January: New Year, New Hurtles

As much as I try to be optimistic, my 2012 is not starting off with ideal circumstances. Firstly, the Sailor leaves today for five to six months. He has back to back schooling and while that is a wonderful thing, it means he will be more than just a driving distance away from us. The other not so awesome thing, is our almost 10% pay cut we will be experiencing for first half of the year.

Okay, I suppose I will try to be optimistic. I just can’t help myself. 

The Sailor not being home could potentially be a good thing for our finances. While he has made some remarkable strides when it comes to his frugality and financial ability, he still is the spender of the family. The man can not resist a pack of gum at the checkout counter. With him out of the picture, so to speak, I may be able to save more and spend less than usual.

This is not our first rodeo when it comes to the Sailor not being around. I will miss him terribly but it is a way of life for us. I feel lucky to have had him home every night for the last three years during his shore duty. As weird as it sounds, I look forward to the challenge of independence I will face while he isn’t home. It won’t be a cake walk but it can be looked at as a growing opportunity for myself.

Losing the close to 10% pay won’t be as horrible as it sounds either. I think. I hope. It is quite a cut, but we are kinda prepared for this and it is only temporary. As soon as things get ordered and settled after the schooling we should expect to see the pay return to normal.

Unfortunately, during this weird pay period we won’t be able to keep building our emergency fund at the speed we were. Granted, that any side income I make goes to our emergency fund, but I never count on any of that in our regular income.

Some of the things I will be doing while the Sailor is gone to save money are:

No eating out in January
This is one thing I think we can let get out of control sometimes, but we are getting better. This might continue into other months, but let's just see how this month goes.

Stay on budget
Since we have paid off our debt we have been pretty lax about the budget. I am getting back on top of this. (Oh boy, that is a great "that's what she said" opportunity there) (Apologies, we have been on a The Office marathon at our house)

Make a budget?
Yeah, I haven't made an actual budget in a couple months. What? I said I had been lax. This has already been completed for January.

I think that will be a good start. Hopefully, focusing on the finances and planning will help me get through this Sailor-less period too. All optimism aside, this is going to suck.