So we’re not sure what the best budget format to use is, and while we are sure that some of you out there like poring over the nitty gritty and seeing if our daycare exceeded our mortgage this month (it typically does), or what our groceries did this month (it’s usually our stumbling block), we know some of you couldn’t care less. We decided to retool it and give you more of an overall view and maybe just put out hard numbers quarterly. This is where you can say, “Please, don’t take away the numbers!!” or “Thank-you for taking away those stupid charts and monotonous budget drivel” or maybe you’re in the middle and just skim most of it anyway. Let us know and we’ll see what happens in February.
This month was ridiculously boring on a budget and spending front! Yeah, I count that as a win!!! Comparing January 2015 to January 2016, we overspent in Jan. 2016 by $55. Most of this was attributed to a new haircut for me, and a set of clippers for cutting our oldest’s hair at home. I went from a longer sort of hairstyle to a shorter more trim style, but I didn’t want to end up like Mrs. SSC and have to get it redone once or twice, so I went to a good stylist to start with. Now that it is cut well, I can resume my usual haircuts at the cheaper places. Cutting our oldest’s hair was actually easier than I expected, and it should get easier the more we do it. Plus, Mrs. SSC decided that now that her short hairstyle is dialed in, she can also go back to the cheaper places. She has figured out that it currently costs about $1/day for her new haircut, so she is shopping for a lot cheaper place to get it cut. Plus, she trusts me, so I can trim it in between cuts now that we have clippers. Mwahahaha…..
As you can see in our overall chart of “% to FI Goal” – our numbers are dropping, and no longer climbing. Booo….. That was expected after our year review showed that our only growth in 2015 was essentially from our contributions. Whoa! Oh well, markets are out of my control, so whatever… As far as our “how to deal with the market” approach, I’d be in the BUY, BUY, BUY camp, and get stuff on the cheap, which we are. However, for the immediate short term, we’re stocking up our cash reserves more than investing in the market. We have a decent nest egg, but since savings accounts have such a low return, we don’t like keeping a lot in there. With our industry being where it is (in the toilet, and today I saw gas was $1.49/gallon) and the stock markets tanking as well, we decided we’d rather know that our $5k will still be $5k in 6 months if need be, and not $4.5k or less. Don’t worry, we have more than $5k saved, it’s just an example number. If it wasn’t for hedging our bets that we would need to tap into some of those investments in the next 6-12 months, we would still be throwing more money into the stock market and not building up our cash reserve above our normal emergency fund amount. Especially, if we just throw in the towels and decide to become ski/snowboard bums for a few years.
Time for a new segment we’re rolling out called, “Crazy stories from Lay-off land!” Yes, as people are getting axed left and right, the water cooler talk is getting more and more crazy. For instance, I heard of a couple that had both gotten laid off, and burned through all their savings in about 3 months. Now they’re really scared, because the industry hasn’t picked up, neither one has gotten a job again as they were banking on (literally), and they’re out of savings. The main reason this happened, they didn’t cut spending back immediately and just kept spending and living like they were still getting paychecks…
On a similar thread, a friend of mine at work is about to commit to a $300k mortgage, even though he thinks buying is a bad idea, and renting is better, he is still proceeding with buying a house. This is compounded by his wife interning for a company where if she gets an offer, it will be in a town and state that is not Houston, TX and they would move there rather than stay here. Mind-boggling!
Another friend of mine got caught in the middle of leaving his company to join a new one. He’d gotten approved for the job and it just needed the CEO’s approval (smaller company). He hung up the phone with his “new company”, went to tell his current boss he was done, and by the time he got back to his office he found out the “new company”, had cut the department he had gotten a position in. They sold the asset and were exiting that whole area. So, he was told there weren’t any positions available for him now, because that boss now had to find spots for his current employees that didn’t have an asset to work anymore. Sorry about the timing. Oooops…
Finally, my mentee/protégé was at a party this weekend and she was the only one of her friends that wasn’t laid off yet. At the whole party… It was about 20 other geologists and engineers. She said it was a bit awkward, especially when they started asking, “Well, why haven’t you been laid off yet?” Yipes, I think I’d need a few cocktails to stay at that party!
On a lighter note, a group of us have decided that if we all get laid off, we will follow one of our colleagues back to her parent’s farms, start a co-op, and we will just farm. She has 300-400 acres and farm equipment that we can use that is just sitting idle. The only draw back – none of us know anything about farming, especially, “what do you farm in Michigan in the middle of winter?” Answer – “I don’t know, use a greenhouse?” (shrugs shoulders) Oh, and it’s in northern central Michigan, so, there’s that down side as well. Laurie at Fruclassity was just mentioning the unseasonably warm 40 degree weekend in neighboring Minnesota, so maybe not too high on the list of back-up plans. Brrr…. It would be an exciting one I bet!
That was our January, fairly mundane, thank goodness. Hope your January was pleasantly uneventful too! Let us know if you want more number details, even less number details, or if you’re still reading. For those still reading – congrats, you made it!