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“Fun” Little Freak Out

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Let me share with you a story about an all-out “FREAK OUT” moment I recently had regarding my pay.

In terms of back-story, I am on a 9-month contract which ends May 19. When my new contract goes into effect I’ll be switching to a 12-month contract. But that contract does not go into effect until the start of the fiscal year, July 1st. In the interim (May 20-June 30), I will be receiving pay designated as “supplemental compensation” at my current rate of pay (my raise doesn’t go into effect until the new contract).

Since the academic year is soon ending, I emailed our business manager last week asking if I needed to complete any paperwork/what I need to do to get the supplemental compensation to kick in. There was a bit of a process involved last summer and I can’t remember the exact steps.

The business manager replies back basically saying (paraphrasing), “I have no record of you receiving supplemental compensation this summer. Your new contract starts July 1st.”

And I’m like, “WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?!?!” (insert the Scream emoji face)

I’m instantly reviewing old emails and re-living old conversations in my mind. Is it possible that I misunderstood? That I simply thought I would be receiving supplemental compensation but that I’ll actually be going AN ENTIRE 6 WEEK PERIOD WITH NO PAY WHATSOEVER?!?!?!

I call my husband in a panic. How are we going to survive? Here, I was just saying how these next two months are going to be super tight…I didn’t realize we’d literally have NO INCOME during this entire time period! We (stupidly, in hindsight) sent our entire $5,500 emergency fund to the IRS when we were setting up/establishing a payment plan for our 2016 taxes. What were we thinking?! The IRS felt like an emergency at the time, but with the gift of hindsight, I now realize we never should’ve entirely wiped out all liquid savings. What are going to do?!

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

I allowed my heart-rate to come down. I emailed my boss to gently inquire into this issue. Was I mistaken? Or am I supposed to be working for the next 6 weeks, as I had planned (not to mention, I’ve got work meetings piled a mile high on my calendar, and all kinds of tasks to accomplish over that time).

My boss was at a conference at the time so it took what felt like an eternity for her to respond. My initial email was sent around 2pm in an afternoon and I didn’t hear back until nearly noon the next day. It was just a simple clerical error. YES, I am supposed to be working (as planned). And YES,  I will be receiving supplemental compensation under my current rate of pay until my new contract goes into effect on July 1st (at which point my nice raise will go into effect).

Just breathe.

I have taken a couple lessons from this experience. First and foremost – we made a horrendous mistake in completely wiping out our EF. We need to get back to at least a “baby” $1,000 EF ASAP!!! Not sure how that’s going to happen given that we’re still grappling just to tread water and not lose ground over the summer. Either way, regardless, we need to have at least a starter EF to help us if, heaven forbid, we face a similar crisis in the future.  Second, rather than rushing to panic – maybe just reach out to my boss immediately and try to save the panic for later. In this case, I would’ve been able to sort out the situation and no panic was needed at all. Also, I’m glad I was proactive in reaching out to the business manager BEFORE the semester ended. It would’ve been a terrible surprise to have the semester end and then all the sudden have NO MORE PAYCHECKS when I was depending on them to pay our bills and feed our family! Yikes!

 

Have you had any financial “close calls” recently?


Healthcare

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I thought the kids Medicare might carry over for a few months while I got settled in at the new job and decided on new health insurance, but because we moved states it will only cover emergency room visits. I could apply to move it to GA but with my new job and income, I no longer need too. Yippeee!!!

I am keeping it for emergencies while I get everything settled, but now I have to figure out what to do. Here are my options as I see them:

  • Sign up under my corporate sponsored healthcare at about $700 per month with a $40 co pay and $6000 deductible for in-network. It would not take affect until May 1.
  • Evaluate plans under Obamacare’s website if that is still a thing.
  • Sign up for Samaritans Ministries or something similar. From a quick query, this would run me about $320 a month for all 4 of us.

I know health insurance talks can be like beating a dead horse, but I certainly want to hear what the BAD community has to share about these options.

I have already opted to go with the corporately sponsored vision and dental options.  The costs are nominal, coverage decent and with three of us wearing glasses, we will definitely take advantage of it.  (Back in VA, we went to a dental school for our dental coverage, but living in the boondocks now, that is not a convenient option.)

By the way, second day at the new job complete.  It’s going great. I have my own office, my boss took me to lunch today and my co-workers are all really nice. I’m getting up at 5am and spending an hour at the gym before getting in a couple of hours at my contract jobs then I show up to work a little after 8am.  I’m hoping that by doing this I keep my nights and weekends as free as possible to spend time with the kids. Oh, and I’m down TWO pant sizes as I found out when I went to buy new jeans tonight.  Woot, woot!


Today is the Day

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In just a few short hours I report for my first day of my new job. It will also be the time I get a better grip on what this will mean for us financially as I see the health plans, 401K options and so on.  Pray for wisdom as I make those kind of decisions.

I’m grateful for Ashley’s recent post on her Tax Issues, not that she has the issue, but it raised a flag for me as I go to fill out the tax paperwork for this new job, that I need to really evaluate my tax withholdings since I am planning to keep my contract jobs along with this new one.

Prior to starting my new job, I’ve worked out at the gym for an hour, had a full and healthy breakfast (thanks to my Grandmother) and put in a couple of hours of work on my contract jobs.  I spent most of yesterday prepping school for the kids for this next couple of weeks and getting ahead on my contract jobs.  I feel like I’m ready.

The kids have all stepped up in a big way to make this adjustment as easy as possible.  My youngest decided that he will be in charge of packing me a lunch, I think he put one of everything in the house in my bag.  He says that I am going to be gone a long time so he doesn’t want me to be hungry.  My daughter laid out my clothes for the day.  I’m not sure how leggings and a flannel shirt go as far as corporate apparel, but seeings at it is freezing and my wardrobe is limited at best, I’m going with it.  As I fretted about it last night, my very wise 12 year old daughter said to me, “Mom, you already got the job, now you just have to go wow them with your skills.  After that, they won’t care at all what you wear.”  I’m taking that confidence booster and wearing my leggings and flannel to work today.

There are a couple of things I am going to have to buy sooner rather than later like a lunch bag with a way to keep things cold and a few nicer pieces of work clothes, but for now, I am ready to get started.  Wish me luck!

Non-finance related:

Gymnast competed in the Level 6 VA State Championships Gymnastics Meet this past weekend and competed at the Division I level.  He brought home 2nd on high bar, 5th on rings and 6th on vault.  I couldn’t be more proud.  And an even bigger highlight for the kids, was there Dad made an appearance.  He and I planned it as a surprise.  He hadn’t seen the kids in 19 months.  It went well.  Here is Gymnast’s 2nd Place High Bar routine if you are interested.

 


New Job and a New Outlook

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I am slowing shedding the feeling of shame I’ve been carrying for the last couple of years since we moved out of our home and into the apartment.  For the first time in a LONG time, things are really looking up!  It has been a really rough time, especially since December when everything changed so suddenly.

As I mentioned in the comments of my last post…I GOT THE JOB!!!

It’s full time, full benefits, work in an office…real life job!  And the way it happened could not be any more providential!  Here’s a little back story.

When we began our Christmas visit with my grandmother, I spent a great deal of time applying for jobs…everywhere, all over the world.  Well, I had been through this before, know the holidays were not a good time to be in the job hunt, but I continued to persist.  The job I got is one of those jobs.

Then while we were in Texas visiting my immediate family over Christmas, I got a text from our ‘landlord’ that the camper we were living in had been damaged and was no longer liveable.  Can you say full panic mode!?!  Up until that point, I had planned on us living in the camper until April when we could 1) wrap up the school year and 2) finish Gymnast competition season at Regionals.  Then was planning to move to GA to my grandmothers or travel for a bit.

With nowhere to live any longer, the timeline moved up for the GA move, but I was able to secure temporary housing in VA for a month while Gymnast finished his regular season meet. And to give us time to pack up and get things into storage and so on.  My grandmother graciously let us move in with her with first week of February.

On our trip to GA with our final load of belongings, I got the call. They were interested in my varied skill set for a brand new position, but I lived in VA. Oh, how funny, I’m was actually driving down to GA with our last load of belongings to complete a move to a town, that is literally one town over from the corporate base of this company.  They headquarters are 12 miles from my grandmothers home, 12 miles!

Our first three weeks in GA were filled with in person interviews, personality test, reference checks and phone follow ups, and our last Friday night there (before we returned to VA for a week) they called at 4:12pm and offered me the job, met my salary requirements and I start NEXT WEEK!!!!!

The timing of the call, the timing of the interview process and the start date…after over a year and a half of searching, I can only say that God had a hand in this.  But there is more, this company gives back to foster/adoptive charities (hello, near and dear to my heart,) the owners actually know some of my extended family (small town but wow,) and one of their goals is to empower women/moms.  Holy cow, can it be any more perfect!

Granted, this will be a BIG adjustment for my little family.  I will be going to an office for the first time in 13 years. My grandmother has insisted we remain with her for at minimum another month while we adjust to the new life and she will help with the kids.  She’s watched us homeschool all these months we’ve visited her over the past couple of years, and is comfortable with keeping the kids on track to finish out the year.  We will have school on Sunday evenings where I will give assignments for the week and then we will meet a couple more times during the week to make sure we are on track.  It’s not going to be easy, but I am confident we can adjust.

I am keeping both my part time jobs for the time being both for security and to help me get back on solid financial ground more quickly.  All jobs are aware of the situation as far as me working them all.

And just a small financial win…okay two wins. Maybe three.

  1. I was able to replace the tires on my car, yes, I waited until it was dire, but I paid in cash!
  2. The kids have all received a small stipend for some summer clothes and are looking forward to getting to shop. (They have had a couple of weeks to make lists and think through needs and wants, etc.)  This is especially crucial for the two youngest since they hit major growth spurts this year, so nothing old fits.
  3. I have almost $500 in an emergency fund, consistently saving 10% of any monies received.

I am so grateful for this community and the constant encouragement. I’ve still got a wait until I get my first paycheck and see how all the deductions and so on work out before planning a budget and starting to look for housing.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this week as Gymnast will compete at his state meet this week, his last with his current team…it is bittersweet and he is really struggling with the move the most because of it.  And then we will return to GA to start our “new life.”

 

 


Cross Your Fingers for Me

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Later today I have what I think will be a final interview for a full time job here in GA.  It’s the one I referenced here that called me on our move down.  I’ve been through the first interview, personality test, submitted professional references, so I think this should be the last in person part of the process…

Not counting my chickens before they hatch, been through too much of this in the past year and a half to do that, but I am hopeful. We’ve got one more week here before we return to VA for a week for Gymnast state meet, Princess orthodontist appointment and so on. (Yes, I did let this potential job know about this commitment in the very first phone call and again in the person interview.)

This move has been a BIG change for us all.  While I am really enjoying the lower cost of living (gas and groceries,) we are all filling the pinch of lack of activities for the kids.  We’ve been exploring the surrounding counties to see what their parks and rec departments have to offer.  I know once they get plugged in and make some friends it will be easier on them.

trying on shoes

Princess and I spent Friday night window shopping and trying on shoes just to get out of the house while Gymnast spent the weekend at cousins.

Oh, and Sea Cadet has a job interview as a vet tech tomorrow. I’m not sure how that will work since he has unofficially committed to the same summer camp as last year. If he gets this local job, he will have some decisions to make.


New Job!!! (Kinda)

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If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you know that I’ve been hinting at some job changes coming up. For the past year and a half, I’ve had two jobs.  Job A: My full-time (in person) academic job. Job B: Adjunct teaching part-time online for a different place. It sounds reasonable, but my “part-time” job was like working the hours of another full-time job and I knew the schedule was unsustainable long-term.

I want to tell you all the crazy details (I swear there was about a 48-hour-period where I was absolutely freaking out) but it’s probably in my own best interest to be vague.

Long story short…I guess I kind of experienced a “bidding war”???? That makes me sound like a prostitute – like I’m selling myself to the highest bidder. And I hate for it to come across that way, when I know that’s not who I am. But…that’s what happened.

I was offered a job for significantly more than my current salary. But when I went to resign, I was offered significantly more than the other offer to stay. I’m talking, my salary increased by about $40k in a 48-hour period. On paper, anyway (the contract has been signed, but the salary doesn’t go into effect until this summer, after my current contract ends).

I can’t even believe it! I’ve known there were going to be some changes, but I had fully expected to be reporting to you about having an entirely NEW job. There are some aspects of my full-time job that will be changing (more responsibility, etc.), but I’m staying in my CURRENT job and will be saying goodbye to my part-time job, effective this summer. One of the conditions of my new salary was that I had to sign an agreement not to seek outside employment in my area for 3 years so I cannot legally stay at my part-time place. Overall, it was a great deal and I was happy to sign it (there was a lot more than just the increase in salary, too; The package was quite generous compared to comparable positions in different departments and universities).

Our household income will still be a little less this year than last year (this raise doesn’t fully make-up for what I’m losing in terms of my part-time income, though it’s close. But additionally, hubs’ business continues to ramp down so his income is way down). Even so, it is an exciting thing to have secured such a huge raise after only being in my current position for a year and a half! Frankly, this type of thing is unheard of in academia! But I feel like this is also the culmination of a significant amount of hard work coupled with a bit of dumb luck/being in the right place at the right time and having a specific skillset and expertise that is highly valued. I love my full-time job and couldn’t be more thrilled that I get to stay!

Have you had any good news on the job-front lately?


And we are on the move again…

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Hello BAD Community and Happy 2017!  I hope your holiday season was fantastic and you were able to spend some down time with friends or family.  The kids and I have enjoyed a sabbatical (for lack of a better word) here in Georgia with a quick 10 day trip to Texas.  It was the first time we’d seen most of my siblings (there are 5 of us) in over two years.

We had a very frugal Christmas and loved every minute of it!  I didn’t decorate, I didn’t cook and I felt no stress to meet anyone’s expectations.  It was very freeing!  The kids were ecstatic with their “gift card’s for lunch with mom” and a variety of other small things like the $0.46 shorts.

Now for the bad news…we are still in Georgia, well beyond our expected return date. And the reason is that we have no where to return too.  While we were in Texas, I received a text from our hosts of our Glamping Adventure and where we have lived since April, 2016.  It read and I quote: “Bad news…a line broke on the camper. We had to totally winterize it to protect the rest of the plumbing.”  Yea, just a few days before Christmas we became officially homeless.

They did assure me it wasn’t something we had done (we left on Dec. 7th and this text was received Dec. 19th.)  So instead of returning to VA right after the New Year as anticipated, I have been frantically, FRANTICALLY trying to find us housing.  My original plan was to remain in VA at our free housing until April  and then move everything to GA and make my Grandmother’s our home base if I still hadn’t secure enough work or a full time job to get housing for us.

That has now been modified.  I have been able to secure temporary housing beginning Thursday at a home that will go on the market in March.  They have offered us housing through March 1st at no charge.  It is fully furnished and recently remodeled.

The plan now is to:

  • Return to VA on Tuesday (delayed from Monday due to snow storm.)  We will stay in a hotel for two nights.
  • Move into temporary housing on Thursday with absolute minimum necessary.
  • Spend the next two weeks packing our stuff at the camper.

Now I have to decided whether to:

  • Leave our stuff where it is (at the camper) until mid-February when we must return to GA for a gymnastics meet.  We would then load a moving truck and put everything in storage here in GA; or
  • Get a POD or U-pack or something similar and load everything in to put into storage until we know where we will land next.

A quick pricing check puts these two options within a $100 of each other.  I am leaning to the POD type storage because I am not certain when we will have housing and I am not certain, although I hope, that we will end up in GA.  Any words of wisdom from the BAD Community?

In additional to frantically seeking housing, I have SPAMMED everyone in my network with a plea to share my LinkedIn profile with their network.  I had a first interview on Friday afternoon and made it to the next round, but I’m not confident. 


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