Thursday, June 6, 2013

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Two months! The Spring Thaw Break was two months long! Two months TO THE DAY! Can you tell how I am feeling right now?! Can you tell by my exclamation points and question marks?! Of course not! Am I angry? Am I sad? Am I laughing hysterically?! Am I crying?! Am I glad it's over? Am I glad it happened?! Yes to all.

The Break came for us after only 3 months of solid work. When I say "solid work" I mean that Josh only got 6 days off for those 3 months of work. So, 3 months of work and then 2 months off. Can you imagine the stress? The stress of not knowing when the work would start back up? The stress of knowing that we may have to move again (FYI: Moving is expensive. It cost us about $4500 to move to ND and get settled in)? The stress that we may not have enough in savings to cover our bills? Well, I knew all of this before Josh even got into Pipeline work. I was an Archaeologist remember? This is the lifestyle I was use to. Feast or Famine. Always on the road. Totally unpredictable. Full of BS.

I've always been good with my money. I was taught by my parents (a banker and a mom) how to manage my money. Hell, I had a checking account when I was 13! I learned how to live according to how much I was making and to prepare for the future. Ever since I was a young adult I had a savings account. It wasn't anything special, but it was a place to keep my money just in case things got hard and my checking account ran low. I got my first credit card in 2008 (my second one in 2011) and I told myself that I would never miss a payment. NEVER. And I haven't. When things got tight I would budget my money and make sure that I never spent more then I had. 

I'm so glad that I was taught how to take care of myself and live off of what I made. Thanks mom and dad! Seriously, my parents rock!

So, when Josh got his job in Colorado and I moved away with him, we knew that he would make the money and that I would manage it. Done and done.

Because of my training and my knowledge of Pipeline work, I was able to save us plenty of money for the famine/Spring Thaw Break that we knew was coming.

Honestly, I am proud of us. Because of my budgeting, we were able to save up enough money so that if the Break went through August (4 months) we would still be fine. I know that Josh got frustrated with me sometimes. If there was a charge on one of the credit cards that I wasn't expecting you better believe I was calling or texting him to find out what was going on (I check our accounts twice a day so nothing gets by me). It's not like I was a total penny-pincher. We still went out to dinner, saw movies, and ate real food (no Top Ramen for us), but we limited our spending of luxury items. I guess one rule that I live by is: "Just because you have it, doesn't mean you have to spend it."

I think I got really frustrated when I heard of a lot of guys coming back to work after the Break who were broke. Like really broke. They had to borrow money from each other. Some of these guys are making high 6 figures. Where did the money go? Yes, I understand that some of them have families and other expenses, but when you show up to work with a new truck and ATV and have no money left over, don't expect sympathy from me. You're an adult and you should know better.

Geeze. I should teach a class to these guys :-)

Anyways, after two months, two awesome months full of adventure, Josh is back to work! The break was great. We got to see tons of family and friends, Josh got his NACE 2, and we went on an epic road trip, but it is nice to get back to life and back to reality (see what I did there?!). 

Oh and just in case you were wondering, I leave in one week for the "2013 Neilson Family Kauai Trip!" I'm so excited!


Leslie Elaine said...

You should teach a class! I track expenses at the end of each month and see how much is going where, and try to do better next month but that's about it. :S Although I set up automatic transfer to savings with a percentage of each paycheck.

2 months off! Wow that is a long time but at least you had a lot of quality time together. Must be hard when Josh works 6 days a week.

emilie s. d. p. said...

I love reading your blog & updates. I think it's so great that you guys really took advantage of the spring thaw & were able to travel so much! Plus on a budget! Those are some skills you have. Can't wait to read more updates of what it's like in the summer for you guys after reading how frigid it was in the summer!