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My project just got cancelled abruptly and we are all fired.

So. Just got a call this morning that my project got cancelled abruptly and we are all fired for now.

They’ll decide in a few weeks what to do, but… honestly we didn’t see this one coming only because we were only a month away from finishing. To stop now, means they will have to restart again at some point and not stay in limbo, and that will cost millions of dollars more versus just plowing through and getting it done.

It is much harder to regain momentum on a project – I have been through two of these stops/restarts, and each time, it has been a hot mess.

People forget what they were doing, they have to review what was happening, and it all just goes to hell in a hand basket. It actually takes double the time, or longer, so if we are a month away, it will be 3 months to ramp up again.

BUT.

Cashflow is important and if they don’t have it, then we are unable to get paid… and we are all out of a job.

So.

Slightly regretting my plowing of cash into the market

When I got extended, I plowed a chunk of my emergency fund into the market, assuming the project would continue on. That took me down from my $100K buffer to about $60K.

Then, about 1.5 months later, COVID-19 hit hard, and so suddenly, that is what triggered the project to go on hold.


In hindsight, I would not have put the money into the market, knowing what I do now.

At the time however, I did what I always do – I plow part of my emergency fund into the market when I get extended, and I keep the other half.

That’s the risk I always take when I do that and I knew it at the time but also didn’t expect this.

…but I ran the numbers to check and a few things have to change:

Whenever this happens (unprecedented) this is what I do:

Cancel automated private lending & put new loans on hold

Any new loans are on hold for me now. Whatever businesses can pay, I will use as a possible stash for cash. It won’t be much, and some businesses in this time will go bankrupt, but others are doing well, so we will see.

Keep going on with the DRIP – Dividend Reinvestment Plan

I won’t be cancelling this to take cash out, I’d rather the money go to buying more of the stocks that are on sale right now.

I could actually just stop DRIP and gather about $15K in income a year from my stocks, but I’d rather just cut in my budget, and supplement with a bit of saved cash on the side if I don’t manage to get my side incomes to cover my spending completely.

Calculate how much my business needs as cashflow

I calculated how much my business needs to run at a minimum and I am covered there for at least this year.

I had some fixed expenses happening this year (cannot disclose, sorry), that totalled almost $100K, and this is when I’ll have to declare a loss of income for the corporation (first time ever in my freelancing life), and dip into retained earnings to cover it.

The next year, my expenses for my business go down to $250 a month, so that’s solid investment right there in my work.

I am sure the tax agency will not object – everyone is under strain right now, especially small businesses.

Cancel all unnecessary pending orders

I had recently put in an order for a few hundred bucks worth of vitamin pills to stock back up, but I am cancelling that. I will stop taking vitamin pills. It isn’t necessary to my health per se, and is more of a luxury.

Paused / Cancelled most of the budget items I had – totalling $10,210 give or take

Even before this project got cancelled, I had already gone through and cancelled a lot of plans from this year.

Recurring monthly or regularly: $5460/year

  • $150 – Yoga pass for a month; will not restart again until I can go back to classes in-person ($1500 for the year)
  • $60 – Pedicure – it happened the day I got isolated ($720 for the year)
  • $270 – Daycare – I took Little Bun out the day I self-isolated and this is just my half, my partner paid the other half ($540 for the year, we would have stopped for summer)
  • $250 – Eating Out – I spent roughly this monthly including Starbucks, but now I can’t leave… ($2500 for the year)
  • $50 – My beloved Sunscreen, because if I don’t leave the house, what’s the point? (every 3 months, so $200)

For the whole year, it would have been:

One-time expenses = $4750 for this year

  • $4000 – Travel – I was going to go to NYC with my friends and this was my budget
  • $600 – Travel to Toronto for the summer – this has also been cancelled
  • $150 – Dentist cleaning – I wanted to do it before end of March but then isolation happened

All in all, about $10.2K not spent or “saved”, which meant my budget of $40K was dropped to $30K, and to shift down to SUPER bare bones, $20K, or another $10k is not that far of a stretch – I already told Little Bun I won’t buy any more apps, books or things.

Come up with a Super Bare Bones budget: $20K a year or $1666.67/month

Super BARE bones, I need at least $1500 a month, which covers my condo fees, utilities, condo taxes, groceries, and that’s about it, and then a little buffer of a few hundred for things like government fees (registration, license plate etc).

I am completely debt & mortgage free

As I am debt and mortgage free, I don’t owe anyone anything. That’s a huge relief I think a lot of people don’t have, and I am fortunate I paid everything off so that my living expenses are very manageable and low.

Everything else gets cut

No other shopping including new skincare, or anything comes into play.

I will make do with what I have, and if I truly need to, I will put in a bare minimum order to buy cleanser or shampoo (all part of my above budget of $20K/year), but nothing like extra fancy serums.

I am talking living on basic essentials. No apps for Little Bun, new books, etc. Even vitamins got cut for me as they are not really ‘essential’, as I don’t have a health issue.

Assess my current income streams

This is where multiple income streams becomes very important.

I can bring in at least $1000 a month give or take on average, which will help buffer out the basic costs of my life, and this means I need to only really use $8000 of any saved money every year if I stick to my super basic budget.

I will have to try and ramp up maybe, and try to resell more, but when no one else is buying anything because there is no money, I don’t see how this is possible.

I am however, launching a fully updated The Budgeting Tool this week:

  • Track your income, side hustles, expenses and your net worth (including previous years)
  • Help you set goals, keep you on track, pay off debt, save
  • Help you figure out how much you need to retire based on YOUR numbers
  • Give you cute charts and Instagrammable / Blog posting-worthy images

It is basically the tool I need NOW for MY life with all of my side hustles and extra streams of income, and I am very excited.

Sneak peek of what’s to come soon, based on my real budget and testing usage from February:

…and there is literally so much more check out KEY FEATURES.

For anyone who wants the Early Bird price, I’m offering it for $25 USD until end of April 2020.

Go ahead and check out ALL of the features on the site:

Luckily – I am already (Lean) financially independent, so it’s all good

I never relied on my day job for the past year or so. I reached a point where I didn’t need it any more – it was a nice to have and I enjoy my work.

I am what you call “lean” financially independent, work optional, or “lean” retired, meaning if I cut down to my barebones budget (which I will), I don’t need my day job… forever.

I could live like this, off my investments, forever.

So, sometimes when the going gets tough, the tough retire a little until things start up again (maybe never!), and that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

If this project starts up again, I’ll be happy to join and make money. In the meantime, I will cut back, and implement my Lean Retirement Plan, and live as though I am (frugally) retired.


I am only sad I won’t hit $1M this year.

I may spend a lot of money, but I also know how to save it when I need to, and this is the time to preserve money, and cut back.

I am lucky in many regards, especially being completely debt-free.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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15 Comments

  1. COVID-19 Diaries: Facing a Layoff in LA | Young Money

    […] experience as a freelancer getting […]

    Reply
  2. March 2020: Income Budget Roundup | | Save. Spend. Splurge.

    […] I was recently let go (as were 250+ other consultants) from a massive project, as it got cancelled due to the virus. This was beyond unexpected because they had already sunk so much into it… […]

    Reply
  3. GYM

    Geez, I’m so sorry to hear this, that’s terrible. It’s good that you have a plan and you have so many diversified income options. My portfolio is down by about a midsize car (it was a luxury car a few weeks ago) but I anticipate things are going to get much worse.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Oh my portfolio definitely dropped by a luxury car….. things are not going to get better. I am quite stressed.

      Reply
  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    Ah I’m sorry about the abrupt cancellation and I’m so glad you’ve always managed your finances for the leanest of rainy days. This is a really scary year. 🙁

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      This is a crazy effing year. my finances are decent but … F*****CCCCCKKKK

      Reply
  5. Chinwe

    Sorry to hear about the cancellation Sherry! They say, “tough times don’t last but tough people do” and you’re one of the toughest ladies I know *virtual high-five*.

    Your canceled NYC trip budget looked pretty fat, curious if you had any splurges planned?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Hhaha!! YES!!! In NYC I was planning on eating out as much as possible, getting fat off stuff… and shopping at MM Lafleur because I had my eye on this beautiful top amongst other things…. I was planning on shopping up a storm.

      Reply
  6. Jodie

    So many projects and jobs are now on hold. My business is considered essential so even though my state is sheltering and many businesses are closed, we are operating. As you know, I’m in the construction industry. What is going to hit us is the economy. It people aren’t working, the housing market will be affected. It just remains to be seen for how long. Hoping for the best, planning for the worst.

    Thanks for what you do here, you’ve encouraged and educated many people, myself included.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you. I am really hoping we pull through this together and help each other out. I will definitely be ramping up spending if I am able to leave, and get a contract again. *sigh*

      Reply
    2. JZ

      Jodie, you would be surprised at what low interest rates will do to the housing market even if many people are unemployed. I expect housing prices to go crazy in the next couple of years. The Federal Reserve is printing money like crazy and so is the Bank of Canada.

      We are heading into the mother of all asset price bubbles. Those who borrow to buy cash flow generating assets will make out like bandits. Those who stay in cash are going to learn the hard way what the meaning of “Cash is trash” means.

      Reply
  7. Giving mama

    Sorry your project got cancelled!
    Great job for still being prepared for times like these!
    We’re only at the 2nd qtr of the year, maybe $1M for 2020 is still possible!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I am not as optimistic as you, but thank you. <3 I appreciate it!

      Reply
  8. Financial Orchid

    Thank goodness for the blog! Sry for the project. Your change of course sounds solid. No mortgage is the major relief.
    How is your partnering managing the portfolio shrinkage? Did he set aside several yr cash bucket/reserve to weather thru sequence of return risks?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Yep – change the minute you can. I am considering myself lean retired for the interim…

      He is lean retired, so he hasn’t set aside anything. He just is selling off his investments even at a loss, to live.

      Reply

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