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Preparing for a Financial Shake-Up

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Right now, we are in a financial groove. I know what to expect for our income and our expenses are fairly regular. I know what stores have the best deals and I know what thrift stores have the best prices.

But things will be changing shortly.

When my husband finds a full-time job, we will end up moving to wherever that job may be. It scares the heck out of me that we will no longer have our super-cheap mortgage (less than $350/month) and I no longer will know where to get the best deals.

I’m not against change. I believe that change can be important to make things happen in your life (hopefully for the better). But it doesn’t mean that change will be easy. For me, it’s downright scary given our debt-ridden financial situation.

The one thing I am doing to try to face this fear is to start preparing for the financial shake-up. How? Well, he’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Build Up That Emergency Fund!

Our savings account is at $2,500 right now. On Monday, I will be throwing a little more into it. The goal for a while is to put our debt reduction on hold and to keep contributing to that fund. We should rename it to the “Money to Make Tricia Feel Better Fund.” We’ll beef it up as much as possible so we have it to weather some financial hardships that can come with a move.

Sell More Stuff!

I read Debt is Slavery back in August and that book opened my eyes. It’s a big reason why we sold so much stuff during our three garage sales this summer.

Get rid of the clutter and there is less to worry about in your life!

I might have some more time on my hands soon, and while the huge piles of snow in my yard deter us from having a garage sale, I really need to get on eBay and do some selling. I know I keep saying it and I keep dragging my feet. But if I soon have that time that I’m thinking I’ll have, well, there will be no excuse.

We’ll make some extra money to put in our savings account and we’ll have less to take with us when we move.

Keep Healthy!

I haven’t been in the best of health lately. In fact, I’ve been under a lot of stress and have been suffering from stress-related symptoms. At one point, I thought there was something really wrong with me and I almost went to the emergency room. I waited it out due to fear of a high hospital bill and the symptoms did go away. I began tracking my symptoms and I noticed a relationship with being stressed.

I need to reduce the stress in my life and keep healthy. When I’m not feeling well, I have a tendency to get depressed and that is not good. I need to keep optimistic during this transition and I need to keep a clear mind to keep myself together.

Conclusion

Well, that’s what I’ve come up with so far. Basically I’m going to hoard as much money as possible, get rid of as much stuff as possible, and keep myself as healthy as possible. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

I already feel a little better about the whole thing after writing about it. So perhaps the fourth item up there should be to talk about it with others.


18 Comments

  • Reply dcsmith |

    Hard to believe not too long ago you didn’t have a penny in the bank and thought nothing of going out and swiping the plastic to buy more stuff, isn’t it?

    Now a nice flatscreen TV’s worth sitting in the bank seems like a dangerously low balance.

    I look back at my behavior and cannot believe some of the stuff I did without a second thought. Amazing to think how perceptions can change so much.

    I wonder what dopey things I’m doing now that futureme will look back on with disdain.

  • Reply Susan |

    Trish: I think you’re looking at the glass being half full. The balance of your debt against your savings is only $14,464. This is less than a new economy car, which you would probably need if you both worked in the city. Stress/depression are very serious problems. Exercise/yoga offers great relief as do seretonin based antidepressants. Talk to your doctor. This might help with your smoking as well. Cheer up..you’re doing great.

  • Reply Mrs. Micah |

    You’re quite strong and resourceful, Tricia. Shakeups like moving can really suck, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. Perhaps you’ll be able to find a slightly smaller house for less. And with selling this one, you’ll already have something to put towards it.

    Sounds like you’ve got a lot of good thoughts. For the depression, I’d recommend getting sunlight (if possible), exercise (even walks), meditation, and borrowing or buying a cheap copy of Feeling Good by David Burns. Literally helped save my life. (Along with antidepressants and a good therapist who used the book as my homework).

  • Reply Tricia |

    dcsmith – you are so very right.

    Susan – you are right as well. I am seeing the glass as half empty lately and I’m trying to snap myself out of it (like I have been able to in the past) but with the stress I’ve been under it has been difficult.

    Mrs. Micah – I hope to be able to sell our house and make some money from it. But we have paid so little on the principal on our mortgage and our housing market is so bad that I can’t count on money from selling. When we do move, we will be renting for quite a while. Thank you for the depression suggestions. It is sunny out right now (which is rare for us in the winter) and I think we’ll go out and sled in our yard and shovel some snow.

  • Reply Connie |

    I moved last year from the San Francisco Bay Area (one of the most expensive places to live in the US) to central CA, the 3rd most depressed area of CA. I too “lost” my great thrift shops, my cheap stores,etc., but have greatly enjoyed the change. As far as selling your house & renting, check out Millionaire Mommy Next Door website and follow the links about “rent vs. buy”. I think it may cheer you up to find out that owning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I sold my house three years ago & only toy with wanting another one. For now, the freedom of knowing I can give 30 day notice & go is pretty exhiliarating. I too suffer from depression and Mrs. Micah’s advice about the Feeling Good book and some anti depressants is right on time. Good luck in your new adventure.

  • Reply Nine Circles |

    One more thing you can do as soon as you know what area you’ll be moving to is to put out the word that you need info about that area. I’m sure you will quickly get all kinds of advice on where the best deals are to be had.

  • Reply rob in madrid |

    what about moving and renting? House prices are heading down anyways so renting may make sense. You also may want to check out Dave Ramsey as well, alot of people really like his stuff

  • Reply Janelle |

    You could always rent your house instead of selling it. Since your mortgage is so low, maybe you could rent it for more than what your mortgage is. With having such a low mortgage and living expenses, I honestly would think twice about moving. I’m in Washington State and you can’t rent a home for under $1400 in my area. And grocery prices here are very high compared to other parts of the country. I visited a relative in Missouri last May and got to go in my first Aldi’s. Wow. Can you say cheap?! I can’t get their prices on the best sales in my area.

  • Reply Ryan S. |

    Good luck, Tricia! I’ve been considering leaving my 12 plus year job that’s been pretty high paying and secure because the organization’s going in directions I don’t care for, so I can use these tips to prepare myself for what might be tough.

    Ryan
    http://uncommon-cents.net/

  • Reply Jana |

    Tricia – you’ve been my inspiration in starting on the “get rid of debt/start saving” program. You’ve mentioned ways to save, find deals, pay debt and pile extra payments when possible. i know you will survive this move! you are involved in this wonderful relm of debt-payer & saver bloggers… just keep current blogging and reading. you will make it. (ps – boxing stuff up also helps to relieve stress:)

  • Reply angiebaby |

    T- you are an awesome inspiration to me. I’ve been reading your blog all year and find your words very inspirational. I am so proud of you that you are ready to take the plunge and go for the move. You’re so young that I think living rural at this time in your life is kind of waste – you two have so much living to do & the small town will always be there if you change your mind. πŸ™‚ Chin up baby cakes! Life is going to treat you right this year, I can feel it!

  • Reply Maria |

    Tricia: once you and your husband are ready to go to a particular place, put the word out! As near as I can tell, you have readers from all over the country and many of us would be happy to provide you with tips about housing, schools, thrift stores etc. Don’t be afraid and don’t let yourself get too down! My husband and I have moved with our kids on a couple of occassions and it was always tiring and a bit stressful, but not impossible! Best of luck and Happy New Year!

  • Reply Shana |

    I generally like knowing how my life is going to go, so I understand your frustrations. However, one thing I’ve learned in the (reasonably extensive) travelling that I’ve done, is to go with what happens wherever you are. You can only control so much, and it’s a great relief to feel at ease enough to realize and accept that, and to commit to embracing what happens *when* it happens. You’re doing a smart thing by consciously saving more money right now, and that’s very smart. I wrote recently about how it’s necessary to alter budgets from time to time, depending on various circumstances (http://smarteasymoney.blogspot.com/2007/12/on-basic-money-management.html). Also know that relocation expenses because of a job are tax deductible, so you could easily see some savings in next year’s tax bill, which could be an unexpected windfall for your family.

    What someone mentioned about renting your house sounds like a really great idea, since your mortgage is so low. Unless you were really counting on potential profits for your house, this is probably the very best thing you can do. In addition, you keep the house and have an extra stream of income — which is one of the best ways to build personal wealth.

    Yoga, basic stretching, or even mild exercise will definitely help with your stress level. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been blue or upset, and then it all changes within an hour after I go dancing or for a long walk. If you know anyone with a dog, offer to walk the dog. Alternately, you could go to your local animal shelter and volunteer for dog walking there (I know someone who does this in my city). There’s nothing like a little exercise and/or being around animals to noticeably reduce stress.

    Good luck!!

  • Reply shira |

    Just found your blog – LOVE IT! Nice posts and useful links – Great job!

    My husband and I are just starting “the process” of not only debt reduction but also wealth building.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    shira
    averagejoeinvesting.blogspot.com

  • Reply Susan |

    Trish: It is impossible to find a $35,000 in the US:
    a price of a nice car. You really might want to hold on to it, and in fact pay it off quickly. Many of us have taxes or HOAs that cost more than your mortgage. It would be nice to have it paid in full, and if you have a renter in covering most of it–so much the better. You have the tax deduction as well, which may pay for itself. The trick is to ask for a deposit, first and last and a security deposit. It is worth consideration.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR and a prosperous 2008 to all.

So, what do you think ?