Just a little (link) love: Kids+Critters edition

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CAREER + MONEY THINGS

Don’t be tacky customers, people. (Like my cousin who stapled her business card to a wedding card for us, instead of say, signing it!)

Practical Parsimony and stories from the Depression. My parents were raised after the Depression but they grew up in a third world country so our stories of growing up impoverished were about things like how they made money as kids, or what life on a farm and in the countryside was like. My momma side hustled long before it was popular :)

Leigh asks how you manage your paychecks – does it matter to you what schedule that the pay is on?

Lazy Man’s committing to solar! “Free” electricity!

FUN THINGS

Cat-puppy, come back.

Sheldon, dinosaur explorer.

INTERESTING THINGS

Stop. Gendering. Everything. Books and stories are for PEOPLE.

If you’re writing a woman, you’re not writing a “women.” Write her. That character, that individual. A person, not a category.

Ben Kuchera on Twitter’s prioritizing profit over people

I don’t think the expectation that women MUST prioritize their children over all else is solely an American thing but perhaps the near-religious fervor with which it’s expounded here might be.

Hattip to Cloud for this link on women, success, and the tech world right now.

Thanks to eemusings for this video!

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Welcome to the Purge-atory

Please welcome your hosts, PiC as the (silent) Count of Craigslist, Department of Sales and Purchasing; me as the hybrid Judy Jetson, Department of Taking the Cash and Banking the proceeds and Rosie, Department of ruthlessly clearing out storage!

The last time I did this, it was a massive deep clean of my living space that I’d occupied like a fortified trench for over ten years.

I unearthed years of detritus, the inevitable anthropological build-up that accumulates in so many layers, marking milestones and marking time. One graduation, then another; the salient details rubbed away in the shifting sands of days, weeks and months.

Immersed in toxicity at the workplace and at home, facing an inevitable layoff, the survivalist bit of my brain drove forth insisting that if I physically removed the anchors that held me home, as if it were the overstuffed closet or bookshelf that kept me chained to my family and the job that paid their bills, if I did this thing, I could one day become free.  True, in some small sense.

It was also true that I was attempting to play out my final days, to make them my final days, by making it easier to clean up after me.

Ironically, the anchors that kept me home, and in that job, were the anchors that kept me from prematurely picking an end date. I couldn’t cause yet more stress, grief and pain. My sibling was already doing enough for both of us. And so responsibility both drove me forth and kept me here at the same time.

Mentally, that purge began as a good bye. It was an effort to take some control over a life that came with broken handles, a life I’d once grasped with both hands anyway, determined to ride it out despite the wounds and the scars that didn’t have time to heal.

Ages later, we’re wading back into the same battle but with completely different mindsets. This is a beginning, not a prospective ending.  I have no thoughtful reflections on the differences between now and then, except that this time is about as far away a reason as I had to do it before could be.

As we start our family, the thought of adding another body to this home causes my old claustrophobia to rise and my “one in, two out” rule is revived and the clearing out has begun in earnest.

We still haven’t finished anything to do with getting the wedding stuff sorted, putting together the photos as a start, but with Little Bean there’s a pretty clear deadline so the lead foot is on the gas.

* We’ve sold some furniture and more should be on its way out in short order either via Craigslist or as a gift to some younguns just starting out.

* I’ve tackled sections of the smaller storage where old electronics, endless cables and unidentifiable bits and bobs go to die except they don’t do you the favor of disintegrating. So that stuff is out to recycling.

* Fully 3/4 of the filing cabinet contents have been reviewed and are headed to shredding, the other 1/4 sits awaiting judgement once my brain checks back in.

* And the CLOSET. Ohh the closet. Having pulled out 30 pieces of clothing to donate, and having thrown out at least ten things that were only fit for rags, I’m about to aim for the stars and insist on purging 100 things. 200 if PiC lets me tackle his half of the clothing morass. It’s not that I buy a lot of clothing but rather, I keep things long past time they should be cycled out. I’ve found clothes in that closet featured in photos from ten to fifteen years ago. At some point, you just have to let go.  Mutant Supermodel knows my pain.

* SUCCESS: I’d been on the hunt for a tie rack to repurpose as a belt and scarf hanger. By pulling out about 7 cheapie purses and free conference bags that haven’t been in use for at least two years, I freed up enough room on the over the door purse hanger to cascade my scarves. Woot!

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Applying the safety pads for Life

Usually, playing the game of “what if…” is just another way to drive yourself mad slowly.

In my teens: What if my hands never get better (the fibro was only in a couple places at this point)?
In my 20s: What if I’m too sick or crippled to work by the time I’m 30 (the fibro had spread every joint in my body)?
In my 30s: What if I have a family, then become crippled from the pain and have to stop working? What if (it’s only a matter of time, according to the USGS) we get hit with a huge earthquake and we’re not prepared? What if Little Bean is (any number of horrible things)? What if one or both of us dies in the near future? What if my brother deteriorates further, or hurts someone? What if my dad’s health fails because he won’t take care of himself?

Some things, I have zero control over. *ahem* Family and their health. Or their decisions that I think are terrible.

The rest of the time though, and usually it’s financially, it morphs into my To-Do List, because the answer tends to be “that’d be horrible! Now how to prevent it (or mitigate the pain)??”

1. What if one or both of us dies?

Estate planning, get our wills and trust sorted – there are hard conversations to have but PiC and I are getting to be more and more on the same page about these things. We have ourselves to consider, Little Bean to consider, our extended families to think of. And not just consider, we have to determine exactly who we would ask to take care of things in the event of our untimely demise: who would take care of Little Bean? Who would take the dog(s)? How will they be adequately provided for? What if one of us dies? What if both of us die?

Of course these aren’t FUN questions but I’ve had to consider these things since I was 19 and the primary breadwinner. Real life isn’t always a carnival unless this is the house of whatever-mirrors.

2.What if we lose one or both jobs?

Savings, steady as she goes – I won’t reduce our savings rate from at least 25% of our gross income, period. There’s nothing we want or need badly enough that we couldn’t cut somewhere else to preserve that savings rate because I refuse to compromise in a way that exposes us more to the risk of being poor and sick/disabled. I watched my mom live and die without savings, without choices, and without adequate care, I’m not doing it.

Investing, take some risks to grow our assets – As much of a cash hoarder as I am, we have to increase our income in ways that will provide a viable means of retirement income when the time comes. Research continues to effectively invest our income across a variety of vehicles, not just the stock market. Anything can happen and diversifying is one kind of insurance against any single area crashing.

In an ideal world, I don’t want to work a corporate job until I hang up my spurs, and I know PiC doesn’t want to either, so this serves more than one purpose.

3.What if we get in an accident/lose our home?

Insurance, speaking of …  – Every so often, I reevaluate not only if we can get a better rate, but also whether our insurance is enough for our needs. We carry car insurance, homeowners’ insurance and an earthquake rider. I’m also considering an umbrella policy.

We’ve been scoffed at for carrying an earthquake insurance rider and to that I say: Psh! I’m no fool, we can’t afford to cash flow the rebuild of our entire home and the cost to live in the meantime, and that’s the risk I’m insuring against. In an area where the USGS predicts a 99.1% chance of a catastrophic earthquake in the next 50 years, it’s hardly throwing money away.

4.What if our computers crash or die a fiery death?

Bills, Data, & Records – while I’m mostly banking and doing most transactions online, I don’t think our system is nearly ready for any number of problems. I do most of the bill paying, this needs to be more automated and organized so that PiC can take over if necessary. I do all our investing, he also needs to have easy access to the necessary information. And we need to make sure all our important records are not only digital, they’re saved in more than one place in case of natural disaster.

5.We live in CA, what happens WHEN we experience a real natural disaster?

Earthquake, Fire, & General Disasters – Where you have an earthquake, you have a huge risk of fire following. Just look at what happened in Napa, recently. We have a long way to go on this prep and I’m just getting things organized. We need an emergency kit for us at home, for PiC’s office, for the cars, and for the dog. (Seamus is really strong so he could actually carry his own emergency pack of food and water once I find one, that’s one minor relief.)  It’s weird how much easier it is to spend money on immediate needs even when I know this is something that just absolutely has to get done.

I’ve ordered some emergency food, but we still need food, water, some form of shelter, decent shoes, crank powered radio/charger thing, flashlight, etc. Basically add everything in this post with an eye to portability in case the house is damaged and unsafe; I don’t love the premade kits because of the need for portability so I’m taking some notes from the USGS recommendations.

Also, we need a plan for what we do when and if this disaster strikes and PiC and I are separated.

Think that’s enough to be getting on with? What’s on your mind when you start thinking What If?

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Net Worth: October 2014

DollarSign

Change from September: 1.38% decrease

Change from January: 5.12% decrease

On Money

I’m working away at Swagbucks to earn Amazon money for household, Little Bean, and dog things we need. Feel free to join using my referral link if you like!

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We lost about $17K in the retirement accounts. I probably picked a bad day to update the accounts as the market’s been very volatile this week. Ah well.

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Short term savings: I’ve always had a mix of savings accounts and CDs, a holdover from the high-interest rates days. Over time, I’ve winnowed them down to cut down on the complication of my day to day tracking. My last high-interest CD with Citibank is maturing next summer, so I’ll have to start thinking about where to park that next. I’ve got a couple CDs with Ally expiring in 2016, so that too will need a better earning home.

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Checking and savings accounts: Speaking of winnowing, where I used to have about 25 accounts (half because of the high interest rates, half because I liked to break out the destination of all that money), I’d like to only have several. I mainly bank with online only accounts now, but will likely hang onto one B&M bank for physical transactions. It’s possible we don’t even need that if I can break the habit of carrying the B&M card and take the online bank debit card instead; I’m pretty sure they waive all foreign ATM fees since they don’t have their own ATMs.

To date, I’ve closed 4 accounts with 2 banks and have 3 more credit cards to cancel.

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2013. Taxes. Have. Been. FILED!  HALLELUJAH. Now, of course, I need to clean up my notes for 2014 to cut down on the amount of prep and review notes that I give the CPA next spring.

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Stupid Money: Got another one of those fun surprises in the mail that feature a photo of your car and license plate. Technically it IS my car, but it was not driven by me. That’s right, this was another Family-Money-Fail. There should be a shower on confetti every time that happens.

The bright side? Rather than the $30 that the City of Orange once tried to get out of me when it was their toll booth that was out of order, this was only 45 cents and they let me pay online with a credit card without any CC fees. So that was the cheapest ding ever.

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Little Bean Money: Lauren reminded me of a thing I’d managed to let slip. Little Bean’s officially got a dedicated chunk of savings transferring directly out of my paycheck (and soon, PiC’s) into an LB savings account. This little cushion will be comforting and good practice for when that money’s just flying out the door.

On Life

Adding another dependent to the household is a whole lot of work. I don’t think I fully understood what I signed up for here!

We’ve been coping relatively well, I think, with all the extra challenges of my even-more decreased mobility and lack of energy, and still getting some of the cleaning and purging done around here so that’s good but it does feel like there’s a mountain or two left to climb before we’re materially ready.  I have no doubt there’s no way to mentally prepare for this sort of change, except to remind ourselves to be flexible. Over and over and over.

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Congrats to Jordann for an October NW increase.
SaverSpender had an increase despite significant spending & comes within spitting distance of a quarter million.
Alicia’s quarterly report shows some major progress.

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