We are really struggling to stay above water. Car repairs, house repairs, medical bills, and vet bills are taking their toll. The budget constraints we've placed on ourselves are a little too tight. We've already cashed out $750 from our savings, and will likely need to do a bit more before the end of the year.
We will likely continue on this course until the end of the year, at which point we will stop the 401k, and the year end pension drain will end.
Glad to see that the market has done a very strong u-turn, it's given us a little hope during tough (albeit self-imposed) times.
Also nice is that the wife has picked up a part time job. She's working a holiday job about 20 hours a week at $10 an hour plus a small commission. It's not much, but it helps take the sting out of the many vet bills we've had for our three cats over the last couple of months.
Occasionally I discuss my aggressive approach to saving and how we handle our home finances with friends and co-workers. Through these discussions it's become clear that there are many different ways a married couple can deal with their finances. In our case, we maintain separate checking accounts. In addition we have a block of savings / emergency money that is held in a number of Vanguard funds. Seeing that I am the bread winner, my wife occasionally (about every six weeks) asks for me to transfer some money into her checking account to cover expenses. Thankfully we are both frugal, so rarely do we question the others spending habits.
As I think I have mentioned before, between the mortgage and the 401k, we are currently running a negative balance, so we've been tapping into some of our savings to cover the shortages.
As I explained this to my co-worker today he simply said "You know... you are not normal"