely dressed individual, or as a go-getter. Not at all like back in the day. The internet makes things faceless and impersonal.
As for me, I have been very busy writing. I set my goal for last week at 6500 words and I did 564, 1663, 1174, 0, 0, 1442, and 2094 which totalled out to be 6937 words. The two zero days were the really bad days of a five day stomach virus that kept me in bed those two days. My goal for this week is 7000 words. I know I almost met that last week, but I told myself I would go with 7000, than 7500, than 8000, etc. on up to 10,000 words a week. I don't want to overly pressure myself on it. If it is just 500 more words a week than the previous goal, it is attainable in my head. Now if I really fly by it one week I may adjust accordingly, but I don't want to push too hard. The goal here it to write every day or almost every day and I'm doing that, so it's all good.
I don't feel good about my payday report this last payday, so I'm not making it. Like I said I spent way, way too much this month and while we paid off the card during the billing period, so no interest, we will still have a lot that carries over into next month from this make for the stuff charged after we close. I really need to just put a halt to the spending on it.
I will be raising our grocery budget to $900 a month from $800 to feed four adults. Inflation is getting to be too much to maintain at the lower level and DS will be taking his dinners to work so really need to buy things that can be eaten cold, like deli meat, which is much more expensive. The costs of fruits and vegetables, in season, has doubled and tripled on some items. I'm glad we don't need to buy beef anymore. But chicken and pork have gone up a lot, too. I'm not finding .99/lb chicken anymore, the sale price is now $1.99/lb. Same on pork shoulder. Bacon is a little scary. It'll drop back down once we get some pork and chicken in the freezer.
Oh, and here's the kicker. Our new Frigidaire freezer that we bought in December? It sounds like an airplane taking off at times and the alarm keeps going off that it is losing temp. All the food was about 1/4 thawed except in the very back, so we had to distribute that food through the other freezers.
I unplugged it after it tried to go down the runway at 5:30 in the morning. We were trying to keep broth frozen in it to see if it would thaw or not, but with that kind of noise on the other side of the wall from the head of my bed, nope, nope, nope. DH is supposed to call and wait on hold with Frigidaire most of the day tomorrow (I'm assuming) while he works, as it is still under warranty. He can prop it up on speaker phone. It's no way near a year old. I will be out tomorrow with doctor's appointments, and grocery shopping, so I can't do it.
I don't know what the heck is wrong with the motor, but I have a theory. I don't think the door was hung right, because we've had the little light blinking a lot when it should have been solid green and the alarm would go off every few days despite no one opening the freezer during that time. There is a magnet that is supposed to line up with the bottom of the freezer, but it doesn't quite. And there was always frost on the bottom basket. I think the door was put on wrong which is keeping the seal from being quite right. I think the motor probably had to work too hard to constantly be freezing and having no rest cycles because it was always trying to get it to stay at temp.
I am hoping they will just replace the motor and fix the door at this point, or just replace the freezer. I think it is a lemon. If it wasn't when we bought it, it is now. If we can't get it working right, or get a new one in time, I will have to cancel my hog order. I did give her a heads up the day the melt down started to happen. She said to just keep her informed when we know something. It'll be a bummer if we have to cancel. She says that if no one buys them like I am, they just go to auction, so she'll not be out too much from it.
I know we haven't had the freezer long, but I was already relying on it heavily. Thank goodness we have the large chest and mini-chest and fridge freezers. Without them it would have been awful because we had just bought the side of beef. And I don't know if freezers of this size are back in the stores yet. Or any freezers. And they cost around $1000. Maybe more now due to inflation. But honestly, I should not have to pay for a new one anyway.
Oh, well, I'll do what I always do. Put my head down and cope with it. There, a long entry to make up for not posting for 9 days.