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July 06, 2013

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Congratulations on taking custody of your nephew. While this is a HUGE responsibility that no doubt threw your whole world into chaos, you are showing him that you love him and want him by taking custody of him. I am sure your parents did a fine job with him, but it can be difficult to watch a loved one disappear into dementia, and even harder on a young person.
You don't mention what your online store will sell. I don't know your background, if you have retail experience, online experience, etc. I wish you well in this, but know that it can be very difficult. Is it an eBay store, or is it a free-standing (so to speak) store? I recently sold a few things on eBay and was shocked at their fees. All tolled, I made almost nothing, and am looking for other places to sell my excess items.
I think going down to part time at work is a good compromise. You want to have a stable source of income while you are responsible for someone else, and you never know what will happen. Perhaps your online store will take off like a rocket, but there is always the possibility of the opposite happening. And health insurance is a very real concern. High schoolers get into all sorts of scrapes. A $12,000 deductible will wipe out your savings account. I, too have looked into more affordable health care coverage, and found policies that do not cover pregnancy are much cheaper. Not sure if your mentioned policy includes that, but worth taking a look at.
Could you quit or go to part time and then manage your rental yourself? You don't mention what it costs to have the management company take care of it. If it is minimal, then nevermind.
Your gas costs seem high, but I haven't looked into my gas costs, so I am only speculating. Could you get a better fuel-efficiency car? Ride a bike (Not now, when the temp is 116) or take public transportation?
Your food costs are fairly normal, but they might be trimmed, too. Could you grow some of your food in a garden? Do you use coupons? Go meatless a few nights a week?
I wish you the best!

Wow, big responsibilities and big ambition. Kudos for taking on your nephew. I'm sure it will all work out.

I wasn't clear on where you were living. You mentioned paying off a mortgage, a mobile home, and an RV. At any rate, could you possibly sell one of those to increase your savings?

Going part-time seems like a good way to bridge the gap, but could be risky if your boss is not understanding. Perhaps feel him or her out first.

I saw in the news that the governor of Arizona recently accepted "Obamacare" over the objections of the general assembly. That should significantly reduce your heathcare costs and soon. It's confusing right now, but should become more clear around October, as you said.

You mentioned that your rental property was being managed. As another part-time job you could take over management again and increase your monthly income from that property.

Your expenses are pretty low, you're doing a good job there. Keep it up!

Congratulations! I wish you good luck for your big ambition and responsibilities. It's simply awesome how you manage your expenses and hats off to you for taking such good care of your nephew.
Cheers!!

As a single parent of 2 high school kids myself, I think you should reconsider your ideas that involve quitting or downsizing your paid employment. Especially since you have a nice nest egg, but you are not wealthy, you are approaching middle age, and you have to be strategic with your resources. You say your nephew enjoys spending lots of time with you right now. That is great and you should take advantage of it as much as you can, but that will likely change quickly.....high schoolers eventually end up spending most of their time with friends. You wouldnt want to free up your time and lose your health insurance and then find out he doesnt want to hang out with you. He will likely need you to provide a solid home and health insurance, and possibly college costs, far more than he needs someone to hang out with.

So My advice would be: do not quit or decrease the hours of your job....instead, try to use the existing goodwill you have built up at your job to free up a little more time to spend with your nephew in next year, while keeping that all important paycheck and health insurance. Stop being the perfect employee! Be selfish for a change. Yes, you should ask your boss if you can leave early one or more days each week. If your boss wont let you do that, propose coming to work at 6 or 7 am instead....your nephew probably gets up late like most teens and wont miss you in the mornings. Take longer lunch hours too.....just "push the limits" at your existing job to get what you need for your family...Think of it as a withdrawal from the bank of goodwill you have built up previously by being a model employee. Probably you will need to do this for only 1-2 years before it wont be necessary any more. Next, do not pay off your mortgage unless it has a really high rate. If it does, try to refinance. If you need more cash flow, perhaps the kid can get a job babysitting, pet sitting, dog walking, lawn mowing, working at the local diner as a busboy, or housecleaning (he should definitely help you clean your house). He would gain a lot from the experience, as well as saving for college and having a bit of spending money. Good luck! I am sure you will do fine.

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