March 1, 2011
At least once each winter a virus makes a run through the family. Sometimes it’s the short-lived variety, or it can hang on for a week. Sometimes we all get it at once. Or ometimes it passes so slowly from one person to the next it seems like someone is home sick for a month (which usually means I am also stuck home for a month). This happens almost every year. So why am I always surprised? Why am I never ready? Next year I’m going to plan to be sick.
Getting sick costs money. Our co-pays from our doctor’s visits this month cost $80. Plus $20 for the antibiotics. Add in Advil Cold & Sinus, tissues and Advil. We also got take-out food several nights (which I don’t do anymore) because either I was sick or I couldn’t get to the grocery store because someone else was sick. I had to leave my kids home alone for a couple of hours on several days to go to work (they are old enough but they were sick so I wasn’t happy about the situation). I was too frazzled to remember to bring work home with me. I got really angry about the disruption to my schedule and the unexpected costs.
Next year I’m going to assume we’re all going to get sick at some point. I’m going to put some easy meals and pizzas in my freezer and leave them for when we get sick. I’m going to stock up on OTC medicines when they go on sale in the fall so I don’t have to pay top dollar at the only 24-hour pharmacy near me. I’m going to tuck $200 away for medical expenses for the winter. I’m going to try to get ahead at work in January (it’s always slow anyway) so that I’m ready if I need to miss some time.
Even if you don’t have a family you should plan on getting sick. I think it’s worse if you’re single and living alone. Stock up your freezer and medicine cabinet. If possible, get set up to work from home at least half days if you’re sick (if you don’t work you don’t get paid or you have to use vacation days). Arrange ahead of time to have someone drop off work if you’re sick (and reciprocate). Find the number now of a pharmacy that delivers in case you’re too sick to drive. Give the pharmacy number to the doctor during your visit and have them submit the prescription electronically. Make sure you have a doctor (many 20-somethings don’t).
Make a plan and a budget for getting sick next winter. And if you don’t get the office virus next year? Treat yourself and use the money for new spring clothes or get your car detailed to remove the remnants of the winter from your car.
February 28, 2011
I am reading The Art of Non-Conformity. (see his great blog here) I am trying to use his advice and set goals for our family that are unique to us. In theory, your identity should be free–say, I am adventurous, or I am an athlete. But how you live out that identity can really dent your budget. What do you do if you’ve created an identity for yourself that you can’t really support financially? read more »
February 21, 2011
At one point in my life I was an impulse spender. Actually, for the first 15 years of our marriage I would say I qualified as one. It’s an easy trap to fall into. I saw this kind of quick spending as a sign of efficiency. It went something like this–figure out what we need, find it, buy it, done. The efficient life of a modern-day hunter gatherer.
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February 18, 2011
I read an article on get rich slowly recently about The Millionaire Next Door. It included a calculation to see if you were where you should be in your retirement savings. Wow, we weren’t even close. And not because we’re young. And not because we haven’t been putting money away for a long time. I read a lot of comments insisting that the formula was wrong, but it scared me nonetheless. Hubby is the big breadwinner in the Life then Money household, but I am the financial manager. And after I did the calculation I wondered if I should be fired.
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February 17, 2011
OK, we’ve all read articles advising us to adjust our paycheck withholding. Our IRS refunds are just interest-free loans to the government. We should aim for no refund at all. Sounds good. Makes sense. Except when your income and deductions can vary a little from year to year. Then *oops* you might owe. You might owe quite a bit.
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February 16, 2011
I read this article about the recent Consumer Price Index Cool the Conpiracies:Inflation Numbers Aren’t Lying to You and several other articles like it. My first reaction to the CPI number being essentially flat was “Haven’t they been to a grocery store? Does someone else fill their gas tank?” Emotional reactions and anecdotal evidence general don’t contribute to sound money management, however, so I decided to look a little deeper at the numbers.
read more »
February 15, 2011
Welcome new readers!
For years I’ve struggle with how to handle our money. Some years I thought we were spending too little and living a life that was too austere. Other years we indulged too much. Sometimes we fully funded our retirement. Other years we put that money toward other goals. It’s hard to know what to do when the prevailing theory on what to do with your money changes every year. But that lead to our mistake–making our lifestyle fit our current financial situation. We were always changing what we were doing. We had it all wrong.
We are now examining who we are, and what we want out of life. We are learning as much as we can. We are asking the hard questions to ourselves as well as others. We are planning the life we want to live, and then designing a money plan to accomplish that goal. We do not adhere to one overriding theory about money. We are not gazelles, but we are not sloths either. We are frugal, but not stingy. We love experience more than possessions, but we still own the possessions that mean the most to us. We are searching for the middle ground–the median life–but want to learn to rise above it
Please return and join us on our journey.