So, the bonus to not having any insurance (which is only being typed half-sarcastically) is that I have more time on my hands this month. No therapy appointments, no blood draws, no doctor's visits, no tests to be ordered, nothing. It is kind of, well, nice. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have insurance, but the break from the poking, prodding, driving to and fro is nice.
And since I've been home, I've been able to do more more things. I've cooked a bit more than I usually do. Okay, a lot more since I cooked maybe once a month before and relied on my husband, kids, left overs before. I've had more time to watch Netflix (related: watch Fringe. It's awesome. I just saw the final episode and they ended it well). And I've had time to be on-line a bit more.
So last week I sat at the computer, with twitter open in one tab and the Chicagonisata LIVE in another tab. This is a monthly on-line talk show that streams from Chicago and is a fabulous Chicago show, but seriously, don't think you need to be in Chicago to watch it because there's great info and lots of fun packed into each show! I was extra happy to catch it because they were broadcasting from the Chicago Board of Trade and were kicking off a 6 part series called GPS To Your True Wealth. Let's be honest here folks - between the medical issues we've had for the last few years and then job loss, car purchase, etc, to say the finances in this house need a little work would be a huge understatement. (side note: this is not to say that we can't feed or cloth ourselves).
We had built up an emergency fund before (I've blogged about it here), which we used during the emergency of my health issues, but we'd like build it up again, as we've essentially used it all. It is time for us to rebuild. We've done it before, so it's not entirely new to us, and yet, this time it feels different. We are at a different point in life, the kids are at different ages, and while there is no cancer, I still have health issues we have to juggle. Not to mention college for the kids is much closer. Medical costs are so much higher now and the kids only cost more as they age. So I feel a bit overwhelmed just thinking about it all. I might even be slightly hyperventilating as I type this out. Again, we aren't going to starve, but things are very tight and we definitely need to work on being frugal. So much feels unknown at this point - there's a new job, I wonder if I will ever be healthy again, the kids are getting older, and to have the security of that emergency fund again would give us peace.
So, anyway, I tuned into Chicagonista LIVE and felt myself nodding along to so much of what they were talking about. It wasn't just about money either - but also talking about what is important to you if you could take money out of the equation. Because, really, if you don't know what's important to you without money, how will you know what to do with your money? There was a nice reminder to me that I needed to be involved with the finances. I kind of am involved, but I'm really not. I get depressed doing bills with my husband because so many are for my medical things and I feel all sad inside, so I try to avoid it. However, as they talked about on the show, all the adults in a household need to be on board with the finances and to know where things are at always. Yes, I agree. Yes, this is the motivation I needed to jump back in the game! So, I'm watching the show, nodding along, listening to all that's being said, tworking (tweeting while working, which okay, I don't really work, but being a mom is a job so I can say I tworked right? LOL!), feeling pretty motivated and ready to tackle it all. Which is perfect, because they gave us homework to do.
worksheet off and then waited for Eric to fill it out together. As you can see, the emergency fund is our focus right now. Ideally, 6 months of living expenses would be in it when it's full! The second question was hard for me - it asks about what life events could impact your finances. For us, it was a no-brainer: my health. Which was hard to write down, but it is what it is and I can't ignore that. The last question is about what wealth aside from money do you want to pass along in your family. I love this question because life is so much more than money. We need it to survive obviously - no one's going to get groceries on an upbeat personality, but sometimes it's easy to forget it just isn't all about money!
It also asks you to round up your bills, receipts, important financial papers, etc for the next segment (oh, did I mention yet? There will be a total of 6 segments in this series! So, I guess I will have to start scheduling doctors appointment around these shows because I do not want to miss them). So this part was easy for us, we already have everything organized into a couple of folders and a filing system, etc. If you don't though (because we haven't always been so organized) it can seem daunting to get it all together, but I promise you, you will not regret it! So do it - it's best done in the just-dive-in-head-first-and-get-it-done fashion I think!
And now I will sit and impatiently waiting for the second segment of the series to air (October 8 if you want to mark it in your calendar!) which will be about navigating and tracking! This is going to be an awesome series overall I think - the chunks are small enough that it doesn't seem overwhelming, but a lot of great information is being shared!
Right now, you are probably thinking, Brandie, I need to get in on this! Because finances are so FUN and I LOVE them! So. Okay, maybe you don't really think finances are fun - confession: neither do I. But, they are important, and I want to be in control of my finances and not have my finances in control of me. So, I suggest you start with this video, it's short and sweet and does a great job of introducing the series!
Then you need to print out the first worksheet from here - put your goals, your (hypothetical or not) hurdles, your dreams down on paper. (I love this step because for me, putting them on paper makes them seem more concrete and more real.)
Then come and watch the rest of the series. The next two segments air:
- October 8, 2013 2pm CST
- November 12, 2013 2pm CST
I'm excited. This is good timing for our house ... I hope it's as good of timing for your house as well. Maybe things are tight for you, or maybe you feel like you just don't have good control of the finances, or maybe things are looking good and you just want them to look better - I think there is something for everyone in this series. And I hope you follow along with me!