Worries

My husband works for an architect. For a few years, business has been in a decline; no raises in almost 4 years and cutting costs wherever possible has been the norm. With the collapse of construction and credit, things have gone from bad to grim. Their staff has been reduced by 50% now (leaving 5 guys working there), benefits have been reduced and cut back, and I developed a sense of impending doom for his job last fall. Not a feeling of what if, but when and how bad.

Friday’s staff meeting brought news that they would all be taking a mandatory 10% pay cut. But the news that was worse than the cut is that only after making this announcement did his boss run the numbers, and it was then when he realized that the few thousand dollars a month they are saving isn’t enough to keep them going. That makes the loss of income twice as painful in my book, since we are losing 10% of his income per month that we could be saving for when they finally (and inevitably) close the place down, and that 10% is in no way helping keep the place going.

They have no real new work but they have several contracts with existing clients, pretty much all of whom have put their work on hold.

Our efforts over the past few months to get ready and be prepared for the worst have been highly effective. We had a great deal of debt, but since October, we have eliminated 4 credit cards and saved almost two months worth of Byram’s salary. Even though a 10% cut isn’t a massive hit to our monthly income, we do not wish to stop saving or slow down on our debt reduction, so we are making deep cuts where we can, especially since I think our savings rate needs to go up as I believe he will be unemployed in the next few months if some of their projects don’t get moving.

Today the cable company is turning off our cable, saving us $70 a month. Byram is stopping most comic book purchases and I have promised no new yarn purchases. I have lots in my stash and multiple Christmas presents that need work here after the Shipwreck shawl is finished. I am going to continue to offer knitting lessons over Craigslist (several interested hits last month, but no follow through) and I am going to continue to seek out free fiber from local farmers (alpaca seems to be most common around here). I can spin and make my own entertainment free that way.

We are instituting a Meatless Friday policy. Beef especially is very expensive lately and we eat it less and less anymore. We eat a lot of chicken and more and more pork, but as my cooking skills have been growing, I have more confidence is making tasty and filling vegetarian meals that still help us get our protein needs met.

I have been using monthly menus for a while, but now, more than ever, I am going to be using them to build my budget for the store instead of using my budget to build a menu. Shopping is going to be much stricter now.

Things are tough everywhere, but it is really finally coming home to roost for us now. I am especially worried for my parents. My dad took a 20% pay cut from the trucking company he works for and now they have cut his miles almost 20% as well. They had trouble making their mortgage this month and that was before the reduced paycheck. I am a worrier. I cannot help it.

I will end with saying if you need a good architect, drop me a comment. I know a place happy to help you out!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. I have a metric butt ton of vegetarian cookbooks I’d be happy to lend you if you’re interested! And you can come rifle through my stash whenever you want!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Jessica on April 6, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Kevin has had to take a 5% pay cut and narrowly avoided an additional 10%. He is actively looking for a new job, though thankfully he is not likely to get laid off or have his current company fold. Sounds like times are tough everywhere. I will be thinking of you guys, and may I make the respectful suggestion that Byram polish up his resume if he hasn’t already done so? Best of luck to him, whatever happens.

    Reply

    • Posted by laruse on April 6, 2009 at 1:43 PM

      Thanks for the good thoughts. I know he is finally ready to start thinking about moving on and fleshing out the resume I got started on for him a while back. It is what it is. I think we have done a good job getting ready for this, and now it is time to implement the plans we have been making.

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