Dip and Dive

Every June, school children are ecstatic to see summer come. Heck, by this time of year, I’m ecstatic to see summer come.  But that means, for me at least, I am out of a job. As a substitute teacher, I only get paid when I work. When summer rolls around, as happy as I am to get a break, I don’t earn any money. Especially over these last two years with budget cuts, many schools aren’t hosting summer school anymore; this use to be my saving grace.

My husband and I have gotten accustomed to a reduced, and highly erratic,  income from July through November. In the past, when our income slowed down, we would use our credit cards to keep our heads above water and our bills paid. This, of course, would just feed into our overall debt we owed. However, this year, instead of sinking deeper into a hole, we had to dip into our ‘house’ savings account instead. As guilty as I felt using some of our savings to pay all of our bills, at least I could feel a slight relief that we weren’t accumulating any debt.

Highly erratic Income: 2008 and 2009

Highly erratic Income: 2008 and 2009

Status Quo

Luckily, with my husband’s business trucking along (no, he’s not a truck driver, so there’s no pun), we didn’t have to exhaust our savings. We modestly ‘borrowed’ from it only when it was necessary. We were able to only borrow small amounts because we reduced our spending in other areas, namely:

  • we didn’t drive as much
  • we ate at home more
  • we only purchased necessities

We were even able to increase our investment account and continue trading stocks to build our over-all wealth.

New Savings Goals

Since September is right around the corner, and I have a job lined up for the beginning of the school year, we should see our income increase by October. My original savings goal was to have $20,000 saved by the end of the year. However, I’ve had to readjust this goal. My new goal is to save an additional $3,500 by November, since I’ll be a couple of months in to teaching, this should be reasonable. To some, this may seem like a lofty goal, but we should see quite a bit of income streaming in over the next 3 months combined with my husband’s income (there is definitely a seasonal trend based on past years  QuickBooks reports – another nice thing about QuickBooks).

My revised year-end goal is a modest $12,000, this also includes our brokerage account. The initial $20,000 that I had hoped to save by years end will have to be pushed back a few months. By March 31st I should have the $20,000 saved, possibly enough for a down payment, though not the 20% we would like to see. Drats to PMI!