Mr. Brickie says I’m spending less time looking at and talking about the budget.

I told him I take a vacation from worrying about the budget every summer when he works overtime. It’s the only time I’m able to pay the bills without thinking. I sink down into the feeling like a comfortable chair and take a few minutes to really enjoy the experience of paying bills and saving money. It’s a special feeling. It isn’t excited but it isn’t entirely calm, either. It’s like the fulfillment of anticipation. A kitten in a sunbeam kind of feeling.

A feeling I look forward to having on the regular as Mr. Brickie progresses through this apprenticeship program. The pay raise from his current employer has already done a world of good in making over a hundred dollars more per paycheck a reality, which means it is pretty solid that we are going to pay off the Capital One card before the end of the month.

Oh! The training letter came in the mail! Quick refresher: The training is a M-Th 7am-5pm once a quarter. It is a requirement to get promotions through your apprenticeship. Instead of a regular paycheck you get a stipend based on what year of training you are in. Since Mr. Brickie is in his second year (Y2Q4 to be exact) he will receive – instead of a paycheck – a $250 stipend. It’s a sacrifice and it plays havoc with our budget because, well, it’s not a lot of money. It’s part of the program, though, so he doesn’t complain and he doesn’t skip it and he takes it very seriously.

We are very lucky that he has already taken the Y3Q4 training for his OSHA30 due to a worksite he was on during his first year of the apprenticeship. That means he only has three more trainings after this. I don’t mind the ones in winter so much because he wasn’t working anyway, the summer trainings, however are a tough row to hoe.

I had pegged that last week of the month’s paycheck toward Christmas, which means I’m going to be sad and not even start to fund Christmas until September. Mostly, it means I’m going to have to shift a lot of things around because I also was going to pre-pay the iPass out of that last paycheck.

Well as soon as I know what I’m doing with it, you will too.

At least I’ll be doing it with only one credit card balance. That has to make things easier.

Story Time!

My upstairs neighbor has a couple kids. I think they’re 19 and 20 or maybe 17 and 21 … I’ve had the daughter watch my kids twice (I pay right around $10/hr.) and she did a fine job both times. The son has borrowed a can opener, random things like that. Both very polite.

Once the son asked if he could use my wifi for a school project. I had a router and created a guest network and gave him the username and password. When my Internet started crawling, I shut it off. Then I get a text asking if I can turn it back on because someone has to do something for school. I turn it back on.

Sunday night I’m streaming The Wire from Amazon Prime (season 3 – no spoilers! lol) with my husband because that’s what we do and I’m buffering. There is NO WAY I should be buffering with all the kids in bed and all their Kindles and the XBox with them. I check the wireless router and there are NINE devices hooked up to my router that aren’t mine. I pitch a mini-fit (to myself, in my living room) and turn it off again, because STFU with nine – currently connected – devices.

I receive a text at 10:22pm that (some guy’s name that isn’t my neighbor but I assume is her boyfriend) needs the Internet for a school test and she can’t find the name of my Internet on her list.

Since I am a wonderful person, I texted back to tell her my wireless router broke.

I have never even heard the name of the guy she texted me with but damn. Your dating a guy who can’t afford Internet and has to come to your crib to hang with you and your “from the neighbor” Internet?

Nine devices, y’all. Nine. My family of five with an xBox and three kindles (including my pre-backlight reader) is rocking 8 connections max.

If they were legit using it for a school test it wouldn’t have bogged my happy streaming ass down now, would it?

She texted back Ohhhhhh okay (happy face emoticon) and then she or rando guy’s name spent the next half hour stomping up and down the stairs, slamming the front door of the building right outside my front door and leaving the gate to the backyard unlatched which made for some awesome banging during the storm that night.

Which solved the problem of, “How long can we say the wireless is broken?” Because after that immature display by whoever? The answer is, “Forever.”

I think this is the first in a long line of, “Why can’t you share? Your husband has a good job and you have extra money so why not spread the wealth?” problems in our future. I get it’s not important to you to have Internet, but it’s important to me. It saved my life on one occasion and saved me from homelessness on another. It’s okay our priorities are different, I don’t judge anyone for not having Internet, but it’s also not my responsibility to provide you with something I have because you think it’s, “No big deal.”

I also have more in savings right now than most people would. That’s not extra money and it doesn’t make me feel any richer or more well-off. It makes me feel like I’ll have money for auto insurance and rent when they’re due. Just because a bill is paid to a savings account in my name rather than a company or landlord doesn’t make it any less spent.

I look forward to being in a position where I can budget for donating money to good causes and people who have fallen on hard times. It is something very dear to my heart (it was before I needed a fundraiser, too) and knowing how life-changing a few thousand dollars can be to a family in my position means that I know how much every $5/$10/$20 donation means to the family receiving that money.

That is a whole lot different than someone trying to score my Internet when there is a library three blocks away with Internet and probably access to a computer lab if they are in a local school.

I still feel like a jerk. I’m not sure why.

The Soylent Experiment

I only eat dinner now.

Some article came out that compared Soylent to “Slim Fast for bros” and I was infuriated. If Slim Fast had any nutritional value I would have already been consuming it. A reporter that can’t read a nutrition label, well, isn’t a reporter.

I drink 2 12oz. servings a day. That’s a whopping 750kCal before dinner. My TDEE is around 2,400 so that leaves me a lot of wiggle room. I messed up the MyFitnessPal numbers so even though I’ve lost about 7lbs. in the last two weeks, MFP shows I’ve lost .2 – oh well. I feel better and it’s nice to not have to think about food. I would be on this 100% (minus occasional social meals and a nighttime bowl of popcorn here or there) if I didn’t think it would risk giving my daughters a complex about food.

I’m not hungry until dinnertime, either. This stuff works to make you not hungry. The brain recognizes it as food.

Soylent is not for people who love food. It’s not for people who get a rush from crunchy or gooey or lovely textures. It’s for people who feel hungry and think, “I do not even want to deal with that.” Who have no specific food cravings and just want to not be hungry anymore.

I’ve gotten far more good-natured ribbing for this than I ever did when I told people I wanted to be debt-free. I’m amazed that when I tell people about this they take it personally. Like I care what anyone else eats? I don’t. I’m just doing a thing. No biggie.

It’s weird.

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2 Comments on Budget – WiFi Abuse – Soylent Update

  1. Really??? Stealing your WiFi? For NINE devices?! I would have pitched a fit. And I understand you have to live with them upstairs so I probably wouldn’t have pitched a fit, but done exactly what you did!

    I understand completely what you mean about the perceptions people have. You made decisions. You budgeted. You were smart. You struggled (big time.) That does not make you responsible for other people’s poor decisions.

    As far as Soylent, I’m looking into it… the name is so creepy but it sound supercool. How much does it work out to per meal? And is this a direct sales? (Because if so, I’ll happily buy from you…)

    • Soylent is 100% not direct sales. I took a quick pause because as much as I love it … well … it made my pits smell funny LOL!! So I’m going to try it again in fall when I can really get a handle on if it’s ME or if it’s Me + Soylent because I’ve been out a lot, yes, but normally I’m not really stinky so it kind of freaked me out. It might just be back to school jitters though. TMI and gross, yes, but that’s where I’m at. I want to make sure it’s not doing anything too drastic to my body chemisty =)

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