Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm Back Update

Yay!  I'm so happy to be back with this blog!  Let's get everyone up to date though as to what has been happening since I stopped posting back in 2008.

The last time I was here with actual financial posts, I was trying to pay off my husband's truck, gas prices were below $3.00/gallon, I was just starting the Bachelor's portion of my college career, and hubby was working for a health insurance company. 

Things have certainly changed since then!

The truck has been paid off and I was able to save even more money by lowering the insurance from full coverage.  We now have 2 free and clear vehicles and are planning on another vehicle in the next couple of years.  My oldest will be able to drive in another 3-4 years and I want him to use my car.

Gas prices are ridiculously high and probably going higher!  But as I'll explain in a little bit, gas prices are not a big deal to us right now.

I'm almost done with my Bachelor's degree.  I am taking my last classes now and will graduate May 6, 2011!  Unfortunately, this also means that my student loans will become due six months later (November 2011), though I do plan to consolidate them at that time so I have only one payment. 

My husband has been laid off twice since my last postings here, though his job situation has improved each time.

The first time was in October 2009 and lasted until April 2010.  Strangely enough we ended up coming out ahead financially even though we weren't getting paid.  It's amazing how little you can live on when you don't have a lot of money coming in!  Thank goodness for the emergency fund and unemployment benefits!

A company contacted him saying they saw his resume online, he interviewed, and got the job making more than $20,000/year over what he was making at his last job!  He still had to drive over 100 miles a day, which meant a lot of gas for his truck, but they had excellent benefits and we were able to re-fund the emergency fund and pay some things down.

Unfortunately, by Christmas 2010 they were having a contract dispute with another company, which required a stop order be put in place halting them from working.  This is getting to be a Christmas tradition now!  Sheesh!  Essentially he was laid off again, with the possibility of going back to work the end of March 2011 though no guarantees. 

He started looking for another job and wouldn't you know, but he was again contacted by a company asking him if he was interested in a job they had available!  He interviewed and got it!  And the best part is that though he'll be making a $1,000/year less than he was before, it's a telecommuting position so very little gas to fill up his truck each month (other than the few times he'll be required to go in person)!  How awesome is all that!

I think the thing that has impressed me the most was how prepared we have been to be able to survive two layoffs within a year.  I don't know many people that can do that, while still paying all their bills on time, keep a roof over their heads, buy food for the table, etc.  There hasn't been a lot of extras, but we were able to splurge every now and then because of our planning.

There are also some other plans being made for the future that require us to pay off some debt and start saving more.  One is a trip to Italy to visit my husband's family.  That is being planned for the summer of 2012.  While we may have a way to get some deep discounts thanks to a family friend that owns a travel agency, we still want to save the money needed in case any of that falls through.  So far I've saved over $1,600.  It would have been more if hubby didn't lose his job, but I can make up for it a bit over this year.

The second thing being planned is a home addition.  We need more space not only for us, but also for the possibility of adopting another child.  It's not something I want to do until we have a room for him or her so an addition will be necessary.  While we're adding on we figure to get everything we want taken care of at once, so we may be adding 2 new offices, a laundry room, a half bath, and a new patio on the first floor, and a bedroom (for my oldest son), full bath, and game/music room on the second floor.  I would love to have the new addition powered by solar, but we'll have to see what that does to the long-term cost because I know the initial cost is staggering!  In the original house, my oldest son's bedroom would become a much needed dining room, and the laundry closet in the kitchen will become more pantry space.  The current office will become the additional bedroom.  And I would like to eventually add an in-ground pool for the family.

Again that's a lot of money to save!  Obviously we'll only be saving some of it and financing the rest, but in order to do that I need to pay off some of our existing debt first!  So that will be a huge priority!

I'll also be going back to work starting next August, though not on a permanent, full-time basis.  My plan is to work as a substitute teacher and volunteer as a mentor to add to my resume, give us a little extra cash to pay down debt, and still allow me to be there for the boys.

So that's the update!  I know it's a lot!  I hope you all will stick around for future posts and remember to also check out my other blog, Mom's Many Projects, for the other, non-financial things going on.

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