Living Below Your Means
Paradigm Shift

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By thatfoolpeter
June 1, 2006

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The past few weeks have been the beginning of a shift in my attitude and practice of LBYM. You see, we depleted our savings near the end of last year in the purchase of our first house. I figured we would build it back up over the next few years (along with our other savings goals like retirement, vacation, etc.).

That has changed big-time in the last few weeks. Following a merger with another company, my job has been shifting away from things I liked to do to more tedious things. In addition, our group has been suffering some brain-drain (2 of 5 folks left from our group recently) and that is translating into a ton of extra work for my colleagues and I. On top of that the "replacement" that was hired for the folks who left is "senior management" and is not about to get his hands dirty actually "helping" with anything. Work now officially sucks. The last time I felt like this was just before I was RIF'd during the dot.bomb period in 2002 (quite possibly the worst time to be out of work in IT). Things have changed a lot and I am confident that I will find something more acceptable once I start looking.

The LBYM tie-in of starting to hate my job is that it caused me to reassess our finances and figure out just how long we could survive without my take-home. The answer: not very long. Thankfully, DW and I are not under any great crushing debt at this time, the mortgage is naturally our biggest expenditure. But without my take-home I realized that it wouldn't take long before the ship started listing. Damn all those household purchases depleting our savings. I didn't really *need* that lawnmower, I have scissors don't I. =)

So here I am going, "Wow, an E-fund would really help me sleep better at night." I am now realizing that it's "not okay" to perform without a net. Taking a few years to fill up the E-fund seemed okay when everything was going great but the displeasure with my job recently served to awaken that little voice of doubt, "What if you lost your job now? What if things got so bad you couldn't stand it anymore? You can't quit. You need that job." I wouldn't dream of quitting out-right, but it would be nice to have things covered should the worst happen. This time around I got fed up with work before they got fed up with me, but who's to say what the future holds.

Now this all boils down to E-fund jumping to priority one on the financial savings list. That means that for the summer DW and I will attempt to rope in spending and send any and all extra cash towards the efund. By the end of August we should be up to 3 months of expenses and I will relax a little.

In the meantime, tomorrow is designated for yard work and sprucing up the resume. Next I start shopping around for a new job. Wish me luck.

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