I can feel the shift in Lori's perspective now that the budget numbers are looking better and I can sense her confidence building along with her account balance. I was relieved to discover the childcare reimbursement deductions were already being deducted from her pay and that we could 'add' that money back in to her budget. I know Lori wants to increase her self-employment income by a client or two each month so that she has some additional room in her budget, but I am more concerned that Lori still find some time each week for herself than I am in the $100-200 in monthly cash that work may bring.
As her checking account balance builds Lori has asked me some questions about how best to invest this money. I have recommended that because this money may be needed at any point in time over these next 2-3 years and with very little advance notice, the only options for her to consider are those available through her bank or credit union. The interest rate may look fairly unattractive, but the insurance against loss and ease of access are more important for Lori right now.
I am more interested in making sure Lori starts an automated transfer from each pay check into a savings account. I want that cash out of checking and into a savings account that Lori can see building toward her goal of moving out on her own. And while Lori hasn't yet decided on an appropriate amount of rent to pay her mom, my recommended $250/mo. for rent allows Lori to save about $300 from each pay check (every 2 weeks) -- transferring that amount directly into her newly set up savings account. This rate of savings won't be able to continue once she is out on her own, but $600 month in savings between now and the end of July amounts to $3,600 and that is, at last, beginning to look like a reasonable emergency reserve for unanticipated expenses for Lori and her family.