I’ve been really nervous about writing this.

I feel like we went from not having enough to having more than enough.

My friends, I have to tell you…I’m not sure how to write a blog that isn’t about being desperate and poor. I don’t know how to write about NOT going to the food pantry and figuring out how much to donate TO the food pantry. Even though we expected this and it was always part of the plan I never really thought about it because it was too scary to even hope for.

Sure there is still debt I have to throw all the extra income toward, we aren’t rich or anything, but we are in a position I don’t think I’ve ever been in my whole life. I’m 40 and this is the first moment I don’t know if I’m comfortable sharing how much we make even though I’ve never had a problem with it before.

Because this is the first time I feel like sharing his weekly paycheck could be seen as bragging. I know that some of you who live in upscale areas are going to laugh when you hear me talking about how much he makes and then actually see the number.

It’s a lot for us. Especially in the last five or so years. It’s the number that would have kept us in our previous home but we got here too late.

But now it’s here and I have to figure out how to write about it without sounding weird. I feel weird, so I’m afraid it’s going to come out in my writing.

Paycheck Received this week: $920 (a hell of a bump from last year’s $764/wk) seriously…if you’re looking for a career change and you are of sound body…the trades are the way to go. Mr. Brickie has never in his life felt this kind of job satisfaction.

Groceries: $138.50
Gas: $60
Car Payment: $284
Minimum on Macy’s (mattress): $27
Minimum on Chase Visa: $161
Minimum on Capital one CC: $46
Union Dues: $20
Prescription: $20
Indiana State Taxes: $102
Check for camp: $61.50

The balance transfer hasn’t gone through yet (Chase Visa + Capital One CC = Discover card with no interest for 18 months) so I’m paying the minimums on the cards this month while I wait for the balance transfer to go through..

My YNAB (You Need A Budget) categories look good, I think paying off the credit cards might be possible by June. I’m going to take a hit to the emergency fund on Monday because my car needs a new front axle (I finally got the dealership to call me back – there was a recall on the not-my-car and they were swamped) so Monday I’ll get the car all up to snuff and I’m not sure how much it’s going to cost. Somewhere in between $700-$1000.

I’ve started thinking about fiction writing again and would love to brush up on some things via a Coursera or edX course or seven. I think I almost have all this finance stuff automated enough that it won’t require a constant babysitter like it has for the last umpteen years.

I don’t feel free, exactly, but I feel like I can breathe a little. I’m scared “the other shoe” is going to drop any minute but occasionally think maybe it won’t. Maybe all these good decisions and sacrifices and everything else will come together and we won’t have any more life changing financial disasters. Knock on wood.

It will feel manageable and attainable!

While I do have hopes and goals for what date I would like to see the goals happen by, the most important thing I have is a prioritized list. No matter when the Macy’s gets paid off, it’s still #1 on the list. Then the Discover is #2. Christmas comes in at #3 and paying off the car comes in at #4. The big #5 is to save a six-month emergency fund and save up $5k to buy in to Vanguard Admiral shares. After that maybe I’ll pay off my student loans.

It’s a pretty short list.

I’ve spent so long dreaming of not being poor and now I’m in a place where I don’t think I am anymore. Taxes showed we were finally above the poverty level for 2015 so does that mean we’ve finally made it to the lower-middle class? Is this what making it feels like? You just have to get out of poverty by a couple grand and viola you’re middle class?

According to this income calculator from the Pew Research Center we are still in the lower category and will be until my family of 5 hits $50k.

2015 indiana lower class

BUT we are in the middle class globally. I’m not sure that’s a comfort. Here’s that global calculator if you’re curious where you or your family weigh in.

2015 global middle class

I’ll know for sure next Monday what the cost of car repairs was and how much I had to take out of the emergency fund to cover it. I know when you have an emergency fund you’re not supposed to use it for car repairs but I’m paying it back to us on Thursday when he gets paid next and I do another fascinating how we spent it segment.

It still feels like being okay happened all of a sudden when we got the taxes and paid off the Mazda and then he started working so early in the year making money we can actually get ahead on.

Everything feels so different this year. He’s going to work the rest of the year with this same company. Stability is a new sensation we haven’t had in years and I forgot what it felt like. I’m honestly far too scared to even think of celebrating but why is that?

2 Comments on How We Spent It 3/4/2016

  1. Please keep blogging! Now that you’ve entered the oh-so-coveted lower middle class, I think you will reach even more people. I just got approved for the Discover balance transfer, and I never would have thought to do so if it weren’t for your blog. It’s a huge weight off, and I feel like my monthly credit card pay off contributions are actually going to matter, now.

    Our incomes currently match, and that makes me excited, because I feel like I can glean even more knowledge from your hard work and dedication. Thanks!

    • I’m so sorry I just saw your comment! For some reason I’m not getting notifications of comments and they’re not even in my spam. Thank you for your encouragement. I’m figuring out the best way to write about it … I think blogging might be a bit of a compulsion because I can’t seem to stop! =) Thank you again!!

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