Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bump in the Road

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Due to living frugally, saving diligently, finally paying off my debt, and doing my best to learn about managing money, this was supposed to be the year that I bought a house, invested in a side business and continued working towards being financially independent.  I just took a major hit to these plans that will put everything on hold and probably end up putting me back to square one before it is resolved.

Without going into details, I am looking at up to six months with next to no income.  Because of one of the quirks of this particular situation, unemployment insurance is also not an option. 

It makes no sense to worry about this.  I will strive instead for prudence.  What can I do myself?  What parts of the situation can I control?

Step 1 is, of course, damage control.  I need to cut my expenses as much as possible in order to weather the storm.  That includes cutting out cable TV, something I have been meaning to do anyway.  It also means cutting out my membership at the boxing gym, which is a lot more painful.  However, I can't justify that kind of expense under current circumstances, so there is no point in whining about it.  Rent is my biggest expense, but I have an extra bedroom.  I can either find a smaller and cheaper place to live or rent out the extra space.  I am leaning towards the latter option since I recently put in what I hope will be a cracking vegetable garden, and I want to see how it turns out.  Buying in bulk, cooking in bulk, eating at home for all meals, and going without luxuries are all going to be required as well.  If I do these things quickly and consistently, I will make it through the drought season with my tranquility intact, if not my emergency fund.

Step 2 is to do my best to minimize the time without money.  I am building up a new business and will be working on that full time.  Unfortunately, the nature of the business involves a long sales cycle, with a development stage, an adoption stage, a wait for the right season stage, a bulk production stage, and finally, after all of that, a "pay Martin" stage.  I will be hitting this hard so that the final stage involves as big a number as possible. 

While I have been a bit stressed out the last few days about the news, I am over that, and am ready to focus on the things that I can control.  Fortunately, I have very clear action steps that I can take.  Since those are fairly involved and require a lot of energy, they do a good job of distracting me from worry. 

Other than this, things are fine.  The weather is nice, the beard is growing luxuriantly, and I have been diving into the obscure writings of Hayek, Keynes, and Schumacher while sitting on my patio and keeping rabid squirrels from invading my garden.  I have also added the neighbor's kids next door in the gardening activities, and they have elaborate plans for safe-guarding our growing vegetables.  Plans include pitfalls, electric fences, and something they "want me to find a scientist for."  The one is 4 and the other is 6.  Makes me worry about what kids are watching on TV these days...


tjt said...

I fear there's a risk of sounding disingenuous with the comment I'm about to leave, but I'll give it a shot anyways. I'm being sincere (although perhaps illogical).

There's a piece of me that is jealous of the challenge before you. As someone never looking for the easy path, it just sounds exciting to start with nothing (I recall that you just got out of debt), and to take on a hardcore challenge to drive expenses to close to 0, while also trying to create an income from scratch - with the pressure of survival.

I can already picture all the things I would do - how I would do extreme things to cut costs, and the various little micro-businesses I would set up to get various little incomes. Maybe it's because I do these little micro-income producing things today, but the dollar-here-dollar-there just isn't that exciting when it's <5% of my primary income.

Perhaps I'm just too disconnected from your situation to fully realize the extent of the stress that probably comes with your scenario, and if that's the case, I apologize for romanticizing it.

Unknown said...

Just getting caught up on things- congrats on the debt freedom! I am halfway to mine, too. When I quit work last Feb, I lived off my savings for 3 months, but I learned a ton. Traded the 2007 Mazda for the 1991 Toyota, loving the simplicity. Minimalism rocks. Hope all is going well. Keep up the positivity.

Linda said...

Really proud of you for getting rid of your debt! So sorry to hear about the lack of income the next 6 months. I have a lot of faith in you! You're one tenacious spirit.

Good luck with the new business!

Anonymous said...

100 bucks says the neighbor's kids are Phineas and Ferb fans...

Good luck - I know you'll come out of this having learned a ton and being a better person for it.