:::: MENU ::::
Browsing posts in: Life Experiences

Money Down The Drain

by

First, thanks for the responses, comments, and helpful feedback on my last post.

Edited update: I did type up a full proposal and email but, after thinking better of it, I never sent it. Instead, I sent an email asking for a brief meeting sometime in the next couple weeks and already received a reply that we’ll meet on the 20th. Further out than I’d like, but better than nothing. Then we can discuss the changes in roles/responsibilities and the mis-alignment between contract and current duties in person. One commenter suggested asking for the changes to be implemented in the next financial cycle (like future planning) instead of insisting on immediate change. I think that it makes sense for me to be flexible and open to that, if thats what’s necessary. Ultimately, though, all this will be discussed in person. Not via email. I’ll keep you updated. I sincerely thank you for your suggestions!

 

Today I just wanted to tell you a little story of how being more aware can save you money (or, rather, how failing to be aware COST me money).

—————————————————————————————————————-

One of my friends is due with a second child in October. She had a baby shower over Labor Day that I had to miss since I was in Austin. I still wanted to get her a gift so I decided to shop Target.com since 1) she is registered there, and 2) I have a Target card so I get free shipping and 5% off all purchases.

Cool.

So I log in and pick out a couple things for her baby (a book for big brother and a 3-pack of onesies for the new baby). I thought it was a nice touch to throw in the “big brother” book. I try to stay around $15-25 for most gift-giving occasions (weddings, baby showers, birthdays, etc.) and the total cost of the gift was right at $25, so I was in that range.

But…

I have another friend who is organizing a big Lego drive for kids with cancer being treated at our local children’s hospital. One of her friends (an acquaintance of mine) has a son who has been battling cancer for 3 years (after 3 relapses at only 4 years old). I generally don’t do “Go Fund Me” or similar such things, but I felt moved to donate to this Lego drive for kids fighting cancer. So I added two $12 Lego sets to my Target.com order. My idea was to let my girls help wrap them up and go to drop them off at the Lego drive (they’d each have one to give).

With the legos added to my cart, my total was now right around $50. The Legos, alone, were about half of the total amount.

After placing my order I received the standard email from Target (I order from Target.com for most of my gift-giving occasions, so I have an account with them, etc.). The order looked correct, I saw the dates things would ship, and all was good.

Then a few days later…

I get a text from my friend with a ‘thank you’ and a picture of her son playing with one of the Lego sets I bought!!!

WHAT????

It turns out that since I ordered off her registry, it automatically shipped my order to her house. I didn’t even notice!!! Because I have an account with target.com I never have to enter my shipping information (it’s all saved), so I didn’t even realize that the gift wasn’t coming to me as I’d intended!

I immediately texted that I was so embarrassed it had gone straight to her – I thought it would come to me so I’d have an opportunity to wrap it, etc. She lol-ed and that was basically it. But because her initial photo was of her son playing with the open Legos package, I didn’t feel like I could ask for the other one back to give to the kids with cancer. And she didn’t inquire about why I sent 2 identical Lego packages (clearly not intended for a newborn baby). Left it at that.

Lesson learned.

Failing to pay more attention to what was going on caused me to spend an extra $25 (basically doubling the price of my “gift”) AND means that my donation didn’t happen. Not sure what to do about that one, as I feel guilty not donating to the cancer kids, but I also didn’t have planned to donate an additional $25 worth of stuff. Thoughts on that one?

Have you ever experienced a similar shipping snafu? If it were you, would you have asked for the other Lego package back, or just chalk it up as a lesson learned?


My Absence

by

I apologize for my absence these past weeks. And I hate to say, I may be absent for a few more. Life has come flooding back like a tidal wave after months of trials and despair. And while it hasn’t all been candy and flowers, lots of good things happening.

I have two very steady clients now that are giving me more than full time hours, sometimes closer to double full time. The pay is decent if not great, and I am working like a crazy person. All contract work, but no end in site and have been given more responsibilities and hours on both sides a couple of times. Good news.

We have finished out the softball season for Princess and volleyball season for Princess, Gymnast and Sea Cadet. A blast was had by all, but I am definitely ready for a break from the busy-ness. We start swim on Monday for all four, but that doesn’t take quite as much out of me and I can work while they practice an hour daily. I was able to barter for our pool membership this year, but do have to pay for the swim team. But I think it’s worth it since it is literally three months of daily fun and exercise. Cost $215 for all four to be on the time.

Car wreck, my fault – ack! It was very disheartening, just when things seemed to be turning around for us and now I have to come up with a $1000 deductible. Everyone is fine and the car is driveable. So I’m putting it off for a short while to get a bit more financially stable. I don’t carry rental coverage, so we will be down to one car when I put it in the shop, so trying to make wise decisions there.

Short trip. We made a short trip to meet up with my parents in GA and visit my grandmother. My dad paid for my gas and provided food for us while we were there, so financially it was not a burden. And it was good for the kids to see their grandparents.

Housing is going well, it’s a lot like living at summer camp. I am so grateful for the blessing and working hard to make the most of it financially.

Lets of other changes happening in our lives, some harder than others. I am truly focused on work, lots and lots of work right now. So I will try to keep up with weekly posts, but no promises just yet. Really trying to stay focused, not worry about what is coming next and save, save, save.

Thanks for your understanding and patience with me. I truly appreciate the support of the BAD community.


Life on the Farm with Chickens

by

Life has really slowed down for us.  I am spending 4-6 hours a day working on work or finding work or thinking about work, and then the rest is spent on schooling or sports with the kids.  Everyone is really happy with this move.  But we’ve also had some excitement…

History Buff with rooster

History Buff with our lone rooster – name Milo after my beloved dog.

Princess and Sea Cadet with our 25 chicks

Princess and Sea Cadet with our 25 chicks…living in our kitchen!

 

Yes, we’ve got chickens!  24 pullets and 1 rooster.  Our hosts ordered 450 new chicks for the farm and after filling their garage offered to let us care for some.  We are all thrilled!  We are learning a lot, enjoying playing with them and look forward to the day we can move them outside…three more weeks or so.

The hosts are covering all costs, we are just putting in the time.  So it’s a win-win.  The kids are literally spending hours playing with them, digging worms for their dessert and reading up on caring for them and their predators we have to be careful of.

And our hosts say that once they start laying eggs in the fall, we can help sell them at our local farmer’s market where they will take them.  Fun times all around!


T minus 1 week

by

We move in one week from today.  Everything that is going to storage has gone.  Everything we don’t use every day but needs to be with us on our Glamping Adventure is in big plastic bins, labeled and stacked and the last few things that we’ve listed for sale are on their last few days before I just donate them.  Every one of us has our clothing in those small plastic drawer sets which can be tucked in closets and corners in the trailer/RV combo we are moving in to.  And school is over.

All that’s left to do, is throw out the furniture that is not going, clean the apartment and load the car (probably a few times) and move stuff over.  I think/hope this next week will be an easy one.  The little kids are just ready for us to be there already.

Now, I feel like I can turn my attention back to the big task at hand…work and money.

I was able to borrow a truck to move a couple of items that I couldn’t move in my car and take them to storage and the RV.  That was such a big help.  Essentially all this move is costing is a bit extra gas money since we received all our boxes for free and borrowed the truck.  So grateful for small favors!


T minus 15 days!

by

The countdown is on, we will be moving to our “Glamping Adventure” in 15 days.  Our hosts have been AMAZING!  Have you ever just woken up and thought I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, like all the doubt of the challenges has melted away and you just know that where you are is right, for that time.  That’s how I’m feeling these days about this next step.

All the animals have been re-homed, our storage is almost full (complete) and we are charging forth with our last week of school and preparations for moving.  I still have to find a truck to move a few things we can’t move in our car and figure out what to do with the things we hoped to sell but are not moving…donate, I suppose.

We are out of town this weekend, probably not the best financial move since I’m still struggling with being late on two bigger bills, BUT Little Gymnast is headed to Regionals and we are all going to support him.  After this meet, he will officially level up and go from being in the gym 15 hours a week to 20 hours a week.  He loves it!  I’m so grateful for a gym that has allowed me to barter my technology skills for his training, there is no way I could have kept him going otherwise.

So just to give you a glimpse of our new home…here’s a video of Princess and Eugene one our new yard neighbors.

We’ve also learned this week that our hosts have ordered a bunch of hatchlings (400 was the last count I heard) and we are going to get a coop at our place to have our own chickens…can you say dream come true! I wish you could hear the excitement in my voice and see the twinkle in my eye as I look forward to this adventure!

We were out there this week, dropping stuff off and helping out, and Mrs. Host pulled me aside and said this:

Mr. Host asked me how long you were planning to stay and I told him I don’t know, and he wanted me to make sure to tell you, “Stay as long as you like, I don’t care if it’s a few months or a year. Take the time to get on your feet, make yourself at home. You are welcome here.”

Can you even imagine how much that meant to me during this most difficult financial season? I know, I/We are exactly where we are supposed to be right now. And more importantly, that whatever comes next, it will be okay.


Dealing with even Tinier Living Space

by

I need to start out with two important points here:

  1. I am very grateful for my friends generosity of loaning us their RV and camp space for a few months at no cost.  It will be a great learning experience and true adventure.  And give me a rare opportunity to really save up some money since our living expenses will be pretty much nothing other than food.
  2. This is temporary, and really the only reason I have taken them up on the offer is it is the only way we can stay here at least a few more months, and staying here is our first choice.

Now to the reality of the situation, I have to admit that I am dreading our new temporary living space, probably just a tad bit more than I am excited about the idea to really save some money.  I’ve never been a camper, ever.  I in no way shape or form want to sound ungrateful for this opportunity, but I am dreading the logistics of it quite a bit.

We will have access to a 10 person sleeper RV and a mobile home which is used as a office, but will provide a full kitchen and two full bathrooms.  They are parked next to each other and the office is seldom used.  We are going out on Monday to see everything so I can wrap my head around space.  We have already begun packing and hope to start moving things that will not be trashed, sold or taken to a storage unit next week.

So I’ve been working out a plan in my head, please feel free to chime in with ideas:

  1. All the kids will once again be on a summer swim team, so we will be up and out every morning for a couple of hours of swim practice.  Good start for the day.  I will use this time for work. I’ve also though that this might be the ideal time for me to do the wash as I don’t think we have access to laundry facilities.  Luckily, the pool is literally right across from a laundry mat.
  2. I will pack a cooler nightly with food to take with us since most of them won’t eat before practice and will be starving after.  Will include fruit, yogurt, bagels, hard boiled eggs, etc.
  3. From there, we will hit the local library for a couple of hours of school/work time.  Air conditioning, lots of options of things to do (reading, schoolwork, computer time, etc.)  On nice weather days, we could hit up one of the many local parks which equals work time for me and play time for the kids, especially since we can pick up any number of their friends to join us.
  4. Cooler will include lunch options: sandwiches, yogurt, fruit or salad.
  5. Return to the RV for the hottest part of the afternoon for some quiet/down time on electronics, naps or outside time if wanted.  We will have an entire farm to roam with lots of trails, animals and chores to help out with.
  6. Back out at night for sports activities…Gymnast trains at night, Princess will be playing softball as well as working out at a local gym.  On nights when we don’t have to go out, family fun outside with bonfires, grilling and games.

What do you think?  I think it gets us out enough that we won’t feel super cramped in the RV.  The twins are going to be working full time for the most part, History Buff at his current job and Sea Cadet has applied to work as a Jr. Camp Counselor at a local camp which will take him away weeks at a time.  Since History Buff is driving, I imagine we won’t see much of them after swim practice between work and social life, but they are both very responsible and respectful of the guidelines as far as their freedom goes so I don’t mind them having the extra time.

If I can keep eating out to a minimum and paid activities to maybe once a week, this will be a great opportunity to get some savings for moving into a new place and let me move forward on paying off a bit of debt.

I am well aware that this choice, maybe most of my choices aren’t the ‘norm’ but I have to tell you that all of us have fully embraced the minimalist life we have been living. While there are a few things I truly miss, for the most part, I do not mind living with less ‘stuff’ and truly appreciate the amount of time and energy we have to spend on experiences and adventures rather than cleaning and managing our clutter!  And as I’ve been researching living in an RV for a while now, it is amazing how many people do it full time or are just weekend RV’ers.  I don’t think that’s for me, but there are a lot of resources out there on it.

Update: We went out this past Monday to get a feel for the situation…all of us went.  And I have to say, after seeing the true nature of how we will live after a thorough tour of the RV, trailer, layout and access to the farm…EVERYONE is so excited!  The little ones are most excited about all the animals, and the big ones are excited about getting to have all their guy friends out for some ‘guy time’ for lack of a better term.  Acres to roam, bike trails to ride, 3 bathrooms, full size kitchen and dining table, patio and grill….yes, we are all pretty excited now about our ‘glamping’ experience!


Housing – It’s All in Name and Our Plan

by

Update: Read below for my original post.  But the day after I wrote this, I was offered a significant enough local contract to decide to stay put.  It’s not enough to pay the bills yet, but it is enough to make staying put the best decision financially for now.  We will be going with Option 2 for the time being as far as housing goes; the kids are thrilled for a number of reasons!  I won’t start the new contract until sometime in March so still scrimping to get by for now…but I am so grateful.

As of May 1st we will be homeless, meaning we must move out of our current apartment and without a job, I will not be able to qualify for any other housing.  This has been a HUGE stressor for me since learning about it in December.

You’ve probably figured out by now that I am willing and open to most anything as long as I have some time to get used to it.  I’m very open to thinking outside the box.  So here is what the plan is currently:

Option 1: If by April 1st, I do not have a job that keeps us here (or forces us to move elsewhere):

We will be packing most of our stuff and putting it in storage.  We will then hit the road to travel for 4-6 weeks, staying mostly with family and camping.  I currently have a route mapped out which takes us across the center of the US via St. Louis and Denver, down the California coastline and then to my parents in Texas via New Orleans.  I hope to take the kids to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and other places that they might not otherwise see, some I haven’t seen.  We will then return to VA for the summer while I continue looking for a job and doing odd jobs.  Income at this time will consist of adoption assistance for the twins and my part time income from my current part time job.  Yes, we will have gas expenses, but we will no longer have rent, utilities and several other monthly bills.  It will not be a luxurious trip, but I think it will be a lot of fun.  We are calling this plan….The Nomad Experience!  See below on where we will live when we return to VA.

Option 2: If I have a job by April 1st that requires us to stay here and/or when we return from the Nomad Experience:

A family friend with quite a bit of land and a couple RVs has offered to let us live on their land in a 10 person RV (where they have a hook up for water and electricity) for FREE.  So we will be putting most of our stuff in storage when we have to leave the apartment and moving with just the necessities to the RV at least temporarily – I am thinking the first two months of the summer.

Now obviously, if I get a job out of state, etc. we will move there and rent a place.  But since our #1 goal is to stay here if at all possible, this free living situation will either 1) let us live here while I continue to look for a job or ideally 2) let us live for a couple of months on a much smaller budget letting me catch up and get ahead a bit.

So right now…that is the housing plan come May.  RV living is certainly not ideal but with far less stuff, a summer with activities and the twins working and driving themselves, I think it will be manageable and even a fun adventure.  Did I mention the land we will be living on has sheeps, pigs, goat, chickens, turkeys…how fun will that be?  Or at least a new experience for my city dwelling kids!

 


Pages:1234567...69