11. 22. 2014

Life Insurance

During last month’s “Live Like I’m Dying Challenge“, I realized our family didn’t have a good approach to life insurance:

  1. We only had life insurance through work, meaning that we would be without life insurance if one (or both) of us became unemployed
  2. We did not have enough coverage
  3. My husband, who travels up to 50% of the time for work using commercial airlines as well as flying company-related aircraft, would not be covered if he died in any sort of aviation-related accident.
11. 20. 2014

During the month of October, I did my best to put my affairs in order. One thing that became evident was that i needed to get as many bills as possible enrolled in auto-pay and the ones that I couldn’t, I needed to pay through our bank’s online bill pay system.

We were not enrolled in the bill pay feature, so we scurried off to get that set up and I quickly determined that it was not workable. We have to login three times (different user names and passwords) to access the feature and then the bank shut it off! Yep, they sent us a letter stating that we haven’t used the bill pay feature in the last sixty days, so they were terminating the service for us.

11. 18. 2014
We possibly hit a bump on the road to my resignation next month. Also, I’m guessing one or two of you noticed my delayed responses and lack of posts. Well, the two things are related…
bump in the road
I currently live on what can only be accurately called a tundra, but I grew up in the South, near my father’s family. He was the baby in the family of four sisters, who I never really knew that well until dad passed away while I was in high school. My mother and I eventually moved in with one of those sisters for about a year, until my mom passed away.
I’ll be real here: that aunt was not my favorite person in the world. She could be arrogant. Stubborn. Bossy. She was just like me.
She passed away last week, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and cancer. She’d never seen either of my girls – nor have most of my family (hubby’s family has more ability to travel and they visit us frequently). With lots of guilt and a little grief, my husband and I booked a trip to return to my hometown for the funeral.
Because my parents are gone, that also meant renting a hotel, eating out, and renting a car. We did the best we could, driving several hours away in order to catch a cheaper flight, staying only two nights, and watching our food expenditures.
Still, this was not a cheap trip and it knocked out a good portion of a small cushion we’d hoped to rely on while I make a go of freelancing. But going home was the right call. I haven’t been to my hometown in 10 yrs – the day I got married, actually. The girls and I stopped by my parents’ graves so they could “meet” their maternal grandparents. I felt delinquent. My roots have been neglected. I needed to go home and I don’t regret it – even if it costs me some time with my girls.
So as I approach this crossroads, let me say I miss having a wise parent to call and ask “mom, what should I do? Should I work a little longer? Stuck with my original plan?” Instead, I rely upon a Heavenly Father, who I ask for wisdom and discernment. Because, in the end, it’s His will that I want to do each and every day, with each and every breath.
There’s so much more to this story and I can’t wait for it to develop! But, before I sign off for today, here’s a few other notes:
11. 13. 2014

student loan payoff strategy

During the month of October, I was working with a specific theme so I didn’t make a very important announcement here on the blog, (although if you follow me on twitter, you might already know. You should follow me on twitter and the rest of my social media accounts ;-) ). Ready for the big news? We paid off our first student loan! We finally have a debt snowball going!

11. 12. 2014

I am so very excited that my beloved Biskers-Whiskers Biscuit-dog is being featured today over at Frugalwoods as part of the Frugal Hound interview series (“Frugal Hound Sniffs This”). My readers may remember that we recently lost his sister, Cricket, but Biscuit is alive and kicking. Well, sort of. You’ll have to read the article. The interview is best read with a Forrest Gump-like Southern accent because that’s how Biscuit talks ;-)

Why are you still here? Git!

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11. 11. 2014

creative way to pay off Student Loan Debt

Update 11/13/2014 – Several of you followed my referral link (thank you) and told me that Gradible is currently closed to new users. They do hope to open back up soon – they just don’t have enough work right now for all the people who are interested. You can sign up for the waiting list, or stay tuned here. I will definitely make an update when Gradible opens back up!

11. 08. 2014
I don’t want to work until I die.
I know I said earlier this week that I was going to cut down to writing just three times a week and I know I said I was done sharing lessons learned from last month’s challenge. But it occurred to me that I haven’t shared the biggest lesson I learned, and it’s a doozy. Life is short – don’t waste it being miserable.
One of the first things I looked at for the challenge was “can I quit my job?” In other words, did we have enough money in the bank to get my little family through until life insurance paid out. That’s when I realized that my life insurance stinks – I only have insurance through work. I had to keep working.
I spent my last day on earth at work. 
I want nothing more than to be a stay-at-home mom. And I spent my last day working at a job I’m not valued at and is often boring. I need to make some changes. Of course, most of my readers already know I was looking to make a change.
I started Cat’s freelancing program with gusto, with the intention that in six short months, I’d quit working full-time and work from home (for myself) instead. I looked several times a day for new places to pitch to. I emailed folks to ask if they are looking for a Virtual Assistant (VA). I wrote, wrote, wrote. I stayed up late, got up early…
And then the baby stopped sleeping. Just a week ago, I was getting up close to 10 times a night with the baby. I was nodding off in the car and at work. Instead of staying up to freelance, I went into survival mode and slept any moment I got the chance.
Turns out, the baby had some ear problems. A round of antibiotics later, and she’s back to sleeping fairly solidly. After a few good nights of sleep, I’m back to pitching and writing and emailing, even while my hubs is out of town and I have limited time. I’m refreshed but also working with new urgency. I do not want to spend my last day on earth having dropped my babies off at daycare.
Mr. Indebted and I have discussed taking a giant leap of faith. I will very likely turn in a notice of some sort at the end of next month. I’m open to part-time work (in order to pay down student loans while also building my freelance income), but it would have to be on my terms. If they say no, I’ll leave. We cannot afford it. That’s where faith is coming in.
There are some caveats that I won’t get into here – we have other goals we are working on and we don’t want to sacrifice those. But I feel a great sense of relief and hope – if things continue as they are (or better), I’ll be leaving behind my “full-time working mom” title.
This is a credit to Cat’s incredible coaching. She became less freelance guide and more life coach. Man, I was tired. But man, is she tired. She reached through my brain fog, shining a light inside, and asked “what if?” This is a credit to my husband, who knows we can’t make ends meet without my paycheck. But he’s willing to sacrifice and willing to try. He believes in what I can accomplish here. He wants me to be happy.
I’m scared to death, but awfully excited at the possibility. If I’m still working in January, it’s my choice. Choice is freedom.
How do you keep pushing when you are tired? Do you love your job? 
11. 07. 2014

Today is the last day of my lessons learned from my month of living like I was dying. On Monday, I wrote about my blogging lessons learned and on Wednesday, I posted about how my faith changed. Today is more about what changes I need to make going forward.

what changes I need to make

Family

I realized pretty early on in the month that I haven’t been doing a good job of showing my husband how much I love him. That’s a pretty common thing that happens once kids are in the picture, but suddenly it became urgent that I express myself to him. The exercise was good, as leaving daily love notes (that I admittedly stopped near the end of the month) both told him how much I love him and reminded me why I do.

11. 05. 2014

I feel like a broken record, but just in case you didn’t visit at all during October – I spent that entire month living as if I was dying and blogging about it every single day. You can check out all the posts by visiting the “Write for 31 Days” menu option (or by clicking here). I learned a lot about blogging and a lot about the state of my affairs. And through the process of dying, I learned a lot about life, too.  Today I’m going to share some of those life lessons learned while “dying”. Later this week, I’ll sum up some of the more concrete issues (like life insurance) and my plans going forward.

11. 03. 2014

don't believe everything you read

The Nester hosts a “Write for 31 Days” challenge each October, and hundreds of bloggers take her up on it, writing on all sorts of topics and themes. Meredith Bernard decided to write and live as if she were dying for those 31 days, and I shamelessly copied her. For 31 days I lived like my time was running out and I blogged about it here. If you got behind, you can get caught up on all the posts by checking out this page. It’s actually not a lot of reading because I also joined up with the Five Minute Friday crew, keeping my daily posts to 5 minutes (plus extra time for proofing).

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