Most months cost my Middle Class Guy’s family about ten grand per month these days. August and September of 2017 are proving to be especially costly and will likely exceed that amount.
Do we make a budget and stick to it? Honestly, No. Do we do our best to pay for things as they come up? Honestly, Yes. With a daughter that recently started high school and made the varsity poms squad that won its first competition and was invited to nationals, who are we as a hard-working middle class family to deny her the opportunity to travel to Orlando in February for this competition?
That after her traveling there this coming December for a week-long tour of the Sunshine State with her school marching band, which she is also a part of. That particular trip goes to the tune of $1,650, of which we have only paid only $500 so far, via two $250 payments. I have to pay off the balance within the next six weeks, by October 15th.
My wife and son will be going to watch her march down Main Street U.S.A. and stay at Disney World for three days during the week between Christmas and New Years, and have purchased round-trip air fare and will be staying at the Pop Century Resort for four nights. That trip will be costing us a few grand, which would not fit into any budget that I would create.
The poms squad has not yet obtained a cost for their trip, but a deposit for those going is due next week.
What does any of this have to do with $4,250? I’m getting to that…
The point is that my family typically spends two to three times that amount every month including all of our bills, taxes and private college tuition for our son.
That is why it pains me to part with this $4,250 in cash.
I am not sure exactly what prompted me in early 2015 to accumulate a small hoard of cash. I suppose that I thought it would come in handy someday.
Perhaps I would offer $8,000 in cash to a hard-up used car dealer for a car that he was asking $10,000 for. Perhaps I would bring it on a luxury vacation for ten days and pay for everything with cash, without our bank or credit card tallying each purchase. Perhaps I would hire a wedding photographer or band for a child’s wedding with the cash. Perhaps I would purchase gold coins to stick somewhere and forget about them until they are worth $5,000 each.
Perhaps it was some combination of all of the above. Whatever the reasoning was, I thought it a good idea to collect $10,000 in cash, which I thought and still think would prove handy someday as a rainy day fund.
How I Saved It
Being a Middle Class Guy with a middle class government job where I am paid by direct deposit on alternate Fridays and an occasional seller of eBooks, which pays me by direct deposit to our checking account via Amazon, and with a wife who works part-time during the school year and is also paid via direct deposit, I do not have opportunities to get paid in cold, hard cash.
How I saved the $4,250 was a simple method of withdrawing an extra fifty here and an extra hundred there with a teller at our bank on paydays throughout a period of about two and a half years. I would withdraw, say, $300 on a Friday and ask for it in fifties, using $100 over the weekend and putting $200 in the envelope.
I dutifully tallied the running amount in the envelope, building the amount a few hundred at a time.
The $4,250 is comprised of eight Benjamins, fifty-seven fifty dollar bills, twenty-seven Jacksons and six sawbucks.
Why I Am About to Use It
I keep this small stash in an envelope in the first or perhaps second place that a burglar would look for it. Below all my socks in the bottom drawer in my dresser beneath my socks.
I previously had it hidden elsewhere, but still in a place that could be easily found by a burglar rifling though our house.
Even though I have enjoyed knowing that this stash of cash was sitting there waiting to be added to, I also would worry about it a bit during the few times that we went out of town. I imagined explaining to some rookie cop that I was saving up cash with no particular reason why, so look for someone going around with about four grand in cash in addition to our iPads and whatever else they took.
I had thought about renting a safe deposit box from my bank to put my growing stash of cash and some other valuables, but at last came to the conclusion that paying money to store money is not the wisest use of my family’s limited funds. I may still rent one someday to place some valuables and the next pile of cash that I save, but that time is not now.
So one reason that I am about to put this cash into play is so that I do not have to worry about it getting stolen or me forgetting about it as I age, although it sure would be great for whoever found it, hopefully my wife or children.
The second reason is even more basic than that.
In a month where I just paid a credit card bill including two round-trip flights and the first night at Disney on it, another $300 for high school registration, nearly $200 for our daughter’s braces and a decent-sized Amazon order and also just paid a $250 charge at Kohl’s, and will be paying another $2,470 in tuition, and will be paying off a band trip to Disney and a deposit on yet another Disney trip, I need some more you-know-what.
I cannot afford to pay out over $10,000 for the second or third consecutive month without dipping into my stash.
I may raise some eyebrows but probably won’t next week when I deposit $1,000 back into our checking account before I make the tuition payment. I will also be transferring another $1,000 from our son’s T. Rowe Price College 2018 fund to help defray the cost.
That leaves over $3,000 in cash, $2,000 of which will be also deposited over the next month or two as tuition payments are made. I plan on depositing the last $1,000 with a local credit union, where I am seriously considering refinancing our mortgage.
The last $250? Some in my wallet, some to my wife’s purse and some to our daughter. I just gave our son $160 in cash last week for some college spending money.
That’s twenty-six references to various amounts of money in 1,200 words, but I just wanted to share why pretty soon I will return to only having some cash in my wallet once again and everything else in some type of account by the end of 2017.
I never did reach my goal of having $5,000 in cash saved by the end of this year and then $10,000 a year or two later [that makes twenty-eight references] but reserve the right to begin another pile of cash as I earn more money beginning next year.
Knowing that I had ten grand or more in a pile of cash somewhere would just make me feel a little bit better about myself, which is hard to put a price tag on.