I've been periodically reading blogs but not posting. I have not had a long period of quiet time where I could put my thoughts down. So I have been bottling up all my thoughts and activities.
But now the baby is quietly playing on the kitchen floor with cooking ware, and husband is asleep.
Hmmm where to start.
Husband had his experimental stem cell treatment. It went GREAT! He came home in more pain than normal- the Dr told him it will take 2 weeks for the injections sites to heal. I was at the end of my tolerance level for his pain and "I cant do anything" mantra- so him coming home MORE helpless made me so angry.
But in a few weeks his attitude turned much brighter. He was more helpful to me- getting off the couch to bring me a drink, going up the stairs multiple times a day. Keeping the house a little less cluttered.
And then one day I came home to see the baby playing in the kitchen. Husband cooking spaghetti, the house was vacuumed & mopped! It was wonderful! I felt like I was getting back the man that I married. So he is recovering and healing in minutia ways. But it feels like huge leaps for me when it's not an argument just to take out the trash.
In other news- my equestrian job is going great. I have really become part of the team and I am competent at my job.
HOWEVER- the pay and other sacrifices are just not cutting it for me anymore. I'm looking for an office full time job.
I know. After all that fighting with the husband!
This job was meant to provide me with an ease-in to working after having the baby. In an uncertain time when life was changing rapidly- I wanted a stress-free job where I would be just as happy at my job as I was being at home. With a newborn baby I was going to give up horse riding and working at a barn would be my way of not giving it up. But also not taking time and money away from the family to pursue it. So overall I have enjoyed it the last 6 months.
BUT- my body is much older than I "feel". Doing manual labor day in/day out is EXHAUSTING. My body just screams at me when I come home from work. I'm so stiff and achy. I cant keep this up. No way. This is a twenty-somethings job.
And I never see my friends. I work every weekend until 8pm, and every holiday. I'm off on random weekdays. Requesting time off is kind of a drama-fest because people have to cover. I reserve my requests off for visiting family and husband's medical treatments. I've never had so much trouble making plans with friends. And missing out on everything (like cookouts for 4th of July). It seems trivial but I was really lonely in California and I place a lot of value on being with my friends and sharing in their lives.
$10/hr does not stretch nearly as far as it did the last time I was earning this kind of money. I'm making $1050/month and over $200 is spent in gas commuting the 25 miles to work. My windshield has broken twice driving on the highway in my commute. Relatively inexpensive costs like a $40 broken windshield really set you back on such a limited income. And forget the big costs. I took my dog to the vet for annual shots and a year of heartworm protection- $420! That was almost 2 weeks pay! No way do I want to kill my body for 2 weeks to pay for a few vaccines.
And so I got to thinking about the budget. How could I make the money stretch? Our largest monthly expense is the private health insurance. It is $980/month.
If I worked full time at the barn I could get health insurance. It would probably be $4-500/month for the family. So if I work an additional 10 hrs a week I could cut my health insurance bill in about half.
But then I figured if I'm working full time why not go get a salaried office job making more than $10/hr? Plus the benefits of getting holidays off and working in heated/air conditioned rooms?
I initially started working 30/hrs week because I didn't know how husband could take care of the baby without me. It was hard for him. We had to figure out a lot of stuff. But now he's got it. I can work full time and he'll be fine.
And the riding...I'm not riding everyday at work. And I'm not riding at the competitive level I want to be. So its not as satisfying as I had hoped. I'm ready to let it go for a little bit and enjoy my home life more.
So it was a good 6 month transition back into the working world.
With that said- I've applied to a job at my old company. I'm a little hesitant because that company is very high pressure and disorganized. I know I'll get roped into lots of regular overtime and stress. And I'm uncertain I can get my old salary back. I'm talking with people and it seems I was at the top of my pay grade for my skills. If I start a new job in a new department I might have to take a 5-6k paycut. Which is still about double what I'm making now.
I also applied to another company a bit further away- half hour drive- with a definite $6k pay cut from my old job. but I'm hoping it will be less stressful. It's a govt job.
My office job skills are so rusty at this point. Just spelling is a struggle. I'm nervous to get back into that environment. But confident my computer/business skills will come back quickly. I hope I don't make too many mistakes in the meantime!
So that's what I'll be doing for a while. Applying to jobs.
Viewing the 'Budgeting' Category
I have been a subscriber to MONEY magazine for years. I enjoy the human interest pieces, the stocks section is pretty over my head.
But last night I think maybe my subscription gave me my first real good advice.
The article was a little over my head. So maybe I interpreted it wrong.
It was about 529 plans, and being a new mother, this was a good read.
ok, it helped me determine that my home state of GA has good rates on 529's (helpful).
But most helpful was reading that if I invest $6k a year from the babies first year till college- we should be able to cover almost all of 4 years in state tuition, fees and board!
6k seems very do-able considering it will eventually pay for one of my daughters largest life expenses. That seems a little cheap. I probably read it wrong. But it seems like an achievable goal. To invest $6k a year with an eye towards being able to pay almost all my child's college costs.
So husband and I have decided to ask our financial adviser to set up a 529 for baby- and every January he will move our mandatory IRA deduction to the 529 account. It averages about 5k a year and we can make up the remaining amount. YEA! Feeling accomplished.
New Year..Fresh Start..Clean Slate...Start Over..all those little attitude adjustments that come to mind in late December.
I wanted to start fresh. Financially implement a new budget. Clean up my financial life.
So I wrote a hypothetical budget. Based on husband being approved for disability. Based on me getting at least a part time job.
Now its January 1. And I'm waiting to implement it.
Husband has not been approved for disability yet. The letter comes in the mail and might take up to 2 more months to receive.
I've applied to 17 (Seventeen!) jobs and nothing so far. Well I have had 2 notifications that I am not being considered. And 1 interview that I ultimately did not want the position (outside sales). But overall...nothing on the job front. Which is frustrating because several of the jobs are perfect for my skill set. PERFECT. Really- the employer is missing out on not utilizing me. And they don't even call me for an interview! I don't really understand it.
So nothing is going on financially. I am waiting to start my financial new year.
Ok I'm not entirely sure whats going on with my checking account so I used a big portion of my 8k to straighten it out.
I paid my COBRA in September, and yesterday I received a notice in the mail from my bank saying it bounced. I wasn't too surprised as we have been operating so lean that a few dollars off would mean a bounced check.
I checked my online account and the check had not been cashed, no overdraft fees were applied yet.
I called COBRA and they said they had not been notified by the bank yet, as far as their system was concerned it was ok right now.
So I told her the check was going to bounce, and asked if I could send another check right away to not interrupt my healthcare. She said to send it in and I would get a separate bill asking for returned check fees.
When the $8k arrived yesterday, I decided to pay 2 months of COBRA just to ensure no lapse in coverage while I had a baby. And I wanted to redeem myself to the COBRA accounting staff to show I was really sorry and please do not lapse my coverage. Off in the mail the check went. Off in the bank the money went.
When I got home I checked my online account again to ensure the money had been deposited.
My COBRA check was now listed on my account and it had cleared!?
Which was confusing, why did the bank alert me it was unpaid?
Anyways, the good news is that I have my COBRA covered for the next 3 months (Oct/Nov/Dec) and that is $1530/month I don't need to worry about.
The less good news is that now my account is $1530 less than I thought because a payment I thought would bounce has cleared. So I need to re-arrange my October bill paying priorities. Short term pain because come November I wont have our largest expense of COBRA to worry about!