Sunday, November 23, 2008

401k and other money notes

With all the stock market turmoil lately, my 401k lost quite a bit of money. I'm currently putting 6% of my pre-tax money in the market. I just looked and my year-to-date earnings are -53.1% and a change of -1860.55. I've contributed $1606.47 and lost $1860.55. Yuck.

I decided that while I don't want to take the risk of losing 6% of my salary, I don't want to not contribute anything. So I changed my pre-tax contribution to 3% and my employer will still contribute 3%. Hopefully, that will make a little bit of difference in what I clear each payday and when the market rebounds, I can increase the 401k contribution.

I don't have much in savings. My goal is to get out of debt and save money as we do that. I can only rely on God through it all and pray for the best outcome. I am working on doing pay as I go only. I have used my credit card a few times in the past month but I've turned around and paid most of it right back off. Christmas will be cash only and very slim. The married adults with children are getting nothing; the unmarried adults are getting nearly nothing. The children are the only ones I'm spending money on and even then I'm not spending much. With three unmarried children and seven grandchildren, the money just won't stretch. Luckily, I purchased gifts for the girls several months ago, so they already have a good start. I think that will be all and then just give them a little - and I do mean little - bit of cash. The other boys will get cash, and not much of that. For Isaiah and Alexander things are a bit different. I have Alexander's purchased and ready to mail. I've got most of Isaiah's purchased. I just want to get him one more thing. Amy and Keith will get something small (Amy's is purchased); Shaun and Jenny are maybe getting a $25 gift card to Walmart. Tim/Kim and Stacey/Charles will probably get a hand-made card with candy. Aaron will probably get a $25 gift card. Even with very reduced amounts, buying for that many people is still expensive. I enjoy giving gifts and wish I could do more year round. But, this past year has been a big financial challenge.

Ron and I decided that we are not buying anything for each other. We are working on our basement and because of that expense, there is no extra. Ron is trading some of his music equipment for the labor and I was able to come up with the other $750 we needed. Amy contributed $700 towards the cabinets for the kitchenette. I'll have to pay her back sometime in the near future.

The next stage of the basement will come when we've got a bit more money. The extra cabinets will be nice to store canned goods and extra non-perishable items.

I'm not worried about things because I truly believe that God is in control. He's brought us through tough times before and I know He will this time, too. It's just a matter of trust and faith. I say don't sweat the things you cannot change and then I work really hard to practice what I preach to others.

Amy and I are going to go out on Black Friday but mostly for the fun of going. She’s not bought anything yet so she wants to see if there’s anything a better deal for Isaiah than what she’s got planned. She’s not going all out this year either. She’s bought Rex a couple of presents and we told her to not get us anything. She said to not do that because then I always feel sad. That is true, but it’s usually because in the past I’ve bought things for Ron and really put a lot of thought into it and many years he’s bought me nothing. He always said that we’d go get whatever I wanted, but what I wanted was for him to THINK about me and take some initiative. It’s not the same when you have to go buy your own gifts. My feelings were frequently hurt.

This year is different though. I know we’re not in a financial position to go do a lot of shopping, there’s really nothing that I can’t live without, and since he’s not driving or working, I know that it’s absolutely not possible for him to get out and go shopping. That would be totally selfish of me if I thought that.

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