Thursday, March 27, 2008

There might be a silver lining but there won't be any greenbacks.

For ten-and-a-half years my husband has worked for corporate America. For seven-and-a-half of those years I have been a housewife/stay-at-home mom. Even when we both earned incomes we have only lived on Joel's income. (Something I recommend for ALL families!!) All that to say - we are a single income family.

Because he works for corporate America, Joel always receives a raise each year. Some years it's more than others. After the internet bubble burst back in 2000/2001 he only received a cost of living raise, not a merit raise. But something is better than nothing and it covered the increase in our health insurance premium.

The way this company processes benefits and raises has never made sense to me. In the fall of each year we choose our insurance coverages (which always seems to go up). The new premiums go into effect in January. Then they have reviews of the previous year's work performance and cost-of-living/merit raises are approved in March. We see the new salary amount in the first April paycheck (checks come twice a month).

All that to say, I have to figure our budget at least twice a year. First, in January to determine how to fund the increase in insurance premiums. Then, again, in April to decide where the raise will be spent. This year I won't have to worry about running the numbers a second time.

Why? Oh, thank you for asking. Because today, 4 days before the new salaries were to go into effect, corporate announced there will be no raises this year for anyone in the company. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Not even a cost-of-living increase.

I am annoyed. Frustrated. Aggravated. Mainly because our health insurance went up about $200 a month in January. Our property taxes have gone up. Our homeowners insurance has gone up. And I'm spending almost $2 a dozen for eggs! And $2.99 for a gallon of milk!

Since Joel emailed me the news (he's too smart to drop this bomb face-to-face or on the phone) I've been reminding God that we have expenses we were planning to use that raise for. Like the $500 co-pay for Ben's stay in the hospital earlier this month. Some projects around our home. Not to mention the baby coming in October. And He keeps reminding me that it's all His money, He owns the "cattle on a thousand hills," and He's always provided for us in the past.

In the interest of full disclosure, not getting a raise won't "hurt" us in the sense that we're going to have to cut expenses in order to make it. Nobody's going hungry, eating ramen noodles or not getting new shoes. We have a surplus in our budget each month (because we work hard to be frugal!) and we have no debt other than our mortgage. But this year is the Year of the Three to Six Month Emergency Fund. So no raise really means it'll just take us longer to fully fund our emergency fund. Which is a bummer.

In the midst of this bummer, I'm choosing to look at the silver lining in this little financial cloud. Joel didn't get a salary DECREASE - that's good. And, as one of his co-workers said, at least he still has a job - that's very good.

But please, Lord, could you give us a different job with a better company, preferably one closer to the South, and a bigger silver lining?!


Stephanie said...

(((Stephanie))) That is frustrating!

Amy said...

Wow...that is so discouraging! Yet, in the midst of it, you're right: Our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and promises to provide our needs. So thankful that you guys are frugal and have planned ahead! But sorry all the same!!!

mer said...

You're could be worse, but I'm sorry anyway, because I know how disappointing it is when something you're counting on doesn't happen.


Happy Weekend!

fullheartandhands mama said...

I feel your frustration. It is hard when stuff like that happens. You have a great perspective though!

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