“Oh, so you found a job?”
“Nope. Not yet. But I’m looking.”
“So your husband found a job?”
That’s when they look at my like I’m nuts.
I don’t blame them. Back when I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, the idea of quitting my job without another one lined up would have seemed pretty nuts to me, too.
It’s not polite to ask specific questions about our financial situation, so most people leave it at that. They sort of raise their eyebrows like we’re nuts and assume we’ll be mooching off our parents for months while we job search. I don’t ever bother to correct them, even though their assumption isn’t really true.
Yes, we’ll be staying with Tony’s family temporarily, and it’s extremely kind of them to give us the chance to get settled in Indiana before we find an apartment. And yes, the absence of a rent payment from our budget for the few months that we stay there will help keep our savings account healthy. We won’t be mooching, though. We’ll be paying all of our own bills, chipping in for groceries, and helping out in any way we can to repay their kindness. But the truth is, we’re staying with them more out of convenience than financial necessity.
My husband is hoping to find a teaching job. Because the availability of teaching jobs depends so much on geography, we don’t want to lock ourselves into a certain area with a lease. We want to be open to move where ever the jobs are. Staying with family while we look makes the most sense.
Financially, though? We’re in a better place than we’ve ever been. Because we’ve been saving for the past three years, we have enough cash savings to carry us through a full year without any income. We won’t be living without income, though. We plan to earn money through part-time jobs or substitute teaching while my husband searches for a full-time teaching job. I also make a little bit of money from freelance writing and advertising on this site. That income will stretch our savings even further.
Obviously, the sooner we start earning income again, the better. I don’t want to completely wipe out our savings accounts while we search for jobs. I’m just not too stressed about the fact that neither of us has anything lined up yet. The sooner we find jobs, the more money we’ll be able to keep in our emergency fund and move to our house fund. For now, though, our savings has bought us peace of mind and the freedom to move closer to family despite the fact that the job market is sluggish, because we’re not dependent on our paychecks every week to live.
I doubt I’ll ever view our savings the same way again. Sometimes when I looked at that balance, I saw all of the things it could buy: a new car, a new computer, a million other things I wanted but didn’t need. It was tempting to spend at least some of it.
Now I see that the best thing a savings account can buy is freedom and peace of mind. We’re free to move closer to our families, free to be a little picky as we job search, and free to enjoy our vacation to Europe right before we settle into our new home. All of that is worth so much more to me than any material thing our savings account could buy.