Starting off with how we're doing. Which isn't 100% financial, but lays the groundwork
So I'm about 8 weeks into a shelter in place order. My 4 year old's daycare closed. My work, which was already half in office/half remote, went full remote. My husband, whose office NEVER has anyone remote, went fully remote a week later.
However, he works in an area where the pandemic is affecting his job in a way that they are helping some of the government backed initiatives for small businesses, which means he's worked 7 days a week for the last 7 weeks. On salary, but had gotten small bonuses here & there for extra help.
My work (i.e. Senior management that have no idea what its like for those of us in the trenches at my job) expects us to maintain/exceed all goals.
Which is fun to try to do when my husband is training and on calls half the date, I try to maintain my production and quality and at the same time, try to make a 'normal' for my pre-k kid.
Poor kid wants our help with things all the time, wants 'help' with schoolwork, and for us to play with her.
She misses school, we have been left with no guidance on how to 'teach' her. I have spent hours researching schoolwork/activities and over the weeks, we have made mistakes, but made a 'schedule.
I get up first, usually with her, at 7am. We can watch Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger or play a game on her tablet until breakfast, giving me time to start prepping work.
9am we start school. She does pre-k workbooks, home projects for learning and art. At 10am, she watches an online Kindergartern class (its 1 hour and this woman volunteered to do a sort of circle time to keep kids feeling ok). It is phenomenal and my daughter has thrived with it.
Free play at 11 when the Kindergarten Live is over. Lunch, then an hour rest (she hasn't taking naps in a year).
More school when she gets up, then depending on my workload, we do art or coloring or more free play.
If my husband gets a break, he takes her for a quick walk in the day.
As long as its not raining, when I am done between 3 and 4, I take her outside.
On the weekends, we try to make things fun. We hit up local parks for hiking(free), play in the yard, do art projects.
I'd say we have spent maybe $150 on pre-k workbooks, craft supplies, paper, construction paper, small items, a kickboxing stand and a new bicycle helmet.
We've been eating out 1-2 times a week to support local small businesses and our grocery spending is up (we're all eating breakfast & lunch at home now). Prices seem to go up too.
However, we are lucky. We both are working at full salary and while its stressful to parent + teach + work all day, we've been doing it. We can do this.
Things will start slight openings tomorrow - although the #s of hospitalizations and deaths are still increasing in my state. So we plan to still isolate. Maybe eventually some 'playdates' with family or friends we know also have been self-quarantining. But I figure not until the end of May before we'd consider it.
Just some of the frugal things we're doing to entertain:
We checked out a bunch of books and movies from the library, right before they closed.
We are using old summer toys: a slide ($5 a yard sale last summer), water table ($10 yard sale find - lasted 3 summers), chalk (gifted), Frisbee (free), kickball ($5 from 2 summers ago), tee-ball set up ($10 a year ago). She's learned to ride her bike (a birthday gift)(with the new helmet $25) and her scooter ($5 yard sale find). She's also getting really good at driving her Barbie jeep ($20 yard sale).
We have been using our fire pit, eating on the deck when its nice, hiking a lot.
Indoors, I have pulled out all the stops with art supplies (mostly on hand already) and spend about another $25 bucks on additional paper, handwriting practice pater, construction paper, paints, beads, etc. We have kept tp rolls and paper towel rolls, Kleenex boxes, cardboard boxes and are utilizing those too.
Trying to stay as frugal as possible, but happy to invest in pre-k workbooks, paints, connect the dots books, hidden pictures books (like Highlight magazine), etc.
We have invested in a chest freezer and are going to purchase from a local farm. Beef is getting hard to find and chicken is hit or miss in the stores. I am meal planning and we are utilizing what we have.
I also have been braving the stores every 10 days or so for supplies for my parents and dropping them off to them. Rough times out there.
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Starting off with how we're doing. Which isn't 100% financial, but lays the groundwork
My last day at my job was 5/24, a Thursday. I had a half day (paid for full) and then we off Friday. My husband took off with me and we had some time together- lunch out and a movie and had a really awesome time.
Saturday morning, my dog (of 3 years) bit me. He has been having behavior issues, but he was hurt and I reached to help his paw, and he bit me hard. An emergency room visit resulted in my hand getting 14 stiches. $$$ large bill coming
Because of his bite history and the severity of my bite, we worked with the rescue we originally adopted the dog from to address this issue. Unfortunately, after the 10 day quarantine, he had to be put down. We are so upset, but medically/mentally, something was wrong with him. The rescue & vets office agreed. He was sick.
By Memorial Day (Monday), it was infected and I was back at the ER. I was admitted right away and they started me on IV antibiotics. There was concern about possibly doing a surgery, but after 3 days, I was released to go home on Thursday.
Friday morning, I woke up with infection symptoms returning and I was right back in the ER and being admitted. Saturday, I had hand surgery. I was released to come home yesterday (Monday).
So of the last 8 days, I spent 6 in the hospital. That bill will be ridiculous. Our family health insurance deductible is $2400. We used up some of it already, but the actual out of pocket cap amount is $7000.
I am doing better. However, because I could not start my new job on the 29th as I was supposed to, I had to tell them to release and open the position up. LUCKILY though - the company that I really wanted to work for called Tuesday and offered me a position at a salary higher than the original new job offer. I have a start date of the 18th.
I have mobility issues of the hand and hope that my dexterity is better by then. Trying to take it easy is hard!
So because of all this craziness, we have unknown medical bill coming, $361.45 vet bill, and incidentals from eating out, etc. that my husband had to do while traipsing back & forth between home, babysitters and hospital for the last week.
I am very lucky though - my hand will be ok, my family is ok and I have a new job starting. I just have to hold onto that.
My last day of work is 5/24, which gives me 4 days into the paycheck period. Each pay period is 2 weeks, which is how I budget the household. This last check will also include 6 days of TOP time that I rolled over from 2017 and 12.5 TOP days there will have been earned & unused in 2018. This will come in the 6/8 pay period and is enough to replace my normal base pay income from the 6/8 and 6/29 pay periods.
My severance should hopefully arrive before 7/6 (if not, we will pull from savings). Then the severance (after estimated taxes) should cover the pay periods of 7/6, 7/20, 8/3 and 8/17.
If we get uber-frugal, we can definitely make that last a LOT longer!
My goal though – is to NOT use up that severance money and hopefully be able to put some if not all of it away. I have the ability to get a contract job within a few weeks of my last day at my current position and have that as my last resort plan, if I do not find a permanent position.
I was way over stressed, but running the numbers and knowing how much we have in savings plus how long the severance will last us makes me feel SO much less anxious.
I really want to BANK that severance, but if I dont, at least I shouldn't have to touch the savings!!
So my job is coming to a close. I will have been with the company 5 years in April. Although other groups have been let go, mine has NOT been given 90 day notice.
We have been promised 90 day notice, plus 2 weeks severance per year (which means 10 weeks for me as my 90 days would be after my 5 year anniversary).
I also have 6 rolled over TOP days that will be paid out.
Each month, I accrue 2.5 TOP days that will be paid out if unused.
My company also hands out bonuses in March, not end of year or January like most companies.
HOWEVER, many people are job searching at once. I am overpaid in the industry and with market saturation, I will not only lose 20-30k in unlimited overtime, but at least 10-12k in base salary.
I have a lead on a job through a friend - slightly out of my immediate wheelhouse, but in the same industry.
Here's where the gamble comes in.
In a perfect world, I would work out my 90 days notice and net approximately $12k from severance and TOP time, PLUS saving unlimited OT for the next few months AND getting any (possible) bonus in March. Then magically hop onto another full time job.
If I get an interview (likely given my connection to the group) and get offered the job in say the next month. I won't be bonus eligible. I would lose any severance offer and not be able to save up OT for the next 90 days or so. But I'd have a job. A stable job and could continue to look for something more interesting and higher paying.
I also know, that in the worst case scenario, I stick out the term until completely being severed, that I could do short term contract work until I find a full time position. But I'd be competing against a lot of people for full time jobs.
There is a mystery meeting on Friday this week. It might be to give final notice to those of us without end dates. But I don't know as the person 'hosting' is not in the chain of command for our group.
I kind of hope it is giving us the notice - because then if I get the offer, I have some possibility given the length of time companies take to actually start jobs, I might make that severance package.
So many what ifs and part of me really wants to gamble for $12k NET plus at least an extra $800 per paycheck in overtime for another 4-5 paychecks PLUS a potential bonus.
But would potentially having no job after be worth that price?
Stewing on things right now. Talking to the hubby and applying all over still. We'll see how things go, I guess.
I still no end date, but I am really betting that we will get 90 day notice in March, with a June End Date. At this time, I would get 10 weeks of severance (based on time with the company), paid out for any earned TOP time (accruing 2.5 days per month).
I am actively looking for Full time work, but knowing I have some time, I have been a little choosier. I have had several offers for contract work, which could turn into permanent, but until I get an end date and closer to it, I wouldn’t take that. There are always contract options in my industry.
My family all went onto my husband’s insurance, knowing that I would be ending my relationship with the company mid-year. That will be helpful.
I am saving all overtime and since I don’t know when that OT could end (as my employment comes to an end with the company), I am attempting to push myself and do 20 hours a week.
I also will be saving all of my 3rd paycheck in March (minus budgeted gas, groceries and a little spending money).
We are also in budget lockdown. We are very social people, so we’re going from going out a LOT go going out, with coupons/ specials 1 time a week and hosting people over for things like game nights.
Losing this job, I will be losing around 20-30k a year in OT, plus I will likely be taking a pay cut as pay is oversaturated in my industry right now. Saving is important to help with this transition!
I also am doing everything I can for some extra money, which will go to my 2018 gifts fund and if I can swing it, a mini vacation as we haven’t had one in about 2 years (except for a couple of weddings in 2016).
It’s stressful, but my husband & I are working as a team to make it as easy a transition as we can!
It has been quite a while since I have posted and I am sorry for that. Things have been crazy lately and I have been 'triaging' some of my priorities. I have quite a few updates and a goal to post much more regularly, so please don't mind the looonnng post.
I am writing this in a bit of a stream of consciousness, so bear with me.
*Short Sale on Townhouse (non-primary residence) is going slowly. The paperwork requires that we apply for a loan modification, although I will not qualify at this time (see bullet #2). Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Its a long and frustrating process, but I am dealing with it pretty well.
The mortgage company asks for bank statements, so I was incredibly annoyed to find a $1125 deposit from our previous property management company in my account last week. They accidentally applied someone else's income into my account (because of having the same last name). So because they couldn't figure out how to reverse the payment, I had to cut them a check to get it out of my bank account. They provided me documentation to send to the bank as well, since it was their error.
We actually have an offer on the house for the short sale, so hopefully we can present it to the bank soon!
*For the 1st time in my life, I am being 'let go' from my job. Its a weird situation - to save money, the company is pulling out of my state. They announced our site closure a little over a month ago and it will be closed by mid to late 2018. Different areas/people will be given 90 day notice at different times.
For my very specific and small job function team, we are currently starting training of employees in another state that would be the team taking over the work. Until they are up and running well, we would not get 90 day notice. Politics of the office - our bosses' boss hates our management team for various reasons and wants our state's site gone ASAP and has said as much directly to our group. Upper management said we'd likely go in mid 2018. She said, and I quote, her goal is "the end of 2017."
So that being said, we (my family) will lose my salary, my substantial overtime income and more at an undisclosed time. I have only been with the company 4 years, so my severance (after the 90 day notice) would be 8 weeks. The competition of 400+ people from my job site all looking for jobs at the same time is not worth waiting for that type of severance, so I am looking now.
I also am doing as much OT as I can to save up. My overtime is covering the rest of our normal household bills and my husband is using his salary to build an emergency fund in an account in his name only. This is his money as far as the mortgage company is concerned as he is not named on the townhouse mortgage and deed and they stated having his income in the calculations would be messy, so this is considered fine with them.
Once my job is being eliminated, that OT would not be able to be considered in calculations anyway, so saving a bit from it now is appropriate.
* Our baby girl is almost 2 and definitely not a baby. Things are changing day to day with her. She's feisty and fun. She turns 2 in August and we are planning a birthday party at home, keeping it very simple with friends and family coming over. Hotdogs, sides, cake. We have a very small budget, but a big set of guests. It should be perfect.
I already bought her 'big' gift for her birthday. An excellent used condition Strawberry Shortcake tricycle! Super cute and she will love it as her favorite thing to do is 'go outside!'. $12 out of pocket, can't beat it!
*We have made the choice to continue saving for retirement at our current rate. With my overtime, it increases significantly every extra hour that I do. We are very happy with the #s
* I joined Weight Watchers in late April. I really didn't get on the program until early May, but I am doing well. I have lost 24.2 pounds. I had some ups and some downs, but the overall loss is phenomenal to me. I fight against some thyroid issues and not having the time I'd like to incorporate a ton of exercise, so I am very happy with the results. My husband joined me in mid-May and is doing well too.
* Groceries/eating out/meal planning: Our grocery bill has increased a bit since we are trying so many new things/recipes. Our eating out spending has gone significantly down. Overall, the $$ is going in the right direction and I am getting to try a lot of new and fun meals!
Additionally, I have been packing breakfasts and lunches for work. That has helped with the WW and with saving money.
I have lots more to talk about, but those are the big things
Last month, we evicted the tenant and will likely not see that money back (although garnishment paperwork is in submission) It is what it is.
That being said, we are cash flowing the mortgage from my overtime and now cash flowing electric and water for the townhouse as well. We had to do some spackling/painting and pay a handyman to fix the front door frame, which was severely damaged by the tenant.
The house has been cleaned & carpets shampooed. I contacted a realtor who will be taking pictures today, so hopefully the house listing gets online ASAP.
So last night I dropped off my taxes to a professional. The very first time that I have not done our taxes. This year, we bought a house, put our townhouse up for rent, had non-payment from renter and a few other out of the norm financial items that led us to take the advice of a professional for this year's taxes.
I know from talking to friends and family and from reading blogs, that a lot of people focus on the amount they owe or are being refunded when they file their taxes. I know I am guilty of it, but I really want to take a hard look as the dollar amounts we pay in taxes – Federal, State, Local (if applicable), Social Security and Medicare.
We do pay attention to what is withheld versus what is estimated to be owed. Our refunds have usually been within $500 or so. Last year, we had a slightly larger refund. This year, I’m not sure how its going to turn out.
I am also looking hard at any way to lower my AGI to pay the least amount of tax as possible. Right now, my husband & I contribute to our 401ks, but not to the max for both of us. We contribute to a H.S.A, and a Childcare FSA. My goal this year is to try to contribute to IRAs for both of us and this year I am hoping to max out on my 401k at least.
Still – seeing the hard #s of what we gross, what we pay in taxes and what we actually net is eye – opening.
Do any of your take a hard look at the dollar amount and/or percentages paid?
Retirement Update Balance as of 3/1: $128,841.71 (not including Spouse’s retirement funds)
CC Debt Balance as of 3/1: $2470.86 (all 0%)
Sinking Funds Balance as of 3/1: $2195.78
Daughter Savings: Balance as of 3/1 $213.67
Daughter 529: Balance as of 3/1 $549.65
Savings Accounts: Balance as of 3/1 $13,789
Health Savings Account 1 (invested) Balance as of 3/1 $1799.67
Health Savings Account Balance as of 3/1 2 $803.21
Cash Savings (FB Sales) Balance as of 3/1 $259.50
2017 Gifts Fund Balance as of 3/1 $1271
2018 Gifts Fund Balance as of 3/1 $37.01
Total Alt Income in February: $79.01
I was sick a week and half ago - lost OT, because I took 2 days off to recover. So my OT goal for the month will likely not be met. I am fine with that. OT is a luxury, not a necessity
I am selling a few baby items this month & am gearing up to put together Groups of summer baby clothes to sell in lots. Hopefully that will bring a few bucks in.
My husband and I went to Atlantic City with some friends for Superbowl. 4 couples, 3 free rooms. We splurged on valet parking ($10) and gambled a little (with planned cash) and had some food. Spent about $200, which was the max amount we had budgeted. So that was a win. We had a blast!
Today, our one friend helped my husband load up and unload a bedroom set from some friends nearby. It was sitting in their basement and we needed a guest bedroom set. A queen bed frame & headboard, a night stand and a dresser and mirror/shelf top. $30 approximately spent on a truck rental and maybe another $20 on dinner for the friend who helped us move. Great deal for us! I hope to take pictures once its fully set up.