Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Looking for Money in All the Right Places

Boy, are we tight on cash right now. 

We're not the only ones, obviously. Donna Freedman hasn't had a paycheck for about a month. Others are really having to watch it, budget-wise.

Our struggle has a lot to do with timing. A bunch of bills came in all at once -- and of course, they all needed to get paid yesterday. One big invoice was supposed to happen in installments -- instead, we had to pay it all. Plus our friend Thom had the time to refinish the basement floor. (That's why I hear grinding noises as we speak, and a gentle cloud of dust keeps drifting up from the back door.) It will look beautiful when he's finished...but thanks to Safeco denying our insurance claim, that's $1300 out of our pockets -- not theirs.

So what's next? Trolling the sidewalks, looking for spare change? (Actually, I do keep an eye out around parking meters -- the best place in the world to find coins. Or the coin refund slot.) Instead, we'll:

*Stop spending. No trips to Walmart, or leisurely jaunts to the movies, until the next paycheck, about 3 weeks from now.

*Stop eating. (Well, sort of.) The refrigerator has several dibs and dabs, and the freezer is stuffed. Pantry's pretty hefty right now. I think of these as emergency funds, and they're going to prove it this month. We'll get by.

*Use gift cards. We have several, gotten as presents, plus those earned from Swagbucks. (See the 'swidget' at right to learn more about this helpful program.) Plus, I've got a free burger waiting on a Red Robin 'royalty' rewards card. If we have to, we'll cash them in.

*Check savings. Here's another emergency cache I am so grateful for right now. Years ago, I made a pact that 10% of my teaching income, no matter what, would go into an extra account. That money paid property taxes this year, and it's going to fill in some needed spots this month, as well.

*Take stock. We have several savings bonds coming to the end of their interest-bearing lives. Now's the time to cash them in. We've also squirreled cash away in several spots For Just This Reason. (The Brick and I come by this trait in good stead -- our parents are wonderful hoarders for a rainy day. When his mom died some years ago, we were forever finding pockets of cash hidden here and there, under furniture or pushed toward the back of a drawer. Some of the coins were quite old.)

*Clean up and square away. Several clients haven't been billed for their work -- those invoices are going out this week. I've got four restoration jobs in progress; two are near completion. Guess what's going to get finished off, as quickly as I can?

We've been through tight spots before, and this is nothing like that. We'll be fine. Now, if I can only tell that persistent little farm girl voice inside to shut up. She keeps whining that we'll be out of the street, begging for nickels...


Donna Freedman said...

Thanks for the link! I finally invoiced yesterday, but that means the money won't hit my account until March 15. :-(
I, too, have what Liz Weston calls "the emergency fund you can eat." In addition, last week's gall-bladder surgery left me mostly without an appetite and verrrrry cautious about what I do eat. Thus no desire to eat out, or even to do much shopping. I'm eating small amounts of what I've already got on hand -- eggs, yogurt, applesauce, vegetables, rice, quinoa, lentils, soup made with stock from the freezer -- plus a bit of fresh produce (bananas, oranges, a winter squash).
Like you, I'm not worried per se. I know that eventually I will be paid. It's just odd not to have money showing up every 10 days, the way it used to (and will again, now that the new gig has started).

Cindy Brick said...

You're welcome, Donna! Always glad to help spread the word about your blog.

Sometimes it's the idea of money not coming in that's harder to deal with, than the actual lack of money. Hanging out in Pinterest helps -- I post pretty pictures of all the stuff I admire, but then have no desire to buy it. I would have felt differently if I'd been trolling Amazon, instead.

Thanks for writing.

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