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Living Expenses Broken Down

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Many commenters balked at the $250 I have decided to charge the twins in “rent” beginning next month OR when they have a full time job and are not full time students. Let me explain my logic a bit. And believe me, I did not just whimsically decide to do this or magically pick a number out of the air.

I consulted several seniors who are much more wise and experienced then me, including my own parents who have several of us children (there are 5 of us) move back in with them for periods over our adulthood. In addition, I spoke with people my age who have had to move back in with their parents at some point or another to see how it worked. I don’t know anyone who did not move out of their parents’ house right after college or as so as they had a full time job. That was everyone I knows first priority.

Excluding the whole pandemic situation which is so far from the norm that there is no way to predict or plan for it or around it, the consensus was that charging adult children to live at home was a standard practice as was having a move out goal. The feedback on saving and returning some of that money was split, some returned all when they moved out, some returned part and many did not. In all cases, this was not implemented in “hard” times for the adult child or as a punishment, but rather when they were gainfully employed and did not seem intent on making any forward moves on their own either in education or financially (savings.)

Monthly Living Expenses

First, let’s break down our monthly living expenses that I considered when coming up with this number.

Monthly Rent $650
Internet $63
Utilities $300
includes Water, Electric, Gas, Sewage, Trash
Groceries $650
Total $1,663

Based on these numbers, asking the twins to contribute $250 per month towards living expenses is asking for approx. 15% of the living expenses.

Before you jump on me…

  1. The utilities number is an average from the last year. Depending on the season and temperature outside, the monthly cost varies. And I can tell you that in just the month since Sea Cadet and Gymnast have returned, our water bill has jumped an extra $20 per month.
  2. While I must keep the internet for work, I can tell you the twins would not live without high speed internet for their Xbox addictions. And they definitely make use of it.
  3. While my last budget showed a reduced budget for groceries, we have added two young men back into the house and we are all eating 3+ meals here a day. It’s taking every trick I know to stay at this number.

Other Adult Responsibilities

And just so everything is out there for full review.

  • The twins each pay their own cell phone bill and equipment fees. (Both have purchased phones on payment plans.)
  • The twins each pay their own car insurance. Since they are currently sharing Sea Cadet’s car, it is half what it will be once History Buff buys a car.
  • Sea Cadet has not been paying these bills since last August when he went with Americorp, I have been covering them for him. (His car insurance was not active while he was gone, but he was re-added when he moved back home.) He is now paying $25 every two weeks from his Americorp stipend until he gets a full time job and begins paying in full.
  • Both twins contribute to weekly chores around the house, as do the younger two children. These chores take no more than 1-2 hours per week. And none of the children are paid for this chores, it is expected as part of living here and maintaining the cleanliness of our home.
  • Each twin has their own bedroom, own closet and while we share the shower in their bathroom, they are the only ones who use the toilet, sink and storage in there. While, yes, Sea Cadet’s bedroom would traditionally be the living room, it has a door on it and I moved all of my office stuff out when he moved back, giving him his own room. (Gymnast and Princess are sharing the largest room in the house and they both use the bathroom in my room as their main bathroom.)

I think this will give the BAD readers a more complete picture of how we live. And more importantly, how I came up with the number to charge in “rent” for my grown kids who are no longer full time students, or even part time students when they have full time jobs.

Mental Health Setback

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I can’t post today without acknowledging my mental health took a beating this week. And that’s affecting our finances. I’m becoming familiar with the CDC’s phases of a pandemic, but it seems they don’t include my current stage on their list: Explosive Anxiety Freak-Out.

I’ve been a worrier for as long as I can remember. I remember in college I called it “excessive worrying” because I didn’t know how else to describe it or how to stop it. Even as I started my career, got married, and had kids, I didn’t know how to manage all that worrying.

Diagnosing Anxiety

In the summer of 2016, I was spread to the limit. My dad was on hospice care after seven years of cancer, and I was traveling back and forth to Denver to see him. In July we bought our business, and then in August my dad passed away. In the midst of my grief, I still had small children to care for and a business to get rolling.

One day, I had a panic attack. It was equal parts new and familiar, and it scared me. Gratefully, my sister was able to recognize it and point out that I most likely had anxiety.

Anxiety! Of course. Just having a name for it was empowering. I was able to research it, study it, and find a wonderful therapist who gave me tools to improve my mental health.

Anxiety Flare-Up

Like many people, the pandemic is causing my mental health problems to spike. The seemingly endless uncertainty, the weirdness of everything, and the loss of income are all throwing gas on the fire. Anxiety can affect your mood and thoughts, and it can make it hard to think clearly and solve problems. Plus I’m not sleeping well and have no energy.

So even normal problems or things I could usually shake are causing me to shut down. Pet bunny escaped? Rattled me for hours. Car battery died in a Lowe’s parking lot? Set me off course for a full day. Hearing colleagues opened their offices even though the governor’s mandate forbade it? Still bugging me.

Financial Effects

And since mental health issues are closely tied to financial issues, here are some financial effects:

  • I haven’t been updating our budget in the Every Dollar app
  • I’ve stopped regularly checking our bank accounts
  • I can’t motivate myself to still prep our house to eventually sell
  • I have been ignoring our debt payoffs, and honestly can’t even stomach checking in on it

 

So I know I’m not the worst I’ve ever been, but I’m not in good shape. I’m recommitting to my tools that help: exercise, meditation, time outdoors, less time online, and eating better (enough is enough, lingering Easter candy). I have hope this week will be better.

I keep seeing Facebook posts about the pandemic that say “we’re all in the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat.” #Accurate. So if you’re in a boat that’s tipping sideways due to anxiety, depression, or some other mental health struggle, I feel you. And I’m cheering for you.