Of all the things we spent tax return money on its the final bills from the old house that feel the best. Traditionally, those are things that we poors tend to just leave out in the real life cloud to gather dust and generate collection calls in a year or so. Knowing that everything I owe is in this one nice, neat little pile here (credit cards, normal bills, student loans) is really comforting. I’m sure if I pull my credit report (we will all do that together after everything else is paid off) there will be medical bills on there because providers really disliked using medicaid as secondary insurance after the BCBS policy that is our primary through Mr. Brickie’s work.
Today is the day we go to public aid and finish applying for SNAP in this state. We’ve been without for a month and that’s okay because we’ve been frugal and also visiting the local food pantry every other month (it’s a great food pantry – milk and eggs and bread and veggies – I’m really thrilled with the selection) but once we get back on the SNAP, we can also go to the local trustees office and see what else the town has to offer.One of the reasons we had to wait was we needed letters from Illinois stating we were no longer getting services in that state. I totally get it, I’m grateful the program is in place so I’m not mad about having to wait.
We are THIS CLOSE to not needing any of these services. My prediction is that this time next year we won’t qualify for any kind of public aid and let me tell you – we will celebrate that day. I will never, ever complain about my taxes going to welfare people or people “living off the teat of government” because I know too many of them and most of them work and are doing their best and are very good people. I don’t care if you know that one person who loves being on public aid and doesn’t care. I think part of being a grown up with critical thinking skills is being able to understand that one bad apple does NOT spoil the barrel when the apples are actually human beings.
Our cars are both registered in this state now and the other appointment Mr. Brickie is going to today is for this preschool grant program we qualified for. There was a lottery and Little Sister didn’t make it but she was waitlisted and her name came up as next on the list. So she may very well be going to preschool soon! I was hoping for preschool at the Y so I could swim laps while she did what kids do at preschool but it’s more important for her to stop feeling the constant jealousy at being the only kid in the house not in school.
Yes, I’m willing to sacrifice personal wants for my child. Please, don’t tell anyone. I have a reputation to uphold here. Sheesh, next people will say I’m nice or kind or something. Seriously, I’ll lose all my cloud-street cred.
The final thing we have going on this evening is a parent meeting at the school for the 4th grade overnight trip. I’m so excited my daughter is going on an overnight trip. There is a thing that came home in the mail from her school last week about a week long summer camp (did I already tell you about that?) for $80. Shocking, right? It’s federally funded by the Indiana Dunes something-or-other and it’s for all kids, not just the poor ones, to try and increase awareness of the natural landscape and conservation. I’ve also heard it’s an absolute blast for the girls.
So today we are taking care of getting the second car registered, SNAP (food stamps), an interview for a preschool voucher, and a meeting for an overnight trip for one of the kids. Only half the errands for the day have anything to do with our still-low-but-getting-better income!
Oh! Also, I don’t know if I told you but we got the letter in the mail that Mr. Brickie was promoted to a 60% apprentice! I was super-confused because I keep a spreadsheet of every hour he works and, well, it’s close but my calculations still had him 13 work days away but honestly there is some leeway in the program and for whatever reason he was moved up! That means when he does start working he’s not making $21/hr. anymore, he’s making $25/hr.
It’s going to make a huge difference and, I think, will really give me the opportunity to hack away at debt (especially if he has as much overtime this summer as the Union is predicting) which leads me to a question I need to kind of crowdsource an answer to.
Once we pay off our debt (credit card and car) should I focus on building a 3-6 month emergency fund or should I pay off the student loans? Right now we are on the Income Based Repayment plan and our payment is $0. Mr. Brickie feels we should pay off the loans first but I feel like we could pay off the loans with every single penny if we had a decent emergency fund backing us up. Let me know your thoughts!!
Random thing: Illinois accepted our tax return today so in three weeks or less we will have that refund. I’ll have to decide if it’s going straight onto a credit card or straight into the savings account. Decisions, decisions. (No, we’re not going to do anything fun with it. We’re not quite there yet and I want to keep up the “good decision” momentum!)
Last but not least I’m hosting an online Scentsy party this weekend. So if you’re inclined to enjoy products to make your house smell nice (or in my case mask the scent of a neighbor’s habit) please order through my launch party. Tell your Scentsy loving friends. I signed up to try and basically make enough to fund my own use of the bars since they are the only thing that cover the scent without giving us all headaches the way sprays do or dealing with forgetting to blow out a candle before we leave the house. If you want to participate in the Facebook party you can click here to join the group (I won’t post anything in the group after Monday so it’s not a long term comittment.) If you’re reading this after the 16th and this paragraph is still up, please let me know so I can delete it.
Thanks for your help. I’m really curious to hear what you think about the emergency fund vs. student loan payments.