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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 8:06 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
We have taken a couple days off talking about house and money issues. I feel sometimes trying to change money habits is like trying to divert a river.

April was ouch - disappointing
ingo =4474.06
outgo=4908.35. We did pay a 550+ lessons for our oldest for next year. Prepaying saves 12%, so I'm going to take that amount out of efund to cover (doesn't make sense paying cc fees which would wipe out cost savings). This month spent more than average on groceries, restaurant, and miscellaneous. Other than a patio table and chairs (and the lessons) no big expenses, just looser spending. We will need to tighten our belt this month so we can afford beach trip at end of month. Asked hubby about being creative with food this month. Otherwise we will have to cancel beach trip.


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 12:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
Well had some small intensish conversations about money. Comes down to he really doesn't want to change his spending habits for grocery, and that if I want any input on what is purchased, I will need to do the purchasing and cooking (hard, because he works 2 nights a week and I work full time). He said he would rather work more. But, this means working more nights as bartender, as "that is the only thing I know". He is an intelligent person, has a BA, but can't imagine himself in a different job. And it's true him taking a more traditional job would be problematic on summer vacations or times when children are out of school. His plan is to pick up more shifts when time permits. I feel he has more to offer than this, but it is his life. The only thing I can do is try to make it so we save off the top, whether it be for retirement, or kid's college, let the rest sort itself out.

In related news, FIL has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Not sure if he ever finalized plans for WDW before this came up, and obviously his health takes precedence over planning extra trips like this. I feel this year has taught me, spend time with the people you love, you never know how much time you will have with them.


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 5:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
Your husband is being a brat.

Would it be feasible for you to write the grocery list and for him to stick to it? Saying that you would have to purchase AND cook is not a tradeoff, and it's not happening. This is just him complaining about his difficult life. Does the grocery money come out of the joint account or his account? If he has money to spare, he can buy the name brand stuff, or hummus if he has the extra dough. If the family doesn't eat hummus, then that needs to come out of his own fun money and not burden the rest of you guys for his specialty items (or whatever he's buying) that's blowing the budget.

Some days I really feel for you. Today is one of those days. *hugs*


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:14 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
The less we talk about money the better we get along. So I really want to reduce money talks, and focus more to how to better organize our lives so we can do the things WE want to do. For example our youngest was really getting out of control with basically bossing me around when it was at home. I can't take a really hard line but I laid down a couple basic rules (no yelling, I will not play with her on school mornings) and started enforcing them with time outs. yes I was called "bad mommy" and all that but her behavior improved.
As far as other things, we do admit that hubby and I are almost 2 halfs of the same person. I do all the financial paperwork, while he does the grocery shopping and homey stuff. It is hard to break out of our comfort zones. The main thing we are going to try to do is give each other "breaks". That means me thinking of ways to make the whole feeding a family 3 times a day easier (buying premade or frozen foods for some of the meals, me helping with meal planning and even shopping), and for me to automate the money deal so we don't have to talk about "spending" so much. Basically I'm just going to have targets for saving for retirement, and other saving that we do after taxes, and other than telling him when the checking is low, not talking about specific spending because he hates it and sees it as a judgement thing. Stepping back, we ARE pretty close to where I want to be regarding saving, it just doesn't feel like it because we have been diverting savings to house improvements. If I include my matching we save 13?% of our pretax income for retirement, and another 5-6% of our post-tax income. However, much of that post-tax savings has been going to the house, so it doesn't feel like saving. Once we figure out the extent of house projects I think I will feel a lot more secure. We have been talking about once we do the porch remodel, and a set of stairs to the attic to take a break from big projects and we can swing those with what we already have in our house fund.


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 7:07 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
Well if this month hasn't been crazy enough as it is, found out my little brother is engaged, to a woman with 3 kids, and 3 pets, who will be moving into his smallish house. Basically it would mean 8 people sharing 1 (and a half) bathrooms), 4 of them strangers to my Dad.
When my Dad heard the news he said just give me 30 days I can be packed and out of here in 30 days. My little brother is upset and says he never intended this and he is welcome to stay, but I don't think he is looking at it clearly.
I'm not sure what is going to happen. My Dad is not in good health, and will have surgery in the next month. He doesn't have enough money to rent in that area. I have already left a message on his phone that he can move in with me (he can take our bedroom and we would take the front room), but knowing him don't think he will accept (not enough privacy). :( I just wish I was in a position to step up to the plate and have the room or money for a decent place for him to live.


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 7:51 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
Oops correction she has 4 kids...


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:08 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
Offered Dad a place to stay but does not want to move from current location, which is understandable (he is older, has part time income tied to that location, close to my younger brother and his brother). His plan is to rent a small apartment (cost around 35-40% income). However he would like to find a way to visit here a month at a time such as in spring. He likes this condo near us. They are actually very reasonable but unless we paid for it he could not afford. So he will either have to rent, or have us put him up.

We never did start the porch remodel. We also learned we would have to file for a variance which would cost close to $900. So, maybe it is a sign, since we never started the porch, to re-review the attic remodel. Though it won't be a short term solution, it would be a long term solution for us both to have more room without having to leave our neighborhood, and have enough room to host family for short or long term. We both prefer this plan to buying a home with more space in a different neighborhood.

Plan is to try to focus next 6-9 months saving money. By then I should find out if I have a job. If I do, once we have saved 5K, for us to begin the project. We will still either have to borrow money or dip into our emergency account to fully fund, but I am comfortable with paying off that level of debt. If we do this, it will definitely be a hardship. But over the long term feel it may be worth it from a quality of life point of view.



Well, we'll see!


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:40 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
May numbers
ingo=4273
Outgo=4112
Put 200 in savings, BUT transferred out of savings money for dance lessons (555) and 300 from vacation fund.

We will still have a chunk on credit card for the trip, but it was glorious and I don't regret it. I don't say this often but was sorely needed for restorative purposes. At least right now, don't feel like I need a big fancy trip or vacation, as long as I feel I have the financial flexibility to get away for a few days every once in awhile.
As seen above, not making much progress on saving money. Other than $100 a month, will cancel auto payments to saving, since moving money back and forth defeats the purpose. I do want to save money for the house remodel, but to be realistic our saving is at a standstill. Something will need to happen (us spend less, or earn more) to change the state of affairs.


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:57 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
This month while grueling, has been good. Husband picking up some extra shifts. Me working late in the evenings doing scanning for a creative project, and working late at work to complete a personal project long hanging over my head. It is a paper left over from grad school, that from pride or stupidity I couldn't give up, that is finally bearing fruit (being accepted for publication). It won't feel real it until I have a copy in my hand. So part of me is exhausted, and part of me is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, clearing things off my mental desk, and I want more. Though I've been busy, feel a little less stressed, because don't have the extra burden of getting the kids ready for school in the morning, homework, etc.

As far as financially, though we have some additional expenses (cushion for a piece of patio furniture, a recorder so I can record my Dad's memories, IOU for husband's Dad gift, wedding cash gift for brother), as of Friday will have our credit card paid off! I hope we will still be able to save this year, but it will have to be on an month to month basis, and done manually, not automatic.
No progress on house projects. Husband in spring said the contractor would be available once school lets out. Since I've already "suggested" a couple times how about the next thing be fix the foundation, with no response, don't want to press him more. But being reflective, if it is taking this long (Jan - June) before a simple foundation repair can happen, it doesn't inspire me with hope that this person is going to be available for the much larger project of an attic remodel on any reasonable time frame.


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:48 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
Ended up talking to hubby about foundation and attic project. He admits that he talked to our handyman, and it turns out the job he took is more full time than he thought. Hubyy will talk to him in the next week to see if he can make him commit to coming over in the mornings to complete foundation work, since that is the only time handyman is now available. And, probably means he is not going to be available for the attic remodel. The price we got is contingent on my husband being his assistant and doing some of the finishing work. If a professional outfit does the job, they are quoting 75-85K. I'm sure it would look great and be done faster than what my husband and the carpenter would do, but that makes it out of reach.

In other words, husband signed up daughter for piano lessons, a person who is on the pricey side who actually comes to our home, to the tune of $140 a month or 1680 a year. After I interviewed her I told my husband that is too expensive, and to find an alternative. Instead, he's been talking with her on the phone and told her she has the job! Since we have been having so much difficulty saving any kind of money for the attic remodel, this puts saving money this year even more out of reach. His response is that he will work more, but to tell the truth, he is not making much at his current job, and it impacts my life that I'm either working during the day, or at home by myself with the kids most evenings and every weekend.
Feeling discouraged.


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:43 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
Talked to hubby some more. The plan: in fall him and handyman to repair the foundation. In summer fix up the back porch (basically replace everything but the ceiling and floors, paint, etc. He powered through and removed an unused chimney, which opens up the area but leaves a hole in the ceiling and floor area to be patched. I'm really itching to give that area a total makeover, but I need him to start on the basics.
As far as the attic, he got the name of a good but reasonably cost carpenter, so the plan is not dead (we still to save money for it). As my current job is grant based and ending next spring, I will need to make sure I have employment before we start that project.

Will be visiting family next week. Been 5? years since I last visited them. I know I will be spending some money (going out to eat, sailboat tour with Dad, shopping for both Dad and Mom) but I don't do this too often.

After that I will need to focus and get many of these projects completed, free up my schedule.


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:41 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
Visited family. Opened my purse strings a couple times for activities, but the rest of the time people were either treating me or we were doing cookouts instead of going out to eat, I didn't spend as much money as I could have.
Dad's apartment is small and expensive.
Lil brother's house is now very crowded, but everyone seems upbeat and trying to making the best of the situation. It was nice to see everyone. New wife seems like a lovely person.
Mom, brother and sister's house. Whew. While mother says intellectually she KNOWS she needs to sell house (she cannot afford to live there, has deferred maintenance and upkeep, and is now eating up equity of house via heloc for daily expenses and to pay property taxes) from my interactions with her I can tell she simply does not have the mental fortitude to do it. Even just helping her declutter and organize her study, made her extremely stressed out. The idea of any kind of change frightens her. She made me cancel me having a realtor meet with her regarding her options. As she is embarrased by her house, she will not schedule any repair work that would involve the inside of the house, because she does not want anyone, even workers seeing the inside of her house.
She does not want my help (other than giving her money). My hands are pretty much tied. and right now looks inevitable within the 5 years (probably sooner) she will end up walking away from the house with no money, no housing, and no plan how to live on $500 a month.
As far as sister, she is also in denial. She says she just wants "5 years" of staying there, of no responsibility, such as to save up for a car. Her car does need to be replaced, but she has already lived there for at least 5 years, but has saved absolutely no money but instead incessantly internet shops. There was so much stuff there that some of the boxes weren't unopened and stacked. However even if she doesn't like something, as she hates to return things, brand new but crappy stuff is laying around in her room and my mother's office. She says it is her "right" to do whatever she wants to do with her money.
Needless to say all of these things are very sensitive topics. It made me feel a pressing need to change to a house with more room to deal with the inevitable situation when one or more family members are homeless. :(


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 10:05 am
Posts: 995
Sorry to read it has been a tough month. From experience I know family time can be very stressful. Especially when you really want to help but people don't want to help themselves... But chin up and press on! ;)

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line. ~Ashleigh Brilliant

The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them. ~Bernard M. Baruch

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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
My favourite: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” -Oscar Wilde


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 Post subject: Re: The year of increasing the emergency fund
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:36 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:37 am
Posts: 446
I don't mean to sound so negative, parts of the visit was very nice. I just don't see how they can just tune out this looming problem that is not going away.
I alternate between feeling I have to do something - now- to prepare for this crisis (move to a house that will allow at least 1 family member to move in with me) to (and my husband's reaction) is that it is not my responsibility, they are adults, and if we do move we should do it because we want to, not for my family.

ps- the coin I thought my mom sold? She actually showed it to me, and allowed me to bring it home (if/when we sell I will split 50/50 proceeds with my sister) so a little of my faith in humanity has been restored.


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