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Celebrating a Birthday after Job Loss

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The twins’ birthday is next week.  I had already budgeted and saved some money for it.  And I had hoped to let them have a party of some sort, but now I’m struggling with that idea with the job loss.  The plan was family dinner out, presents and then a party of some sort with friends.

Now, I am struggling with the desire to really celebrate them and the desire to hoard all available cash.  Two legitimate desires in my book.

Yes, I know they are old enough to understand, but I said that last year and they did.  I feel horrible that we are here again.

So what would you do?


Panic Mode to Inspiration – The Call (Part I of 3)

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Mondays are my least favorite days.  They require from 3-5 hours straight in the car for me.  I run the twins and sometimes Princess to another city to work with their competitive robotics team, run back here to drop off the Gymnast, a few miles down the road to coach Princess’ volleyball team and then back to the other city to pick up the twins.  It is a grueling day…and this is all after I take Princess for a couple of hours of volunteer time at the local shelter.  I am not complaining, although it does sound like it, I choose this, I could say “No” – I own that this is my choice.

But this past Monday was a whole other roller coaster in and of itself.  First the day started out on a high…we celebrated four years of being a family which I wrote about on my personal blog.  In years prior to our tiny space living, we would celebrate with a visit to the local pottery painting place where we would all paint a dish including the number of the anniversary and a meal out.  This year and last, we opted to skip the painting due to financial reasons and because we just don’t have space for more dishes.  But we did go out to eat.  So a good day.

However, in between my marathon chauffeur duties, I got the dreaded call.  My biggest, longest running client, the bread and butter of my business for the last 8 years…they are downsizing.  They gave me three weeks notice.  Tears sprang to my eyes.  All the plans for housing, out the window, all the debt pay off plans, out the window.  All with one phone call.  I was devastated.  But I had to pull it together and go coach Princess’ first ever volleyball game….we WON!

There have been sleepless nights since then as I toss and turned, panicking, wondering what if as I look back at how I got here, and just worrying.  It took me a year when I first started my business to get to the level where I could support us.  And I have to admit while I do have some smaller clients and occasion bigger projects, I’ve become complacent.  So I will essentially be starting from scratch again.

I ended the day with dinner with my kids to celebrate the four years that we’ve been a family…since the day the twins moved into our life.  They all knew about the call as I couldn’t hide the devastation.  But we spent the meal reminiscing about those first days, learning more about the twins’ feelings at the time and being grateful for the experiences we’ve had to this point.

 


An Anniversary of Sorts

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This month celebrates a year with no regular child support.  I was trying to remember just how much he had contributed this year since he warned me that he would not be able to help last Sept/Oct.  I think over the last 12 months I’ve gotten right at $1000 total in support.

While this definitely created a burden and we had to cut back a bit, we did it and we thrived.  One of my goals back in November was to become independent of it and the twin’s adoption assistance.  And I’m proud to say that I think I’ve met it and exceeded it.

By picking up the two classes at the homeschool co op I was able to pay for the kids’ classes. And by living on last month’s income and picking up extra work here and there, I was able to buy each of the kids some new school clothes (a must for the littles since they still out grow everything every year and a blessing for the twins since they are primarily responsible for their own clothing purchases) and school supplies.

So today I am grateful that we continue to thrive despite unexpected financial down turns, for continued work at times when the “extra” is needed most and for this blogging experience that has continued to keep me in check and on a smart path financially.


Teaching Pays the School Bills

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We had open house at our homeschool co op this week.  As of today, I have 16 paying students registered for classes.  I am so excited!!!

As this last month of summer break has dwindled towards the end.  I have been filled with remorse at having committed so much of my time to teaching especially spread across the week so long weekends won’t really be an option.  But I knew it was the right decision financially as it truly will pay the way for all my kiddos classes and that is a HUGE financial burden lifted.

But as I got to mingling with the other mom/teachers I could see the passion in them.  And as the families and kiddos started trickling in, I felt that passion rise in me.  I am so excited to get to be a small part of these kids lives and teach something that I truly LOVE.  And I’m really grateful for the support this particular co op gives to the teachers…complete control over our curriculum and our classrooms.

So while I have spent hours this summer prepping my classes and content, now that I have met most of my students I will spend this weekend revising my expectations and class schedule and assignments.

I won’t make any money on this per se, but 1) the tuition from my students is fully covering the cost of my kids’ co op classes and 2) I will have 3 full prepared classes if I ever chose to teach these classes again – Multi-level Geometry, Intro to Computer Programming and Advanced Computer Applications.

Classes start next week!


Floundering a Bit on a Plan – Too Much Going On

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I am typically pretty decisive on my plan, but I’m really floundering this time around.  We just have alot going on at the same time.  And I’m struggling with my priority list.  So here I am asking for some feedback from you.  In a nutshell, here are the  things going on in my head that I’m trying to balance along with my debt payoff (these are listed in no particular order other than how they came to mind:)

  • Kids Co Op Costs – As I mentioned last spring I am going to be teaching two classes this fall as our homeschool co op to off set the cost of the kids’ classes.  I had hoped that those two classes would fill and I wouldn’t have to worry about any tuition costs; however, it does look like there is going to be a difference.  Typically, the little’s dad would be helping with this and this would not be an issue.
  • Moving/Housing Costs – When our lease is up next April we are LEAVING.  So I will definitely have some moving expenses or at least storage costs.  Since I HOPE to be buying, I need to seriously consider upping the ante on my savings beyond the EF fund that I add to a little at a time.
  • Travel – One of the places I am definitely going to loosen my financial belt a bit this coming year is on travel. We have two trips planned this fall, both to see family, so not much expense except gas and a bit of food…and we’ve just been presented with the opportunity to spend a weekend in DC and work a marathon which would be fun, but it is volunteer and I would have to cover our costs.  (I’m not thinking beyond April with this, just short weekend trips to see family.)
  • Educational Camps – One thing we really cut back this year was some of the educational camps/experiences we have done in the past.  And with the twins beginning their junior year, I’d really like to get a few more in before they are in the “real” world.  Not to mention, some of them count as a semester worth of credit for classes so they truly are “school” related.
  • Music – We cut music out of our curriculum in the Spring of 2014.  It was one of the first “big” cuts I made.  At the time I knew it would be a temporary move, but I didn’t realize it would be so long.  Princess has been asking when those lessons can resume.  So I would like to consider adding them back in for at least her and any of the boys are would be inclined to really commit to it, ie practice.

So you will see I have a lot swirling around in my head thus making my “debt” payoff plan a bit more challenging.  I really like my new budget…but I have to consider these others things and really make some decisions again.  So let’s talk numbers, here are my estimated costs for the items listed above at least through April based on sketchy ‘ideal’ plans of which nothing has been decided or committed to.  In fact, none of this has even been discussed with anyone other than you now…the sucky thing about being a single mom is having no one to bounce these things off of!

  • Homeschool Co op Classes – Currently the kids are registered for several classes each over 2 days.  The cost per semester will be right at  $2,170, I can get a 10% discount off that if paid in full up front.  Currently, it looks like I will be able to bring in right at $1,600 for the two classes I am teaching.  I do still have openings in them both so if filled, it would cover everything, but I have to plan accordingly for now.
  • Moving/Storage – I have no idea how this will go.  I would anticipate at least $200 for a storage unit to hold everything if we were to hit the road.  And probably a solid $10,000 would be a good place to be if we were to find the right place to buy.  These numbers are just coming off the top of my head.
  • Travel – Right now I am budgeting $250 per ‘family’ visit trip.  This would cover gas, some extra food and that’s about it.  Since we’ve been doing this particular trip forever, I know this is slightly higher than needed, but want to give myself a bit of wiggle room.  Two times this fall and maybe one time in the Spring before April, so a total of $750 for family visits.  And the possibility of DC, I don’t know?  (Little Gymnast’s meets are a whole other story and I will cross that bridge when I get to it and have a meet schedule.)
  • Educational Camps – There is really one in particular that I would like to send both the twins to for a week early next year and Princess to for a day.  The total for this would be right at $1,000.  (Oh, I can predict what I’m going to hear about this one…but I’m telling you, this is a solid educational program that they will NEVER forget and it does require about a month long preparation on their part to be ready for it homework-wise that is.)  Oh, and if I register them in September, we would get a little over $100 off.
  • Music – This one I really struggle with for two reasons.  One I know how important music is both educational and emotionally.  But on the other side, music lessons are expensive and with our currently living situation…practice would be hard.

Ugh, so if you are still reading and have gotten this far, thank you.  I know this is not the most organized post.  But this is where I am at as I try to discern the best path for paying off debt which I TRULY am still laser focused on AND maybe add a bit more life back in and plan for upcoming things.


Halloween 2015

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I know we’re still in August and just doing the back-to-school thing, but I want to skip ahead a bit and talk about Halloween!

Last year we didn’t really “do” Halloween as a family because my friend got married, so I was busy with wedding festivities. As a result,  I’m extra excited about Halloween this year. It will be the girls’ first year to actually trick-or-treat door-to-door (they’re 3 years old). But you know what I’m NOT excited about? The price tag!

Since we didn’t really celebrate the holiday last year I didn’t buy them costumes. Hubs dressed them up in the same baby-bag type ladybug costumes they’d worn the year prior (see post I wrote about it here. Side note: RIP to the beautiful rug the girls were sitting on that picture. It got destroyed only about a week later with the great flood of 2014). Last year a couple of people recommended buying Halloween costumes on clearance after October 31st and save them to use for this year. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that organized and it didn’t happen.

Enter:  Costco!

Y’all know how much I love Costco! Well, they’ve done it again! They got a bunch of costumes in early and they are SO CHEAP!!! I’m talking $13.99 for a princess costume with little accessories (necklace, tiara, etc.). We took our girls and let them pick out costumes – Elsa and Anna (from Disney’s Frozen). We were out the door for right at $30, including tax!

You guys, I’m floored! That’s cheaper than second-hand costumes on Amazon or even the cheapy-type costumes at Party City! And they’re brand new with accessories!

Now the hard part is going to be keeping the girls from wearing them until Halloween (because I already know they’d lose the accessories and it would be a huge ordeal to a threenager). But just in case anyone else is starting to think about Halloween costumes – get on the ball now! Costco gets them in early, but they also don’t restock so once the costumes are gone there’s no more.

Have you started thinking about Halloween yet? How do you save money on Halloween costumes?


Send a Prayer Up – Wisdom Teeth Removal

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Send a prayer up for Sea Cadet today please.  He will be getting his wisdom teeth out, and he is VERY nervous.  I’ve walked him through it from my own personal experience, the oral surgeon answered all his questions last week at the consultation and now it’s time.

I’m very grateful that his insurance covers this 100% and I’ve used that aspect to encourage him to get it done now before he is on his own.  Not to mention it will really help with the braces we are re-doing at the end of the month.