I hope you’re well today and it’s not too hot where you are

As many of you know our kitchen was out of commission for a while due to remodeling. I am getting back into the swing of things in the kitchen by cooking today. I am posting the recipe for our main dish today. It is a crockpot recipe and will help keep your kitchen cooler. If you do the rice option, you can do that part in your rice cooker. Throw a salad at it, some rolls too, and voila! You have dinner! I think this is better than anything I’ve had at Olive Garden. No lie. LOL I like to cut up the chicken breasts and they’ll end up falling apart while cooking.

Creamy Italian Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix (do not mix up)
1/3 cup water
1 package (8 ozs.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (10 ¾ ozs.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (4 ozs.) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
Hot cooked rice or noodles

Place the chicken breast halves in a slow cooker. Combine salad dressing mix and water; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Pour cream cheese mixture over chicken. Cook 1 hour longer or until chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice or hot cooked noodles.

I’m 55, he’s 50

Poor life choices have made us really vulnerable financially in a lot of areas.
I wouldn’t stress about the 10% if we had additional income. But right now, his is all we have. To put us in the negative to save $440 a month (ok, $880 with their matching) is asking a lot, particularly with some kid issues we have coming up starting in January.

Ten percent is a big match

I can see why he’d want it. How far from retirement are you? How many years? Hopefully he would meet in the middle, maybe you could handle the five percent. Any possibility of him car pooling to save on gas?. I hated car pooling but some people can handle it. Would he consider holding off till you got one bill gone and the baby emergency fund in place? I’m watching my 401K grow in retirement and that’s a really good feeling when you are past the age of going out to get a job.

Rather than beating him senseless (I’m only partially kidding about that last part)

We’re into week four now of our own ‘where the HECK is the money going?’ issue, and we’re still wrestling with some parts of that. Despite having answered a LOT of recent questions about where our money has been going, my DH and I are still butting heads in some ways about how to manage it from now on, similar to your situation. Best I’ve been able to come up with so far for conversations like this is to try to find a 3rd alternative, a compromise somewhere between my very-logical-and-practical-and-DR-approved-approach (and if it sounds like I think my idea is better, of course I think it’s better), and his I-work-hard-for-my-money-and-I-get-to-spend-it-the-way-I-want (and if it sounds like he thinks his idea is better, of course he thinks it’s better). That’s the problem – each spouse tends to think we’re the only ones who really know what the priorities should be. Which puts us back into our own corners and if we come out of the corners at all, we come out fighting.
I’ll have an updated post on our own situation within the next day or so, because a lot has changed with it (mostly for the good). In the meantime, Kathy, hang in there and keep trying to work with him on something you can both live with. I think I saw someone define “compromise” as “when all parties are equally unhappy”. That sounds dorky but sometimes that’s really the big flag that you’ve arrived at a workable plan. Everyone got something, but no one got everything.

How long will it take for you to get out of debt?

If it’s less than about 2 years, I think Michael suggests stopping retirement contributions. But if he contributes to retirement, that’s your gas money and bill money? You just need to make him understand how important it is to you to get out of debt and build an emergency fund – bad credit payday loans. Sadly, that’s not a financial issue, that’s a marriage issue… The face that the recent unemployment doesn’t seem to have changed his attitude is strange.

It’s amazing after all this, how DH and I could still NOT be on the same page

So we started talking in broad terms about the budget once he starts working.

My position: he will take home enough to cover basics, plus the outrageous amount we are going to be spending in gas. I then want to use the leftover to build up a BEF, build up a stockpile to pay off a debt, then repeat until everything is paid off, then revisit.

His position: the company matches 100% up to 10% in a 401(k), so let’s do the 401(k) as soon as he qualifies (which I think is 90 days). His motivation is NOT we depended on that $ when we lost the recent job (I could understand that reasoning), his reasoning is, IT’S FREE MONEY…and he doesn’t want to walk away from free money.

Mind you: his plan means NO money for gas, or money for gas and we are never current on ANYTHING. If taxes work out the way I think they will, after covering expenses we will have $230 A MONTH for food, unplanned events, paying off debt.

Yes, we still have an income problem not a debt problem, so I’m going to really have to up my plan to bring in more income. But even when I do, in my opinion, working so he can do a 401k is really pointless. All my income will be doing is covering basics then, rather than getting us out of debt.

So here’s my real question. I was SO MAD that he would not be on the same get out of debt page, that I couldn’t even talk about it. How do I have a conversation? (other than emailing him a version of this email, including numbers, which I’m probably going to do…at least it will be out there)

Received the official offer letter today

A few (good) surprises:
1. The hiring VP called this morning and told DH to come and start on August 1 vs August 5. Reason? Because medical benefits would then start in 90 days, whereas if he started on August 5, medical wouldn’t start until 120 days out. So that was really nice of them, and bodes well for the future, I think.
2. Wages are paid out semi-monthly. Although I don’t know the exact dates, what that means is getting paid twice a month, versus every two weeks. You’d think that would be a bad thing, but instead, it works out so that the checks are only about $500 less a check than what we were getting before at the old place. This is really a huge relief. It means careful budgeting, but not so careful that a hiccup would turn into a major cough.
And what that really translates to, is building up our BEF quickly, then building up a stockpile of cash, and then once it reaches a certain amount (for example, equal to a debt) paying off the debt in 1 fell swoop.
I’m too gun-shy after this unemployment to just put money toward a debt without having it in the bank first…so I am hoping I can be mindful of the $, and not spend it wildly. If I see we are not being prudent, then I will just go back to normal debt snowball.

YAY!! Snoopy dance!!!

I have to tell you, when you talked the last time about the job offer that had been extended, and we all sorta barked at you for him not accepting it, and then you came back and reminded us that it was a 75 mile a day commute, I sorta did a second-take on that one. We’ve had that conversation here, more than once, because the only professional work I could have gotten after being laid off, was about that far away. I couldn’t see how I could possibly continue to run the house and the farm AND stay sane, with that kind of commute. We’ve really had to suck it up to keep the costs down without that second pro-level income. And now with this “where did the money go” recent hiccup, I’ve been finding myself once again wondering if that commute might actually be worth it. Each day I start off with the thought “no, it would unravel everything we’ve done here”. Each night after another day of trying to balance the books and squeeze a few more pennies out of the wallet, I think “maybe???” It really is a hard call sometimes, deciding whether to cultivate well-paying-but-distant jobs, vs lower-paying-but-more-more-humane jobs. So kudo’s to you and your DH that you’ve found something quite a bit closer, and better paying. That’s awesome. Very, very good news.

We are cautiously optimistic

An offer was extended to DH late yesterday afternoon which he accepted. It is a 60 mile a day commute, and it is not what he was making before, but it is much, much closer to it than anything he has been offered in the past. It’s enough that I don’t have to leave home to work outside (I have some things lined up to work inside the home) and it is a “line” position (executive/management) rather than a “staff” position. They are a solid company which has been growing 21% every year for the past 12 years…so we think it is a good, long term prospect.

They will overnight a written job offer with particulars on Monday, and since their industry convention starts on Monday, he wouldn’t be starting for two weeks (until August 10, hence the cautious optimism).

We appreciate all your prayers and thoughts in our behalf, and look forward to our new adventure.

We applied for a Board of Governor’s waiver for DS17 and DD16 at our junior college

It pays tuition, but (a) it is on a sliding scale, so there isn’t a 100% guarantee and (b) they don’t tell you in advance how much it is, you just have to register for classes and be surprised when you go to check out and pay.

So I just registered DD16.

HOLY COW !! 95% !!!
Her total tuition costs were $40 for a full load.
Truly blessed. Can’t wait to see what DS17’s is going to be when he registers on Aug 1 (presuming he can actually get into classes by then!)