The Check Is In the Mail. Trust Me.

I’m a skeptic realist. My husband is…not.

Husband has been hired to do freelance design work via Craigslist ads before. Most of his work is from referrals, but we keep the Craigslist ad going when there’s a lull. We’ve actually turned down most of the Craigslist jobs we’ve been offered; they more often than not seem to be more trouble than they’re worth. Perhaps that’s where my skepticism realism comes from.

Last month he got a call from a company wanting to hire him to do a 3D animation for a product presentation. They had seen his Craigslist ad, checked out the demo reel on his website and after chatting with him and a short in-person meeting, hired him.

This has the potential to be a lucrative deal for us. Not only would he receive a nice fee for the product presentation, it could also result in semi-regular work producing more animations for their website.

We sent off a contract and a request for a 50% deposit to their New York office. In the meantime Husband started working on the piece. And worked. And worked. Meanwhile, we have no contract and no check. I can’t really complain, though, because all that’s been spent is Husband’s time. And he’s been enjoying the challenge.

But.

There’s a photo shoot scheduled for tomorrow. We have to pay the videographer and the actress, then bill the client.

Except we still have no check. No contract. They sent it on Monday from New York, they say. Well, I mailed a birthday card to my sister in Connecticut on Monday and she got it on Wednesday…

Thankfully, Husband himself offered that if we didn’t have the check by today there’s not going to be a shoot, even though the client is on a tight deadline to get the animation and delaying the shoot would be a big problem. I really did not want to bring it up, but I would have if he hadn’t.

For me, though, I’m not really comfortable doing the shoot until the check clears. I think that makes me realistic. Husband thinks it makes me unreasonable.

Well, the check did show up in the mail today, and I immediately deposited it. I tried to call their bank to verify the check, but they want me to call a 900 number and pay $2.50 for the privelege. Which would only guarantee that the check was good today; it could still bounce or have a stop payment placed on it before it hits their bank.

So I passed.

And now I will watch Husband pay money to the videographer and the actress, and I’ll pray that the check clears. I’d rather be wrong, and I’d rather not burst Husband’s bubble.

But I’m going to be really nervous about this until we know unequivocally that the check has cleared.

And if it doesn’t you may just see me on Judge Judy. At least I have it in writing.

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Saving and Spending and Everyone Wins

My husband is a production director/art director/graphic designer. He has a full-time position and does occasional freelance jobs on the side. We live fairly frugally well on his salary, but those freelance jobs allow us to have some extras, take frugal vacations and let us do some saving. Living on his income alone just doesn’t leave room for too many extravagances, or for saving. I love that we have that source of potential income – there certainly weren’t any freelance opportunities for me when I was an insurance agent.

The freelancing made our purchase of his new computer possible, and sensible. The original plan was to have him earn the money ($4000!) freelancing before the purchase. He’d earned nearly half when I decided to take money out of savings and get it for him for Christmas. He still needed to find the freelance jobs to pay back savings, but at least he’d have the machine in the meantime. Besides, he works hard for us. He deserved it.

I suspected that once he had the computer that his previously dogged search for new clients would falter, and I was right. The only dent he’s made since Christmas in the outstanding balance that he “owes” savings is the $200 credit we got from Apple after he called to complain about the better (and less expensive) system they released just a few weeks after I bought his. I’ve not been upset about his lack of motivation, but I’ve noticed it.

I started bringing in a few jobs myself. A few weeks ago I reconnected with an old friend, and he’s asked us to do his website. Another ex-client of mine called this week looking for a logo for a new company she’s forming. It doesn’t matter who brings in the business, as long as it gets brung. Neither are huge jobs, but they will chip away at that total all the same.

Then, yesterday, it looks like he landed a very lucrative video contract. This would pay off more than twice the balance, plus it has the potential to become a semi-regular gig. This is great news for us, if it pans out. Still, I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched.

Tonight we were discussing the possible new job, and we had a little disagreement about what to do with the extra money. He wants to spend it. He works hard for us, and he really doesn’t ask for a lot (but he always gets it, even if he has to wait a bit). Also, he never asks me for an accounting of what I spend money on (though he does get the highlights, and we always discuss any purchase over $100).

I want to save it. Even though we have no debt besides our mortgage, we had a few big expenses late last year that chipped away some of our savings. Additionally, we’re looking to move, and I’d like to be able to pay cash for our next car the way we did with our last two.

We decided that we’re both right. So, he’ll take some of the money to do whatever he wants with (please, no Slurpee machine!), and the rest would go into savings.

Even though I’d rather put it all in savings, I understand that it’s important for him to see some fruit for his labors. Even though he’d like to go on a man-toy shopping spree, he understands that it’s important for me to feel secure in our financial future. We found a way for us both to win.

Hot dog!

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