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Posts tagged with: budgeting

Somehow Making Ends Meet


We got a paycheck this week. Hallelujah!

It was such a beautiful sight in our checking account on Tuesday. I’m still astounded we’ve been able to make ends meet these past few months. Things have been working out despite my overwhelm and depressive neglect of our finances. When all this started, I never dreamed that would be possible.

Here’s how it’s been playing out:

  • March 18: The state shuts down our business until further notice. I freak out.
  • March 25: Our fridge dies and needs to be replaced. I freak out again.
  • April 2: Our last paycheck arrives
  • April 8: We receive our state tax return: $1,579.00
  • April 14: We get our stimulus check: $2,937.55
  • May 4: We’re able to reopen our business!
  • May 19: We get our first paycheck since returning to work

Our tax return and stimulus check were lifesavers. I remember when I got the stimulus check back in 2008, it felt like free! money! (This was when we were both working full-time, we were debt free, and we hadn’t skipped off to our crazy-expensive graduate school yet. Sigh…)

But this time around I appreciated every cent of it, and gladly put it all towards our normal bills and needs.

Our mortgage and student loan forbearance were also critical to our survival. We were able to pay our April mortgage, and we plan to pay May’s soon. We’re off the hook for our $2,302.49 monthly student loan payment until July 22, but as soon as our federal tax refund comes in we can get back to paying that.

How ’bout that federal tax refund?

We really have no idea when our federal refund will arrive. We filed back in March, thinking we were ahead of the game. Aaand then the world flipped upside down.

We tried the IRS’s site to get an update on our status. Anybody else hate entering your Social Security number online? It always makes us a bit nervous. We joked that they’re asking for our SS number, mother’s maiden name, and our DNA. What could go wrong?

Anyway, all the website said that was that our refund was “in process.”

I guess with tax day now being July 15, I should know the IRS is swamped. Plus, others haven’t even gotten their stimulus checks yet, so it could definitely be worse.

But can I tell you a real miracle?

We have yet to tap into our $8,000 emergency fund. Isn’t that crazy? In fact, it’s been able to grow to a whopping $8,004.12.

I really don’t know how we haven’t touched it yet, but so far so good. And unless the COVID-19 cases spike and we have to shut down our business again, we should be able to keep it that way. I have to say that it gives us so much peace of mind just knowing it’s there if we need it. I debated back in January if a larger emergency fund was the right move or not, but I’m so grateful for it now.

Making ends meet during this crazy time hasn’t been pretty. In fact, some days it’s been straight-out ugly. But I’m extremely grateful that we’ve been able to stumble through this pandemic, and I hope you all are too.

somehow making ends meet

It’s Not Free Money but It’s Free


As you can imagine, my substitute teaching side hustle dried up quickly when I began caring for my grandmother and then with the quarantine and schools shutting down. With the current state of things, I haven’t been able to come up with any additional side hustles and as I’ve been stating for the last couple of weeks, work is keeping me pretty busy.

That being said, I have continued to reach out to my network for any other options for picking up work…

And it worked.

Product Tester

I have become a product tester for a number of companies through a marketing agency. I don’t get paid for this particular side gig, but I do get free products. In exchange for the free products, I have to write a honest review. Sometimes I have to record a box opening video for them to use.

It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve gotten several neat products out of the deal, mostly hair and beauty.

The kids now run to the mail waiting for the next new product. They take turns being the initial tester or being the star of the video. Most of the products are health and beauty related. And most are things I would never, ever buy, more because of the crazy expensive price point. But we are having a great time trying out new things.

Lots of changes around the house…

Princess starts her job today, yeah!

We have a new foster child living with us. Long story and not one I will share here. There are minimal financial implications but nothing that will affect my current debt pay off plan. (Many long time readers know that being a foster parent is one of my greatest joys, but I have given it up. This is a personal connection with a long history.)

Gymnast will be leaving this weekend to head to Texas to stay with my parents for the next month or so.

There are lots and lots of things going on here that make my head spin. I’m so grateful for work. It keeps me grounded and happy.