The Money Shuffle

Nobody’s immune to it, and I’ve been hearing more and more about it as those of us who had contracts, savings, and other reserves and fall-backs slowly eat through them.

Things aren’t so bad here at Hacienda Dayton, but a judder of nervousness just went round the house this evening when we realized we were very nearly just shy of being able to pay rent on time next week.

J. is now going to school full time, relying on grants and student loans – all of which have been delayed until next week (the quarter started two weeks ago). We’ve been getting by on my salary and his savings for the last month. I also had $300 in savings, $150 of which we burned through yesterday for a mini-celebration celebrating good things that needed to be celebrated, and which we didn’t expect would suddenly mean so much.

A little creative (read: groceries on the credit card) accounting (I get paid Thursday), solved the rent issue, but it was a good reminder that now that he’s in school and I’m the sole breadwinner, we need to tighten things up around here… especially with how wacky student loan payouts are (nearly as bad as book check payouts, and on the same bizarre “we’re not giving it all to you at once!” sort of schedule – like they’ll blow it all on twizzlers and coffee if given a lump sum).

I got the crazy news at work last month that all raises had been suspended and they’d put a hiring freeze in effect (for reasons various and sundry which I won’t relate here, but suffice to say, we’d done very, very well last year and this came as a big shock to all of us. Turns out it doesn’t matter how well you do if your lending bank tightens its standards because of Great Depression madness). We’re not anticipating layoffs right now, but we won’t know for sure until mid-July. We’ve had to dump some core outside help my dept. was getting, tho, and it’s meant a bigger workload with no raise (and I already bust my ass at work), which was a big morale buster for me.

In any case, the “what about rent?” fiasco reminded me of just how tenuous our position is, and how much it relies on my continued steady employment (and a late – as usual – book check which I should have signed the paperwork for by now). I don’t think we’ll have to cancel our August and September vacations, but I was conscious when I put together the September package that I wouldn’t have to pay for it until August, so we still have time to back out (i.e. it’s not paid yet, just booked and a small down payment made).

Overall, we’re going to be a little more frugal, going forward. I’ll be going through the budget again tonight and seeing how much of the “fun” bucket can be deferred to the “savings” bucket. With just one of us employed, that savings bucket is going to be more and more crucial going forward.

There’s a big neighborhood yard sale this weekend that J. is going to make possible by cashing in his petty change jar so we can free up a few dollars for deals.

We’ve been living very well. I just got a cold reminder of how tenuous that wellness really is.

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