Savings Priorities Revisited


OK, after I had a whirly-gig malfunction about just how much there was to save and whatnot, I at least sat down and prioritized what has to happen and when.  I have an online savings account that I’m shoving the money into for now, simply because I can’t determine that there is a better choice at this point.  I have a debit card for that account where I can get to some of it quickly if I need to.  Otherwise, it takes several days to transfer to my normal checking account, which is good because I have to think and plan for transfers for the other items anyway.  I need some yield signs when it comes to my relationship with money.  Anyhoo…

Emergency funds come first.  My emergencies average under $1000, so that’s all I’m going to save and call “emergency” before I move on to saving for other things.  This scares me.  But that’s the way it is.  I have a 3 year contract at my current job, so saving my emergency, out of work expenses makes no sense at this point, in light of other impending money issues.  I’m only about $200 away from this goal now.  Woot.

Summer funding.  In a way, this is another emergency fund, if we consider that having no guaranteed work in the summer is a form of emergency, which it certainly is for me!  Sometimes I get grants to develop courses, sometimes I cobble together copywriting, one-off jobs, temporary international student housing, etc. to make it through.  But whether I’m fully covered or completely money-naked, I need $7500, give or take, to get through the summer.  Where it comes from doesn’t matter.  I think that by the summer time, I can have emergency money and summer money saved up with the combination of things I’m doing to bring money in, cut costs and save it.  So I’m going to save that amount by the summer time.  If I end up with no outside or additional summer funding, I’ll be covered, though I’ll certainly look for temporary work.  If I don’t need a penny of it, awesome — I’ll just save it for next summer and/or put it toward the next goal, which is….

Fixing the roof.  It’s not in bad shape now, but I figure it’s a cheaper fix to go ahead and reshingle it now that it would be to wait and wait until it is a true emergency and a costlier job.   It’ll take a couple thousand dollars, I think.  The bigger thing I realized is that perhaps the house needs its own little fund.  After all, I have to do things like stain the deck and powerwash it periodically.  I have to periodically replace appliances.  I suppose one could look at a regular emergency fund as covering those sorts of things.  But if you’re a homeowner, there is always something.  So maybe this category should stay here beyond the summer and I can slowly develop funds to plan for maintenance issues.

New-to-me car.  I’ll continue to maintain the car I have to the point where it just doesn’t make sense to hang onto it any longer.  At that point, I’ll take whatever money I have set aside for a car and my best negotiating friend, lol, and that’ll be the car I get.  Whether it’s a beater or a nice upgrade, what I have in the account is what I’ll get.  I’m going to cap this money at about $12,000, but again, what I save is what I use.  If no big emergency happens and I keep  making other money happen, I can probably get another car if I had to by two to three years from now.  This is on top of resaving summer money each year.

Divorce Debt.  Blech.  It is what it is, but it’s the last deadline.  The truth is, I can probably do some combo of cash and home equity loan and get it solved.  I want to pay it in full, but again, it is what it is.  $30,000 is a lot of cheddar.  But, if I get a good deal on a car (if I have to get one at all), if I keep finding summer supplement money so I’m not always using up extra money saved, and if I continue bringing other money in, saving tax returns and cutting costs, I *might* be able to pull it off all in cash.  Just maybe! Boy that would make me proud!

De-stressed?  Yes, some!  It was helpful to at least get things organized in my head, if nothing else.  Reminding myself that I had a three year contract made me feel a little more secure.  Realizing that I probably won’t need *all* of that $7500 saved each year to live on in the summer helped me realize I could throw that money onto other things or just hang onto it for next summer.  Realizing I have a few friends who are very talented in negotiating car purchases and might could even help me fix up a used car, if it came to that, helped me calm down about that big financial x-factor.  Realizing that I would once again drive a beater car for a few more years and resave car money, that I don’t *have* to have an upgraded car, just a car that runs and is safe, helped me realize that even if I haven’t completely saved the full amount I’d like to have at my discretion, my problem will still be solved.  Also, the silver lining of the divorce debt is that once it’s gone, that’s the biggest financial hurdle I have.  I have plans to pay off my student loan as well as my mortgage after that, and those things are going to be exciting and nothing will be in the way of getting that done.  If I can plow through all these current money issues in four years, what couldn’t I do with four more?

I *think* I can get summer money, emergency fund and roof money by the start of June.  That’s exciting.  It makes me feel more in control of what’s happening to me.  Knowledge is power.  Things here will be tight while the boy is in high school and these impending money things are happening.  But knowing things are tight and having a plan as to what comes first is much better than being stunned by the realities of it at every turn.  I do feel better.


2 responses »

  1. Wow! What a challenge!

    Luckily, I managed to get out from under the divorce debt. There was 3/4 of a million dollars’ worth.

    Is there any way you can get your school to prorate your 9-month salary over 12 months? GDU used to do that for all f/t faculty, tenure-track or no.

    It meant a smaller monthly income. But it obviated having to self-escrow enough to get through the summer or else flail around trying to scrounge bits and pieces of unreliable, extra income. If the college were prorating your salary, then you could self-prorate (as it were) whatever you earned during the summer, increasing your monthly spendable money throughout the year. $7500 earned in the summer would amount to $625 a month if spread over 12 months.

  2. If I had to come up with 3/4 of a million bucks, I think I would pass out. That kind of money is so far out of the realm of my experience.

    The school actually can prorate my salary over 12 months. I’ve considered it a time or two. The problem is that leaves me extremely lean from time to time, and there isn’t a penny to spare for things like car repair or insurance. Some months I can save the full amount myself, other months I need every penny. 😦 At this stage, I really do feel like my needs are outstripping my salary. There are certainly pay periods where I’m temporarily broke and putting off projects that need to be done to the next pay period. I try to be careful, but I get caught out sometimes. It’s frustrating.

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