My current situation has me thinking a lot about finances lately so today’s Self Care Sunday post is about financial self care and saving for a rainy day. I am not sure where that saying came from but it means to save a little for unexpected expenses or hardships.
I grew up with a single mother who had five children; I was the youngest. My mother did her best while working two jobs. She also received Social Security death benefits for my father, she got food stamps and Catholic Charities would often leave food at our door. Usually around Christmas my mother would come home to find a couple hundred dollars in envelope stuffed in between the storm door and screen door. I remember getting dressed for school in front of the oven one morning because we ran out of oil. I remember eating peanut butter sandwiches or hotdogs for every meal for a few weeks. Our home was on the verge of being in a sheriff sale a few times only to be saved by a local Good Samaritan. My mother still lives in that home. It’s been paid off for over 20 years. Perhaps this is why I’ve been sensitive, empathic and compassionate to human struggles and suffering. I’ve been there.
When I was really young most of my clothes were hand me downs from my sisters or were bought from the Goodwill. My mother took me to a store on the other side of town so I would not end up with clothes from our neighbors. But she always made sure I look fashionable and had what I needed so I fit in with the local kids. In my freshman year of high school a teacher told my mother that I talked about life and bills like I was 40 years old and that I needed be just a kid. I don’t begrudge my mother for letting me see her struggle. It’s because I saw it that I grew up understanding how it feels to struggle. It made me empathic. I am glad I can feel the suffering others.
My favorite things from my childhood included our weekly treat of having dinner at the diner around the corner from our house and once a month we went out for Chinese food. One big plus was my mother was a baker for TastyKake In Philadelphia for a few years when I was young so we had an endless supply of Peanut Butter Tandy Cakes, Krimpets, Chocolate Cupcakes and Apple pies in house. She eventually left TastyKake for a job closer to our home at the Navy Depot. That’s where she eventually retired from to take care of my terminally ill sister. Perhaps this is why I am a hard worker. I grew up watching my mother work hard to feed us and keep a roof our our heads. I am grateful I had her for my mom everyday.
I wasn’t good with money in my younger years. I didn’t know how to manage it. I grew up in a house that never had money to manage. It was always paycheck to paycheck. I think it could go either way when you go up like that. My sister grew up saving her lunch money and has bought every car she’s ever owned with cash. She is very good with money. I’ve had my ups and downs.
In my 20s and 30s I was a partier and I lived large…The below meme pretty much says it all 😂
In April 2006 I was laid off from my job when the non-profit I worked for lost the grant that paid my salary. I went back to school full time for one year. I managed just fine while on unemployment but unemployment ran out in April 2007. I worked temp jobs but I didn’t find a full time job until November 2007. Within those six months, I lost everything and was financially destroyed. My credit score was crushed. Once you get behind, it’s very hard to catch up. Especially with credit cards. I never thought I would dig out of that hole. But, guess what? I did… It took a few years for things to get turned around but eventually I was back on solid ground and my credit score improved greatly. Unfortunately, I was still living paycheck to paycheck.
In 2016 my sister lost her job. That’s a long story. She was kind of a whistleblower but she lost her temper (flipped out on someone ) in the process and got fired. She had no income. I supported her for three months until she got back on her feet. In 2017 my niece lost her job and entered rehab for prescription drugs. I supported her and helped give her a fresh start. My sister and my niece are both back on their feet. My sister is doing just fine. My niece had a few relapses after rehab but she got her one year of sobriety coin at AA on Christmas Day 2018. I am proud of her and happy I helped her. I have no regrets helping my sister or my niece. I have no regrets I that I lived paycheck to paycheck while I was doing it. My point is we never know what is going on in someone’s life. I didn’t tell my friends or coworkers I was supporting two other people on my salary. It wasn’t their business. Just because I made decent money doesn’t mean I had anything in the bank. Someone could have $200K a year coming into their house and still live paycheck to paycheck if they are overextended. There’s no judgment. It’s just the way it is. We never know what is going on in another person’s life.
By late 2017, taking care of everyone but myself was starting to take a toll on my well-being. I also learned that my chronic shoulder, neck, jaw and temple pain was actually TMJ and I have arthritis throughout the left side of my jaw. Most likely from clenching. I clench in my sleep. I now take Magnesium every night at bedtime. My doctor also gave me Xanax to take at bedtime on nights I am really tense. It helps. It’s much more manageable now than it was. I am pretty sure those who have been around me enough have noticed me clench when I am stressed or annoyed. It was during that difficult time I decided 2018 was going to my year.
The only person I worried about and took care of in 2018 was myself. It wasn’t selfish. It was survival. In 2018 I accepted a new job and explored a new career path. God only knows what will happen with that when I get back to work. I kind of feel it doesn’t really matter anymore as long as I have job to go back to (I do, so no worries there). In 2018, I studied at the Institute Of Integrative Nutrition and learned basic self care practices that I now use every day. In 2018, I learned how to eat so my stomach is constantly bloated. And in 2018, I started being smart with money. Smart enough that I am on longer living paycheck to paycheck.
When the news of my furlough hit, it was stressful. I count myself blessed and fortunate because I also knew I would be fine financially. I knew I had enough saved that I would be fine even if I didn’t get unemployment or back pay. I called my landlord. She told me not to pay rent until I am back to work and/or get my back pay. WOW! What a blessing! I was also able to push my car payment back a couple of months too. Yep, everyone heard about the government shutting down 😂 I did apply for unemployment anyway but it hasn’t been approved yet. I am not sure I’ll need it. God provided for me in my time of need and for that I am very grateful. All of my prayers to ArchMichael over the years worked!
I will say this furlough has been a wake up call to me. It gave me opportunity to really look at my spending and evaluate what I really need. I may live in a nice beach front apartment but I don’t drive an expensive car and I don’t take big expensive vacations. I live modestly. Actually, I live below my means and it’s just fine with me. I don’t need more. However, I do plan to make some changes going forward which means putting more money in the bank and spending less on yoga, sushi and a cleaning lady. I do want to take a vacation this year so I want to save some extra money this year. I will be saving instead of putting money into the economy. I have a feeling a lot of people who have been affected by the shutdown will be doing the same and economy will be taking a long term hit.
Asking for a friend…
Would you be considered a bad Democrat if you wanted Congress and the President to reach a compromise so everyone impacted by this Shutdown can get their paychecks and get back to their lives? I’ll be honest. Even though I’m getting back pay and I know this won’t trigger a reduction in workforce, it’s totally stressing me out. But at 51, 11 years of service with savings to live on, I am riding it out. I am curious how younger people with less service are viewing this. Will they stick around? It’s a shame because we need them for the future. I am also really concerned for the contractors and their companies. They are getting crushed in this. Will they make it? Will people even want to work them and subject themselves to this? In my area, I suspect the answer is probably yes. There just aren’t a lot of opportunities in my area and where we work is a nice place to work. I am praying everyday for it to end soon. I’m praying for everyone involved. My last thoughts on this is that I like politics. I pay attention to politics —- but this Administration is exhausting and it is not even funny anymore.
My question to you today is how’s your relationship with money?
Are you living within your means or are you overextended? Are you living paycheck to paycheck because of obligations or are you taking expensive vacations and living in a big house you can’t afford? Do you have three months of salary or more in the bank for a rainy day? Do you have a budget? When was the last time you stopped to take care of yourself financially?
This week’s action is to do a Financial Check-Up and create a financial goal for yourself. Here are a few things to think about.
- Review your Inflows and Outflows – Can you track your income and expenses for the last year? What came in? What went out? Was there any money left over? See the below graphic.
- Make a list of your assets and everything you owe – Subtract your liabilities from your assets and that is your net worth.
- Look at your investments – If you have them? Are they invested properly for your age?
- Check your credit score – http://www.myfico.com or http://www.annualfreecreditreport.com are free sites for credits scores.
- Reflect on any major changes you want to make in your life and identify and steps you need to take to make it happen
The below graphic depicts the optimal distribution of outflows. I am not quiet there yet. My financial goal is have more cash savings. My 401K contribution is maxed and I am also dropping more in since I turned 50. I’ve been too afraid to look at it lately 😂 I’ve heard it’s 10% down. So, my focus is going to be on saving cash after I get back to work.
Remember to put a little love in the world and say the Loving Kindness Prayer for someone special. I often like to say it for special people in my life as well for groups such as my family, friends, coworkers and all beings.
Loving Kindness Prayer💙
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you be loved
I claim love as my vibration for 2019.
Everything is always working out for my highest good 💙🦋
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