The Seven Ps
Prior planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance.
Where to begin? How much information to share?
Both Mrs ERJ and I will be retired by the end of the summer. Our "gross" income will be much, much less than it was 18 months ago. I will share that we fell short of the 80% of pre-retirement income that most financial advisers advise.
We started our family relatively late in life. We still have two kids in High school. That makes a difference.
According to the author of Rich on any Income, nearly all budgets are fiction until they are reconciled with several (3-to-6) months of data.
Our current, best fiction is that we will have $1.50 a meal to work with. That is a very workable number until a kid walks into a restaurant or a fast food barfatorium (henceforth to be known as FFB). $1.50 will purchase a soft drink. One meal ordered by a teenager will burn through two days worth grocery budget. The days of blithely walking into a FFB are over.
Many trips to FFBs were because we found ourselves miles from home with a hungry kid. A hungry kid is a cranky kid. Prior planning and preparation can prevent those surprises. We are no longer affluent enough to use cash as a safety net. We must rely on our wits and better planning.
Request to the audience
I marvel at the keeping ability of dried dog food. Are there any cookies that can keep in a snap-top, plastic container in the trunk of a car for a month? Any other portable food ideas (summer sausage + Ritz crackers) will be much appreciated.