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Happenings on the Ranch – Belt tightening addition….

March 4, 2016


Where do I start? It’s like my world is a 1000 piece puzzle all jumbled up.JigsawII

Lots of emotions – hurt, anger, sadness, scared, excited, frustrated, hopeful

On January 15, 2016, I was told that due to a corporate merger/acquisition and downsizing, my position had been eliminated.  I was told this over the phone and believe me, I’m glad it was over the phone and not in the office. From what I understand, it was an awful day for a lot of co-workers.

I had seen the writing on the walls, and in publications of what might be in the works and began to come to grips that I may not make the cut on this round of lay-offs.  Now, I did make it to my 20 year anniversary and chose a nice necklace and earrings. My cousin Jim will be making some modifications as I like my necklaces to not be chokers… It was quite surreal as I got my severance package on a Friday and my Congratulatory certificate and gift catalog in the mail on Monday.  I could only laugh at the irony of it. I will say that the “specialist” that spoke to me about my severance package was not very knowledgeable and told me a few things that were not true.

I digress, I did receive a severance package (would have much rather kept my job) and I get my Pension not to mention my 401K and retirement. Now even though I’m getting a paycheck for next 8 months, I’m trying to adjust our budget to just my husbands pay.  We had to sign up for his insurance which is significantly higher than mine BUT, instead of a 6000/12000 deductible it is 500/1000! I also get to keep the company sponsored donation of 1200.00 to my HSA in addition to the 3 additional months I contributed which will help with any out of pocket medical expenses.  Also, instead of paying retail pricing for prescriptions until deductible of 2500.00 is met, we now only pay a 10.00/25.00/75.00 copay depending on the meds and a 25.00 copay for any doctor in network even specialist.  We do get Dental and VISION benefits as well.  James’ insulin for 90 days will now be 30.00 instead of, wait for it, 995.00!!!  However, this insurance, as I said before is about 600.00/month.  My insurance was at about 450.00/month for both of us.  Thus, time to tighten the belt and get down to “bizness”.  I did order all of our meds that were maintenance meds and were no cost and I just ordered them again which will get us 3 more months.  I had us both get our eye exams to utilize my VISION benefit.  Due to our diabetes, we have a medical exam on our eyes which goes against our deductible which the insurance would not pay any on only applied to our deductible.  They changed it to a cash customer and instead of having to pay 250.00, it was reduced to 120.00!  It had not been quite a year since my last exam and I asked about my glasses that I already had, they were scratched and had the scratch resistant coding.  They were still under warranty.  So,  Amanda took my existing pair of glasses and turned them in against the warranty.  She will then send in my new glasses (same prescription) on Monday and I will get my old pair with new scratchless lenses and my brand new pair with scratchless lenses and transition lenses!  I will now, essentially have two pair of glasses! Yeah for me!

Now my company has paid for 6 months with a company called Right Management that have career coaches and resume specialist.  I’m diligently working the process and have my rough draft of my resume re-edited based on feedback sent back to my resume specialist.  We have to get it down to 2 pages (it’s at 3 now) but it is looking good! I’m working on my LinkedIn profile and ordered business cards with my signature information.  There has been so many changes since I was looking for a job!  I always figured I would retire from my company.

I have learned one thing from this, now, in this day and age, loyalty and hard work are NOT a guarantee of keeping your job.  I gave 150% to my job, my work ethic was impeccable.  Unfortunately, that is not what they look at. I often wondered how people could jump from job to job.  I’m just not that way.  I like stability.

I can say that my stress level has gone way down, no longer am I working 10-12 hours a day and weekends! I did not get OT as I was salary.  I will NEVER give that much of my time to a company again…EVER.  That is not saying I won’t give my 150%, they will have a loyal hard working employee but, I will balance work/life better.

I did get my 2015 “bonus” and I applied almost all of it to our debt so that I can get it down as much as possible. My March Check will be a bit more since it will have my vacation payout on it.  That will be close to 3 weeks, I will put most of that against our debt again to get it paid down even further.  I also was able to reduce our Vehicle insurance by 240.00 / year and our landline/DSL bill by 240.00/year.  So I’ve essentially saved us 480.00 a year with just these two reductions.  My next target is our DirecTV bill.  We may become Dish customers if DirecTV will not negotiate.  They don’t want to lose our business in this day and age. As Donald Trump says, “Everything is NEGOTIABLE”.

We have been eating at home quite a bit more and meal planning has become a priority for me so I can stretch our food budget to the very ends of its strands and then pull some more till it screams!

Selling everything that is not needed, used, or takes up space.  I’ve started this process and have already put in the future bills envelope $100.00.  I’m weeding things out daily and utilizing social media FB classified pages and Ebay to sell my things.  I also make a little extra helping with computer issues.  Any extra I get is put in the future bills envelope.  I’m also stocking up on items that are on sale that I have coupons for that I can get at a really great price now so I don’t have to buy later if we are tight on our budget.

I know my Dogs and horses are loving the extra attention they are getting.

Copper - Big Boy and happy boy



Ranch time

I know I have enjoyed spending more time with them!

I’m also finishing up a book that was my Mom’s notes and transcription of a seminar she went to of Dr. Christopher and world renowned herbalist.  I’m learning more about how herbs are the great healers of the body.  It will be a way to make a little money while I’m searching for a job.  A friend of mine, Hi Jeri, is helping me to get it to a point that I can then self publish to Amazon.  She is the Amazon guru of that website.  Bear made me a stand to put Mom’s notes on so that I can translate them into the book. I wished I had found this book earlier, it may have helped my Mom…

My last check “on the payroll” will be March 31st.  My severance pay will start in April.  My next decision I will have to make is on my 401K/Retirement.  My Pension is not available for withdrawal until I’m a certain age.  I’m looking to work with a financial planner to make some decisions on this money.  I’m worried about how long it will take to find a new job.  They are out there, it’s just “pimping” yourself to get it and I’m not good at that or networking.

Keep checking in as I will be posting my progress on my budget, money saving belt tightening tips/tricks and job search!






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