Tag: summer

I Keep Spending…and Spending…

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 8/14/2015

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Today is a bittersweet day.

We are spending the last overtime check. It was so nice while it lasted.

This one was super easy and quick because none of it left the house. We had to refill the buffer because we went over budget on school fees and I put $10 in each of the kids’ lunch accounts online just in case.

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GGR is Gas/Groceries/Restaurants and the defaults on those numbers are still $150/$80/$40 but I’ve been known to steal from the gas and restaurant budgets for other things if we need cash. For example, Mr. Brickie’s current job has him way closer to home. So after adding this week’s $80 to the budget the total we have in that section of the budget is $151.04 which means we have been rolling over money for a couple weeks now. We’re leaving it and calling it a car repair budget because he’s going to need an exhaust system on his old beater soon and my nice car is going to need new windshield wiper blades.

I might move some of it to a Car Care category I already have set up but haven’t used yet. Having it all sitting in gas when we know we don’t need it? That kind of seems like it’s going to go horribly wrong.

We have only spent $102.34 on gas since August 1st. Huh. That’s not much at all. I mean I don’t drive a lot except to go downtown for the dentist so my car doesn’t get filled up on the regular. It will go a little faster once school starts and I’m driving Little Sister to kindergarten. Mr. Brickie needs to keep gas in his car on the regular because he commutes. Maybe it’s those Indiana gas prices? I’m honestly not sure but I’m shocked at how low the number is. (We have every transaction entered into the budget program so with one click on the $102.34 number it pops up the dates and amounts and location of each specific purchase in the category.)

You Need a Budget was really difficult for me to get the hang of the first month but I’m so glad I kept on with it because it’s really great. Knowing exactly what we really spent and when and where is valuable information.

Soylent/Health Issues Update

I told my friend Dawn in the comments on the last post that I stopped with the Soylent because it made my pits smell funny. Last night I had a gallbladder attack. So now I’m wanting to go back on immediately and for all my meals so I can avoid having that happen again. I mean, we had tacos. Made at home, from scratch. Beef isn’t fat free but damn, I really drained it good and didn’t eat but a half cup of the stuff in two tacos. I … I just don’t know what to do to keep it at bay. I’m so scared because I don’t want surgery. (Even though I know how lucky I am to have the option of getting surgery.)

In the meantime, I’m going extremely low fat in terms of food to give my gallbladder a break.

Scentsy Update

I’m considering pulling down the website as it costs $10 a month. The new setup they are launching next month is just too much hassle and I don’t like the increase in a minimum party order and some other things. Yes I’m impressed they got rid of the logo written in the Harry Potter font and everything but…I don’t know. I’d kind of rather buy what I want and just pay for shipping. I’m on the fence. (Please note, I’m still planning on using the product. I love the stuff. I’m just not sure the discount is worth it. We’ll see. You know I won’t make any final decisions until I do a cost/benefit analysis.)

Shopping Desires and Chomping at the Bit

I want a new mop. I want a dustbuster (do the young’uns call them hand vacuums nowadays?) and I want an $80 lunchbox for my kid. I’m feeling a bit…..shoppy. I’m going to figure out how to get past this feeling without giving in. Or maybe I will give in but just for a new mop that I can buy on the cheap somewhere. There are a lot of things I want and bargaining myself down to one thing that’s not expensive is usually the best way to keep the shopping under control. Of course, what I consider out of control most people consider a normal trip to Target so I guess maybe what I’m trying to say is sometimes I just want to be normal.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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Happy August!

I’ve used You Need A Budget for a month and it’s been wonderful. I thought I was doing fine with my spreadsheet and my forecasting and all those changes. I felt like having to track every single penny would be awful and make me feel strangled with details. On the contrary, it feels like we could do so much  more with the money we had. I can look and see exactly how much we spent on groceries in July without calculating anything.

It’s great.

There is a change I made to Wednesday’s How We Spent It. I took $40 off of the overpayment to Capital One and added it to a brand new “Other Kids’ Birthdays” category. There are two birthday parties in August and making sure we have those covered will ensure we can send the kids with a gift. We can even pay with a credit card like Target for 5% off and when it goes on the card, I pay immediately with the money in the category. No more revolving credit trap.

Mr. Brickie says there may be rain next week Wednesday which means no work for the day. He wants to maybe go do a side job after work for two hours a day to build up an extra day’s pay. I told him that as much as I would work him into the ground because I’m not him and that’s easy for me to ask for, I have a conscience and don’t think that’s a good idea while he’s working six days a week.

He’s feeling good working six day weeks, but if he passes the point where he no longer feels good he can’t scale back. So it is better to take the Wednesday off and relax during this overtime period to make sure he stays rested and healthy.

It killed me to say it. I don’t want to make him feel like getting excited about paying off debt is bad, but I can’t risk his health. He’s working 48 hours a week. Bricklayer work. Outside. In the heat.

I have to keep him healthy for the rest of summer. He has a whole month of at least 48 hour weeks coming up in August heat. There’s no way I can let him do 10 hour days on top of that because that will take away from his relaxing time, his sleep time, everything.

He’s more important to me than debt payoff. I mean, it’s a classic goose with the golden egg scenario. Appreciate the golden eggs, don’t get greedy and kill the goose.

He said he would think about it. He thought I would high-five him and holler, “Yes, please!” and I think my reaction confused him. Understandable, because it certainly confused me!

We fluctuate now. We have these moments of peace where we aren’t stressed out and worried about money and our future. They’re pretty fleeting but they exist. Those moments are also addictive. We want more of them and we want them as soon as possible. He wants to just go whole hog and I feel like I have to be responsible and keep the slow and steady wins the race perspective.

It’s going to be so nice when we are down to the one card. I told Mr. Brickie if we had eighty-three cents left over at the end of the month I would send it to the card. There wouldn’t be any question of, “Where should it go?” because there is only one option.

Oh, to be debt free. Ah, well, we’re getting there.

Last night I had a dream I ended up with an unexpected windfall of 2 million dollars. The whole dream was about trying to give away 1 million as $14,000 individual gifts (so I wouldn’t incur further taxes beyond the taxes I would have to pay from the windfall itself) and how I would get the money to people. It was a really good dream.

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Planning and Lamenting and a Mini Windfall! 7/28/2015

We received a check from our former home insurance company for overpayment. Windfall! I used it to pay off the Walmart store card. This Friday when we get a check + overtime I’m paying off the Amazon store card. That will leave us with just the two credit cards.

It looks like Mr. Brickie is working Saturdays through August 19th. If he does, I should be able to pay down the Capital One card by about $500+ because all the extra is getting thrown there. I’m excited to see what his paycheck looks like this week because it might actually be over $1k and that would be so awesome!

You Need A Budget has given the Mr. and me a way to see where every single penny was spent in July and he’s been a champ about logging transactions he makes (gas, soda) in the app so it’s categorized. Being this diligent about where our pennies are going makes it seem like we have a lot more pennies.

I still use the Excel spreadsheet for forecasting but now I can look at what I planned vs. what actually happened and make better changes in the future based on what our family actually spends.

In work news, yesterday Mr. Brickie said to me, “I’m really hesitant to tell you this…..”

I was like, “OH NO WHAT ARE YOU FIRED?”

He laughed and said, “No…but the supervisor says I do work better than my percentage and he’s going to talk to someone about that.”

I said, “What does that mean?”

He said, “It means that IF he remembers and IF the guy he talks to passes it up the chain they COULD decide to bump my apprentice level early. It’s a thing.” (Quick Reminder: Those apprentice bumps come with a $4/hr. raise.)

Holy crap! Of course, it might not happen so I’m not getting excited, but even just knowing that someone feels he’s doing such good work means the world to me because that makes Mr. Brickie feel so appreciated and special that he’s happy and works even harder.

If it did happen it would be a hell of a boost. Going the way we are now (without a magical, early bump) it looks like he’s going to promote to the next level (and raise) at the end of September. A couple months head start would be a really big deal for our family.

I’m not betting on it but I’m so, so proud of my husband. He works so hard and always gives his best. Sure, he forgets stuff sometimes. Sure, sometimes it’s important stuff and it drives me nuts. Even when he drives me nuts, at the end of the day I wouldn’t trade him in for anything.

Oh, the other thing that’s happening with the “bonus check” at the end of the month? Setting aside $275 for Middle Sister to get cavities filled. I’m pretty crazy about making sure we all brush and floss twice a day and Middle Sister was slacking. We had a talk and I showed her the budget and showed her what couldn’t be funded because she felt two minutes was “too boring” to brush. I told her to count dollars with every brush because this could have been prevented. The same thing happened to Big Sister last year and she hasn’t had a cavity since. My fingers are crossed. (We would all brush together but we have a very small bathroom. The three girls can’t even brush together, really, without being totally squished together.)

I’m excited to see how much the check + overtime is. I can do approximations with calculators online, sure, but when overtime is involved it gets a little funny. I do my best and try to underguess. It is always easier to find a place to put extra money. If you plan and get less it’s much more difficult to cut back.

It’s summer. Time to catch up on some things! The “wish upon a star” goal is to have the cards and car paid off before the tax return but the “might actually be able to manage it” goal is to pay off the cards before the tax return and the portion of the tax return that doesn’t go to rent will pay off the car. I’m aiming for the wish upon a star goal because better goals get better results!

A major part of how we do is going to be based on how much overtime Mr. Brickie gets, so I can’t get too attached to any goal because it’s up to the weather, the project manager, and other things that aren’t in our control.

I’m a little nervous about Christmas, but if we have to have one more low-rent Christmas like we did last year then so be it. I’d rather get the finances under control and have money for the kids when they really need it later instead of digging ourselves deeper over some toys they won’t remember.

I’m trying to let myself off the hook so I can stop worrying about Christmas in July. I realize that’s a little over-the-top, even for me!

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One Step Backward, Two Steps Forward (Finance & Fitness)

I finally got another date night! We got a sitter and Mr. Brickie and I went to a local fest and hung out in the beer tent and watched a couple bands. We ran into people we knew and it was a great night. Seriously, we had so much fun and it reminded me I’m not getting out of the house enough.

Between you and me, I know I’m not going to get out of the house until August when the kids are in school again. It’s okay, there are only (Google prefills the date when I type in “how many” because Google knows I want to know how many days until school starts. Google knows…) FIFTY ONE days left until all my girls are in school.

This day has been a long time coming.

My oldest has sleepaway camp next week, so I have to shop and pack her for that this week. I’m nervous and have watched probably a hundred hours of “What I Packed for Camp!” videos on YouTube. Go do a quick search and you will understand my brain is basically liquified now. Especially the “Here are my four boxes of makeup” campers. Like, no. Just…no. It’s all very cringeworthy, but it’s also helpful, so I keep chugging through them.

There is a lot going on outside and in the lives of people I know and people I love, but I just have this little bubble of drama-free calm here at home. All roads point toward having time to write and take care of myself and the family this fall. We have all worked so hard to have this level of stability for our family. Even the kids did their part and accepted the move with grace (not perfect grace, there was an adjustment, for sure!)  and use email to talk to their old friends and use different means to talk to their new friends.

I’ve been off social media now since the 14th or 15th of June. I should probably check my Facebook profile because I put up a message letting people know (the one time I just deactivated my account people thought I had unfriended them) and, I can tell you that after two weeks? It was a really smart decision and it has been really relaxing. I check in VERY briefly every few days to make sure I don’t miss any huge news or invitations to events. There was a home party I was invited to that I couldn’t attend yesterday because my oldest was SO SO sick and asked me to stay home, so I did. She’s all ten and trying to be grown up 99% of the time so if she wants to cuddle with her mommy because she feels gross? I’m all over it.

I feel so calm these days.

There was a part of me that wondered if I would miss the drama and the stress and the last-minute nature of how our finances were during the transition. I worried I had been scared and planning for the worst for so long I wouldn’t be able to just go with the groove and enjoy it when the easy part came.

Lucky for me I discovered something amazing.

When I’m not stressed about budgeting and finance I CAN turn that focus to something else. I’m eating a low fat diet now to keep my gallbladder stabilized as much as possible. I am finding it pretty easy to stay within my calorie goals for the day and I don’t stress eat. So I’m just using MyFitnessPal to track and I’m trying to get up out of my chair every chance I get. I feel good. I know it’s not sexy or dramatic but I’m okay with that.

It’s so much easier to say no to the “fun foods” when you are in a position where you really and truly know you can have them anytime you want. I didn’t even have funnel cake on our date night to the fair because there will be other fairs. That is truly a mind-blowing statement for me to make. It’s my food thing. I love them, but I just wasn’t in the mood. I’m honestly shocked even writing it. Those are the kinds of changes not being quite so poor has brought on. It’s amazing because I used to think it was a weakness/failing of character/willpower thing, but now I realize that it really was rare we would go to a fair or carnival so damn right I would get the funnel cake. It’s not just the five bucks for the funnel cake, either. It’s the price of getting in or rides or games or whatever else a day at the fair entails. Last night for my birthday date we spent a hundred bucks. Admission to the show, beer, his elephant ear (don’t get me started – there are funnel cake people and bad people and my husband sometimes forgets) and paying the sitter all add up.

Knowing things are just going to keep getting better? That allows me to relax and make better food choices without them feeling like a punishment. It’s also made me a lot less tolerant to people who bitch about the food choices of the poor, but hey, I think that’s been happening for a while.

Mr. Brickie got rained out of his job this morning so he’s driving over to a sidework project he has in the works and is going to work on that today instead. He’s also off on Friday for Independence Day so he’ll work there on Friday too. Any other day he might get rained out he’s going back to it as well. It’s nice to have the cushion of a backup job.

Two more days of softball and then the season is over. Middle Sister’s team came in third in her division. Big Sister’s team came in second in her division. Little Sister’s division doesn’t do tournaments. Middle Sister’s favorite game was against the special needs team because it was all teamwork and having fun with no competition. The games on Monday and Tuesday are just make up games and have no bearing on the season at all. They all had a blast but being out in the heat that much has them on the fence about doing it again next summer. We’ll see. I’m fine either way as long as there is something they are involved in. The more kids they are around in different situations the stronger their skills will be as adults. Mostly I’m just trying to raise kids that don’t want to cry when they find out they have to do a team project in school like I did. Maybe if I just nurture them enough we can bury nature under a pile of kid rubble.

That analogy sounds unnecessarily violent. It’s probably just latent stress from the memory montage summoned up by my brain as punishment for mentioning team projects. *shudder*

This month has flown by. (Not being able to remember a week or so because of that gallbladder thing probably helped. sad-LOL) I wonder if July is going to fly by as quickly?

I hope your summer has been great so far!

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How We Spent It 06/08/2015

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A rare sighting of the husbandus conversationist happened yesterday. It’s like sighting something in the wild that you almost missed but looked in the right place at the right time and saw a peek through some tall grass. You crouch to try and be unobtrusive and then, without a care in the world and no help from you, that damn lion in all it’s giant-maned glory steps toward you and you as if to say, “Drink it in. We have all the time in the world.”

Translation: My husband is a practical dude and getting him to talk about theoretical stuff – espcially economic stuff – is really rare. I’m hoping he will have more time for chit-chatting the less poor we are. But sometimes amid all the stuff he’s doing he stops and really talks to me. It really takes my breath away and I’m reminded of how SMART my husband is.

Last night Mr. Brickie and I talked about the stock market. We want to invest eventually and I want to make sure it’s not a last-minute decision. I’ve already decided that we are going to go into Admiral Shares of the Vanguard Total Index Fund to start with. It’s a “set it and forget it” approach that I think will work well for a Roth IRA. But investing is not going to happen soon (three years if we’re lucky) and we are trying to time the next bust cycle of the economy so we can get in while the market is low. It doesn’t have to be the lowEST and it doesn’t have to be a historic low, just lowER than the highEST and we should be good.

Like Junk Bonds, the savings and loan thing, dot com, and real estate the key is to figure out what the next big investment mistake will be. I think it’s going to be Big Organic, Mr. Brickie thinks it’s going to be farmland real estate. Don’t tell him I said it but I think he might be right because farmland prices are out of control and organic food has just become widely available, the market isn’t saturated with it. I don’t think we are going to be investing this bust cycle so we are honing our skills this time to identify for next time. If we can go in this bust cycle, well, we’ll know it if we see it because some talking head will be freaking out and screaming how we should all go into precious metals…because those have inherent value, see, not just assigned value. (That’s a joke. My finance jokes aren’t that funny.)

Work Updates!

Mr. Brickie thought he might be on side-jobs again this week but it’s back to the job he thought was finished. At least today and tomorrow. That’s good because every hour he works is an hour toward his next apprentice promotion. Also, he got a raise on June 1st with the rest of the union, so this week he is making more than he did pre-training. It will make a difference of about $25 per paycheck.

A hundred bucks a month is a big deal.

The next job is supposed to start no later than the 22nd and it’s going to be the juicy, good summer job that puts us in that sweet spot of having more money than we know what to do with for a couple two-three months. A school job. Where everything you do you have to get done before the first day of school because you can’t be laying brick with little kids running around. That means there will probably be overtime, but I’ll be happy with forty hour weeks.

With forty-hour weeks from this point forward (so the very best case scenario which, let’s be honest, probably isn’t what I should be looking at right now but why not let’s live dangerously) his next promotion is going to be on September 14th-ish. So still within THIS season. I’m kinda desperate for this promotion because it will mean we can afford everything we need.

Also, forty hour work weeks could get another credit card paid off and out of my life for good. The one with the annual fee. Banish that bad boy from my life! Then I can start hacking away at the one we use for recurring bills, gas, and tolls.

As for the potential September promotion to the fabled 70% Apprentice – I don’t remember the last time we could afford everything we needed without a food pantry, government program, or help from friends and family on the Internet. I mean everything. Including food. September seems so close and a million years away at the same time. I just have to orient myself, stifle the carsick feeling, and wait patiently through summer and through the budget and through paying things off and through everything else.

Even keeping myself as calm as possible I don’t think this is the last day I’ll be up thinking about it at 5:40am.

The paychecks right now are backward and mixed up. The stipend check for training (the 1st – 4th) cleared today ($250) but we’re still waiting for his check in the mail from the week before training (the last week of May for approximately $400.) So I had projected this week spending the end of May check and the stipend check and being kind of out of luck next week but it’s not going to work out that way.

Blessing and a curse, I guess.

How We Spent It

Stipend – $250

Living Expenses – $250

$150 stays in the checking account for groceries and $87.41 tops the emergency fund back up to $1000 and then I’m putting what’s left ($22.59 ) in the emergency fund as well because I have a car payment to pay that may or may not need to be partially covered out of the emergency fund.

Next week is going to be as exciting as this week. Watch with amazement as I take a $400 check and put $250 toward living expenses and $150 in the emergency fund to continue to save up for the car payment!!

The weeks right before we get full-time traction are really frustrating.

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Decision Fatigue and the Sundress

There’s a thing called decision fatigue (pdf download of an interesting journal article on self-control and decision making). Basically, after you make a bunch of decisions, the quality of your decisions decreases until, eventually, you’re making full-on stupid decisions.

Decision fatigue is one of the things that keeps poor people poor. You’re under this pile of bricks and each one has something written on it. This one over here says, “food” and this one over here says, “feed the kids” and this one says, “Gas bill” and this one over here says, “do something to maintain your marriage” and that one over there says, “save money” and there’s one right next to my face that says, “buy a sundress for your friend’s graduation party” or “just get fast food for dinner” or “spend time with the kids” or “check the homework and sign the homework planner” and “go to the gym” and “make a salad” and it’s like all the decisions forever are all etched into these bricks and it’s YOUR responsibility to lift every one and put it in order. Sure, the first bricks are easy to put where they need to be. “Get the kids to school” and “feed them a healthy breakfast” make the cut. “Do the dishes” happens but it’s a little tougher and by the time  you’ve gotten to “make a healthy dinner for the family” your  muscles are downright shaky any you’re starting to question if you can, in fact, keep this wall from toppling down on you. No matter how you feel the bricks – and the choices – keep piling up.

Decision fatigue changes that from, “stack all the bricks in order of what is most important and do it every day and don’t veer from it” to, “oh look a sundress wouldn’t it be nice to have something cute for a change”

Moving the bricks is drudgery. It’s the same thing, every day. Check the bank account. Make sure there are no surprises. (move the brick, move the brick) and it’s true that forming habits of checking the accounts and making sure things are paid and knowing my bills by heart is all helpful with not using so much thought on these things but it’s not a perfect system.

I dream of having enough money to just let everything auto-draft right out of my checking account. To just know there’s enough in there and we can cover it all. It would be like having a magical brick machine that moved the bricks off of me and put them … somewhere else where I don’t see them and only have to check in once a month to make sure everything has happened as planned.

I’ve spent so many years with “No” as my default answer. years NOT spending money and NOT shopping and NOT getting nice things for myself, my husband, and my children. Sometimes I berate myself for it because how silly to be tired from NOT doing things. Instead of the store I can hang out at home. Instead of the movies we can just play a game at the kitchen table. Instead of a museum you guys can just go to the park. How can I complain when I have all thse other alternate choices, I should consider myself lucky!

When they are things you really want to do (or normal things only you and the other poors can’t do) they wear down your decision fatigue. Not doing something is as much a decision as doing something when it’s an active choice.

Let’s be honest with one another. I’m totally buying a sundress. Decision fatigue is like an old volcano and it needs a sacrifice in order to stay quiet. I’ll do my best to not completely kill the budget by amiing for an at/under pricepoint of $35.00 so, obviously, it’s not going to be a fancy, designer sundress but if I seriously have to go to the thrift store one more time? Just…no. (I don’t know what your thrift store looks like but the plus section in my thrift store is like the eighth circle of hell.) I consider it a compromise even as part of my brain will – I’m sure – consider it a failure and lack of willpower.

So this is how it is. I stack the bricks and I move the bricks and I keep track of them as I build a wall every month and make sure the whole thing doesn’t topple on me and crush me and, every once in a while, I say fuck it and buy a sundress.

When was the last time  you gave in to decision fatigue and just bought something that wasn’t in your budget?

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Fighting For The Shore

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Today I got to experience the unmitigated joy of filling out a direct deposit form.

It sounds sarcastic, right? Like who on earth enjoys paperwork? Yep, you guessed it, I do. Especially when it means I don’t have to worry about Mr. Brickie in all his, “I think I left my check in the glove compartment” glory.

The interesting thing about being a bricklayer is that he works with different companies. They all know the workers move around and the company he is with now is known for its extensive blacklist of people they refuse to rehire. It’s a feather in Mr. Brickie’s cap for sure that he is working with them again. It’s generally frowned upon once you are with one company to shift to another company unless there is a day with no work and then you’re a free agent all over again or you can wait for your current company to start again.

I feel this gives more job security than a normal one-employer scenario. If anyone is doing work there’s a chance for a bricklayer to be on the job. A lot of things go into that chance but Mr. Brickie has one thing that very few other people do … the ability to network like a madman. He’s really good at it.

His employer for the vast majority of last season didn’t do direct deposit. We had just switched over to Capital One 360 so this posed a bit of a problem.

Online Bank
+ No Direct Deposit
= Mobile Deposits

While I have never been so thankful for technology in my life, it still takes longer for the check to clear than if it was direct deposited. Plus there was the occasional, “Where did I put that check” delay that comes from having a slightly forgetful husband. No matter what, though, I have to say if it wasn’t for mobile deposit I would probably be one of those people rocking my check at the Currency Exhange rather than deal with one of the big banks around here. Capital One might be a huge company but they’re keeping the ING Direct vibe at the online 360 location and the customer service is easy to access and super nice, so….I stay with them.

Today was also wonderful because I was able to open the Google Drive spreadsheet an add 8 more hours of work to the apprentice tracking I have been doing since the first day he began work last year. Meticulous records seemed like a good idea since promotions are based on a combination of hours worked, training sessions attended, and union meetings attended. (Although we have seen promotions occur without the union meeting requirement so I guess that one is more of a suggestion.) As of today I can – with one click – tell you that he has to work 13 more days to get to that next level. (If he works every possible day that will be 7/17 at the very earliest due to weekends and the 4th of July being an official holiday.)

I cannot even tell you how excited I am. Honestly, I don’t think there are words for it.

We are finally back in the game and he’s got work and a company and possible overtime in the future and I’m just tickled pink to be able to save like you wouldn’t believe.

Even though there are things I absolutely have to deal with very soon like the car insurance we pay in full every six months, the insurance bill we may receive in August, saving for the lean times next winter, and saving up for Christmas as soon as possible so I don’t have to use credit cards like I did last year…we are going to be in a stronger position by the end of this year than we were last year. If we can continue this trend every year it will be a very, very nice life.

We are the tortoise, for sure.

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