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Working from home

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After a recent post  a reader  expressed disappointment in my lack of a job, specifically my lack of working at home, so I felt I should cover the issue in more detail.

I do make a small amount of income from home by providing child care for a neighbor and by renting a room in our home.  While I would love to have a higher income coming from me, there are several factors against it.

1-I have a degenerative vision issue that prevents me driving on a regular basis.   Some days my vision will be just fine, other days it will be so bad that I can’t read the mail.   This said, my issue is not considered bad enough to qualify me for disability..yet.

2-Finding employment near hubby’s  work and carpooling with him seems like a great option, however it would never work.   Hubby is an electrician and goes to different job sites on nearly a daily basis.   Sometimes that means he is working 30 minutes away in town, or an hour away in the city.

3-We live in a rural area where public transportation is unheard of, the closest we get is the school bus that picks up k-12 every morning.

4-Our rural area has spotty internet service, especially in the winter months (yay, for lake effect snow!).

5-Having 1-2 days a week where I can not see well enough to work online (if the internet is working) or to be productive in other ways makes me an unreliable, undesirable employee.

I have in the past experimented with many nontraditional income streams, but, our rural location combined with my vision issue have made each venture impossible as a long term solution.  I would love to hear any ideas that you might have for me!   If I could come up with an income source that works with all those issues, I would snap it up in a heartbeat!


The Same Page?

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Have you ever said anything to your spouse and immediately regretted it, even when it did need saying?  I totally had one of those moments last night!

My darling hubby is a romantic at heart and came home with flowers after work, because he knew that I had had a difficult day dealing with the ramifications of the recent loss in our family.   Sweet, right?   Here comes my totally cringe-worthy moment.   My first words in response were “Thank you, but those really weren’t in the budget”.   Yeah, you can break out the pitchforks now, I am fully aware how awful that was!   Luckily, the hubby is awesome and totally got it and it didn’t cause a conflict, but I certainly felt like a jerk!

This event got me thinking to all the little things that we spend money on that are not really needed.   Hubby will bring me flowers, I will buy his favorite candy bar to sneak into his lunchbox.   Those  little signs of affection are very much important aspects of our marriage, and are something I need to plan for that I really hadn’t considered previously.

The flower situation also made me realize through the conversation that followed, that hubby, while wanting to get out of debt, is not quite ready to go kung fu, hard core on it yet.   That means I have a new aspect to the debt reduction challenge.  How do I make it happen as quickly as I want it to, while making sure that Hubby isn’t feeling the “pain” of it?  Any tips or ideas?


Tracking

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The last few weeks have been a bit boring on the debt pay down front as I am still just tracking expenses before I create a budget.   However, a couple things have already been revealed to me through just the tracking process.

1- We need to increase our income.   This is a really tricky one with my vision situation and not being able to drive.  Realistically,our debt payoff will be really slow if I don’t come up with a solution, because there is not a lot of excess to roll over.

2-We need to decrease our expenses.   While this goes hand in hand with #1, I think this is actually going to be the easier one to tackle.   Grocery and entertainment spending seem to be the easiest way to do this as far as what the numbers say so far.    The key to getting those expenses down is definitely going to be planning, from meal planning to planning on the go snacks and meals while we are out and about in order to decrease eating out expenses.

3-In order to jump start our emergency fund, we need to utilize our tax refund well!

4-We need to reconsider needs vs need right nows vs wants more thoroughly,   While we are not particularly frivolous spenders, we don’t always think twice when it comes to certain purchases, and we should!  For example, we had a heat register cover in our home that was beat out of shape and really did need replaced…..but I gave no thought to whether or not it needed replaced  right now.   It wasn’t a planned for expense, and even though it was a minor cost, I feel I should have waited until there was a specific budget for it.

5- The hubby and I are not as much on the same page as I though we were!….More to come in another post!


Whew!

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Am I ever glad that 2016 is over!  Those last few weeks were absolutely brutal!

Now that things have settled down between the flood and the death in our family, I feel like I can finally get past just surviving, and can start thriving!  As part of thriving, I have been rereading several of the wonderful comments from readers and I am readjusting my plans in regards to budgeting, savings and debt reduction.

I am starting from square one.

As a result of all that we have been through the last few weeks, our savings have been  nearly demolished, so I am going to go back to basics in many ways.    I think this will also help hubby have a better idea of where the money really goes, and I am hoping it will also help me with the emotional aspect of spending.  My goals for January include:

–Tracking every penny spent this month in order to create an accurate budget.  Luckily, our credit union just rolled out a free money tracking and budgeting program for members, so hopefully it will be relatively painless.

–Find ways to increase income

–Decrease outgoing costs

–Pay for an upcoming trip for a wedding with “found” money…or stay home!  I already got a start on this by selling a rocking chair we no longer used on a facebook  classifieds site.

The thing that is still up in the air is how I should tackle the dwindling emergency fund.   We have $200 a month transferred to savings automatically by hubby’s employer.   Should I just let that accumulate naturally over time or should I push to get an emergency fund built before tackling the debt head on?    What are your thoughts?

 


I’ll be back!

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I just wanted to post a super quick note…I have not forgotten about blogging here!  Shortly after the flood in our basement we had a family emergency occur that we are still dealing with.   This has meant that overnight our household grew by six kids!  Things have been crazy!!!   I will have a post up soon!

 


Debt Payment – Processing

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Hi all!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays : )

I’m just peeking in quickly today to say that my December debt payment post is…”processing.”

I made a very large payment scheduled on 12/23 and, I suppose due to the holidays, it still shows as Processing on Navient’s website. It has not yet posted. Soooooo, I’m holding off any my debt update post until the payment officially goes through. I just wanted to let you know what’s up since I’d alluded to an exciting debt update (and said it would be up yesterday). I’m still waiting.

I hope everyone is doing well! Happy birthday shout-out to Hope, too! I’ll be back soon! : )

~Ashley


Whoops! and side hustles.

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We have had a disaster hit our lives in the past week!   It all started with being fast asleep until our sweet dog jumped on our bed and wanted to snuggle.  The problem was that she was  soaking wet and smelled of raw sewage.  You can imagine the excitement waking up to that brought!

After investigating, we discovered that our sewer backed up into our basement due to some construction that was happening on our street.   The good news is that our basement is unfinished so the clean up has been simpler than it would have been otherwise.  The bad news is that we have to pay a $500  deductible for our home insurance policy. The hubby also missed a couple days of work without pay because he had no accrued paid time off left for 2016 (I hate “use it or lose it” policies!).   Luckily, this is something that we can pay for without incurring more debt, but it also means we will be meeting minimums only this month unless we can do some side hustling.

This Thursday evening, I meet with a woman who is offering me a small side job that may result in an extra $400.00 or so a month.  On top of this the lady that I typically babysit for is going back to work after a layoff, and that should be adding another few hundred a month to our income.   The catch is that both of these are things that won’t actually leave us cash in hand until January.   Our community has a very active classifieds facebook group, so I am going to do some decluttering and hope to sell a few items that we no longer use. Hubby also might be able to pick up some overtime at work.   My hope is that with all of these side hustles, that we might be able to still make the $500 extra debt payment.   Any other suggestions?

 


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