Planning for a big change in life is not unusual for most military families. Moving constantly, extending the family, and becoming a one income family are all changes that we have to adjust to at some point while in the service. Well, at the end of 2013, Mr. Hubster decided that he wanted to get out of the military. We had just had Little Mister and I was not wanting to work very much because of that fact. Leaving the steady paycheck was going to be a huge adjustment, but with the proper planning and saving we knew we could do it. Here are the steps that we took in order to take the big leap.
Making a plan.
We sat down and looked at all the factors involved with this career change. First, he would be doing schooling for 16 months while getting a small stipend from the Post-9-11 GI Bill. The GI bill would give us a prorated amount for any months that he was not in school all days. We knew approximately what I could earn as an RN in Florida. Then we calculated the costs involved: cars, insurance, housing, childcare, food, and other cost of living items. We then said that we wanted to have an extra $1,000 per month in savings so that we could fall back on it if the GI bill didn’t come through (My earnings plus $1000 per month approximate cost for living in Florida).
The numbers were run several times. We planned for the worst cast scenario. The most expensive (so we thought) rental, the most for childcare, the most gas, the most envelopes. I thought it wise to have a large enough cushion in our account that we would have money on to which we could fall back.
Stocking up the envelopes.
Then, we stocked our envelopes. This was vital in certain instances. We knew that we would not have an allotment for non-essential items such as clothing, family activities, and food-event (i.e.birthday, date dinners). And other envelopes we don’t use too frequently so instead of monthly giving to them, we stocked them up. Overall, about 1 year worth of envelope expenses went into them each. It was a lot of money, but I am so thankful that we did that. 1 year later, we still have some of it while some is long gone. You just never know what will happen.
Finding a place to live.
We looked for rentals, townhouses and apartments. There were a ton of options. We didn’t realize that a lot of those options were not in the best part of the city. It is hard to know that truly until you go there. So we did! We had 2 cars that needed to go to our new city, 2 drivers, 1 toddler, and 5 cats. It was decided that we needed to take a vehicle there just before moving so that we only had one to take on moving day and we could spend some time interviewing and searching for a place to call home. I would highly recommend doing this for anyone who is looking to make a large move. Doing so gave us the opportunity to secure a job for myself, narrow down a place we liked enough to live, and start the process of buying a home.
Yes, I said buying. That was an event! Rentals are ridiculous in Florida. I was blown away by the size, quality, and area of rental which you can get in Florida for a large sum of money. A nice apartment 2-3 bedrooms is around 1200-1400 per month while a rental home is about the same. We quickly realized that we should just buy a home (rookie mistake #1) so we went searching. We literally looked at 4 houses and we found “the one”. Only problem, it was a foreclosure (rookie mistake #2). The price was so low and so much work had already been done that we jumped right in (read more about buying a foreclosure in my post here). Needless to say, we left Florida with the realization that we may not end up with the home and we would have to start over.
We flew back home, finished packing and getting ready to move. In the end, it worked out for us. We got the house about 1 month after making the move to Florida. Family was gracious to host us most of that time. We stayed with them with the exception of when I started work and I had to stay in a hotel. Our savings definitely saved us when we moved in as we had plenty of work to do, but over 1 year later and we still have half of it.
Everyone needs a budget.
The single most important factor which helped us make a smoother transition from a dual income family to a single income family would be our strict adherence to a budget. Every month we account for every dollar. Of course, the envelopes helped so many times as did the savings.
So, we are now 16 months into his schooling and we decided to extend the schooling for another semester. Four more months left of school and we decided that we are going to move again! We are already going down the list to prepare (savings, check, envelopes, check) now we need to go check out some places to live and work.
Do you have a large move or career change coming up soon? How are you preparing for it?