Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Vent about Money .... Or the Lack Thereof

I know that I have lots to be thankful for and there are many people across this country, and the world for that matter, that are struggling on a daily basis for shelter, clothing and food. So I come to you today feeling somewhat guilty with complaining, although I am not sure that complaining is the right word. Times are tough all over. What once didn't seem to touch what is considered the "middle class" now does. Not to mention that the "middle class" is shrinking every day to where there is or will be only the "upper class" and the "lower class". I know deep down I shouldn't complain....We have a roof over our head, food on the table for all three meals plus snacks, and all the other essentials to live on a daily basis. But what once was I fear will never be again. I feel that we can never catch up or put anything back for a rain day (which is coming more and more lately). No getting ahead.

My husband has a good job with good benefits (at least good benefits by today's standards). He has never been unemployed and has worked for the same company for the past 12 years, before that the  same industry with another company for 10 years. I worked for 17 years starting at the age of 17 for an animal hospital and for many years we were a two income family. Eleven years ago that changed when we moved I decided to stay at home with the kids, at that time with the respective ages of 3 and 12. Just a few years later I would be homeschooling the youngest and still am today. We struggled at times just like all families do and have pulled ourselves out of debt time and time again just to be swept back into that same cycle. I guess you would say living beyond our means, but not in the way with new cars, clothing, electronics, trips, etc. Basically from eating out, homeschool materials, books, conventions, and occasionally a frugal vacation thrown in, etc. Up until two years ago we always took a summer vacation just like most average American families. Anywhere from 2-6 day type of trips. But that just hasn't been possible the last couple of years and Grace doesn't understand. She wants to see the beach again, but hey so do me and her dad. We would go if we could. This past year I have tried to put the brakes on all the extras and it has helped with being a member of the TOS Review Crew and the many wonderful products we are blessed with on a monthly basis that I don't feel the need or urge to go out and buy other books, etc. Yet we still find ourselves in the debt cycle. Our last car will be paid off in January and that will help some to where I can take said payments and apply it to our other debt. In full transparency I have about 9,000 in debt I would like to pay off and finally be free and clear of. This would have us debt free of everything except the house. Well here comes the next scary item, we are discussing the possibility of being our own bosses. Hubby is an artist, and is currently training to become a tattoo artist. It is a natural progression of the type of art he already does. Scott has always wanted to take his art and change peoples lives in a spiritual sense. Coming into contact with people who may not know the good news of Jesus Christ and he 9 times out of 10 has some spiritual messages in the work he produces. It is scary to think about walking away from benefits, a steady paying job and everything that goes along with it.

As I mentioned above I have mentally preparing and putting into place a way of tightening the belt on expenses. Well it never fails that when you do this it is almost like the devil is right there pulling some strings to not let that happen. Here is some of the things I am dealing with right now and trying to figure out how to make it all work:

  • Graduation gifts for four different students.
  • Grace and Travis' birthdays which are one week apart.
  • Car repairs.
  • Appointments for mammogram, dentist, eye exams, and yearly check up.
  • Animal care and supplies for ferret, chickens, two dogs, and two cats.
  • House repairs.
  • Motorcycle maintenance (main transportation for hubby in the summer to cut down on gas).
  • Clothing needs especially for hubby in the line of summer apparel. 
  • Purchasing life jackets for the two blow up kayaks Scott purchased at a yard sale last summer. This is really their only form of summer entertainment with no vacations in sight.
All of these items have come to a head for the end of May and beginning of June and quite frankly the funds are not there to do most of it. Even with insurance we are looking at a chunk of change especially for the dentist and eye exams. I have a broken tooth that needs addressed and Grace needs new script for glasses. 

For the most part I have never really worried about the bills and covering the extras, but now I do. My feelings are it is only going to get worse. Times are tough and will get harder. Pray. I pray for peace and contentment about what we have and being okay with what we don't. I pray for our nation and that everything doesn't come toppling down on top of us. Over the next couple of weeks I will again be looking at our finances and finding ways of cutting back, to pay off debt, and to live more simply.


Nicole said...

I understand completely, Diane. We REALLY feel like it is one step forward, two steps back. My husband has a great job and we are as frugal as we can possibly be. Yet "life" has us in pretty poor shape financially. I have so many regrets! Our insurance is so horrible and my step-daughter had an unnecessary appendectomy a few weeks ago (out of our control). That is going to probably end up costing us about $10,000 out of pocket. Last night Eli was doubled over in pain for several hours in the night. I seriously though, "Oh no! It's his appendix and we can't afford to take him to the hospital!" I was in a panic and praying like crazy. He finally got better. But, seriously, what's next??? Praying for you, and me!

Jeanna said...

We are a one income family also and I know how tight it can be. I have learned that, unfortunately, that things like year exams and the like have to be put off sometimes. I have started going to our local clinic for health care. They are pretty good and at least it is free. I have also decided to put off mammograms until I am 50. I am lucky that their is no family history breast cancer to deal with so unless I find something during my monthly exam I will stick to that.
I have also realized I can't buy for everyone. No graduation presents and only birthdays for my son and daughter. Anyway, you are not along. Saying a prayer for you and yours.

Deb said...

You are so brave to share that Diane. I understand completely what you are saying. Just today I gave my husband an update on our finances, and I've had a stomach-ache about it all day. Being a one income family is hard. I feel like the present is overwhelming enough, never mind saving for retirement and college and helping aging parents....

Thanks for sharing.