Monday, October 29, 2018

Well, now it's 2018

A short while ago, I updated the header of this blog with the new line of "With the passing of my Wifey of 20 years I am also now a widower who is trying to find a sense of direction. Losing a friend is hard, losing family is harder, losing your best friend and partner in everything takes "SUCKS" to new levels..."

So it's very late in 2018 at that.  I've started, restarted this entry a couple dozen times.

This year, my garden matches my mood - With the passing of my Wifey at the end of 2017 at only 50, I have spent the last year in a profound funk.  Adding to my issues, I left a good paying job because the new management started ignoring the technical staff and setting goals that could not be met.

This is where prepping becomes a practical skill.  In leaving my employer, I was given a sizable amount to stay on for a month and help train those staying behind in what I did.  This padded my emergency savings and extended the time I could take off to mourn my Wifey.

A couple of years ago, I had to take over the house bills as my Wifey was having some medical problems.  Being a techy person and having a lot on my plate already, I needed a way to know what bills were due each month.  Keeping the bill's due dates in my calendar was a start but I started to want to know what my monthly overhead was looking like.

This was where a spreadsheet made all kinds of sense.  I started with a simple list column with monthly payable names on the left and the other columns named for each month.  A totals calculation at the bottom of each month told us just how much was going out each month.  My first reaction was shock and horror.  I was still working back then and the expense was livable but the savings could have been growing much faster with some cutbacks and streamlining, most of which did not happen. I always had a hard time telling my Wifey no.  It's a husbands responsibility to spoil his wife where ever possible.

Jump forward a few years, there's been a string of major life changing events and my income has come to a halt.  Unfortunately my bills and debts are still ongoing.  This is where my spreadsheet work started to shine - I immediately knew where I could make cuts and savings.  My cable TV was the first to go and I switched to streaming TV and I am more satisfied than having cable.  The house phone is only used as a backup but still necessary for some banking calls, this was costing more than $40 a month.  I found a service called MagicJack that would only cost me $30 a year to move the house phone over to and it had a few features that AT&T would not provide.  It was an easy sell.

One of the higher dollar monthly payments was a car payment.  This was second only to the mortgage on the house.  Since my Wifey's car was paid for, what made the most sense was to sell her car and payoff my car.  This cut a very large payment out and also reduced the insurance overhead as well.

As for income, I am looking for a new job.  Following the old model is meant to be the easiest but being a Network Engineer and over 50, I am seeing where the job market favors the young.  There are many laws in place to prevent 'ageism' but who's kidding who.  As a backup, I am looking into doing consulting and other professional services.  For the next year, I can draw unemployment.  This was an option that I really did not want to use but after being told by several good friends that "you've paid into unemployment for 30 years, use it" I am now getting a little help and not solely living off my savings.

So far I've stretched out my savings from the initial couple of months to seven months and going - my mortgage and remaining bills are all paid.  A new income will present itself soon, of that I have faith.  Having others praying for me helps too.  The loss of a spouse is devastating and I have spent this year feeling like I am navigating without a compass.  It's taken a while but I am finally trying to put my feet under me again and stand back up.

The biggest take away from this blog post is that life happens, Be Ready for it!  Be Ready to live on less.  Be Ready to make what you have last longer.  Be Ready to make hard choices and to know that you will choose wisely.  Some simple changes in how you live and keep track of mundane items can make a huge difference in your life or the life of those you leave behind.