No. of Recommendations: 8
Hullo dear Fools!

Old timers might remember that I paid off 44k in credit card debt back in 2007.

I was going to return to New Zealand (after 17 years!)for WorldCon in August, but decided not do because of dental and medical expenses this year. Then I lost my job on March 16 (it was very sudden; I was informed at 12:30 on my last day), and WorldCon is going to be held digitally.

Now that I’m unemployed I am looking at health insurance options until I land my next job (funny that l lost my job due to the pandemic and when businesses reopen will be after the pandemic peaks in my area).

COBRA prices are awful, but I knew they would be. My next step is to go on the Kaiser HMO website to check the plan and price options via the ACA (some of you may recall how upset I was when my now ex-employer dropped Kaiser). I would love to return to them without having to wait 18 months when I go on Medicare.

Other things I’m working on that are cutting my cash flow:

My hairdresser called me two days ago and told me that she would be willing to make house calls to her clients (in the yard if they preferred) to do haircuts. And she will make kits so the clients can dye their hair at home. While I feel sorry for her (those people who are self employed cannot collect UI benefits), I need to look after my financial output. My best friend is going to cut my bangs, and I’ll have her color my hair when businesses reopen

I was seeing a personal trainer. She is doing sessions with clients via Zoom. I prepaid for 10 sessions at her studio. I have 6 left. I’ll wait to use them when she reopens. I miss doing the Leg Press (currently doing 225#) and the Sled (currently doing 170#). I have a three month online program that I prepaid before the job loss. Check out The Kilted Coaches.

Now I’m shopping at Costco and Grocery Outlet instead of Whole Foods Market.

Talk to ya later!


Post Script Newbies who are at the beginning of paying off their credit card debt — YOU *CAN* DO THIS! And you will glad you did if you get laid off from your jobs!
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No. of Recommendations: 4
Great to see you, Shire! I'm so sorry to hear your job fell victim to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but better you be in home lockdown than sick with COVID-19. I hope your own health and wellness has been good otherwise. Did the job say whether you might be rehired once the pandemic is over (and we will get through it)? Hopefully you have an eFund helping you out. And with the bill signed into law today, you should get $600/wk for up to 4 weeks in unemployment benefits in addition to the $1200 stimulus payment.

COBRA sucks. When I was suddenly let go from a previous job with no warning in 2018, I looked at the Healthcare Exchange and decided that I had already invested so much in my deductible that it made sense, even with the cost of the premium, to stick with it. Being a type 2 diabetic, I have significant monthly medical costs to cover my chronic disease. However, when 2019 enrollment rolled around, the price increase on the COBRA was so high, I had no choice but to select an exchange policy. I can't say I was happy with them, though. I depended on discount programs from the brand name drug manufacturers (no generics available) and slowly bled out my HSA account to cover the out-of-pocket expenses.

My advice would be to find the best option that meets your needs but don't splurge on features or services you don't need. I found that the Bronze policies offered better value per premium than the Silver or Gold options. Also, be sure to check out whether you are eligible for a federal subsidy given your limited income for 2020. However, though I don't know of the federal stimulus payment will count as income (it is not taxable), I believe the UIB payments will and you should include an estimated 4 months of payments in your estimate of 2020 income.

My thoughts on hair is that if nobody is going to see you, it's really a question of how you see yourself. I was joking with a coworker who was working from home for the first time (I've kind of turned it into a career) that she was saving a lot of time getting ready for work because we use audio conferences but not video. What little hair I have is now on it's 7th week untamed and I'll just have to look shaggy when I tempt the fates and head out to the Costco Pharmacy tomorrow. Bottom line is, if no one can see you your roots or my grey, then it becomes a self-indulgence.

Keeping up the exercise is important, so I would encourage you to do what you can, maybe every other scheduled session to stretch them out, since you've already paid for them. If you don't have a home gym, your trainer may have some alternative methods of exercising the same muscles you would in the gym. Take advantage of the opportunity to lean how you keep in shape on your own, then when your sessions run out, you can continue on your own with what you have learned. That's what I tried to do when I stopped my personal trainer sessions.

If you have an Aldi's in your area, you should check it out. When I first went into home lockdown, I purchased $100 worth of groceries at Aldi's (the discount grocery store from the same parent company as TJs), which I expect will last me about 4 weeks. After that, if the pandemic still has me hiding like the Zombie apocalypse, I'll probably look into grocery delivery. I'm going to have to visit Costco tomorrow because I need to pick up my prescriptions. Fortunately, I have a couple N95 masks left over from my Puerto Rico disaster relief trip a couple years ago, and some medical gloves that will hopefully ward off any bad joo joo.

Oh, one last thing. You and every Fool are invited to join my LinkedIn group, Fuskie's Foolish Friends to help with your professional networking. In times of need, Fools should be able to turn to and depend on each other, so anything I can do to help.

Who has been working for 5 weeks now but is still living as cheaply as possible because after 22 months of not working, he's exhausted his severance, his savings, his back up plans and even was forced to dip prematurely into his Traditional IRA to start the year before he finally started earning a paycheck again, so rebuilding his eFund and continuing to cover his obligations remains his priority...

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No. of Recommendations: 2
Howdy, Shire. Not much of any use to say, except that I'm glad you're here and healthy. It's a rough time. What kind of work do you do, and in what part of the world? I don't know many people, but hey, someone here might know someone who knows someone.

ThyPeace, all I know is how to help a bureaucracy do a few things.
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No. of Recommendations: 5
Not much to add but my condolences. I remember when you first showed up here as a wee hobbit mired in debt. We watched you travel from the shire to Bree, Weathertop, Rivendell, Osgiliath, and ultimately Mordor, where you cast the last of your debt into the fires of Mt Doom. One heck of a journey!

As someone who has spent 20+ years at the same company, I can imagine how devastated you must feel. I know I would be. But I wish you the best of luck in your next adventure.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
I wish you the best as well and hope you are able to land an even better job very soon! Thank you for the PS!
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Make the cash flow cutting the priority above all else. You don't know if you will remain unemployed for a week or a year. Do every single tiny thing you can tolerate to reduce your outflow to the minimum. Prepare for the worst.

The worst is unlikely materialize, but better to expect it an be prepared than to ignore it and be sorry.

I'm very glad that you joined this community those years ago, and became an example of what to do RIGHT. Keep it up, and you will weather this problem, and it will eventually become just another bump in your past that you overcame. We're all figuratively holding your hand.

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No. of Recommendations: 4
Shirehobbit, I just wanted to let you know that I am sorry to hear your news. I know how painful it can be to lose a job after so many years - I lost my 10-year-job in 2016 - and that the wound can remain raw for a while.

I hope your skill set is in demand, despite the global Lockdown.

Good luck with the budgeting.

- Pam
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