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Archive for June, 2021

MM Money Update

June 26th, 2021 at 03:26 pm

I will try to do a brief MM(17) money update.  I never got around to that.

MM(17) had about $30 left in his checking account.  I guess he estimated pretty darn well (he hasn't worked since last summer).  He also had a $200 IRS refund to deposit. 

{This does not account retirement & savings.  Probably $5K+ in his high yield savings accounts}.

In the end, we finally hired a more full-time admin assistant at my job, when MM(17) went back to school last fall.  MM had mostly been filling that role, during our busy summers.  But the admin assistant is a college student and ended up going out of the country for a few weeks.  So MM(17) has worked two weeks already and will fill in next week.  He will make about $1,500.  (He's working part-time hours, and we were also gone a few days on vacation).

The plan is otherwise for MM(17) to take the month of July off.  He has some college orientation stuff and is going to Florida with some of our family.  After that he will be 18 and we are desparate for construction site help, so he agreed to work full time on site during the month of August.  That still gives him 2 weeks (early September) to take off and prep for college.  Usually the kids start school early August, so he is really enjoying the long summer.  He will probably make $5,000, even with 6 weeks off.

The construction job will be terrible, but it will be an experience.  It sounds very likely he will have mega high paying internships in future summers (due to his college and degree choice).  

I joined a parent group for his college and is probably TMI at this point.  Information overload.  But some of the conversations have been really helpful.  The concensus seems to be that $200/month spending money is pretty average (mostly for food and transportation expense/uber).  MM(17) is far below average.  But I am fine with using the average as a starting point.  $200 x 9 months = $1,800 per year spending money.  I think he will end this summer with enough cash to cover all 4 years (and then some). 

MM(17) is a personality who likes work and independence, and can work with all A's.  That said, we all agreed he really needs to just take the first semester/year and get settled.  I wouldn't be surprised if he decides to get a job at some point, even if just a few hours per week.  But it also sounds like he is pretty well set up to not have to work at all during the school year.  

I did see that the summer job he had secured on his own last summer (that never came to be), that they had bumped their hourly rate and were offering free daily meals.  !!!  That's quite a benefit for a very hungry teenager, but I knew he wouldn't be too enthused by their junk food menu.  Anyway, I did bring it up but he told me he thought it was better to take the job with less exposure to mega amounts of people.  Fair enough. If he had chosen the other way, would have just told my boss, "Sorry, but they are feeding him every day!"  & my boss probably would have matched it anyway.  Given him an extra $30 per week or whatever.


What Goes Up, Must Come Down

June 7th, 2021 at 12:31 am

I am going to attempt to briefly touch on the big picture, but mostly just want to dive into the minutiae.

Yeesh, last week was some week from hell.  We've dived head first back into too many hospitalizations and disasters.  (If it's not infinite like it was before, I can deal with one bad week.  There are not enough hours in the day to get into it).  In addition, MH was out of town for two days (so I had to work and play Mrs. Mom, as opposed to Mr. Mom that the kids usually have, it was just a crazy day).   With things opening back up, the kids' schools are trying to cram a whole year into a week or two.  

I am exhausted! 

Big picture:  MH applied for his last unemployment check.  I used the last few checks to cover Orlando airfare and down payment on college room/board.  (He may be able to renew unemployment, I don't know.  Not worth the hassle and red tape at this point).

In my mind, I just lumped MH's last job as "dead" with the pandemic.  But we talked about it recently and I am moving it over to "plausible still has a job," category in my mind.  They'd open back up in the Fall.  If they were going to shut down this location, they would have already.  Fair enough.  I really haven't though about it other than "dead" since the pandemic started.  Plan for the worst.

Anyway, so we decided to just coast through summer and pull from savings if we need to.  We will regroup in the Fall.  If MH can't find a job by September, then we will regroup and make a longer term one-income plan.  For now, we have too much cash to really bother with it.  That said, he's never had work during the summer, since having kids (2003).  So it's probably a natural rhythym for us to pull back spending during summer months.  We are just going to play it slightly looser than we would if we knew 100% he was just going to give up and retire.  I don't know, still some limbo for probably 2-3 months.

We also have a bajillion big expenses coming up, hence the title of my post.  We've hit our savings goal this year per side bar (thanks to stimulus and unemployment), but I am not calling it as a completed goal yet.  Will have to wait and see where we end up at the end of the year.  I will deduct house maintenance and medical expenses that we will be paying next month, which will put us back under our goal.  Mostly I wanted to save $12,000 cash this year to pay for college (after cash flowing anything and everything else that might come up).  If it doesn't go to college or long-term savings, I will deduct (from sidebar/goal) if we spend down for other things.

I did receive $275 in car insurance rebates, due to the pandemic.   This works out pretty well because we just bought a new toaster oven (we had a price watch for a long time and it just dropped in price).  We also upgraded our blender.  I believe I paid $20-ish for that thing 20 years ago and we have been pretty hard on it.  Both have been really nice upgrades.  We spent $295 for the appliances and so will pay for most of that with the car insurance refunds.

MM(17) received some cash gifts from relatives and so I decided to go through our cash stash and will make a deposit this week.  I have way too much cash, I think it's just building up with not much going on.  In the end, I pulled out $150 that I'd like to deposit to help cover some expenses. 

Other expenses will come out of short-term savings.  We did book the hotel for college move-in week.  That will come from our vacation budget (short-term funds).  We also just found out that our annual family camp trip is on.  We thought we had canceled because we did not expect DL(15) to be vaccinated.  We moved to the waitlist for late summer, figuring he could get vaccinated after his birthday next month.  But anyway, that was a very pleasant surprise.  I booked the cat hotel because there's no way he is up to us leaving for 3 days.  The cat *freaked* when we left for one night and DL(15) stayed behind.  Again, vacation budget will cover that (the trip is otherwise free) and that still leaves some substantial dollars for Florida trip (which is mostly paid for already; free hotel and car rental).  

This weekend I made some good progress on freecycling.  Already gave away the old toaster and blender.  While at it, I spied a couple of electronics I had set aside to give away (but never got to).  I listed a printer and a drawing tablet.  MH spotted the tablet right before he went out, and rescued it.  I told him it was all his, but to put it away with is crap.  😁  It was a miscommunication, I thought no one wanted it.  I had a legit taker like one minute later, so MH was lucky I didn't give that away.  I've got one large item left listed, kind of surprised no takers yet.  Is probably the nicest thing we are giving away.  I did also give away 6 empty cat litter containers last week (nice plastic buckets).

This leaves me with four donation bags I don't know what to do with.  Will probably just presume things will open up and be more normal soon.   The charities stopped coming by for pickup; I was spoiled by that.   If they don't start coming by again, will have to figure out where to take this stuff.  When I have some time/energy I really need to do a clothes purge.  I was kind of thinking, "I really shouldn't be buying any clothes the rest of this year," and then my employer basically bought me a wardrobe.  4 shirts (with our logo), a second jacket and a really nice sweatshirt.  The sweatshirt is so cozy and comfortable, might wear it every day in the winter months.  So I have a pile of new clothes to launder and to figure out what to do with.  On the flip side of the coin, I went through my closet today and figured out what to wear for graduation.  I was buying up dresses on clearance, when I left my last job.  Thought I'd have more time between jobs and more than one interview.  Anyway, I can most definitely shop my closet for the rest of 2021.   It's nice not to have to go shopping to find a nice graduation dress.  I am happy with that aspect, just not happy with the clothes piling up everywhere.  I think it's a bit of an 'extra money/nothing else to do/more online shopping/less ease of purging" thing.  It seems pretty moot as I stare down this one-income summer.  "Buying more stuff" has fallen to the way bottom of my priority list.

College Set Up Funds

June 6th, 2021 at 03:48 pm

My last post was how I decided it was easier to utilize credit card rewards than scholarships (in particular, really ridiculous applications for small dollar amounts).

Then, the in-laws came up yesterday to celebrate MM's Graduation.  So I have some numbers in hand.  They had brought up cards/gifts from that side of the family.

MH's Family:  $670

(Mostly from Grandparents; some from Great-Grandparents and a Great-Aunt)

My Family: $0  

(I will be shocked if MM receives even $1 from my family.  I have by far the much bigger family, but they mostly don't seem to care that I exist.  My parents just are not cash gifters.).

Because of the state of my family, I really just didn't have any idea what to expect.  I thought MH's family was probably going to be generous, particularly his parents.  But...  I don't really have a frame of reference of what is "normal".

In fact, before this turn of events, I started to eyeball all my credit card rewards and thought I might just earmark them all (roughly another $2,000) for college expenses this year.  I don't expect to need all of it, but would raid what I need for college set up type expenses.

In the end, if I add the $300 Target gift cards I have and the $755 credit card reward that I just did (I should get that cash any day)...  

Grand Total:  $1,725

Most of that will go to a laptop, the rest to dorm expenditures.  I think this *should* cover everything.  Will see where we end up.  (Anything extra, we will let MM keep.  I suppose it's plausible that he will have more gifts than expenses). 

With the chip shortages and everything, we are leaning on MM(17) to pick out a laptop this weekend, so that it arrives in time for school.  I probably should also set a hard deadline to make dorm purchases this month.  It just keeps coming up over and over to plan ahead before popular items are sold out.  MH just happened to notice the long lag time in laptop delivery; he was pricing laptops last weekend.  I don't think we would have been this far ahead thinking about it except I was trying to decide if this credit card reward would cover a laptop purchase.  

This is just one more step in ensuring paying cash for college *and* not touching college funds.  At current, that is our goal for freshman year.  Future years, depends on grandparent gifts and MH's employment.  (100% will pay cash, no loans.  But not sure how realistic it is not to touch any college funds). We had decided to pull dorm costs from college funds, but then we had stimulus and unemployment monies to cover Freshman year, in addition to a free-tuition scholarship.  So we have gone back to Plan A, cash flowing everything.