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My leave and earnings statement arrived for the partial pay period ending on September 30. I don't actually get paid until Friday, but now I know the amount I'll receive. It's 60 percent of a pay period, so approximately 60 percent of a paycheck. (Not quite because of deductions that are at a flat dollar amount rather than a percentage.)

I save about 20% of every paycheck, so it's easy to zero that out and get halfway there. Then the decisions become harder. The mortgage is 40% of every paycheck -- can't really reduce that one. So I'm left to figure it out in all the smaller things that I pay for every month.

Nothing goes into the clothing folders for me and DD, obviously. Nor does anything go into the entertainment, gifts, eating out, and vacation folders. Now I'm three quarters of the way there. And now it's down to the hard stuff. Reduce the amount that goes into groceries. We'll be eating boring stuff, but for a few weeks we can do that. Reduce the amount that goes into the utilities folders -- there's enough in the natural gas folder to last for three or four months, and the electricity season is winding down. I hope. The new heat pump will change that balance, but I don't know exactly how yet.

In two weeks, when there will be no paycheck at all if we're still furloughed, I'll start allocating from my savings instead of from a paycheck. Looks like the "easy" minimum -- where all required payments are made and we still have food and utilities -- is about 63% of my paycheck.

This is where I become very, very grateful for the financial wisdom of this board, and the discipline I've used on my budgets over the years. With existing funds and absolutely no unusual expenses (obviously not possible over any length of time), there is cash to cover 28 pay periods, or just over a year. Thank goodness. But I really wish that the house remodel was scheduled to start next year, rather than being almost done. That would really feel like a nice cushion.

DH, whose accounts are separate from mine because of the two households we maintain, is in a slightly better situation. His reserves will carry him for 30 pay periods, or 60 weeks. There are also some joint reserves as well, enough to last us another couple of months if it were needed.

Funny. A few weeks ago I would have said that a year of reserve funds was great and we were sitting pretty. Now, it seems like it's plenty for this furlough, but not nearly enough if other bad things happen on top of it.

And it also makes me realize just how much it is costing us to live separately. Sigh. DH is the one who will move (when his youngest graduates from high school in 18 months; we decided years ago that we wouldn't uproot the kids) and he is doing everything he can to network and find a job in this area. However, his entire agency is basically furloughed right now, and even before that he was really having a hard time making contacts in this area, even though their headquarters is less than 15 miles from my house.

ThyPeace, grateful for the e-fund, the f-fund, the college savings that haven't been put into a 529, and all the other pots of money that are available.
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