I just finished meeting with Ms. H and Mr. T about their January results and plans for February. Let’s see how they did after their first month and the plans for this month in our ongoing series Swimming From the Depths of Debt (SFtDoD). Originally, I showed her how her expenses exceeded her income. She had plans to move to a new job and Mr. T had plans to get a job. Life definitely threw them a curveball, but they still managed to hit it and finish the month better than expected. Let’s look at our original estimate and the results for the month.
|Income Statement – January 2018|
|Ms. H (Barista)||$1200||$1514|
|Ms. H (Hostess)||$240||$276|
|Mr. T (Unemployed)||$0||$0|
|Ms. O (Rent)||$275||$275|
|Gasoline & Misc. Auto||$75||$97|
|Net Gain or Loss||($225)||$34|
The careful observer will note a couple strange things from the January results. We did not budget for shopping and Ms. H spent $134. When I asked her about this expense, she explained that Mr. T needed new clothing for his new job. Unfortunately, he would not receive his first paycheck until February, so it did not help for January. The other thing that I noticed when reviewing their expenses was there was no Gas bill! This was a variable expense, which mysteriously went unpaid. I did not fret it much as she explained she took care of January and February in February and is now on a fixed payment plan.
All in all it, was not that bad of a result from the first month on a budget. They did not save much money, donate into her emergency fund, or pay down on debt, but they also did not go further into debt. So what changed in the last month? Keep reading.
Ms. H interviewed for a job managing a coffee shop at a new grocery store. For reasons too complex to discuss, she did not get the job. Not only that, but since she was assured she would have the job, she had already turned in her two weeks notice at the other barista job at the local coffee house. This means that at least in the near term, Mr. T would become the breadwinner for the family. So how’s that working out? He snagged a job at the local Krispy Kreme doughnuts selling doughnuts at the counter. Would that make him a doughnutwinner instead of a breadwinner? Then he found a job as a busboy and dish washer at a restaurant. This would be working opposite shifts. Then he was hired part-time helping out with food delivery at a nursing home. That is quite a change going from no job to three jobs. Not so fast! I am not sure of the whole story, but after not even a month selling donuts, Krispy Kreme and Mr. T parted ways. This turned out to be really pretty good news. The nursing home is allowing him to pick up extra shifts, so he should still make out ahead. Let’s see how this changes the budget for February. Some of which contains left over paychecks from work in January.
|Income Statement – February Budget|
|Ms. H (Barista)||$173|
|Ms. H (Hostess)||$322|
|Mr. T (Donut Sales)||$834|
|Mr. T (Busboy)||$554|
|Mr. T (Nursing Home)||$139|
|Ms. O (Rent)||$275|
|Credit Union Cashback||$7|
|Net Gain or Loss||$0|
Provided that the income estimates are accurate, Ms. H and Mr. T should break even this month. If Mr. T can keep his two current jobs, this should help them to at least break even. Once Ms. H begins working another job again, they should also begin to pay down debt and save for their emergency fund.
I did not say anything last month, but you would find out sooner or later so I better break the news now. The reason that Ms. H has not jumped right in to find another job is twofold. First, Mr. T cannot drive, so with her not working more than the few shifts as hostess, she can drive Mr. T to his places of employment. This increases their gasoline expense, but ensures that he gets to work and continues working. Second, they are expecting Baby E in late March. Surprise! I bet you did not see that one coming. This creates many more complications in their lives. We would never advise anyone in their early 20’s to have kids unless one of the parents could afford to stay home full time with the baby while the other parent works their tail off to provide for the family. Granted, they did not ask us for our opinion. When Ms. H told us last year, my response was, “Don’t you know how to use birth control?” I realize this is a callous response, but it is also a realist response. Parents that cannot afford to keep themselves out of debt have no business bringing children into the world. It’s difficult on the relationship as it is, and more stressful when money is tight.
This will begin to get very interesting. Making more money and budgeting will become ever more important so that this young family is able to swim to the surface and make it to shore healthy, wealthy, and wise. That’s our update for this month. Tune in next month to find out how they did for February.
Save your money and keep swimming!