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Hope’s Budget – Pandemic – Summer, 2020

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Many have asked for a new budget. My last update was kind of a pie in the sky budget which quickly came to a screeching halt with the advent of the quarantine and  resulting business loss.

This budget reflects the money that’s been going out for the past couple of months and the plan going forward while the Pandemic/Quarantine is our reality.

Line ItemMonthly Amount
Household Expenses
Rent$650
Auto - Gas$30
Auto/Renters Insurance$350
Groceries$600
Netflix$15
Spotify$15
Amazon$12
Allowance$280
Utilities$300
House/Yard Maintenance$25
Household Savings
Auto - Maintenance$75
Life Insurance$23
EF Savings$200
Gifts - birthdays, misc$50
Christmas$100
Travel$50
Princess Senior Year$150
Debt Payments
Car Payment$250
Student Loan$306
Totals$3,556

All monies beyond this are going into savings.

Pandemic Money Updates

Some specific line items updates….

  • Line items removed due to tightening our belt: Personal, Prepare for Moving and Family Vacation
  • Line items reduce due to Pandemic induced lifestyle changes: Gas, Auto Insurance, House/Yard Maintenance, EF Savings
  • Life items increased due to Pandemic induced lifestyle changes: Groceries, Allowance

I believe those are all pretty self explanatory when you factor in that we have added two additional boys to the household. Our grocery budget has returned to our previously budgeted amount. And since Gymnast is here I have begun giving him an allowance as well.

Line Item Updates and News

Several ongoing money updates…

Princess Senior Tuition

Princess has once again earned a merit scholarship for her hard work and resulting grades. This knocked an additional $1,000 off her senior year tuition. Because I had been saving $500 a month since January and then I picked up a couple of large projects, I now have her tuition saved in full. Yeah! I have greatly reduced the savings toward her senior year, but kept it to have some savings toward extraneous senior year expenses.

Auto Insurance

Our auto insurance is going to go up at the end of next week, but I don’t know how much. Our insurance company has been giving us 20% of our premiums back the last 2 months. However, Princess will begin driving next week. (Thanks to our governor for removing the road test requirement.) I still do not know what her dad is doing about a car or if she will be sharing with me. In addition, History Buff is beginning to look for a car…but not rushing. So we will definitely be adding a new driver and possibly 1 or 2 cars in the next couple of months.

Debt Payments

Car Loan – Until the uncertainty with Princess’ car is cleared up, we are paying a minimal car payment. I did confirm this month that we owe less than it’s worth. But I have no plans to sell it at this point.

Student Loans – I have put the minimum student loan payment in to commit to paying it. But the plan as previously posted is to pay additional monies toward the lower of the two student loans every month.

As many point out, my income is variable. But thankfully, after a really slow 6 weeks as a result of the pandemic, things are booming again. Less than two weeks into May and I’ve earned the income to put us back on “living on last month’s income,” have previous clients returning, have referrals rolling in as people are returning to pursuing their dreams and have picked up several new steady clients.

I may have to work in the dining room with our full house and crazy schedules (Sea Cadet is working overnights at one of his jobs.) But life is good and I am so grateful.

Helping Kids Cope with Uncertainty

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Helping Kids Cope with Uncertainty

I come from a family that didn’t discuss finances with children. Not budgets, salaries, expenses, nada. My parents were good with their money, but they just didn’t feel like we needed to know details. So I never thought of us as rich or poor, but I also never paid attention to anything financial.

I try to be more open with my kids. But with this pandemic going on, I keep forgetting just how often our kids are listening… or overhearing. A few weeks into our quarantine, our 10-year-old had a meltdown. Turns out she was worried that we couldn’t work and that we had no money.

Not Our Best Parenting Moment

You see, the night we found out our business closure went from three weeks to three months, my husband and I processed it live, right in front of the kids.

Earlier that evening we had piled onto the trampoline and put on a movie on the laptop, trying to make the best of this weird time. As the movie ended, we all watched the stars come out. It was pretty magical.

Thennnn we went inside. My husband had left his phone there, and as he checked it he groaned. A group text was exploding over our governor’s new executive order. This was mid-March, and we learned we’d be closed until June 15.

Magic gone.

We stared at each other. Then I said, “That can’t be right… let me find the actual order…” My husband starting listing what this would mean and what we would have to do. He was on his phone, I was on the computer, and we were upset, talking and processing.

And we sorta forgot the kids were there.

They started to pepper us with their own questions, but I sent them upstairs to get ready for bed. We tucked them in feeling totally numb, weakly reassuring them we’d be okay.

Over the next days and weeks, my husband and I started gaining hope through loan deferments and emergency funds and Small Business Loans. However, we forgot to pass that hope onto our kids.

So when our sweet daughter broke down crying that day, I realized we needed to fill her in.

Kids Need a Plan Too

We wrapped her sobbing body in our arms, and simply explained our financial situation. I told her how much our family usually spends a month, but that right now we didn’t have to pay some big things, like our house and our student loan. We let her know we had an emergency fund of $8,000, and we had a tax return and stimulus checks on their way. Our business was getting help too.

As she did the math, she calmed down. We weren’t losing our home, we could still eat, we were safe. She got it.

Our kids have been champions through all this. It’s impossible to shield them from all worry, but it is possible to help kids cope with uncertainty. This was a good reminder that just as budgeting and tracking our money has brought me peace, it can bring children peace too.

Have your kids been worrying during this pandemic?

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