How We Spent It – Windfall Edition!

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how-we-spent-it-windfallI have a whole post about opening my 11 year old a limited checking account with a debit card but it’s so dry and boring I can’t bring myself to hit publish. Maybe I’m being too critical but I am a funny, interesting person and when I can’t bring that out in my writing it makes me sad.

We had a really unexpected windfall this week. I sold a domain name. The parenting blog I wrote for years before I decided writing about my kids without their consent didn’t feel right (you do you, no judgement). It was sort of, mostly easy to change over to finance blogging and viola, I let the domain name hang out and not go anywhere because there were articles and things with the byline and I didn’t want someone scammy to come along, scoop it up, and pretend my prior work was theirs.

Long story short I’m in the middle of a legit transaction that will be complete in about a week and someone else will be the official owner forevermore.

Here’s how I spent the first half of the payment for the domain:

$2,500 paid

  • $777 went to fill the emergency fund back up to $1k
  • $215 went to purchasing three cell phones and cases for the kids so we can all play Pokemon Go together (this is the splurge purchase, in case you couldn’t tell) I got the BLU R1 on Amazon Prime day so their phones have 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM and were $60/ea. I think they were an amazing deal. We did not put sim cards in them or put them on a phone plan. When we all go out we tether them to our phones. (Our $44/mo plans from Net10 have 5GB of data per line so that’s more than enough for the whole family.)
  • $1500 to fill the rent savings buffer so it’s ready to pay the 3 month payment come November. (I raided it last month to pay off the Macy’s card so it would stop bothering me at 3am.)

$2500 (second and final installment)

  • $1100 for special contact lenses to help slow Middle Sister’s myopia progression. OrthoK are gas permeable hard contacts that you wear while you sleep and your vision is perfect during the day with no glasses and no contacts. It sounds like magic, doesn’t it?
  • $500 Back to school shopping (I don’t think we will spend nearly this much but after spending over $500 in registration fees for the three girls when I did the online registration for next year I kind of wonder if maybe I really will spend this much. They do get reduced lunch this year but it will be the last year, which I see as a blessing because if we make too much for reduced or free lunch we should have enough to send them with lunch or buy it.)
  • $200 for a chest freezer (I regret selling the one we had when we moved. We can’t fit Costco sized Eggo waffles and meat in the freezer at the same time even after we break it all up and put it into little ziplock bags.)
  • $400 for a doctor appointment for Mr. Brickie in a couple weeks. (Elective surgery)

The leftover ($300ish) is in the emergency fund account because there is nowhere it needs to go that will give me any more benefit than anywhere else so it will sit until it becomes the *oomph* we need later on. (Update) Whoops! When I first wrote this it was in the emergency fund. Then I spent some money on a giant bottle of Crown Royal for my friend’s birthday, took the kids out to eat at a “better than bargain but not elite eating” restaurant and that brought my extra down more than I even want to admit. Yikes.

This is why I spend money BEFORE I get it. If it’s spent in my mind, it’s spent. If it’s hanging out being extra…I’ll spend it. I also bought a really cute shirt. I blew the $300. I’m not quite ashamed but it definitely wasn’t the plan. Ah well, my spending all included the kids so it’s not like I had fun without them. Heck, if I had gone without them it wouldn’t have been so expensive! LOL Everything else is still the same as listed above. (End of Update)

Nothing exciting or sexy, no cool vacations or amazing stories are going to be created with this. We are using it to keep moving forward so when Mr. Brickie goes back to work we can use extra income to pay down credit cards and get rid of those before the interest-free period runs out.

Of course, if you ask me what the sexiest thing you can buy with money is I’ll tell you every time it’s a secure, non-stressed night of sleep.

The paycheck this week went toward the car payment ($286) and the leftover got split between putting $50 into our local account (we keep a little money in here because it’s the closest ATM and lets you take out as little as $5 from the ATM) and $20 toward Mr. Brickie’s union dues.

Doctor Appointment Update!

Mr. Brickie saw the doctor this week and is healing nicely. The doctor told him at least another month but his doctor’s note finally changed from no lifting activity at all to “lift to tolerance.” It’s a small but important step that reminds us this isn’t forever and he will be back to work eventually!

How We Spent It 6-30-2016

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The fabled and much-awaited fifth check of the month has arrived.

It makes for a boring read but trust me the feeling of relief and the relaxation in the muscles of my shoulders and neck are very exciting for me.

Incoming

  • Workers’ Comp: $721.30

Outgoing

  • Living Expenses: $370 (Gas, Groceries, Spending)
  • Buffer Refill: $100
  • Rent Savings Refill: $251.30

Last week I blew through a lot of money. I bought hiking boots for two girls (for sleep away camp) and they were on clearance for $25/ea. They are Merrill so hopefully both pairs can be kept and reused when Little Sister grows into them. They seem very well constructed. We also spent $50 at Meijer getting odds and ends they would both need for camp. So…I spent twice as much as I needed to right now in order to not have to go shopping at all (or so it seems right now) at the end of next month when both older girls go to sleep away camp for the week.

Mr. Brickie wanted to go to Shoreline Brewery while we were shopping for kid shoes and that ended up being $90. I kind of died inside a little because we didn’t expect it to be that pricey when we went in. Lesson learned.

Last but not least last Monday we paid $90 for the two younger girls to attend another two week swimming class while the oldest is at camp. Today was the last day of this two week session and I feel a sense of relief whenever I see them in the water. They used to be petrified of the water and wouldn’t go near it but now they stay safe and close to the edge but have a level of confidence that makes me so happy.

I’m sure there were many other things because I spent a lot, but I’m going in to this new week feeling refreshed and feeling NO need to spend money outside of next Tuesday being the last two week swimming lesson session and all three girls are signed up for it. That will be $135 ($45/kid/session) and should really mark the last of the summer spending.

The sense of knowing what was going on financially this morning is probably the best thing I could ask for on a birthday. Since my oldest is away at camp until tomorrow afternoon, I won’t celebrate with a cake until Saturday so she can join in on the fun and not feel left out.

While I wish very much Mr. Brickie was back at work already he has been able to have some great experiences with the kids this summer that we will both cherish the rest of our lives. Watching our 6-year-old jump off a diving board was some majestic unicorn-level stuff since she’s always been SO SCARED OF THE WATER OH NO SOMETHING IS GOING TO KILL ME WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN IN THE SHOWER HERE IT COMES I’M GOING TO BE KILLED BY THE GENTLE SPRAY. Now she’s a rock star. I’m really thrilled she’s come so far because I love the water and last year watching her take two hours to get into the two foot deep kiddie pool at the public pool was painful. This year she’s going at the water like a little duck.

I managed to get all my bills separated into the four weeks of paychecks, in order to even things out and have more of a flow during the month. I do wish there was a program where you could put in all your bills and then how much you make a week (approx.) and the program would separate your bills for you in the most even way possible. I love to use technology as a way to double-check my work.

I’m trying to increase Mr. Brickie’s credit score to help us qualify for a mortgage once we’ve saved 20% down (which could be forever, and we may change our minds and continue to rent, who knows…it’s early days) but no matter what good credit scores won’t hurt us, you know?

Thanks to the budget program I know what’s owed on each card and that the money is there to pay it since we don’t spend if it’s not in our budget. If I go over budget I take it from a savings category because NO NEW DEBT is where we are at right now.  I’d rather be at PAY DOWN DEBT but being able to accrue no new debt is pretty much unicorn status considering he’s injured and out of work so you won’t hear a peep from me about what I’d rather be doing if he were working because he’s not and I live in reality. Most of the time.

Also, Sam’s Club is having this thing right now where Costco members can use their cards to shop at Sam’s. We checked it out but the only thing they don’t have that I thought was kind of cool was 50 packs of Cheetos because who doesn’t love Cheetos? Mr. Brickie reminded me that we don’t send chips as snacks with the kids to school so there was really no reason to have that many bags of mini Cheetos in the house. He also said the mini bags of Frito’s could not come home even if I swore to make walking tacos once a week until they were. He said something about getting everyone sick once a week and blah blah that’s not how you show love to your family yadda yadda.

So we left with nothing but might be going back for this set of six stoneware bowls because we are desperate for bowls and Goodwill has not been terribly helpful. It was $12 for six HEAVY stoneware bowls with a nice pattern. Regular kitchen bowls, not mixing bowls. So yeah that’s probably going to happen. I like splashes of color in my kitchen and would like to have bowls that are sturdy.

I’ll be back with you sooner than next week, I have a list of topics unrelated to specific budget numbers that I’m going to work on writing in between how we spent it entries. There’s so much happening but most of it is better suited to a parenting blog or a wifing blog. I try to work it in a little so you know what’s happening but I like to keep my eyes on the financial prize.

The only part of this post that bothers me is the paragraph in the beginning about spending no money and then the later paragraph written after we went out for a few hours talking about just one bowl set. That’s how it starts. Slipping down the SPEND ALL THE MONEY rabbit hole. I have to find a way to determine what’s a want and what’s a need and if something is a need is it okay to get ….but in an objective way.

There are so many things swirling in my head right now it’s difficult to keep any one train of thought pinned down enough to progress. The issue with my dental work and messed up bite, should we buy or rent, blah blah blah it’s all too much. I want to enjoy my kids and their activities and get through having Mr. Brickie home for a few more weeks and please can someone get him back to work? I need to get my mind right and that’s going to require more of a break than the couple hours here and there I get while he’s at the park or at an activity.

I appreciate him, don’t think I don’t….I just want him back to work. Let me miss him….just a little bit.

How We Spent It 6-23-2016

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Happy Friday! Yesterday I was dealing with some tooth pain and the crying that comes with trying to figure out if your mouth is going to heal more or if room temperature grapes being painful to eat is your new reality forever. I cancelled my follow-up appointment. If I need more work I’m going somewhere else. I can’t deal with a medical professional that doesn’t listen to legitimate concerns except to answer with boilerplate answers parroted by her receptionist.

I feel better today. A little, anyway. I wish there was some way to know if the dentist you are going to is poor quality or if what they did is normal. Either way I’m getting a second opinion on my mouth because this is beyond sensitivity. This is affecting my life pretty significantly.

On to the money!

Incoming

  • $721.30

Outgoing

  • Nipsco: $202 (new budget plan amount)
  • Buffer refill from last week: $100
  • Gas: $20
  • Groceries: $150
  • Spending Money: $200
  • Mr. Brickie’s Union Dues: $20
  • Big Sister’s Meds: $19.69

I need to break down fun money because it’s not what it sounds like. It should be Spending Money. Groceries are $150, Gas gets $20, and $200 goes into that Fun Money category. Yesterday I went to Target for athletic shorts for Big Sister (going to camp next week and owns ONE pair of shorts) a pair for Little Sister, a birthday present for a party Little Sister is going to this weekend, a mesh bag for Middle Sister to take to camp in a couple weeks, and some nail polish.

I just changed the category from Fun Money to Spending Money.

Oh, also a wallet for Big Sister to keep her picture ID and new debit card in. I need to post about that debit card. It’s been in the house less than a week, I want to test drive it with her before writing about it.

We spent about $100. Since I finally just put $200 in spending money I will pay that as soon as it pops in the Target credit card system and I’ll make the payment. I put it in the budget immediately (like you do) so that money is already earmarked to be a payment.

It’s a category that doesn’t build. If there is $20 or $5 left at the end of the week, I’ll only top off the category to $200. This way I don’t keep stealing from the $100 buffer category that’s supposed to sit there and make sure I don’t ever overdraft because of a silly mistake. I keep pulling from there when we go over on something else and that’s not a smart way to do things.

Here’s the way it was planned out from the beginning of the month with only some minor changes.

2016-6-23

Next week every penny that isn’t going to living expenses is going right back to the Rent Savings because I stole from that category to pay off the Macy’s card. It’s nice not having that card hanging around anymore. Even after giving it all the “extra check” next week, I’ll still owe a little under $160 to that account. I’ll figure out how to get that in there next month.

If we’re being totally honest, I won’t figure out how to get that in there next month. The budget will do that for me. (You Need A Budget) I honestly don’t know what I would do without my budget program. It took a couple months for me to really “get” how entering transactions moved money from the categories to the section for credit card payments but now it’s just another thing I check when the funds clear in the account. Bills to pay? Check the excel spreadsheet. Credit Cards to pay? Check that section in the budget. If I underpay the Rent Savings it will recalculate how much I need to save monthly to have $2250 in the account by November. (I don’t work with YNAB or get a kickback or commission if you end up using the program.) I also don’t recommend spending money on a budgeting program if you can’t pay your bills. Stick with Excel if it’s on your computer already or the library computer or go with Google Drive Sheets which is still where I keep my stuff so I can get to it easily on my Android smartphone. I’m in a free trial of the new online based version until…I don’t know when…but when it expires I fully intend to pay for this program because it’s taken a lot of the load off when it comes to day-to-day tracking of money we spend.

One of the most difficult things is the overwhelming feeling of failure we both struggle with right now. We aren’t making headway like we planned and even though there is a very legit reason it still feels like we are moving at a snail’s pace. We try to remember we are doing really well considering my husband is home with a healing broken wrist. I mean, thank all that is good and holy there are things in place – like workman’s compensation – that protect workers or that accident would have cost us so much more.

He’s working so hard in physical therapy and doing his best not to take vicodin anymore because it makes him mean and sick to his stomach. He also thinks that at this point if he doesn’t feel pain he might overexert himself now that he’s no longer in the wrist brace/cast. I think he’s right. He does take one before he leaves for physical therapy but I think that’s just smart. Poor thing gets electrodes zapped into his muscles and ultrasound therapy and comes home wrecked. He’ll be in a lot of pain tomorrow.

We’re just here doing our thing every day and while one day may bleed in to the next with the only difference being what activity the kids go to, I know in my heart this will pass and things will go back to normal.

I’m trying to cherish the time I have with Mr. Brickie while it’s here and available. You know, consider it a gift and whatnot.

Paying Ourselves Back and Injury Progress

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My tooth is fixed. It chipped again four hours after the repair appointment but it’s a small chip so I’m leaving it be until my follow up in two weeks. I think my bite is back to where it was before I started this whole extensive dental process so leaving it alone is the extent of what I’m comfortable doing right now. She asks me at the end of every appointment if everything is okay and I don’t understand how she doesn’t understand that it takes a few days for the jaw to realign and settle to see if it’s really working out. Plus she always has me check my bite while I’m laying back in the chair…when my jaw is settled back…so every time I bite myself because no one chews while they’re laying on their back.

I’ll have her maybe buff the sharp corner the tiny chip made. That’s it.

I think it’s time to find a new dentist. *sigh*

Tennis has been straightened out but the coach keeps forgetting to show up with the rackets we said we would buy for the girls. As long as they have loaner rackets, I don’t care, but it would be nice for them to practice with one another at the local tennis courts this weekend and that’s going to be impossible without rackets. They’re cheaper through the coaches vs. anywhere else, which is why I’m even bothering to wait.

In money news last week was stressful because we got the check a day late and my budget is basically done to the minute. I did have some leftover money that was supposed to go back into the rent savings to replenish what I took when I paid off the Macy’s card. It’s hiding in an “Other” category in the budget just in case. Hopefully his check comes in the mail today so it will be available tomorrow and I can deposit that “Other” money into savings and then put this week’s money that’s to go back into savings in that “Other” category.

I know it’s silly to have (basically) two buffers in the budget but things keep creeping up on me and I’ll be damned if I count wrong and have all my savings accounts shut down for doing 6 withdrawals in one month. I’ve been too addle-brained from stress to count on my memory or any other system that will keep track of the number of withdrawals. I think I’m at 3 right now. I figure there’s no need to push it when a bridge buffer is easy to handle with the budget program.

I’m still a little unsure how to handle five week months. The last day of the week is the first day of next month. If the check comes late and it clears on the 1st should I be using that for July expenses? If I do that turns July into the five week month so it doesn’t really matter either way, I don’t think.

We both know it’s best to wait until the mail comes to make that decision. The extra check is going toward rent savings anyway.

Next month we are back to being able to live off of three out of four checks. Summer activities killed me this year. At the end of summer I’m going to add up everything we spent and when I’m done crying over my bad money choices that made me feel like a good mother I’ll put that as a goal for next summer so it’s not a scramble.

Mr. Brickie has to go back to work sometime. He has an appointment today with his orthopedic surgeon. His surgery cut is healing beautifully and he doesn’t really wear the cast that often except when he drives or sleeps. He is hopeful the doctor will tell him he doesn’t have to wear it anymore after they do the x-ray in the office today.

I’m thrilled because his healing means he’ll be back to work soon. It will make everything normal again. Plus that healing means we are that much closer to finding out what the settlement is going to be. I’m thrilled the insurance paid him enough to live on. I didn’t know a settlement was even a thing until someone told him about it at his union meeting. I didn’t know until then there was such a thing! Now I know it’s based on how much use he’s lost permanently in his wrist and that means the settlement can fluctuate between, “Oh, hey, let’s take a weekend vacation to a local hotel with an indoor pool and order room service.” to, “Oh hey, let’s pay off all the debt except the student loans and have a fully funded 6 month emergency fund, too.” So here’s me, basically using the emergency brake in my brain to keep myself from counting different amounts of chickens before they’re hatched. It’s difficult because trying not to think about things is darn near impossible.

Is it any wonder I’m having trouble sleeping?

Tennis Kerfuffle and Tooth Update

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Okay. So I wrote an insane $410 check (on 5/23) to the tennis people because Big Sister really wants to be on the tennis team in middle school so I put her in for two hours of lessons a day for two sessions of two-week sessions. The other two kids were in for an hour for two sessions at a 10% discount. Sessions were $54 each.

When people tell me they hate word problems I honestly wonder how they get through life at all because my life is one big math word problem.

That means Big Sister was $54 x 2 hours x 2 sessions = $216
Middle/Little Sisters were $54 x 1 hour x 2 sessions x  = $216 – 10% ($21.60) = $194.40
A check was written for $410.40

Last night I got a call from the coach asking if we could move Big Sister from her second hour time to her first hour time not realizing she was in both. So we cancelled the second hour and I said refund and he said credit but we still needed to buy rackets so I figured we would talk to him about our credit covering some rackets.

This morning they had practice and the coach of the older kids wants Big Sister in the class for younger kids because she has no experience. I’m fine with that, but now she’s in the same class as her sisters and there isn’t a second hour option so it looks like this.

Big Sister is $54 x 1 hour x 2 sessions = $108
Middle/Little are $54 x 1 hour x 2 sessions – 10% discount = 194.40
New amount owed is $302.40

That’s a big $108 difference. So I had Mr. Brickie call him and leave a voicemail stating we would come by with a new check tonight. I don’t want to hear a damn thing about getting a “credit” because I don’t trust these organizations to remember I have a credit of over a hundred dollars next summer and if they don’t  guess who will be out of luck because how do you prove someone owes you money when they cashed one check? You have to hope someone remembers the scheduling changes and I don’t hold a lot of hope because these coaches work with kids and here I am with three kids and I can barely keep a train of thought from derailing. If I had to coach large groups of children I’d be perpetually confused.

I wrote the numbers up on a post-it note to give to Mr. Brickie when he goes with the new check tonight. The coach told me last night he hadn’t cashed the checks yet so we are hoping he gets Mr. Brickie’s message he left on his voicemail before he cashes them. otherwise I’ll be expecting a $108 check written out to me before this two week session is over.

This isn’t the longest someone from one of the school districts has held a check before cashing it, but it’s close. I’m not sure why you would leave a stack of checks on your desk for weeks (or, in the case of volleyball camp last year, months) and then think everything is going to be okay when you cash them. I am fine because I keep a budget but can you imagine if you forgot you wrote a check a month or more ago and then it got cashed all of a sudden? It could cause someone serious financial stress. Not cool.

Last but not least, this coach better not tell me they don’t do refunds because that’s not even going to fly. When I signed them up I specifically asked at the athletic department if I was supposed to put my child with zero experience in that middle school time slot and the woman at the desk called the coach and he said yes, so this is officially and 100% not my problem and not my mistake.

I’ll put the refund money back in the rent savings I took from when I paid off the Macy’s card. (The final payment cleared! The Macy’s card is officially out of the rotation! I’m so happy!)

Now I’m waiting for the phone call from the optometrist telling me my glasses are in. It’s coming sometime this week.

 

Things Are Looking Up

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This morning I woke up to my front tooth breaking. Or would it be better to phrase it, “My front tooth broke and I woke up.” It is a chicken/egg scenario where I think the tooth woke me up when it broke but I can’t be sure. It’s the capped portion of the front tooth so I hope I can call the dentist and just have that fixed up this week sometime since I only got it done a couple few weeks ago. Since I’m not a pro skateboarder it is obviously not my fault and I shouldn’t have to pay for it to be fixed. Since I got my whole mouthful of fillings from her I have extremely sensitive teeth and can’t chew gum because my bottom tooth hits the back of my (now-broken) top tooth so…maybe I can get that fixed in the process.

We have been dealing with the high temps this weekend with a combination of not being home, two window air conditioning units, and fans. I’m a little worried to see the electric bill but I’m more worried I’ll melt. I turn the kid’s air off at night and ours is set o 70 degrees so it only goes on when the temp of the room drops past 70 degrees. It’s not on as much as I thought it would be. I could sleep if it were just the room at night being 70-ish but that humidity is what kills me.

Humidity is not my friend.

Yesterday we went to the local national park for National Get Outdoors Day. The kids made tie dye t-shirts (I did, too!) and learned about watershed and how to upcycle old CDs into animals with the help of glue dots, googly eyes, and construction paper. They played in canoes and tried to guess the bird call. It was a really fun day and (like I always do) I wished I was more outdoors-friendly so I could take them on hikes. I have a three hour limit for direct sunlight and I just start to wilt and shrink and get faint.

We spent zero dollars on this super fun activity beyond the gas it took to get there and back. Today we’re going out of state to visit family and it, too, will be a day that only costs the gas to get to and from their home.

It feels like we might be done hemorrhaging money! I’m going to use this weekend as a springboard to keep the momentum of no spending going.

I hope the dentist is available this week to fix this tooth. I hate my front tooth being all jacked up.

Is Summer Going Great for Everyone but Me?

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If I don’t get a good night’s sleep soon I may go completely mad.

I don’t know if that will look any different than I do on a day-to-day basis. For all I know I’ve always been mad.

The budget this week is both good and bad. I finally paid off the Macy’s card! I did it by dipping into the rent savings account.. So not my most mature move but I’m hoping it helps me sleep tonight.

I also have this amazing plan where all of the charges from the dentist and optometrist I put on that 21 months no interest card would be paid off if I just need $170 payment every month. I messed that up by making the minimum payment of $40 and putting the rest of the money from the paycheck after groceries, gas, etc. into a hidden category just in case other expenses for the girls come up before the next paycheck comes in.

I know the reason I can’t sleep is because I’m overwhelmed with stress over money. I know I’m spending too much but I don’t know if that’s a bad thing I don’t know if I’m spending money in the right ways but I don’t know what the right ways are. Everyone says I’m supposed to be finding balance, but what does balance even mean?

Tomorrow we’re going to a free event at the park district because I’m also trying to do things with the kids that don’t cost any money. I guess my biggest problem is I never thought summer was going to be an issue financially. It sounds stupid even writing that. Of course summer was going to be more financially draining! The kids are here! They want things like breakfast and lunch.

I did send them out once to the park a quarter block away for the town’s “free lunch for all the kids” program. They loved it. I need to set a weekday alarm to remind myself to send them more often.

Mr. Brickie supported my decisions with regard to paying off the Macy’s card with rent savings. I want to be happy but I think he would support anything if it would stop my hollow-eyed muttering during the day. Not sleeping makes me mutter. I’m not sure why. I think it’s because I’m trying not to forget anything but I’m not going to lie, it’s a little creepy.

Here are the current numbers. No Macy’s (hooray!) but still some big balances on the remaining two cards.

I’m not sure if I feel better or not but I don’t cringe as hard when I look at the budget. I feel confident I can refill that savings category. The Macy’s slog felt way more long-lasting.

How We Spent It:
$721.30 incoming from workman’s comp
$82.94 Net10 (2 cell phones)
$40.00 Citi payment
$95.84 Buffer refill because I spent a lot last week on athletic shorts for volleyball and volleyball camp.
$270.00 Groceries ($150), Gas ($20), Tolls ($40), Stuff I forgot but oh I need cash for ($60)
$232.52 Officially stashed in a way-down-in-the-budget category in case I need it but most likely it’s going right back into rent savings. I would put it there now but I’ve withdrawn three times from savings this month and I hate even getting close to 6 withdrawals because I don’t want all my savings accounts shut down.

The numbers look like this: 2016-6-10 ynab

The Emergency fund needs to be at $1000 and the $2250 Rent Savings should (by the end of this month) be at $790.86. I think I can get the Rent Savings back to its former glory by the end of the month. I’m certainly going to try.

Summer is killing me financially. I have to get it under control.

I Keep Spending…and Spending…

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Is it a bad life decision to drain my emergency fund to pay for summer activities? Yes!

Am I doing it anyway? Yes!

I’m not sure why. I think it’s primarily because I worry I’m not a good enough parent. They aren’t over-scheduled and they will have 17 unscheduled days in August to just veg and read and do some worksheets before school begins but June and July have something or another every day for an hour here or an hour there. There are “better” camps I would like to send them to. There are math camps and specialty camps and electrical engineering camps I can’t send them to and it hurts my heart. I want so much for them. I want them to try everything before having to do the “adult thing” and choose something to specialize in the rest of their lives. I don’t want them to drift, like I do, unattached to any particular specialty at all. (I do love math, but a 40 year old who’s good at math is great for helping kids with homework and not much else unless you’ve already been specializing beyond that point, I think.) So they are swimming, learning tennis, attending a day camp for dance, one is in a summer volleyball league, two are going to overnight week-long camps, and two might be attending a volleyball day camp. It’s a hell of a list.

Plus my oldest decided she wanted to volunteer at the library. I couldn’t be happier and I told Mr. Brickie, “If she felt over-scheduled, she probably wouldn’t have added something else on.” I mean there are some kids who would and I don’t think she’s one of them but maybe she is and I don’t know it. They still have enough time to do chores, do a couple workbook pages a day, and fit in screen time so that doesn’t feel like a lot. I guess you never know until you’re looking back.

Let’s stop with that train of thought for now. It’s a rabbit hole I may never escape. Let’s talk about credit cards!

I withdrew the money I had been saving in my Digit account ($208.54) and put it toward the Macy’s card. I’m done. I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to talk about it, I want that card paid off and out of my life. I love my bed and it was absolutely the right decision to put it on the card but it needs to not be part of my life anymore. After the $208.54 payment the balance is $371.61 and between some creative accounting (putting off a bill until the fifth week of this month) and raiding the rest of my emergency fund, I’ll pay that off this Thursday and will feel like I accomplished something.

I haven’t had a financial win in a while and I think paying off Macy’s is just what I need to get me back on track and focused again.

Mr. Brickie is in physical therapy twice a week and does exercises that hurt like hell every day. He just wants to go back to work and I feel so bad for him because there is nothing I can do to help other than be supportive and tell him, “You can do it!” Which usually is fine but sometimes makes him glare at me because it hurts and I’m being super chipper and I’d glare at me sometimes, too.

Other than kid events and physical therapy it’s like our lives are on hold. We don’t go out, we don’t do much, we try not to spend money. It’s beyond boring.

OH OH OH OH OH I ALMOST FORGOT!!!

I did get new glasses. I mean, I didn’t GET them yet, I ordered them and they’re being made right now and I’ll be able to pick them up sometime in the next week when they’re ready. It seems that since I’m getting all old and craggy my eyes are getting more dense so my glasses are a little bit TOO powerful. It’s the reason I haven’t been reading books. My close vision is a mess because of my glasses. So when I get the new glasses I can read again!

I had seriously started to believe I was just giving up on life because reading is such a fundamental part of who I am and I pick up a book and it just feels like too much effort and it makes me so sad but now I know it wasn’t me, it was my glasses, and I’ll be able to read again soon!

Also, I did something I’ve never done before in the name of not messing up my eyes as I get even older. I ordered prescription sunglasses. I don’t wear contacts so saying I can just wear contacts and normal sunglasses is a pipe dream. In order to keep my eyes cataract-free as long as possible I neeeeed sunglasses. So I ordered some. They’re amazing. I hope the lenses are dark enough.

That being said my first pair of glasses were mostly covered by insurance (they’re never entirely covered unless I opt for such thick frames my eyes look giant and distorted) and the sunglasses were 30% off. It was still expensive at right around $600 for both complete pairs, but I won’t need glasses again for years and if the regular pair breaks I have my current ones as backup and we should be in a better position next year for glasses buying (I hope!) so maybe I can get a pair a year just because they’re cute and I can have options.

Wouldn’t that be dreamy?

So I’m afraid I’m ruining my kids because of the camps they are (and are not) in. I spent a bunch of money on glasses. I’m paying off the Macy’s card this Thursday (finally) even though it might not be the wise financial choice.

This has been my week. How is yours going?

I seriously cannot wait until Thursday when I can do the, “No more Macy’s” happy dance!

How We Spent It 5/26/2016

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Today another workman’s comp check cleared ($721.30) and it went to the usual suspects:

Groceries/Gas/Tolls/Etc. $270
Insurance Savings $120
Emergency Fund Refill $240.48
Buffer Refill $90.82

First I would like to point out something I think is super positive. Our lifestyle/bills and income have done some criss-cross in the graph of personal finance where the last check of the month only goes toward a savings account (so we can pay insurance in full and avoid extra charges for making payments) and that’s it. We are aaaaaaaalmost able to live on three checks out of the month. In my fantasy life, I pay all the bills with one check because it’s okay to have dreams. In reality, if I could pay the bills with two checks I’d be over-the-moon excited. Hell, I’m excited now. Celebrate the small things because they add up to the big things.

I tapped into the emergency fund last week for the girls to have tennis lessons and volleyball lessons over the summer. It was $490.40 and it hurt to take that out of the emergency fund. I feel really lucky we are in a position where even though my husband is injured we can pay for summer activities. Last summer the only thing we could afford was the $88 for one kid to go to a week of camp. It helps mightily not having a $500 car payment anymore (I know that was so dumb, I’m so happy it’s behind us.) There is still an outlay of $270 coming up for swimming lessons, too, which is why I’m replenishing the emergency fund instead of paying down debt.

I’m pretty sure it’s not financially smart to choose kid’s activities over paying off debt. I’m sorry. I don’t even know if I’m apologizing to you, to me, or to the universe but I feel like an apology is somehow in order. An apology for not being committed enough, for not being “nose to the grindstone” enough. For feeling like it’s not the smart decision but still going ahead and doing it because it’s what I want for the kids.

It feels like a very selfish decision.

I also had to spend $90.82 to refill the buffer we keep in the checking account to bring it back up to $100. I took out $10 for one field trip, $10 for another field trip, $20 for the 5th grader to take with her on the field trip so she can play games, eat awful snack bar food, and ride go karts. There were also two birthday parties so the gifts for those added up to another $50. (We normally don’t spend that much on presents. One was a Nerf gun party so we had to buy a Nerf gun for our daughter to take with as well. Well, we didn’t HAVE to, we chose to because we WANTED to let her participate fully in the party.) See, again, selfish in the moment but not really best for the long-term.

Finances were so cut-and-dry when there wasn’t enough. Decisions were easier because there were way less options. Now everything feels like a big ol’ grey area. I’m not good with gray areas because I don’t have a lot of practice dealing with them.

Ugh.

My “perfect budget” for June has the emergency fund filled and the Macy’s card $100 away from being paid off. I am going to do my best to stick to the damn script and follow the budget! I would love to know the first week of July I could really, finally get rid of the Macy’s card balance. I didn’t expect it to take so long to pay off (do we ever?) but I can’t say I’ve regretted the new bed once. I’ll still be paying it off way before the 12-month no-interest financing ends (November) so at least I’ll pay it off fast enough I won’t be punished with interest charges.

I figure if I have trouble sleeping at night because I wasted money, at least I’ll feel like I did right by the kids and wasted money. Or something. That rings kind of hollow.

Really, I swore to myself I wouldn’t expand my lifestyle to match his income in order to be in a good position later in life. I don’t know, though, because his worker’s comp is 66% of his actual pay and I should still have some left to pay down debt so we are technically still living below our means. How much lower below your means are you supposed to live to be doing it right?

I’m going to spend the whole darn day half confused. Probably the next few months, if we’re being honest, because budgeting when you’re not talking about bare bones survival is not something I’m good at.

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Here are the raw numbers in the accounts. The Citi Diamond card is the dentist bill. I have it set up on a $140/mo. payment plan to pay off before the 21-month interest free offer expires. I’m sure between paying down debt and tax returns it will be paid off before then but I’m a very “hope for the best, plan for the worst” kind of person so even if I can’t pay it off in bulk, at least I won’t pay interest!

How We Spent It 5/16/2016

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I meant to post this sooner. How can time move so slow AND so fast?

I went to see a long-time family friend graduate college and Mr. Brickie forgot to check the mail. That means his check didn’t get deposited until after 8pm on Thursday so it wasn’t available until today. Monday. Sometimes I wonder if he isn’t trying to kill me.

Paying bills is pretty much the only self-care we can afford right now. It keeps me calm, makes me feel like I’m on track, and no matter how bad he feels for not depositing the check on time it doesn’t take away that I had to resort to plan B to get that taken care of.

Like, just do your very, very small part. I swear it only entails getting off the couch, like, once.

So, today is Monday and the check is cleared. What I did last week so I could pay bills and not freak out was move the amount of his check ($721.30) from the Emergency Fund to the checking account and then today when it cleared I just moved that amount back into the emergency fund.

Thank goodness I had the emergency fund back up to $1000 or it wouldn’t have been nearly as easy. Also, there is a part of me that thinks with such an easy fix maybe I shouldn’t be frustrated at my (BROKEN) husband. Then I think no, because if I was fine with that mistake I’m sure he’d find a way to double down and make more interesting mistakes.

I could see him eventually being that guy who comes home out of the blue with a boat and a giant grin and yells, “Surprise!” like a boat is a thing that you do that with.

Violence would ensue.

I paid the car payment ($285.93) and the first installment of my 21-month dental bill ($125). The rest went to fill the buffer (aka overspending fund) from last week and grocery money and some of it was wasted gloriously when we took the whole family to local amateur wrestling. At $10 a head, local wrestling is expensive to take a family of five to go see. It is, however, worth every penny in entertainment value and we all needed a night out where we could hoot and holler with reckless abandon.

So here is where we stand on all the accounts. The Citi Diamond Preferred is nothing but dental work, which will have one more charge added tomorrow when I have my final appointment for the right hand side of my face. The reason the Discover

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The Mr. has his next follow up appointment this Wednesday and I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m hoping they take the stitches from surgery out because he’s being all crabby due to itching and general discomfort of the stitches, which usually means it’s time for them to come out. I am not a medical expert so whatever I say about anything remotely medical, disregard it outright. Thank you.
I’m also hoping his check comes on Wednesday like it did the first two times instead of Thursday like it did last time. It seems like it’s not a big difference (and really, I know it’s not) but I like paying bills on a Thursday because that’s when he got paid when he was working and it’s soothing because it reminds me he’s going to go back to work and this isn’t my “forever life” right now.

Ugh. After going to the dentist on Tuesday, the final bill came out to a bajillion dollars and my new 20-month payment to pay it off before the interest-free thing expires is $140. After $2500 in insurance coverage. My mouth was a mess. (On the bright side, from everything I’ve read online and asked my friends offline I got a good price for all I had done!) Now I just get quarterly cleanings so this was a one-off expense.

I’m also considering selling plasma to reduce debt and/or pay for summer activities. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I’m seriously trying to look on the bright side. See you Thursday (or Friday) with another How We Spent It!