:::: MENU ::::

Posts tagged with: garage sale

Facing The Harsh Reality (Re-Do!)

by

Edited: HUGE thanks to those of you who reached out after my last post completely disappeared! It seems silly because its such a trivial thing compared to real-world issues, but I was SO BUMMED when I thought the post was gone! I really appreciate those of you who took screen shots, typed up word docs, and provided links so I could re-access this content! I’m sorry I can’t re-publish the previous comments, but at least the content was saved! THANK YOU! <3

This was a tough one for me to write and to post. I’m about to let you take a peep into our current financial situation. It’s not pretty. I appreciate constructive feedback, but go easy on me!

I’ve already talked about a dozen times about how our finances got out-of-control over the summer months. Everything was fine through April-ish. But then a perfect storm hit that we did not weather very well. First, my final paycheck from my part-time job was in April (even though I worked into May, my contract was written with 4 lump sum payments and the final one was paid out in April). Just like that, we were down $3,000/month (that’s how much my part-time job paid. Note – I had to leave my part-time job because I got a big raise at my full-time job and had to sign a non-compete).

Hubs’ income from his company had been dwindling for months as he was back in school full-time and only had one crew working for him. He continued to pay for all his business (and personal) expenses, but when his licenses and insurances all came up for renewal the best option for us was to call it quits. By mid-June, he was out of money and all his expenses (that he’d previously budgeted and paid for separately out of his business income) needed to be included in the regular household budget. We lost his income and added a few line-items to the “expenses” portion of our budget (specifics in a future blog post).

Our income had plummeted overnight.

We’d grown accustomed to an income of over $10,000/month! And then, just like that, we were down to an income of only about $3,000/month (my take-home pay from my full-time job). We basically kept on spending like it was business as usual. My raise would go into effect mid-August. I thought that if we could just hold out until September (my first full month at my new rate of pay), that we’d be golden! I was expecting to have a huge bump in my take-home pay. I was hired at $55k and when my raise went into effect I’d be at a $95k salary (in 2 years’ time!). I thought my take-home would be over $5,000/month – somewhere in the $5-6k range (note: I have a lot of automatic payroll deductions – see more here).

What I did NOT expect was that my first paycheck with my raise (for 2 weeks of work) would only be $2269. We’re talking under $4500/month. Nearly a thousand per month under what I’d been anticipating, and less than half of what we’d grown accustomed to bringing home.

I spent a lot of time in August (after that first paycheck) looking at our budget trying to make sense of it and see how I could make it work. From an objective perspective, I know $4500/month is a lot of money. Many families get by with half that amount! When I first started blogging, our household income was only $4,000/month so we’d done it before! And that was when our babies were in diapers still! Surely we could do it again!

But the numbers just didn’t work. Our lifestyle had become inflated. Our budget was bloated. We’d picked up a lot of monthly payments that didn’t used to exist (more on that in a future post). And no matter how I tried to look at it, our expenses exceeded our income.

 

And so, we continued to live on credit cards.

The blog was just purchased by its new owner at that time. I didn’t know if I’d even be blogging anymore. So, I gave up. Without the public accountability and with our financial situation seeming so bleak, I didn’t think it could be done. I didn’t see a way to win.

Fast forward to today. Last month (September) was the first month that we were able to balance our budget since April. For four months (May – August), we were in the negative every month and supplementing our lack of income by relying on credit.

We’re still not in a good place.

Although we didn’t go into the red last month, it was just barely by the skin of our teeth! I had to implement that surprise No Spend Week the last week of the month. And, oh yeah, September was a 3-paycheck month!!! How will we do it with a normal (2-paycheck) month? How can we get by on our current income?

I did change my payroll deductions so I have a slightly higher take-home pay. Instead of $2269, my paychecks are now $2440. Among other things, we also have a huge tax debt we owe. I could adjust my withholdings to get a little more back per check but am purposely not doing so until the tax debt has been paid in full. It’s going to be awhile.

Bottom line, we need to get a budget in which we are somehow living on $4880/month. At this point, our expenses exceed that amount. Heck, our debt obligations alone are over a third of that! It’s kind of scary stuff still.

We’re committed to cutting back in many places. Hubs finishes his personal training course this month and will hopefully be able to land a part-time job. And we’ll supplement in the mean-time by selling everything we can to try to earn some side-cash and STOP increasing our debt by living on credit. Gulp!

More concrete budget details to come.


Peeking in to say Hello!

by

After a whirlwind trip to Utah (one full day up; one full day back; only 2 days there), I’m back in Tucson and back at work.

I am eternally grateful that all of these issues are popping up during summer when I have a pretty flexible schedule. Even so, it’s been tough to keep up with work, as I missed 3 days the first week of June (for my grandmother’s funeral), had one solid week back at work, then missed another 3 days last week for my Dad’s house clear out. This week is also a short week, as my Mom flies in on Thursday to help celebrate the girls’ 4th birthday with us this weekend. I’m still treading water, but just barely.

Also, hubs just received word this morning that his grandfather has passed away (if you read this post, you know that this was expected as his grandfather has been on hospice and not doing well). Fortunately (if you can even call these things “fortunate”???), his grandfather specifically requested to be cremated and have no funeral. His only wish was to have his ashes spread on his family land out in Luling, Texas. My husband plans to go back to Texas to be with his mom at that time, but it will be awhile. Basically, my mother-in-law is in the process of buying a home right now (her closing date is set on July 15), and she wants to wait until she’s closed on the house to spread the ashes because she wants my husband to do some flooring work in her new house (remember, hubs is a flooring contractor), and it just makes his life easier to make one trip (for the ashes AND floors at same time) rather than having to make multiple/separate trips. It’s a bit unconventional, but mom-in-law was an only child so there’s no one opposing the plan and it’s what works best for her so I guess that will be happening in about a month. We haven’t decided yet for sure, but I believe the girls and I will stay in Tucson at that time (of course, the family makes a plea for us to go back any chance we get, but – well, work. Like, that thing that pays our bills and keeps a roof over our heads. So, yeah.)

The passing of hubs’ grandfather does have a (very) small monetary benefit to us. He wrote in his will that each of the grandchildren should receive $1,000 from his estate. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

For those who asked about the estate sale, let me give a super quick update.

Basically, it went “okay.” I was so terrified of a potentially huge turnout that I didn’t advertise widely. I only put it on a single Facebook yard sale site (with 3500 members) and advertised it as being Thursday night and Friday morning. I was able to have a friend babysit the girls on Thursday night, but it was for naught, as only 4 people came that evening. On Friday I was able to convince a cousin to come help us in exchange for some free goods (being that EVERYTHING that didn’t sell was literally going to be thrown away or donated anyway). All day Friday was pretty steady (from 7am-9pm), but it was never crazy. As the day wore on I kept posting reductions in prices on items, etc. By the end of the day we’d barely made $600. To be fair, a lot of the big/pricey items had been moved when my Dad moved, but this low number also reflects the fact that we were practically giving items away (again – we didn’t have the luxury of time on our side, so we couldn’t be choosy or hold out for better offers).

That being said, by 4pm on Friday we were still overwhelmed with the amount of items still laying around. We ended up calling a local company (Everything Goez) and paid them $500 to clear all the remaining property items. So in the end we had made just a teeny tiny profit of about $100. Next-to-nothing.

That being said, the #1 objective of our trip to Utah was to clear out the property. When I got there and realized how much remained, I was worried about what would happen. My sister and I were on the phone a lot and talking about additional trips, etc. I didn’t feel good about that (plus don’t have time for extra trips and more time off work), so in the end I thought this was the best possible solution. My siblings aren’t thrilled with the lack of money made at the estate sale, but I think we all realize that the alternative would have been even more costly (again, given the time off work, additional travel expenses, and longer time that this house is sitting vacant and costing us money). So in the end, paying to have the place cleared was the right move for us. I went with one goal (= clear out property), and I accomplished that goal (albeit, only by paying people to help us).

The house, garage, and yard are all now completely empty and ready for a professional cleaning and to be placed on the market. I met with a property management company while in town and got some pretty bad news about rental prices. I’ve since then called to get another quote (actually 3 in total), and it looks like we might not be able to make as much from renting as we’d originally thought. That means (fingers crossed), I may be able to talk the siblings into just selling the property, as I’ve wanted from the beginning. There’s not a lot of equity in the property, but enough that we wouldn’t lose any money. Plus, I literally had 3 separate groups of people offer to buy the house while they were going through and looking at items to purchase. One family (across-the-street neighbors) offered to pay cash with a quick close. We have a sibling conference call planned this week so we’ll see what happens (for newer readers, my brother & sister are both proponents of keeping it as a rental. I’m the only one in favor of selling, but I respect the majority vote so there are no hard feelings one way or another. I just don’t want to deal with this out-of-state property anymore).

So that’s about it. I have to apologize for my lack of numbers posts lately. I’ve still had it in the back of my mind that I need to do a budget update from last month (May), but by the time I have a chance to write it we’ll likely be ready for a June budget update. With all the balls I’m juggling I just have to do what I can and that may mean a missed numbers post here or there.

That being said, June should be a good month for us. My full-time job paycheck is higher because I have fewer deductions (I work at a university where most are on 9-month contracts, so during the Spring semester the deductions are higher to account for summer months. But since I’m actually working over the summer, too, I get my full without those deductions since they were essentially “pre-paid”). My part-time job paycheck is higher, too (since I only get paid in 2 lump sums:  June and July. Though that means I get no paycheck at all in May or August).

I’ve really got to get our emergency fund back up after raiding it last month (which I mention here), coupled with the fact that we were hoping to buy a house soon! For those wondering, we haven’t even started looking yet! With all the health crises and emergencies we’ve been experiencing, we’ve talked about the possibility of pushing our house hunt back into the Fall (we’d always planned to start hunting this summer). We could start in late summer, though, so that’s a possibility too. We’ve got to save more for our downpayment and need to get a bit beefier safety net (in terms of the EF). So that’s what’s going on with that. I’m still searching Zillow all the time and grabbing flyers from desirable areas whenever I see them – just for reference (and for fun). But no official looking yet. I’ll keep you posted on that.

I hope you all have a great week! Talk to you soon!