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So About The Economy...

Everything's expensive right now: Food. Gas. Rent.  The stock market's looking slumpy. We're apparently on the verge of a recession/possibly already in a recession. Given these circumstances, we probably won't be able to max out our retirement accounts or fully pay off the student loan this year. They seemed like reasonable goals a few months ago; now, not so much. To help prepare for possible economic turbulence, we've been making some adjustments to our finances: 1. I reduced my retirement contributions by about half. I'll still get the employee match and I'm still putting in a decent chunk of my salary (20%), but we need more liquidity at the moment.  2. We're bolstering our savings account. We still have an emergency fund, but we hacked out a pretty big piece of it to bring the student loan balance down to ~$10K. I'd like to have a little more cash on hand in case of layoffs at my company (since my industry will definitely feel the effects of an
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You Know Yourself Better Than Anyone Else Does

Lately I've been feeling pretty unhappy at work: bored, unfulfilled, disengaged, and disconnected. Like the stereotypical cog in the giant wheel of capitalism.  Those of you who've been around for a while are probably rolling your eyes like, AGAIN?!? Again with the job issues?! Don't get me wrong: I'm not going anywhere; I'm certainly not quitting. But I wouldn't say that I'm satisfied. This situation has led me to think about the challenges I faced and the choices I made that helped land me in this role. After all, content management was never a career I aspired to. I just somehow... ended up here. Ten years ago, I was certain I was destined to be a scientist, which was a solid assumption given that I was enrolled in a Ph.D. engineering program at a reputable school. I was making acceptable progress toward my degree, presenting at conferences, and winning research grants. My goal for most of my time in grad school was to become a tenure track professor at a

This Rent Is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I ushered in the last day of the month as I usually do: by paying our rent while grumbling into my cup of coffee. I was particularly grumpy today because May 31 marks the first day of our new 12-month lease. Like most renters in the low-supply, high-demand housing hellscape of 2022, we now find ourselves shelling out substantially more t han we did a year ago just to keep a roof over our heads. Everyone loves a cute little mountain town, and so housing costs here have always been an issue for everyone but the wealthy. But now they're absolutely out of control. The median listing price has soared to $725K, and it continues to increase every week. So do rental costs.  We frequently find ourselves saying goodbye to friends who've given up on trying to make it work and are moving to more affordable locales or who simply want to get more bang for their buck in a LCOL (lower cost of living) area.  Although I love northern AZ for many reasons and hope hope hope we can stay here after

Is That The Finish Line Off In The Distance?!

Before I launch into my silly blog stuff, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the school shooting in Texas a couple of days ago. Not that I know what to say at this point. If little kids getting massacred in what should be one of the safest places in their lives doesn't inspire a complete overhaul of our gun laws, I don't know what will. To say it's depressing is a massive understatement. Social media is full of action steps we can take (donate! sign a petition! reach out to representatives!), and that's helpful, but at the end of the day what we need is for Congress (specifically the Senate, specifically Republicans in the Senate) to take action. We shouldn't have to beg; it's their job. But they refuse to do it because money and power rule their lives and because as much as they claim to be pro-life, they're really just pro-their own interests.  So sure, I can sign a petition. Sure, I can make a call: "Hi, it's me, begging you to *checks

Once Again, Our HSA Saves The Day!

As promised, I'm back with an update on the current status of the medical bills from my son's recent four-day hospital stay and our strategy for paying them off.  First and most importantly, he's doing really, really well since his Type 1 diabetes diagnosis! He's consistently stayed on top of his blood glucose monitoring, carb counting, and insulin injections, and his blood sugar readings have mostly been in his target range for the past two weeks. He's regained his energy and is back to his old self. He even managed to knock out two AP exams right after he got out of the hospital. Pretty impressive for a teenager who's been living with this condition for only a month!  Predictably, at this point the medical bills are starting to roll in. Our current grand total for diabetes-related expenses is $48,818. This includes the hospital stay, labs, and prescriptions as well as bills for some of the specific ER, PICU, and peds doctors who managed his care while he was a

A Shockingly Good Insurance Surprise

Healthcare insurance update: I misunderstood my schedule of benefits (by "misunderstood," I mean that I gave the benefits summary nothing more than a cursory glance when I selected our plan at the end of last year because hey, we're healthy, we eat our veggies, we probably won't even USE this insurance, so I don't need to read this document! Haaaaaahahahahaha.)  Lo and behold, it turns out that although we haven't met our family deductible, we have met my son's individual $5000 deductible, and as a result,   all of his medical expenses -- including his prescriptions! -- should be 100% covered for the remainder of 2022.  I'm not sure I've EVER had an insurance plan that covers 100% of in-network and pharmacy expenses once the deductible is met. Talk about a healthcare unicorn! This means that: 1. we can continue to pay down the student loan in big chunks. (I want it goooooone) 2. much of the $600/month I'm putting into my HSA can be used to me

Well! So That Was April.

Happy spring! Here in the $76K household, April turned out to be a rather eventful month: 1. Our teenager ended up in the ICU and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  File this situation under "Things We Would Have Never Predicted," especially given that he was rarely ill up until now. In fact, it had been so long since we'd seen his doctor that the man had retired in the meantime and we had no idea until the ER team asked for the name of his primary care physician. 2. As a result, we've been learning and trying new things. Since he was released from the hospital, we've been learning as much as we can about T1D and working with his doctors to get his blood sugar into a healthy range. This has involved frequent blood glucose checks (his fingers have become pin cushions, basically), insulin injections, and some dietary modifications. It's a lot of responsibility for a 15-year-old who's also in the middle of final exams, but he's handled it amazingly wel