Author Topic: Case Study: Help clot the financial bleed on house, car & health expenses  (Read 6018 times)

BrotherJob

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Hello,

My name is Brother Job.  Perhaps you have met my namesake from distant ages past in the pages of the Old Testament.  You know, the guy who lost everything he had – family, possessions, health – the whole shebang.  The stuff that takes all the joy out of life.  This is Easter week, and let me tell you, there's not much joy around here.  Brace yourself, this post is long, but perhaps not quite as long as Book of Job.  Maybe there's hope after all.

Financially, my family (myself and two children) are slowly bleeding to death.  We have bled through almost $15,000 of a $20,000 savings account (the only savings we have) in the past two years.  Almost $5000 of the $15,000 has occurred just in the first three months of this year.  If the bleeding doesn't stop soon, we will be broke.  I will tell you upfront, I'm adverse to debt, and have been for most of my adult life.  The only debt I presently hold is the mortgage on the house.  There's about 12 years and 50K left to pay on it (a 15 year refinanced note with a rate under 3%).  Until recently, the plan was to sell this house, take some of the cash we had along with proceeds from the house, relocate, and pay cash for a home and a bit of land elsewhere.  And then invest every available dollar for retirement, which I realized for me will probably take more than 10 years.  But those plans are becoming further out of reach with each passing day.

The broken shoelace laying on my desk serves as a daily reminder of what my life has become:  utter brokenness.  My employment, house, transportation, and perhaps most importantly, relationships.  Things that you just expect to “work” on a daily basis have been failing in rapid succession without the time nor money it takes to fix them.   I attempt to make one repair only to I discover that two or more things have broken before I can even get the first thing working again.  I'm here to tell you that compounding interest really does work even outside the financial world.  It's completely overwhelming and demoralizing to the point that there are days that I just want to purchase a one-way ticket to Antarctica. Except I know that wouldn't be the responsible thing to do.

A little more than seven years ago, just before “the crash”, we moved from the city and purchased a small house with a bit of acreage out in the countryside so that I could take a part-time contract job with a religious not-for-profit (some would call it an institution – there are other terms I might use).  In addition to this primary employment, In addition I have and continue to work a number of part-time side jobs (mainly self-employment or on contract) in order to make ends meet for my family and sock some away in savings.  I gross about $2000 per month typically working 20-30 hours per week.  This has been largely dictated by circumstance.

Unlike Job, I might not have leprosy (who knows, that might be next!), but what I do have are chronic bouts of upper respiratory infections that began a few years back that have been largely resistant to antibiotics.  After beating around the bush (and running up big bills) with my family doctor, urgent cares, and the emergency room (why do things like this always seem to occur on a weekend?), I took matters into my own hands and saw an immunologist affiliated with the Mayo Clinic.  But I've seen little relief and still have flare ups that knock me out for days at a time leaving me unable to do much of anything (I'm in the midst of one right now).  The immunnoligist wanted to refer me to a gastroenterologist next, but I have been warned up-front that I'm looking at big bucks, and there's no guarantee that's where my problem is emanating from – he just wants to cover all bases..  And with a $10,000 yearly family deductible on our healthplan, pursuing further medical diagnostics simply isn't in the budget right now.  Add to our medical miseries my daughter needing to have all of her wisdom teeth out and experiencing further complications since the surgery which we are currently pursuing.  Being dental related, none of this will be covered.

Then there are the vehicle issues.  We've been through two vehicles in the past 5 years.  Both have been money pits.  The first vehicle (a 2000 Ford wagon with less than 100K on the odometer) was inspected by a mechanic and deemed sound.  I'd come to sink more than $4000 to keep it on the road.  The last straw was when engine blew at about 160K miles.  I was quoted more than $3000 to replace it.  I figured we'd do better taking that $3000 and putting it to a newer vehicle.  What a mistake.  We purchased an early 2000's GM minivan, and almost immediately, began having problems.  We've spent over $4500 in 18 months to keep this van on the road.  Notice I said “keep on the road” - there's much more I haven't fixed.  I won't bore you all with a list.  I've come to realize in the past several months, I'd actually come out ahead not working most of my supplemental jobs (each which requires a significant drive – we're a 60 mile r/t from the nearest Walmart if that tells you anything) because I'm spending more on transportation costs than I earn on all those jobs put together.  I basically work to pay for my van so I can drive to work.  It's a vicious cycle. 

As for the house, we bought this house seven years ago for $75K (almost 25% below appraised value).  I felt this made purchasing this house a safe bet, financially speaking, since we had built in equity.  Unfortunately, real estate values in the past seven years in the area have plummeted 20% across the board and have never really recovered.  At our last refinance 3 years ago, the house appraised at $82K.  Like the first car I mentioned, we had a certified home inspector verify the integrity of the home before we purchased it.  We worked with the owner to fix the only major red flag, but now we are staring in the face of some major problems, not least of which is a leaky basement.  We have also had an issue with various, ahem, “creatures” (of both the warm and cold blooded varieties) entering our home.  This necessitated the services of a wildlife management expert last year to seal the house at a cost of $1000, but this past winter, the flying squirrels managed to chew their way back into the attic again by through the soffit.  In the meantime, we've been trying to sell the house (both FSBO and with an agent), and all we keep hearing is that our best chance of selling in this area is on contract/rent-to-own, because most folks have ruined credit and/or simply don't have the 20% to put down that most banks are now requiring.  We did have one showing last week – the man who looked at it and claimed to be a master carpenter took one look at my roof and said “that roof needs to be replaced.”  Let's say it does.  Since my home insurance policy only covers the first 15 years of the life of a roof (and pro-rated at that), and we are right at that 15 year mark, guess where that leaves me?  Ignoring the question of the roof, I'm estimating this house needs at least $5000 worth of repairs at this time.  That's being conservative.

Finally (since I know someone will ask), I have no relatives in this area.  My folks are getting up in years and are a long days car ride from here.  I don't know what the future will hold there, but I would expect that as an only child I will be playing an ever increasing role in their life.  We've given some consideration to moving closer to them.  The problem is that average real estate values there are nearly 2.5 times what they are here and the tax burden is significantly higher as well.  There has been no interest on their part having them move closer to us.  They have said repeatedly that they don't want to be a burden on us, but I'd be lying if I told you that some of their recent decisions (or lack thereof) haven't been a great cause of worry.  I mean, who custom builds a house in their 70's with all the bedrooms on the second floor and a full flight of stairs to reach them?  And don't get me started about having all of their financial assets tied up in annuities...

I only came across this site a few weeks ago – and, minus the lack of investing (which I intended to commence as soon as we sold this place and bought another for cash) – and I've always felt like I've been playing the game of money with the right set of rules (and this seems confirmed by reading the Mr. Money Mustache blog).  Why then, is everything going to crap in my life?  It's like my new motto is “If it ain't broke... don't worry, it will be soon.”  I don't know if there's some kind of cosmic battle, bad karma, a curse placed on our lives, or something else, but this isn't even remotely humorous any more.  It's taken it's toll not only on our finances but on our family.  Like Job in the Bible, I've been given a lot of “advice” by “friends”.  I should never have bought the used cars, but financed something new.  I should never have moved from the city (last I checked, similar houses in my old neighborhood were selling for $20K less than I originally paid for mine).  I should get a “real job”.  I should work from home (have you tried using the internet over a dial-up connection or a cell phone with 1 bar of 2G connectivity lately?).  I should go on welfare and food stamps and file for long-term disability.  And the list goes on. 

To put it mildly, I feel like my life is in a garbage compactor:  we're getting crushed and it feels like there's no way out.  I wondered if this was the right place to post this.  I briefly though that maybe this would be better in a psychology or spirituality forum.  But no, I'm deciding to post it here.  Don't you feel fortunate?

So have at it Mustachians.  Feel free to tell me where I went wrong (I sure don't want to repeat the same mistakes twice).  If you decide to face punch me please wear gloves – I've already been wounded plenty.  Most importantly, tell me how to get out of this mess.

Brother Job

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Addendum:

Information which was requested per the sticky.  Here's what I feel comfortable sharing.

I am in my late 30's and file head of household.  I have two minor dependents who do not yet drive.  We're in the US.

I earn on average $2000 per month gross.  $1500 of that is from my primary employment which is paid on 1099.  $500 is from other employment (W2, 1099, and self-employment). 

No pre-tax deductions.

No other ordinary income.

After deducting self-employment expenses and adding child tax credits, I typically obtain a refund between $2000-$3000 from the Federal Government, but usually end up paying the state about $200.

No assets or liabilities other than my home.

Below is a list of budget categories and their average amount for the 1st quarter 2015, rounded to the nearest dollar:

1st Quarter Personal Expenses Monthly Averages
Housing – PI: $415 (includes $21 add'l to principal each month)
Housing – TI: $85
Housing – Utilities: $358 (Landline, Cell, Electric, Propane, Water, Trash)   
Housing – Repairs: $60
Household Items: $16
House Sale: $105
Groceries: $253 (February spending was much higher due to child's restricted diet following surgery)
Restaurants: $205 (typically associated with W2 employment that I cannot write off -or- personal travel.  Children typically travel with me for work.)
Miscellaneous: $29
Transportation - Gasoline   : $190 (about 7/8's associate with various employment, some mileage is written off)
Transportation - Maintenance & Repair: $288
Transportation - Insurance: $36
Healthcare – Healthplan: $161
Healthcare – Doctor, Dentist  & Pharmacy: $922
Clothing: $46
Charity: $46
Life Insurance: $17
Entertainment: $78 (includes hotel stay coming back from parents and an overnight personal trip).
Lawn/Garden/Homesteading: $22
Total: $3,311

What is not included in these numbers are the expenses incurred from my two businesses.  The one business is a startup (specialty syrups and organic herb and bedding plants) which was started for an initial investment of $800.  I would expect our break even point to be the end of June and to double our money by October. The other business (which all of my 1099 work payments funnel into along with various small ventures) has very little overhead (less than $200 so far this year).  The two businesses are separated because one is classified as farm income, and the other is not, and needs to be reported separately to the IRS.



« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 10:36:27 AM by BrotherJob »

swick

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Re: The Lamentations of Brother Job - Please Help
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 08:50:38 PM »

To put it mildly, I feel like my life is in a garbage compactor:  we're getting crushed and it feels like there's no way out.  I wondered if this was the right place to post this.  I briefly though that maybe this would be better in a psychology or spirituality forum.  But no, I'm deciding to post it here.  Don't you feel fortunate?

So have at it Mustachians.  Feel free to tell me where I went wrong (I sure don't want to repeat the same mistakes twice).  If you decide to face punch me please wear gloves – I've already been wounded plenty.  Most importantly, tell me how to get out of this mess.

Brother Job

Welcome to the forums, Brother Job. You have included a lot of details around your circumstances, but not a lot of financial details. This community is great for helping to gain perspective - but there is not enough financial information in your post to really do that. There more you can provide, the better we can help. Please refer to the "How to write a case study" thread here: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-%27case-study%27-topic/

mozar

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Re: The Lamentations of Brother Job - Please Help
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 08:56:52 PM »
1. Stop worrying about your parents for now. Make sure you are OK first before you think about them.
2. How old are you?
3. Disability is not such a bad idea depending on your age and whether you think you can recover.
4. Who is "we"? Can the other people in your household work?
5. Is a deed in lieu or a short sale a possibility?

List your expenses, household members, etc. for better advice.
I'm rooting for you!

BrotherJob

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Re: The Lamentations of Brother Job - Please Help
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2015, 11:56:03 PM »
Hello Mozar,

1.  Wish I could stop worrying - we felt the need to go back to visit over the New Year's holiday because my mother had fractured her wrist after a nasty fall and needed help.  The medical issues are mounting.  But your point is well taken.

2.  Late 30's

3.  Not sure if I'd qualify for disability since I'm primarily classified as self-employed

4.  We is myself and my children.  There is no one else.  They will earn some wages through the farm business.

5.  We are not upside down on our loan, I think we can get more than we currently owe.  That's not the issue - the issue is that we had planned to take the equity we had built in the house along with some of our savings to buy another place for cash.  So I don't think a deed in lieu or a short sale is in order at this point.

Thank you,

BrotherJob

BrotherJob

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Information requested by mod is now in original post.  Thanks for reading, and I look forward to any advice you might wish to offer.

JetsettingWelfareMom

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My Bible studies are a little rusty, but I think the moral of Job's story is that you have to put your trust in God (not man) during the harshest of times. Actually, if you don't put your trust in God during the worst times, then you never had faith in him period. My suggestion here is gratitude--you have  family. A roof over your head. Your parents are both alive and in good health. You're still employed and there are safety nets available if you needed them. Take a deep breath and appreciate the fact that you CAN breathe! You need to build up from what you have instead of tearing down from what you don't. Money needs to be below and handled once you're in a position of strength.
Medical issues, especially relating to breathing (my Dad died of COPD last year) are among the most challenging things you can endure. We so take for granted our health. This is going to sound crazy, but coffee enema...wish I'd gotten Dad to do it! Too late now for him...
Your budget isn't terrible the only thing jumping out at me is medical expenses...but I think in general you'r trying too hard to stand alone. Who can help? Maybe some home repairs aren't dire, some might be fixable yourselves. Who in your house can pitch in besides you and how? Or are they already but you don't see it?
Stop looking at the closed door and turn around and see the open window...best...

shotgunwilly

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You make $2000 gross a month working part time for a non-profit.  Your expenses are $3300.  What did you expect was going to happen? 

I'm sorry, but the solution here is to move on to another job.  Start working full time and get your income up.  You tried the non-profit, you did what you could with what was given, but it doesn't work and you and your family are suffering for it.  Get a new job.

MDM

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You make $2000 gross a month...expenses are $3300.
In a nutshell, that's it. 

Some thoughts on the larger expense line items below.

On taxes, you aren't having any federal income tax withheld...are you?  Do you get all (e.g., EIC) the tax breaks coming to you?

Healthcare – Doctor, Dentist  & Pharmacy$922 Do you use an HSA?
Housing – PI$415 Don't pay the $21 add'l to principal each month
Housing – Utilities$358 Do you really need both Landline and Cell?
Transportation - Maintenance & Repair$288 Do you need the large vehicles for work?  Smaller car would fit 3 people….
Groceries$253 Teenagers can help with cooking…
Restaurants$205 …and making their own lunches, etc.
Transportation - Gasoline   $190 Do you need the large vehicles for work?  Smaller car would fit 3 people….
Healthcare – Healthplan$161 Have you shopped around for lower cost/better benefits?
House Sale$105 Ongoing?  What is this for?
Charity$46 Eliminate until your income > expenses.

thd7t

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Given the breadth of the issues you mention, I'm going to send a very small item your way.  First of all, wisdom teeth are often covered by regular health insurance, but because your daughter is a minor, they may now be covered by the ACA.  Under the Affordable Care Act, pediatric dentistry is required to be covered.  I realize that you have a number of issues on your plate, but this might not be as big as it appears.

MDM

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Given the breadth of the issues you mention, I'm going to send a very small item your way.  First of all, wisdom teeth are often covered by regular health insurance, but because your daughter is a minor, they may now be covered by the ACA.  Under the Affordable Care Act, pediatric dentistry is required to be covered.  I realize that you have a number of issues on your plate, but this might not be as big as it appears.

From https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/dental-coverage/: Note: While dental coverage for children must be available to you, you don’t have to buy it.

thd7t

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Given the breadth of the issues you mention, I'm going to send a very small item your way.  First of all, wisdom teeth are often covered by regular health insurance, but because your daughter is a minor, they may now be covered by the ACA.  Under the Affordable Care Act, pediatric dentistry is required to be covered.  I realize that you have a number of issues on your plate, but this might not be as big as it appears.

From https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/dental-coverage/: Note: While dental coverage for children must be available to you, you don’t have to buy it.
Excellent point.  However, double checking the terms of your child's existing coverage is a good idea and, as I mentioned earlier, because it's a surgery, wisdom teeth are often covered by health insurance. 

MDM

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Excellent point.  However, double checking the terms of your child's existing coverage is a good idea and, as I mentioned earlier, because it's a surgery, wisdom teeth are often covered by health insurance.
Absolutely correct and I agree.  Just didn't want someone to think that it would be covered just because the ACA exists.

GetSmart

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What’s killing you is the 1099 income and the SE taxes.  Is the part time non-profit the 1099 income?  What are your skills?  You need to put some serious effort into finding another job - with a regular W-2 paycheck and some benefits.  Also make sure you are not over-looking any tax deductions on the Schedule C - 1099 income is only worthwhile if you can take a lot of deductions.

In the meantime, however, you should slash everything that’s crossed off below.

With your income you should qualify for Medicaid or whatever is your state’s equivalent of the ACA for low-income people.  You should not be paying that much for health insurance with a huge deductible.

Regarding the land; do you have enough property that you can rent out land for grazing, growing or haying? 

Do you live in a farming community and can you barter for repairs?  Perhaps you can trade renting some acreage for getting the roof fixed?

I’m assuming you need a landline because you are too far out in the country to get cable internet?  Could you then drop the cell phone and get an emergency only cell?   Or drop the land line and use work/school/ library  for internet?

Is there no option of getting child support if you are divorced or SS survivor benefits if you are widowed?  You’ve probably you’ve thought of these options, but sometimes people get stuck, so just throwing things out there.

Lastly you need to put some positive energy into the universe.  Even if you don’t believe in the law of attraction - start using it!  As weird as it sounds - it does work.  You are sending out a lot of negative vibes right now and they are echoing right back at you.  Whatever you expect to receive is what you’ll get and you’re expecting the sky to fall.  So start expecting abundance and things will change.



[/quote] I earn on average $2000 per month gross.  $1500 of that is from my primary employment which is paid on 1099.  $500 is from other employment (W2, 1099, and self-employment). 

No pre-tax deductions.

No other ordinary income.

After deducting self-employment expenses and adding child tax credits, I typically obtain a refund between $2000-$3000 from the Federal Government, but usually end up paying the state about $200.

No assets or liabilities other than my home.

Below is a list of budget categories and their average amount for the 1st quarter 2015, rounded to the nearest dollar:

1st Quarter Personal Expenses Monthly Averages
Housing – PI: $415 (includes $21 add'l to principal each month)
Housing – TI: $85
Housing – Utilities: $358 (Landline, Cell, Electric, Propane, Water, Trash)   look at each of these closely and see if usage can’t be reduced
Housing – Repairs: $60
Household Items: $16
House Sale: $105
    I’m assuming this is for advertising your house FSBO?  Drop this for now; put a sign in the yard; find free places to advertise: Craig’s list, etc.
Groceries: $253 (February spending was much higher due to child's restricted diet following surgery)
Restaurants: $205 (typically associated with W2 employment that I cannot write off -or- personal travel.  Children typically travel with me for work.)  No eating out!  carry your food with you or if you are on the road go to the store and buy bread and PB&J if you have to.  In other words - this is a luxury that you can’t afford.
Miscellaneous: $29
Transportation - Gasoline   : $190 (about 7/8's associate with various employment, some mileage is written off)
Transportation - Maintenance & Repair: $288
Transportation - Insurance: $36
Healthcare – Healthplan: $161
Healthcare – Doctor, Dentist  & Pharmacy: $922   Is this from the 1st quarter or is it monthly???
Clothing: $46
Charity: $46
Life Insurance: $17
Entertainment: $78 (includes hotel stay coming back from parents and an overnight personal trip).
Lawn/Garden/Homesteading: $22

Total: $3,311

What is not included in these numbers are the expenses incurred from my two businesses.  The one business is a startup (specialty syrups and organic herb and bedding plants) which was started for an initial investment of $800.  I would expect our break even point to be the end of June and to double our money by October. Have you thought of pursuing high-end restaurants and specialty markets to push these products?  It’s possible to make a decent side income if you have several products in your line, but it will take some time, possibly a couple of years before you see a decent profit.

The other business (which all of my 1099 work payments funnel into along with various small ventures) has very little overhead (less than $200 so far this year).  The two businesses are separated because one is classified as farm income, and the other is not, and needs to be reported separately to the IRS.
[/quote]






Gimesalot

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Do you realize that you are making just above the minimum wage at you not-for-profit job?  Even McDonald's or Walmart pays better.

First, do you qualify for any assistance programs?  Food stamps, welfare, section-8, anything?  You should sign up right away if you do.  You need the help.

Now for the major cuts...
Can you rent out your house and still cover the PITI?  What about renting an extra room in your house?
Is there any way that you could move in with your folks?  I know they aren't keen on it, but you and your children need the help!

Honestly, to me it sounds like your biggest issue is that you are living in the middle of nowhere.  There aren't enough jobs, enough services, enough demand for housing.

skellig

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Hi OP,

If you're comfortable sharing your state, you may be able to get things some help through county programs (I am familiar with a few). There is often a county referral agent that would be familiar with these programs. Just a thought to look into.

olivia

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You make $2000 gross a month working part time for a non-profit.  Your expenses are $3300.  What did you expect was going to happen? 

I'm sorry, but the solution here is to move on to another job.  Start working full time and get your income up.  You tried the non-profit, you did what you could with what was given, but it doesn't work and you and your family are suffering for it.  Get a new job.

I agree-this just isn't tenable. 

MrsPete

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Earning 2K, spending 3K.  Yeah, it's time to give up this non-profit and find a different job. 

You say you're concerned about your parents.  You may be able to help one another:  Rent out your current house and move in with your parents.  You'll be available to help them out, though it won't cost you money.  You'll generate some cash flow with your rental, yet it'll still belong to you in the future when /if you want to return to this area. 

It's definitely more difficult to find work in rural areas.  Just a week or so ago someone started a thread about it on this board, though that was focused on teenaged jobs. 

mozar

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FYI when I needed my wisdom teeth out my mother paid cash and got a cash discount as well as a AAA card discount. Brought the cost from 4000 to 1000.

BrotherJob

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Hello everyone,

Thanks everyone who took the time to respond.  I appreciate it.

I'd like to provide feedback to your responses as well as clarify a few things.

1.  The non-for-profit I work for is salaried at $1500/month, and I typically work about 10 hours a week, though seasonally it might be as high as 20.  So this is definitely not minimum wage work.  I live 3.5 miles from this job.  About 5 hours a week are set hours, the rest are flexible. 

2.  My primary side job in retail would be closer to minimum wage, but still pay around $12/hour.  However, when one considers the driving I need to complete these jobs, there can be little profit.  I am in the process of weeding out the jobs that are the least profitable due to distance driven.  Hours (typically 10-15 per week) are very flexible. 

3.  I have a non-traditional healthplan that is exempt under Obamacare.  See: https://mychristiancare.org/Medi-Share/Medi-Share.aspx.  Dental is definitely not covered.  This was a replacement plan for a catastrophic plan, which jumped 50% at renewal after the ACA was signed.  I will look into other options.

4.  For the mustachian who asked about the $922 in healthcare, that is a monthly average, not the full amount.  As for the wisdom teeth, I spoke with three oral surgeons, none of which would offer a cash discount (as in I given you greenbacks or a check as opposed to you running a card through your machine and being charged CC processing fees).  So I just chose the least expensive of the oral surgeons, which did save us about 20% over the most expensive one.

5.  In the seven years we've lived here, we've always found a way to cash-flow expenses, even some pretty big ones, while saving almost $20K during that time.  When things go smooth, we can typically live off about $1600 per month.  It's just the last couple of years that have taken their toll.

6.  Cell phone:  This is a requirement for one of my retail jobs.  Unfortunately, not reimbursable and not a write-off since they pay me W2.  This is also my only internet connection at home (and a poor one at that - typically one bar 2G, and phone calls always drop).  $45/month and I can tether my laptop to it.  It's the only carrier that works in my area - barely.  That's why I have the landline as well which is also about $45/month. 

7.  Full time work at this point is not really an option because of health circumstances, unless the work was extremely flexible with hours.  Immunologist was clear that if I am ever to beat this, I need to greatly reduce the stress in my life, especially work related.

8.  House sale number was a mistake.  Should have read $45 avg./month.  It is for an online listing.  I do craigslist as well, its just that this site has generated more leads than there.  I am, however, preparing to relist with another agent, and then this will go away since their listing will syndicate to this site.

9.  Moving in with parents is decidedly not an option for reasons I won't get into on an internet forum. 

10.  As for my property, it is primarily steep hillside and not much good for crops, grazing or haying because of erosion concerns.  I've been told that my house is "too nice to rent" (but apparently not nice enough to sell).  Can't rent a room - it's only a 2 bedroom/1 bath.  I'd probably break even with rent, but what we really want to do is sell and move on.  We're in an area where the average household income isn't drastically higher than mine (I believe about $29K). Can't get blood out of a stone.

11.  Not going to disagree with cutting further back on some expenses (especially restaurant - this is a big bugaboo to me).  Others I can't cut back on though - such as Lawn/Garden/Homesteading, unless I want my property to become a jungle and not plant a garden to produce some of our food.

12.  I'd LOVE to get a different (and slightly smaller) vehicle.  Since we are selling at the farmers markets and need to bring tents, flats of plants, cases of syrup, etc, I likely can't go with anything too small.  But realistically, I don't think it's wise to take the remainder of the money I have in savings and trade in the beater.  Of course, it doesn't seem wise to keep my current beater either. 

I think that's it for now.  I'm feeling a bit better today, so that helps the outlook as well.  Now if I can only figure out how to fix the pesky toilet!

At the end of the month I'll post my one month totals for April.

Thank you,

BrotherJob




 

etselec

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You may be eligible for Medicaid, if you're in a state that expanded Medicaid, or if you can qualify because of your disability - in some states if you are working and disabled you can get Medicaid with higher income limits. It's well worth checking into - your medical costs are a huge portion of your budget, and more comprehensive insurance would help you take better care of your health, too.

frugaldrummer

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Stop all .milk products and gluten in case they are triggering your respiratory problems. Put eight inches of cinder block under the legs at the head of your bed to keep bed on a slant and keep acid reflux from triggering lung problems. If you have pet birds your lung problems could be bird fanciers lun ghost. If you have mold in the house that could be making you sick.