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Today is the Day


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.



  • Reply Susan |

    Good luck on your first day! BTW, I would dress as “corporate-ly” as possible until you get the lay of the land. It may be that dress there is business casual …but maybe not.

    • Reply Laura |

      I would echo this. You may not have many work clothes but wear the nicest ones you have for now. And good luck at the new job.

      • Reply Klm |

        Yep–even if you have to wear the same outfit more than once in a week, I’d dress ‘up’ for now.

        • Reply dh |

          I agree, please don”t wear leggings on your first day at a new job! You want to make as professional an impression as you can. It’s taken you so long to find this job, why dress questionably on your first day?

          • Anonymous |

            Agreed. Dress as best you can. Leggings are not work apprpriate and I would only wear them if you had no other options. Goodwill has some nice pants for not a lot of money. You can also wear a camisole under your tops for added warmth but I probably wouldn’t choose a flannel shirt for a corporate job. If you need to take some money out of your EF for pants or tops, I would do it.

            Congrats to you on the new job and Gymnast on his success. Good luck on your first day!

          • Isabella |

            Yes, even if you have to wear the same pair of black slacks all week, it is best to err on the side of caution when it comes to work dress. When I worked as an elementary teacher, the dress code was super casual at my school. (Lots of jeans and sweatshirts) I always dressed up a bit and never wore leggings or jeans. I really felt that I related more to parents and students as a professional, one who was serious about my job.

    • Reply Hope |

      I appreciate the well wishes. I actually wore my leggings with a beautiful long shirt and jacket that I love and feel very confident in. I did compromise and set aside my tennis shoes for boots and guess what? Everyone, EVERY SINGLE PERSON on the executive team was wearing jeans and a corporate t-shirt. I was dressed up.
      Now that was amazing and just another sign to me that I am in the right place because I HATE to dress up. The dress code is super casual and I am now a proud owner of a corporate t-shirt AND went out tonight and bought two pairs of jeans.

  • Reply T'pol |

    Good luck with your first day at work. I am really hoping that this will be a good fit for you and your family. Please keep on feeding the Emergency Fund as much as you can before you go out and get an apartment. BTW, I love your kids and your grandmother. You are one lucky lady to have them in your life.

  • Reply Jen From Boston |


    Here’s my advice: With the 401(k), find out how much the company will match. Often times they will match x% up to part of your contributions. It sounds a little confusing, but if they have good literature on it they’ll give concrete examples. Usually the deal is to maximize what the company will match, you need to contribute a minimum amount.

    For example, if your company matches 100% up to 5% of your pay, then you should contribute 5% of you pay to get the full match. 6% would be nice for you, but it won’t increase the company match. So, if you have a $1,000 pay check, the contributions would break down like this:

    Gross pay: $1,000
    Your 401(k) contribution: $50
    Company’s 401(k) contribution: $50
    Your taxable income: $950
    Total 401(k) contribution: $100

    I point this out because I know money is tight right now and you want to maximize your take home pay, so it may be tempting to decline the 401(k) contributions. However, you could be leaving free money on the table (company match), and a pre-tax contribution to your 401(k) would decrease your taxable income.

    • Reply Jen From Boston |

      More advice: Some companies will have investing in the company stock as a 401(k) option. Don’t do that. It doubles down on your employer risk. If your employer goes under, not only will you be out of a job, but your 401(K) will be worthless. Invest in other things, such as mutual funds. Usually they have several to choose from. And you’ll likely have some time to decide. Once you have the investment options you can come back here and get advice as part of your research.

    • Reply Hope |

      Wow, I forgot how long all the HR time takes, I spent almost half my first day with HR and half of today filling out all the paperwork I received from HR. Insane!
      I cannot sign up for the 401K until April, but did find out that the company matches up to 3% so I figured that would be a good place to start. With my 3 jobs and lower cost of living, our financial outlook is changing quickly. I am so grateful!

  • Reply Walnut |

    Your kids are too cute. Take their advice and wow them with your skills! Your employer has landed an employee who can roll with any challenge and come up with creative and outside of the box solutions. On the financial side, invest up to the employer match in your 401k. Since this paycheck is brand new to you, you won’t miss the money. Even in tough times, I’ve never regretted the money I put toward retirement savings. Everything counts – $1 at a time.

    • Reply Hope |

      Thanks, Walnut! I am certainly excited about this new adventure despite all the hard changes. And will definitely be taking advantage of the 401K matching of 3% as soon as I am able to sign up (April.)

  • Reply Maureen |

    On the tax note it might be worthwhile to run the numbers (yourself) and/or have your accountant run the numbers after you have been at your job for 6 months and determine if you are close to the breakeven point with your freelance income. I normally suggest doing this in July every year, but you should give it some time since the W2 income is new.

    I have found this to be helpful (and in some cases painful), but I to have W2 income and other 1099 income. I pay in quarterly for the 1099 income, but the mid-year check enables me to adjust my W2 withholdings if necessary or pay in more quarterly over the last 6 months of the year so come tax time what I might still owe is not a HUGE surprise. Even with that said, I still ended up owing a huge amount this year at tax time, but I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if I hadn’t paid quarterly and checked in occasionally with my accountant. Last year was a good year though, so I can’t complain too much.

    • Reply Hope |

      Good advice to check in with an accountant in a few months. I will definitely do that as GA tax laws are a bit different so I need to check about the state income tax as well. I erred on the side of caution with my deductions now.
      As much as I hate to give the government a free loan, I certainly don’t want a nasty tax bill surprise next when I’ll really be getting back on my feet.

      • Reply Maureen |

        Agree. If you run the numbers and reevaluate every so often the idea is not to give the “free” loan but come out about even-give or take a few hundred dollars.

  • Reply Nadia |

    It’s probably too late now, but I echo everyone’s comments above – please don’t wear leggings! I’m so happy for you that you got a great job, and I’d hate for you to put yourself at risk of not pleasing the “higher ups” right off the bat. Unfortunately, first impressions mean a great deal. Great jobs are not easy to come by, and you should dress more professionally than you think you need to, not less. It shows respect for your coworkers, and the position.

So, what do you think ?