Monthly Archives: November 2008

We are poor

This year, we started the year with about 25k in savings, rainy-day fund, and over the course of the year, well, it rained. Three cats with cancer, one new computer, two vacations, and a couple other extravagant purchases later, we have officially drained the rainy-day fund.

To make matters worse, I changed jobs, which is a good thing for me and our family considering the Hellish commute and crap management/political infighting/reindeer games at the old place, but I have taken a big step down in pay to make it happen. Next year’s forecast is that I will take home 13k less than 2008.

We are planning to do a lot of belt-tightening, especially in the “dining out” arena. As in, cut our dining out and take-out by half. That will mean eating at home a lot more… our habit has been an average of 4 or 5 nights a week getting take-out our going out, and we’ll need to scale this back to 2 per week. I’ll need to scale back my lunch budget too, and get serious about sandwiches again. That also means we’ll need to buy groceries, and cook for ourselves, as the primary food source *and* as the backup plan (i.e. frozen or canned items as the “emergency” item, not Baja Fresh.) We will also cancel some extras like Vonage and Netflix, but that’s only 50/month combined, so small change.

If we make serious cuts in the dining/entertainment area, have no new computers or bling next year, have no other huge disasters, we will just about break even next year. That’s not a comfortable position for me… I’d really like to have savings equal to 6 months of living expenses (or at least, enough to cover 6 months if we cut non-essentials like dining out at all and directv).

The biggest impact for next year will be the plans for fixing up the house and moving out. Our house may have dropped in value, but we still have a hefty equity stake. Last time we moved, we were fortunate to be able to buy a new house, move, and then show our old condo in an empty state, and made a considerable profit on it. Most of that profit went into this house’s equity, so the house we bought for 460k we probably owe 320k. If we could sell it for what we bought it for, or more, that would mean we have 140k or more for downpayment and reducing our loan. But, if we move into a house that costs us roughly the same amount, our loan will end up being the same amount (and same monthly payment) as now. We also have no cash to apply to needed improvements/completions. I’d like to check around to see if we can get a house we can tolerate for less than our current house, and if we can get a 2nd loan or home equity line (I should have kept the old equity line open but it had a hefty yearly fee).

More extreme measures? I suppose if we were to totally clear out the spare room, we could take on a roommate and share the rent. M is highly skeptical of this idea… I could think of a few people we wouldn’t mind as roommates but they are all unemployed at the moment. Another option might be asking M to go back to tech writing- if she were to earn 10k or 15k that would definitely help.

So, friends. What are some of your favorite cheap, easy foods to make at home. I’m pretty good at making large soups, salad, spaghetti, hamburger-helper or other boxed side dishes, steaming veggies, and other simple stuff. Any other ideas are welcome!

Vegas, day 6

Last day
Get up and start packing
Call for bell service
Take cab to airport
Wait in “web check in” line about 25 minutes while the 1 lady serving that line spends 10 minutes with one person, and 10+ minutes with someone from the First Class line (which has 2 other windows serving it)
Give up and take our bags outside to curb checkin, done in 3 min.
Fly home, landing 20 min early
Cab home

– 6 Bell service
-25 Cab to airport
– 6 Water and candy
-25 Cab to home

-45 Checking two bags

Vegas, day 5

Back to TI to look at photos
Avoid buying full rez photos on CD ($1200) but did get a couple extra 8×10
Breakfast at Hilton Cafe
Back to hotel just to chill

-15 Cab back from TI to our hotel

-60 Midnight snacks, drinks, cold medicine
-30 Deli, snacks

Vegas, day 4

Bus+walk to Atomic Bomb Museum
Walk back (no bus, ouch)
Monorail (1 stop worth)
Hilton restaurants all closed 2-5
Had mini pizza at Pizza Hut stand
Return to hotel
Dinner at Hilton, 888 Noodle bar (thx Darren)

– 1 Bus
-12 Museum
– 5 Monorail 1 ride
– 9 Pizza hut
-20 Slots

-40 Deli breakfast stuff and snacks
-10 Deli snacks, water

Vegas, day 3

Drop off Miche and Corrii at Treasure Island
Try to find shirt or bandana for Darren’s costume and mine
Breakfast at Starbucks
Stores not open yet. Gamble.
Win 700 at roulette table betting on red, red, black
Drive to Supercuts and get haircut
Return to Treasure Island, locate Bridal Dressing Room
Change into costume, chat with officiant and wedding staff
Ceremony! On a freakin Pirate Ship!
Lots of pictures after
Back to hotel for quick lunch
Cab to Postrio
Excellent dinner
Cab back to hotel

+700 Won at roulette
-20 Cab to Postrio
-15 Cab back to hotel

-15 Starbucks
-20 Supercuts
-20 Deli
-1000 Dinner at Postrio (10 people)
-90 Spa treatment

Vegas, day 1

Day 1
Packed, got cats situated
Parked car outside so L could park inside
Took cab to airport
Cab driver took 20 extra minutes to find our house (S.V.Place NOT S.V.Way ok?)
Boarded plane 20 min late, then waited an extra 70 min to take off
C and L were on the same flight, took cab to hotel together

-25 Cab ride to airport
-15 Lunch at airport
-30 Cab from airport to hgvc
+20 Clay-for cab
-20 Dinner, hilton cafe

-15 Check bag at airport
-10 Headband
-15 Deli, Snacks