Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Some Cuts Hurt More Than Others

This economy sucks.

I hear varying reports on it too. Some people say it is in a state of recovery, some say it isn't. Who knows? I know plenty of people, myself included, who are unemployed, so if the economy is REALLY recovering, wouldn't some of those folks have new jobs by now?

And everyone I know has been affected by how bad things have become. Sucks. I know that for us, in 2009, we had to be a lot more aware of money, especially with all the new expenses we got tossed at us with Bennett and his condition. Insurance covered his surgery obviously, and his medications, but it did not cover travel, hotel stays, that kind of thing, even though they were all related to the medical condition.

This year, we have a lot of luck on our side financially. Thank you OHIO. And you have a very cool flag, btw.

Therapies are covered by county-based Early Intervention. Bennett's new school? Almost fully covered by the state-sponsored Medicaid Waiver that Bennett applied for and was granted late last year. We even have someone who comes to the house 5 times a week for 4 hours each of those 5 days in order to help with anything related to Bennett's care. That's huge.

But still, with the unemployment comes the need for a much harder look at one's finances. So we've been going through all our regular 'expenses' and trying to figure out ways to shave a little here, shave a little there, and so on. Sadly, this house was a STUPID purchase. If I could go back in time, I never would have bought it. And we can't sell it cause now it appraises for less than what we paid. Bullshit.

So other than that SWEEPING thing like getting out of the house, what kind of things can we start doing without? Do we really NEED the upstairs hook-up to the satellite feed? No, that's an easy one. We'll lose that. Do we really NEED the alarm service on our house? Hmmm...maybe, undecided. We'll come back to that one. Let's make sure we use the Camry for Jen's travels to/from work since it gets FAR better mileage than my 4-Runner.

Instead of going to the post office every day for my eBay junk, let's cut that back to twice a week. Done. Is there a way to hook something up to my bicycle that I could use to bike to the post office which is only 2 miles away? Let's investigate that. What electronics can we turn off to start being more energy conscious?

For food, let's try to plan some meals ahead of time and work within a set budget. I'm in charge of that one, since I am doing meals now. I look for meats that are on sale, veggies that are on sale, stuff like that. After a week or two I will have enough info in order to create a set budget for a weekly food expense.

And so on and so on.

Sometimes though, you get to something on the list that really hurts to cut. And as it probably is with ANYONE out there who is having to cut down on expenses or outright struggling, those cuts involving the kids are the ones that go deepest and hurt the most.

Yesterday, I negotiated Carter out of his current 6-month commitment to Taekwondo. The people at Perdue's Westerville Taekwondo are all exceptional, especially Mr. Due. He is one of the nicest, most down-to-Earth people I have ever met, and I use to enjoy chatting with him during Carter's classes.

Yet, I was frankly embarrassed to tell him I was laid off, and I was talking to one of his employees who spoke for Mr. Due and they were SUPER accommodating about getting out of the contract with no penalty whatsoever. They did not even insist that we pay them what we owed them, they figured since Carter had only been there the first 30 days of that 6 month period (he then missed a month for illness and weather and the following month because we hadn't paid our bill and weren't sure how to) that it could be qualified as the 30-days satisfaction guarantee they offer and we didn't have to worry about the rest of the cash.

They made sure to let me know Carter would be welcome back ANYTIME when things improved for us. Frankly, I was flabbergasted at how cool they were.

Now of course, here I am trying to figure out how to go tell Carter he can't go back to Karate. Sweated over it for a while. And then when I finally do tell him, what does he say?

'YAY! No more Karate!!!'

Then he turns and runs back to the playroom to continue the Dragon attacking the Castle thing he was into. I don't know if I buy it, since he always resisted every time we took him but after he came out he always had fun and was excited about it. That's just his way, looking at things half-empty first.

Oh crap...I wonder where he is getting THAT from?




  1. You are certainly not alone. The economy has given us quite a blow too. I have no income whatsoever and Chad's was cut nearly in half last year. So, that's been our goal too...cut here and there to save -looking for any and all medical related assistance programs to ease some of the burden. Sucks.

    Glad to hear Carter was cool with the karate class. One less expense and no hurt feelings.

  2. Oh, I could have written this post.

    We, too, are working on adapting in place. Making due with less and working to make and grow more of what we need.

    You are so not alone.

    I had to grin at Carter's reaction to the karate.

    And if it makes you feel any better, you home is GORGEOUS. :D

    Tammy and Parker
    @ParkerMama on Twitter

  3. The budget thins is so hard. I know that Hubs and I were over-budget for the first 18 months after Charlie's birth. Yikes! I know that we still don't have cable--shocking how quickly you get over that. We also try really hard to budget in the food department. Shocking how much that can effect your budget.

  4. This is Joyce. Boy this one hit home for me - nearly 20 years ago. John and I had just built a sparkling 4bed/3bath home on our nice fat two earner pay checks before Sarah came along. By April of 1990 John left his job(I was carrying the health insurance -not to mention John lived in the Beta House at OSU so vomit was nothing to him:)to be her 24/7 nurse and by August the bank was all over us. I laughed when they started talking about the foreclosure crisis a few years ago. Hell we had been in foreclosure crisis since the early 90's. We sold everything we could including our cars and striped away anythiing that looked like a luxury.

    And you know what. It was the best thing that ever happened to us. We have recovered financially but we still make decisions based on our old formula. Long term it is gratifying to realize you can live with so much less.

    I know in the moment though, it is a major stressor. I feel for you. Try not to beat yourself up over it. Looking back I wish I had stressed a little less about it.

    Glad to hear the good ole state of OH-IO is taking care of you. Makes me feel better about sending my taxes to C-bus.

  5. Dang Ken. You know I've been there. We came just about a month away from losing everything a couple years ago. I'm pulling for you.

    And you guys do have a cool flag.

  6. It sounds like your Carter has a great little attitude! I am so happy that he responded this way...What a guilt trip you could have been dealing with!

    As for Bennett's services, it sounds like your state is AMAZING! I know you are very thankful for that...

    Just today, it was announced here in SC that they will cut the Dept. of Disabilities & Special Needs budget by 28%...More than any other agency, naturally...This agency funds almost everything here...And proposed Medicaid cuts? One will reduce the number of Rx you can get each month from 10 to 3...Colby takes 7 meds, and they total to ~ $2075.00 per month, and that's WITHOUT any added antibiotics, which he usually requires at least once every month to 6 wks!

    So....My ex is back in jail for the 4th time for non-p'ment of support again until at least this October....The only income we have is Colby's little SSI check of $440.00....and now they tell me about this meds thing?

    It is NUTS!!! I know everyone is having to cut corners, but goodness gracious!!!

    Sorry....Don't EVEN get me started!!!

    In other words....I feel your pain!


  7. Ken...I just re-read my comment...Again, I am so sorry I just went on that tirade...This is YOUR blog, not mine!!!

  8. Sorry you are going through this Ken. Hope it is temporary.


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