Friday, May 30, 2014

Spending the extra paycheck

Don't worry, it's not as frivolous as it sounds.

The back story: DH is in a union at work. A new contract was negotiated last summer with a start date of Aug. 1, 2013. It sounded good. The local union approved it. But this is a national deal and two segments didn't give approval until a month or so ago. Part of the new contract was a small pay raise, but it couldn't go into effect until full ratification. That means that all those months when DH should have been receiving a bit of a raise, he wasn't, and now he is due to receive it retroactively.

That check arrived this week. After taxes etc., it was just over $1,000. Funny how your brain immediately goes to "what can I buy with $1,000?" A few years ago, we probably would have just made a big purchase that we had been wanting but couldn't afford ... not bothering to note that we couldn't afford it then either.

I admit, we will not be putting it all toward debt reduction. We could, we just won't. So far, we sent $200 to American Express (on top of the monthly minimum payment) and put $300 in our 30th anniversary trip account. The other $500 is sitting in checking as a cushion until DH's next paycheck. I don't anticipate having to use it for anything, but I like having it there just in case. We will make a decision on what to do with it soon. We need to replace the light fixture in the hall bathroom, so $100 might go toward that. We'll see.

DS works for the same company and received a check for $1,800. He immediately set it aside for a planned trip to Spain next spring to visit his great-uncle. That's what you can do when you're young, single and have no debt!

Happy weekend all,


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It's summer!

DS is out of school, DH is on vacation ... and schedules are out the door!

DH is working his way through the to-do list while home this week. Lots of little things around the house that don't get done because he works such long hours. (We took the afternoon off yesterday to use free tickets to the minor league baseball game :) One big project: replacing the vapor barrier under the house. He and our older son will tackle that one together. I'll serve iced tea.

It looks like DS really is going to get nursing care - probably starting the end of June. That's perfect timing as he/we can adjust before he starts back to school in August. One source will allow him 30 hours a week, which he is going to use for daytime hours. He is in the process of hiring several students for driving duties and general help while on campus. We expect the other source to provide many more hours which will be used for nighttime care and bathing/dressing etc. Home health aides will be hired for those roles. It's a lot to take in and will take some getting used to, but there are perks on all sides. DS will gain some independence from us, and we will suddenly have freedom that we haven't known since he was born.

We still need to see how it plays out, but right now he only has a commitment for a student to drive him home from school and to cover driving him to evening activities. That leaves him with a choice for getting to school. Either I can take him as I have been doing, or he can have the local bus service take him (they offer door-to-door service for disabled riders). Either of those scenarios would alleviate the need for a third car as I would still have the van for most of the day. The student would not pick it up until late afternoon.

In other good news, it's almost the end of May and we have not used a credit card this year and I haven't had a soda since early February. Who would have thunk??

Hope everyone is having a great week!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Decisions to come

My life is about to change big time.

I've been the primary caregiver for DS for 20 years. As he has gotten older, that has not only meant helping with the obvious - bathing, dressing, feeding, turning etc. - but also being the on-call chauffeur for school, work, fun activities.

Now, however, he is in the process of working with two programs that will allow him caregiver services. His plan is to use one of them for overnight, more specialized care, and the other to hire students to shuttle him back and forth to college and other activities.

While all this sounds wonderful in theory, it means that I will potentially be losing my mode of transportation every weekday.

This leaves us to decide what to do about that. I do some freelance work that requires my being able to get around town. And there are the typical household errands that I take care of during the week. I'm actually rather torn about it. I am a homebody and don't go out just to go out. But I do want the option.

For now, we're just going to start putting away what we can in a separate account and see where we are at the end of the summer. We would only need a car that could get me around town, so we'd be looking at a beater car that just runs. We would only buy what we could pay cash for.

Any tips on buying a very low-cost vehicle that won't turn out to be a nightmare?