Steve starts his new job today. He's going back to work for Bay Electric where he worked before this. It's been 4.5 years since he worked there last, and they've been so gracious to invite us to their company picnic every summer since he left, so we've maintained a relationship with them all this time. Steve went and met with them 2 days after he lost his job, and they had an offer letter to him the next day. That was a relief! The downside is that now he makes at least $15K less than he made last year. That's a real bummer because it means a total lifestyle change for us. I'll have to find a way to cut back at least $1,250/month going forward. Not sure where to find that many cutbacks. I think this is going to be a really rough year for us. He's essentially making what he started out making 4.5 years ago, so it's a bit of a step backwards. He is a project manager there, as he was at this last employer for most of the his time there, but right now, Bay only has him working on the electrical side of projects, which is pretty limiting since he's been doing general construction management for so long now. But I think they will expand his responsibilities over time. His first project is a new site in Georgia, and he'll be flying down periodically on one of the company's private jets to oversee that project. That ought to be interesting! They also have a company apartment down there, so if he has to stay overnight for any reason, at least he won't have to mess with hotels.
He won't get to take any vacation this year, so no annual family vacation for us to look forward to in 2010. The kids were really disappointed about that, and so was I. And he only gets 1 week/year instead of 2. Also, the health insurance will cost us more than before because the company is smaller.
Sigh. It's a lot for me to take in. He did get a company car and a gas card, so although he has a long commute to Newport News, at least we won't be paying for gas. We have to pay taxes on the commuting mileage, though.
I think we're gonna use our tax refund this year to go ahead and pay off his van. We only had a little over a year left to pay on it anyway, and that will get rid of a payment of $233/month. That's a start, but there's still a long way to go to squeak by. We have another huge credit card bill this month from Christmas expenses, the dogs' annual checkup at the vet, and the lifetime subscription to TIVO, which I did because our 3-year contract was up, and it was before he lost his job. So we'll have to recover from the last of these big expenses and then figure out how we'll get by thereafter.
I went grocery shopping yesterday, and I'm already shopping differently. No more convenience packaged items. Instead of baby carrots and apple slices that are ready to eat, I got regular carrots and whole apples...stuff like that. I didn't buy as much as usual, and I shopped only from my grocery list and skipped all the other aisles. I didn't get the kids any snacks beyond a $1 bag of pretzel sticks and a 62-cent bag of marshmallows. They'll just have to get used to less variety.
So anyway, wish me luck trying to figure out a new budget. It's gonna be a challenge!