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Mrs. Micah’s Modified Money Makeover…an exercise in alliteration!

For all you Dave Ramsey fans out there, I know people going through the Total Money Makeover are supposed to have “gazelle-like” intensity. Modifying is frowned upon. I am a gazelle like you wouldn’t believe!

The thing is that my cheetah is $114,000 big! And I’m making approx $30,000 a year, in a temp-to-hire position from which I haven’t yet been hired, and Mr. Micah is making another $7500 through his teaching. $5000 this fall and $2500 this spring (so he can finish his dissertation).

This thing is going to take a while. We fall into the camp of 5-or-more years people and so we’re going to have to modify things a bit.

First, while doing our debt snowball, we’re also putting some into a Roth IRA. Why? Because I’m quite young and don’t want to miss out on the time value of money. We’ll be snowballing lots and lots, but we’re saving some. We’ve also got a $3k emergency fund instead of $1k because we know there may be an emergency this summer (more on that later).

Second, we may have to stall our snowball over the summer. It’ll depend on my employment and Mr. Micah’s. He’s going to be looking for a teaching post next year, in the area, but we’re not sure how soon he’ll be able to find one. So we may just be on my income. In which case, there’s $1k of emergency money specifically designated to meet things in case my income can’t–like keeping current on accounts and handling our rent (which will rise $100 in June).

If he can’t find a job by fall, Mr. Micah’s going to have to find some other temporary employment…but I think he should have the whole summer to look. We’ll see what happens.

Now here are two good moves I made today to help get things going.

First, I e-mailed my contact at the temp agency (I plan to negotiate for $35k if she gives me the go-ahead):

Hi “Jill”,

I wanted to check in with you about my job. I like it a lot, am learning new things and really getting confident in some of the stuff I found harder at first. With others, I’m still improving but definitely making process. Friday, Bobbie had the day off and I did quite well in her absence. In sum, I would like to work full-time for [company].

Would it be appropriate and wise (since you’ve been in conversation with her) to discuss my future at [company] with Bobbie? Is this something that it would be better for [temp agency] to bring up?

Please let me know.

“Mrs. Micah”

I’ll let you know what she says. If I get the job and make $35k, the raise will be split between car payments, retirement, and emergency fund…probably 40%, 40%, 20%. We can live on what I’m making now.

Second, I worked out a plan for how to allocate Mr. Micah’s teaching money. We’re living entirely off my salary, so his can go into other things.

I found out that we have enough money for current expenses, $2.8k emergency, and to pay the credit card bill off entirely. So we’re going to do that before the 30th.

Then we’ll be putting a total of $400 into the emergency fund (over the fall), $1800 towards the car payment, and $1600 to retirement fund. That assumes just under $4k take-home from his $5k position. There should be more, I think, but I’m being conservative. Any extra will go to the car.

After the fall, then, we should only owe $6200 on the car. Possibly less. If Mr. Micah gets a full-time professoral job this summer, then I’ll devise a plan to get it paid off by the end of 2008, or so.

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Single Step Personal Finance Challenge
July 16, 2008 at 5:59 pm


Amanda September 17, 2007 at 1:21 pm


I know this is off the point, but there are many schools in the Michiana area where Mr. Micah could find a teaching post. πŸ˜‰

We just miss ya’ll, but if you came out here then your fams would miss ya’ll, too. πŸ™‚

Mrs. Micah September 17, 2007 at 2:34 pm

Well, Mr. Micah doesn’t want to move for at least 2 years. Moving was very stressful. I think living in Michiana would be much fun, but we’ll probably stick with DC for now. Plus fams, as you say. πŸ™‚

How’s about you just bring baby Nathan by for a visit? πŸ˜€

limeade September 17, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Sounds like you’re making some good progress. Most importantly, you’re aware.

Frugal Babe September 19, 2007 at 4:44 pm

When my husband and I were starting to dig out of the $40,000 in business start up debt a few years ago, we stopped putting money into our IRAs, everything just went towards debt for about a year. But then I started to think about the years we were wasting for the compounding of money in retirement accounts, and in the summer of 2005 (with over $25,000 left on our debt) we started putting $100 into each of our IRAs every month. A few months later we bumped it up to $200 each. It took a little longer to pay off our debts, but it felt good to know that we were not falling further behind in our retirement goals. Our snowball plan was modified too πŸ™‚

Suz September 19, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Checked out your site as I saw your comment on the guest post I wrote at Get Rich Slowly on Jane Bryant Quinn’s book. Wanted to give you some feedback on your approach to securing your current position. Your email makes the normal mistake of a) talking about how you feel and b) being a bit too tentative. In your next conversation/approach, I strongly recommend that you talk in terms of what you have accomplished for the company and what you can offer. Make it about THEM. You can also suggest a meeting time. This just assumes that they will want to talk to you about it. Also, even if they say No, don’t give up. Consider it a starting point and figure out how else you can demonstrate to them that you would be a fantastic permanent hire. I recently went to an evening seminar about Negotiation and these tips come from that. Good luck!

Mrs. Micah September 19, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Thanks, Suz. The e-mail was actually to my rep over at the temp agency, trying to feel out what she thinks I should do. I’ll definitely be more assertive with my boss.

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