Nick the Homebrew Husband works at T-Mobile. He has a pretty typical “good job”: a long commute, a forthright and supportive boss, meetings that make him want to poke his eyeballs out, and a nice middle-class paycheck with an above-average benefits package. Thank you very much, T-Mobile.
Yesterday morning AT&T announced they were buying T-Mobile.
What this means for our family, we have no idea. At this point the internal communications is devoid of any details. Comments from T-Mobile are along the lines of: “this merger will be excellent for our customers; we expect everyone to continue working hard; more details may follow but it will be awhile” variety.
This corporate buy-out brings an atmosphere of uncertainty to our lives. Typically, the employees of the bought-out company don’t all become employees of the buying-out company. For now, Nick is still employed, but because we just don’t know what his near-term employment situation will be, we will double-down on frugality, defer major purchases for the garden, and sock more into savings. The timeframe on a non-emergency surgery for our son will be moved up, and everyone will visit the dentist and eye doctor while we know we still have those benefits.
Despite the uncertainty, Nick and I are confident our family will be okay. It really hit home as we got the buy-out news that our suburban hippie life leaves us relatively well positioned to absorb any shocks to Nick’s employment.
We practice frugality: we have done several ‘No Spend Month’ challenges, have eliminated much discretionary spending and stick to a reasonable budget. I’m an unabashed thrift store shopper. Our whole family can be happily entertained with a deck of cards and a trip to the library. If we need to, we know we can cut further and get by on less and be just fine.
We produce on our own homestead: we make most of our food from scratch and grow veggies on a larger and larger scale every year. We have invested in the tools that help us grow our own year-round – raised beds, PVC cloches, a small greenhouse. In addition, we maintain a fairly good sized larder of those food stuffs we cannot grow: oils, coffee, grains and flours, spices and meat, mostly purchased in bulk and FIFOed to maintain product integrity.
We feel reasonably prepared.
Often when we talk about “being prepared,” especially these days, we’re talking about capital-D Disasters: earthquakes, tsunami, hurricanes, floods. And it is important to be prepared for those kinds of events. But every year many more people suffer non-headline-making upheavals due to unemployment or illness in their home.
How do you prepare for that?