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.