27 – mixed blessings and budgets

The company that was interested in my qualifications has put a pause on all hiring until the new year.  I am bummed and yet, somehow, incredibly relieved at the same time.  I wonder why?  Ah, that would be because of right now, if nothing changes, I have at least five weeks off. Unpaid, yes…unwelcome? No.

Corey starts his new job on Monday, Dec. 2.  In order to be able to take a deep breath, I had to put together a budget that makes sure that we can do more than survive on his paycheck, we can thrive. The tentative answer is “yes,” but to make sure, I had to go through the exercise below.  I threw numbers into all these categories to see where we ended up.

You’re welcome to use the table below to start your own process, but please note, and I’ll say this over and over… THIS IS NOT ADVICE. Nor do the numbers below reflect our budget, or the budgets of anyone alive or dead.  And no animals were harmed in the making of this budget.  And don’t spill it on your lap, the contents may be hot.

This is an extrapolation that I use each year to sort out what the monthly budget is going to be.  I've filled it with estimated numbers for two wage-earners combined, and three people for groceries, etc.  This bears no resemblance to my budget, number-wise.
This is an extrapolation that I use each year to sort out what the monthly budget is going to be. I’ve filled it with estimated numbers for two wage-earners combined, and three people for groceries, etc. This bears no resemblance to my budget, number-wise.

There are also a ton of things that aren’t included above, like school clothes for the kids, business clothes for the parents, haircuts, oil changes on the vehicles, home insurance or renters insurance, property taxes, income taxes, income tax refunds, and on and on.  Both columns can have dozens of lines that aren’t there now… but for me, there are three key pieces.

Key 1: That bottom left hand number matters.  As long as it’s a positive number, we’re doing OK.  If it is a negative number, I have to adjust my income or my outlay to change it to a positive – for instance, if that was a minus $55 dollars, I could adjust the amount I put into savings to nine percent, and my number would go back into positive.

Key 2: I put into a savings account or somewhere safe the amounts for insurance and other non-monthly bills.  I hate getting slapped by a $600 vehicle insurance bill that I’ve totally forgotten was coming up, or $300 for life insurance that bills once a quarter. I put the amounts away each month that are needed to get those bills paid in full when they show up.

Key 3: The emergency fund is crucial.  This is the part, oddly enough, that was the hardest.  For my own peace of mind, I really needed to have six months of outlay in the savings account to be comfortable.

OK, I’m done now… for anyone who’s attached to the alter egos*, Ethel is sitting next to me poking me with a sharpened elbow to make sure I get this right.  Britni’s eyes glazed over by the second paragraph, and she’s bedazzling something over in the corner. Dexter’s hunting down the turkey for tomorrow. There will be no presidential pardons for the fowl beastie, but the way in which it meets its demise will at least be painless, at my request.   Thanksgiving is the happiest time of the year for Dexter.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Hope it’s filled with family, love and laughter.

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