My Financial Journey/Challenge for the New Year *UPDATE*
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  1. #1
    Moderator aka AmyBob AmyBoz's Avatar
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    Default My Financial Journey/Challenge for the New Year *UPDATE*

    Well, 2006 is going to be an exciting year that is bringing with it an extreme financial challenge for my family.

    In August of 2004, dh and I purchased a new home. Our mortgage payments were a bit higher than in our old home, but with both of us working, we knew we could do it. It was going to be tight for the first two years in the house because we also had two children in daycare. (We both make the same amount of money, so me staying home with the kids didn't make any financial sense, and we both feel it is important for the kids to get the social skills and school skills that nursery school/pre-K offers them.) However, things would lighten up in September 2006, because Julia would be starting kindergarten and that would be approximately $1000 a month less that we would be paying towards daycare and things would be easier.

    Then, last June, out of the blue, SURPRISE! I'm pregnant! Now, we are ecstatic about this because it was a huge struggle for us to get pregnant with both Julia and Patrick. Both times, we saw doctors and it took some time. After Patrick was born, we decided that two children was going to be it, because we really did not want to face the heartache that the struggle to become pregnant caused again. So, unexpectedly becoming pregnant was an enormous blessing.

    The glitch is that now I am going to be out of work on maternity leave from Febuary 10-June 2 (I have to go back in June or I lose my benefits which are non-contributory as opposed to dh's which we would have to pay for). Also, September 2006 does not cause any financial ease for us because we now will continue to have two daycare payments between Patrick and the baby.

    So, here's the problem: Rob's salary alone does not cover our bills. We have identified a few ways to help cover the bills while I'm out of work:

    1. Rob will be reducing his contributions to his 401k for those 4 months. This will increase the size of his paycheck. Not signifcantly, but enough to help out a bit.

    2. We will also be selling the stock that Rob owns in his company. He participates in the company stock plan and every January, he gets a new batch that he's been paying for over the past few years. So, in January, we'll sell everything that he owns outright. We did this in 2004 when we bought the house and it helped with the downpayment. So, since we sold it all then, he doesn't have tons that we'll be getting, but again, every little bit helps.

    3. I'll be teaching a class at the Community Adult School on Frugal Living. I'll only be making $100 for this class, but that could cover a bill, and right now, that's what we're looking at.

    4. I will continue to teach as many piano lessons and to tutor as often as possible while I'm on leave. It's more difficult, because I have to reschedule everything for when my mother can babysit, because I can't bring a 2-year old with me. Patrick's just a very busy boy and I just know it wouldn't work out.

    We will be kicking our general frugality into high gear, as well. Using all of the tips and tricks I've learned from my years at the village and researching and reading about frugality in general. I will continue to sell things online here and there for a few extra dollars to put toward the bills.

    The good thing is, we are extremely practical people to begin with. For Christmas, my parents gave us gift cards, including grocery gift cards, which were the number one item on my list. We used the Kohl's gift cards that we got today to take advantage of their sale and to purchase a new pair of work shoes for Rob (his were duct taped on the bottom) and a new pair of jeans for him, as well as a pair of sneakers for Patrick who recently outgrew his old ones.

    Both kids have birthdays in February, but I've already completed my shopping for them at the amazon.com toy sale back in August. We'll have Julia's birthday party at home and it will be small and frugal, like last years, which she absolutely loved.

    The biggest thing we have going for us right now is that we have no debt other than our mortgage and my van payments. Everything else is just monthly bills. We carry no credit card debt, and pay off whatever we charge each month. This means in the months ahead, we will charge less. Our two credit cards are a ShopRite American Express which gives us money back towards groceries, which we really only use for groceries, and a Shell MasterCard which we use for gas and prescriptions and which gives us rebates on gasoline. We are all relatively healthy and my insurance is good and should cover Patrick's tubes in his ears in the coming weeks, Julia's tonsil/adnoid surgery in February, and the delivery of the baby and my hospital stay, but for a few hundred dollars.

    So, I will be dropping in more often than usual and will be asking for advice and sharing the new things I learn in this journey we are making. It's a scary time for us, but I think we'll make it through. Looking forward to sharing ideas with all of you!

    **edited to add: I know that many of you are in much worse positions than I, and I am not looking for, nor do I need any sympathy. I just wanted to share my journey for 2006 with all of you here at the village.***
    Blog: http://amysreallife.com

    Amy
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    Mortgage - $377,836.63

    Always remember others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."

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    I'm here Amy, cheering you on.

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    Registered User dwallyfam's Avatar
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    Amy you can do it.

    Kellie

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    Sounds like to me you guys have it figured it out. Cheering you on.

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    Sounds like you've got a great plan in place! I'll be following along with your journey, as I'm on a similar one.

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    Registered User Mom23boys's Avatar
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    I will be cheering you on too Amy. I think it will all work out well. You seem to know what you need to do and will get it done.

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    Well from reading your post it sounds like you've really thought things through and have a plan. I think you've already won half the battle!!! Good luck and I'm looking forward to sharing in your journey.

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    Registered User SewCrafty's Avatar
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    Amy you are one of the most organized people I have ever met. I know that you and Rob can and will do it and in amazing style to boot!

    Can't wait to read all about it.

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    It does sound like you really have this all well planned out...I'm admiring that you have the ability to do that with all you have on your plate....kudos to you!!!!

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    Wonderful plan Amy. You have really thought this through, I'm sure it will pay off for you and your family.

    Keep sharing the good news. Good luck

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    Many blessings for your expanding family! Being organized really helps the stress and worry doesn't it?

    Amy, do you think you could post your notes on the frugal class you are teaching?

    I'm always looking for new ideas.

    Debbie

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    Registered User MandiDawn's Avatar
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    First - Congratulations!!! This will be a wonderful addition to your family!!
    You seem to have it all under control - I wish you the best.

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    Registered User SHOPGIRL's Avatar
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    Amy,

    Don't you get a paid maternity leave? At my school, we get 6 weeks paid, we just have to use the first 10 days of our own sick days.

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    Super Moderator Darlene's Avatar
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    Exciting year ahead for you Amy, I look forward to cheering you on and reading about your journey.




  16. #15
    Moderator aka AmyBob AmyBoz's Avatar
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    Shannon, No...we can use our sick days, and get paid for those, then we get 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the New Jersey State Family Leave Act where we get to retain our benefits. However, I left my old school district after 10 years to come to this one last year. Meaning, I left all my accumulated sick days behind. We all got the flu last year and used all 10 of those sick days, and this year, all I have are the 10 sick days allotted for the year. So, I get paid for the first 10 days I'm out, and after that, although I retain my benefits until I go back in June, I do not get paid.
    Blog: http://amysreallife.com

    Amy
    Wife to
    Mommy to 4
    Public School Teacher

    Mortgage - $377,836.63

    Always remember others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself."

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