September Financial Reset

Disclaimer– This is a hard post for me to write. I have actually been avoiding it for several days. It is not hard because of regret, I stand by our decision but it is hard because it is not the conventical choice and it requires that I admit how far in debit we really are.

History– With my recent job change, I needed to decided what to do with my retirement. For the past 10 years, it was mandated that I place 2% of my earnings in a retirement account. The best news is that the hospital matched this 2%. In addition because of my length of employment, I was fully vested.  I was given a choice of simply leaving things alone with a small percentage based fee every quarter. 2nd option was rolling the monies into my “new” retirement system or similar, or 3rd, take a partial  or  full withdrawal facing the penalties.

Choice made– After much thought, prayer and comparison, we chose to take a full withdrawal from my retirement. The penalties include 10% Federal tax, 5% state tax and 15% early withdrawal penalty. My logic for this decision is that I am not losing any money that I placed in the account. My employer match covered all the penalties and still contributed to my final pay out. Matt’s logic was a little different as although this was a HUGE boast to our budget, in retirement it was not enough to cover a full year, really a small drop in the bucket.

How we spent– I really wanted to use this money in a way that would affect us in a positive way. I did not want this to become a decision that even a year down the road, I looked back on and regretted.  I spent HOURS planning and working and re-working the numbers. First, my new job is awesome but I will actually be bring home around $400 a month less than previously.  I did set up a summer savings account which will “pay” out the two months that I don’t receive a pay check. I will receive 12 paychecks a year which allows budgeting to be much easier. We loosely based on decisions on the “Dave Ramsey 7 Baby steps”

First we established an Emergency Fund of $1000 dollars. Next we paid off all outstanding medical bills. Matt will not be covered by my new insurance so we decided to also set aside some money to off-set any medical cost we will incur. We also will all a line to our budget on a regular basis for medical cost. Our next step was to pay off credit card debit. We have been able to reduce our debit by half. We do have two remaining debit that we will continue to pay at with the goal of payoff within 2 years. We have also used some of the funds to fix/ repair/replace items around the house and with our vehicles.  Several of these are large purchases such as a car and both a new push lawn mower and a riding lawn mower.

The Result:  We did a total budget reset on September 1st.  I am excited to begin “fresh” we were able to start with a cushion for both groceries and gas. My pay schedule is once a month at the end of the month. This is exciting for me as we are leaving on last month salary and using a more cash system. I plan to share the budget in detail very soon! But for now… the clean start is working and feels awesome!

Five Things Friday 8/10/2018

1. We are currently on vacation in Cherry Grove South Carolina.  Our vacation started last Sunday and we will head back home this Sunday, the August 12th. Haley came down on Sunday and stayed to Wednesday.  My mother came on Monday and will be leaving on Saturday. Amanda and her significant other arrived late Wednesday night and will stay till Sunday.  We have had the perfect beach weather with lots of time on the beach!

2. On Tuesday, I was offered a position at Davie County Schools.  I accepted it the same day. This is a different school district than the kids are in, but the schedule should be similar enough to allow us the flexibility we need.  I will get off two months in the summer in addition to a couple of weeks at Christmas, a week in the Spring and all major holidays.!

3. After accepting the new position, I realized that I have been wearing scrubs  for the past 7 or more years. I have purchased some jeans and shorts but did not have but one pair of pants other than jeans.   We have also spent some time shopping at the outlets near by.  I was able to purchase 3 pair of pants, 2 shirts and a long sleeve dress for $125.00

4. Today is my 46th birthday!  We spent the morning on the beach. We shopped at the Nike outlet this afternoon, prior to going to eat real fresh seafood.  We also spent time shopping at a Christmas store. Both LIly and Amanda purchased new items for my birthday at the store. This has been an awesome birthday.

5.On Saturday our lawn mower, started an untimely death. We will have to replace it during this next week.

Thursday Thoughts- Sheila’s Work Update

I have been sort of quiet about my job change for a couple of reason.

The first of which is that the hospital required a 28 calendar day notice.  I also needed to tell my patients/ families in person.  I was also concerned about how notice would work out. I have only one day left and am relief that all though it has been very stressful and I have struggled, things have worked out the way anticipated regarding dates.  My official last day of work will be tomorrow August 3rd, but my official termination date is August 10th. The difference is I was allowed to use my already scheduled vacation. This does not seem like a huge difference because vacation time will be paid with my last paycheck but the difference is my insurance. We, as a family, will lose insurance on August 18th.  I will plan to post an entire blog about insurance and my thoughts in the very near future.

Another issue has been working out details regarding both of my new jobs. The first is really a night time job as I will be working in the evenings/nights Sunday- Thursday via Skype in the territory of Guam.  I am still not certain of the number of hours even each day but hopefully will be able to schedule around the kids activities.  I have been working on receiving OT license for Guam since May. The latest update is that I should be approved on August 10th.  I am now anticipating starting this in September. My second or daytime job is   I will be doing Home Health therapy with children under the age of 18 years.  I have signed a contract with this company but will not be official begin work until August 27th. I will be working four days a week, continuing with Thursday off, the biggest change is my hours will be 8-2pm so that I can pick the kids up from school each day!

Did you look at the calendar?   Let me share that I will have an extended 3 week vacation between jobs!  We have our annual family vacation the first week but I am so excited to have a couple of weeks at home to catch up and enjoy before going back to work. I am planning to share a lot more on the blog during this time and also hope to share other changes including finances as well.

Survival Mode

I can definitely say that for the last week and probably at least till next Saturday (August 4) we are in survival mode. The fact that everyone is dressed and breathing is the goal. Eating should occur but otherwise count me out.

Why survival mode?
During this two week period, Matt and I both are working full time jobs. Matt’s job is extra stressful due to this being his first month. He is working hard to make improvements that are noticeable but still being respectful to his predecessor. I am completing  my final two weeks at the hospital. It is hard to say goodbye to some of my patients and the management is continuing to make it very obvious that I have made the right decision to move.

Kendall and Zach attended an Art Discovery camp this past week and plan to attend our church Vacation Bible School during this coming week. This adds stress for being on time, drop off and picking up. In addition, grouchy children are very possible.

I have been diagnosed with an infection, which is occasional painful. The bigger issue is that I think that the antibiotic is adding to my fatigue and overall poor mood.

I am still trying to obtain licensure in Guam. I have been working on this since mid-May.  I am becoming more and more frustrated. The first problem is that the department ONLY reviews licensure application on the first Friday of each month.  The second problem is that they appear to only answer email on the third Friday of each month.  Finally, this process is set up for a new graduate, not a season therapist. For example, based on their required forms, I need a professor from my college to sign a document that detailed the number of theory hours and the number of fieldwork hours. This document needs to be attached to my official college transcripts from the college. Last Friday, I received an email reply to one of my four previous attempts that simply stated these were required in order to review my application.

The blessing that are being discovered and enjoyed in this survival mode.
Matt LOVES his new job and the hours will be perfect once I am no longer working so much. I am convinced now more than ever, this job change is much needed!

My mother has been so generous to help with picking up and dropping off children and is making sure that get to eat lunch or a snack with her.

Because of the antibiotic, I need to limit my sun exposure. Saturday, we all stayed home and got a lot of housework and cooking completed. Today, Sunday, Matt and the kids are at the pool. I am using the time to catch up here and in other small ways around the house.

Because of my notice, I ended up with only two patients on my schedule last Friday which allowed me time to head to Winston Salem State University. I contact the OT department to discover not only was one of my professors still on staff but she was in the office on Friday. I spent several hours but was able to get the form completed and attached to my transcripts, which were sent out in the mail Friday afternoon. I have again provide all the required information, so hopefully my licensure will be approved.

5 days and counting………..

Job Update

Matt has started his new job and absolute LOVES it.  He is currently working from home 50% of the time, which allows us to continue with our busy lives!  We have purchased several pair of dress pants and a couple of pair of dress pants but less than $50 has update his work clothes.

I am currently working out my notice at the hospital. I officially have 8 days left but who is counting. I had a previously scheduled vacation for the second week of August, which they chose to honor.  My last official day will be August 10th. My job with the home health company will not begin until August 27th.  I am a little anxious but mostly looking forward to the two week break between returning from the beach and officially beginning the new position.  I realize that I will need to purchase some new long sleeves/pants outfits to wear. I have been wearing scrubs for most of the last 10 years with a coat in the winter time or long sleeves under shirts to this is a huge need.  I have enough OT t-shirts that until it turns cold I should be ok.  I am actively working with the company to get started in Guam. I am anticipating this to start in mid August as well. I have no concrete details but hope things start to take shape in the near future.

We have purchased a new to us/used car to reduce the number of miles and improve gas mileage.  We currently have spent several hours cleaning it up but are very hopeful that we have not discovered any major issues. Matt will be driving for the next month until I start my home health job.

I am hopeful to increase my post as I look forward to having additional time at home starting in August.

Season of Change

I have hinted several times that big changes were in the works for our family.  I am so excited and scared to death to share and start these changes. First  let me explain the reasons for the changes.  We have been struggling for over a year with two things, first finances and second- how busy we are. The answer to our financial problems seems easy- increase your income. The answer to our crazy busy lives seems much harder.  I could have never imagined that both of these problems could be answered at the same time.

Both Matt and I have been actively seeking different employment during the last several months. I am excited to share that we both have been successful and will be changing jobs in the next month. Matt is the marketing manger for the Davie County Humane Society. He actually started with training this past week  and will officially start this Monday.  I have given my resignation and will be completing my employment in mid August. I have accepted two different contract positions. One is for local pediatric home health and the second is school system contracting in Guam and several other states.  Matt position is for 30 hours per week, so he is increasing both his pay and hours.  The positions I have accepted are going to start at around 20-25 hours per week but may/ hopefully increase to around 30 hours in the next year. My hours will be school hours (8-2) and 7pm to 10 pm Sunday and Wednesday nights.  These are flexible and will allow me to be at home and spend much more quality time with the kids. I am so excited. Kendall expressed why this is so important to us with this statement “Mom, you will be home for dinner EVERY night?  That is the best news EVER!” My salary should remain about the same as now depending on the number of patients, I am given to start with. The biggest change will be with insurances and taxes.

Change is scary! Change in jobs is really scary!  I will not be able to establish a good budget or really much of any budget until at least September. My best estimate is that we will work paycheck to paycheck until November with the goal of establishing and maintaining a budget by January.  There are several reasons that establishing the budget will be so difficult. First, I will have a two-three week period where I am not working at all or very minimal at best. Second, I am still unsure of how many hours I will be working at each position. Third, my hours will continue to be unsteady until at least October. We must also decided and obtain health insurance and figure out our tax liability.

In anticipation of these changes, we have tighten the budget and are really working to save every penny possible during the month of July.  I will try and share more about these major changes as I process through them.  We have decided not to change our scheduled Beach vacation so that will give us some time to re-charge and actually communicate!

June in Review

If you know me at all, you realize that I have very little patience and hate wait for things to fall in place. But as usual God’s has better and other plans, so the month of June has been spent in anticipation.  My prayer is that by the end of July, I will be able to share what we have been waiting and anticipating or the process is complete and I will be content in our current situation.

Financial- After such a rough month of May, June is at least better. We reduced our overall debit by $220 which is a baby step in the right direction at least. Matt has accepted a different part time position with an increase of fifty cents per hour. I did receive and spent my extra paycheck in June but we are moving in the right direction and progress is progress.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $361.20. Another win for the month. I am also very pleased to say that this includes a trip to Aldi today in order to grab items that are needed for next month’s menu plan and breakfast as well! I am going to continue monitoring this area as the kids were out of town for a week so that might have helped stay under budget for the month.
Gas budget- $280- Spent $311. I am going to increase the budget to $400 a month starting in July, approximately $100 a week. The cost of gas is increasing and Matt’s new job is a slighty longer commute so this should help to balance things out. We also have to have the inspection on our van and pay taxes and tag fees in July.
Kid/Summer expenses : Camp , swim team bathing suits and new goggles. I think for the month of July we should not have any extra expenses!  We are enjoying our season passes to Emerald Point but the kids are aware that they need their own money if they want anything extra.
Earned $85- This is also a slight improvement over the month of May. Shopkicks has been the difference this month. I will admit that I could cash out for another $25 on Swagbucks but am choosing to wait for the discount tomorrow!
Personal-
Blogging- 11 for the month. Small improvement but did not meet goal.
Exercise- 5 total days for the month. Small improvements are key in this area.

June did turn out to be a better month all the way around for us! Waiting is hard but we are going to stay the course and wait for God’s timing!

May in Review

This has been a long EXPENSIVE month. I am so excited to say goodbye to May and hello to June. Matt and I both are still working on increasing our income and hopefully we can start to see increases in the month of June.

Financial- This is the worst month this year in regards to finances. The good news is that I receive an “extra” paycheck in June. My goal is to reset and hopefully get our feet back on steady ground. I blogged here  about most of the expenses. I was not able to cover them all but we are still eating and floating so I am so thankful to head to another month.
Total paid to credit card debit $1173 total, however this did not produce an reduction Instead we increased our overall debit by almost $600.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $608.08. Yikes, It happened again and this does not include our cow purchase. I checked and we have been over budget in this year for 5 out of 6 months. I need to take a good look at this for the next 2 months and may in reality need to increase this to a larger more realistic number. We are well stocked and I would love to say we are planning to spend much less this month but I honestly think the kids are growing and we are eating more.
Gas budget- $280- Spent $285. This does not include the inspection, or tags on Matt’s van.  I also plan to re-evaluate this during the next two months and may increase if needed.
Kid/Summer expenses : Camp deposit, swim team, baseball games and we are not even going to talk about the medical expenses.
Earned $75-this is the lowest month to date. I am somewhat frustrated but extra is extra so we will continue to attempt to use whatever we can get.
Personal-
Blogging- 9 for the month. No goal met here either
Exercise- 0 total days for the month.

This is real life and just because we have a bad month does not mean we stop working. I am super disappointed but I lived the real struggle this month.  I am praying and holding steady for better times ahead.

5 Things Friday 5/25/2018

  1. I have a 3 day weekend! WOO HOO I am so excited to have at least one day to stay at home!
  2. Our square foot garden is thriving. I am so very hopeful at this point. We have enjoyed lots of lettuce and some basil. I am excited to watch everything grow but even more excited when we start eating out of the garden.
  3. Our freezer is once again full. Matt picked up our 890 of beef on Tuesday. Our chest freezer was a great fit. We have spent several hours cooking, so far we have 13 bags of cooked grounded beef.  32 beef and bean burritos, 12 meals of Salisbury steaks and 5 meals of sloppy joes (minus the buns).
  4. May has been a slow and expensive month. I am holding on tight to make it till June. We are definitely over budget with both gas and groceries for the month.
  5. Lily has not had an episode in almost 2 weeks (Sunday). This is a huge praise in our books.

June Update

June was certainly not the month I expected it to be. We did not increase our income and we ended up with two major house repairs that have definitely knocked up back a bit with our debit reduction. We still are living very comfortable but July-October are going to mean some serious belt tightening.

Debit Reduction:  Failure
Due to the things stated above we actually have increased our debit by close to $1000 at this point. Ouch

Blog Post: Fail
I had 9 total blog post for the month. I can honestly say that June was an extremely busy month, including 4 afternoons for swim meets and a week long trip to Michigan. I have some very good intentions and plan so I hope to at least hit 15 this month.

Days on Treadmill: Zero
Water walking days-7  In addition to a full day of walking on Mackinaw Island.
I am actually documenting improvement in this year!

Groceries- Goal Met!  We spent a total of $405  for the month of June in groceries! This is a huge win as the past several months have been over budget!

Gas: $355 for the month. This is about $50 over budget but does include our entire trip which was 5 tanks of gas!

Earnings:  June was a positive month in this area as well. I am expecting some changes starting in July but our earning is consistently increasing. Total $220
Swagbucks: $100 for Me, $75 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $15
Shopkicks: $5
Ibbotta: 24.75