Two Steps forward!
Posted by Kara | Filed under Kara
Well, we recently hit the 6 month mark in our journey to the black. YAHOO! No, more like; yahoo? I’d like to say that I feel fantastic and that we celebrated with fireworks and cake, but the reality is that this budget business still feels new. We still feel like we’re trying to jam a square peg in a round hole and sometimes we’re still a bit bitter about it. There’s also a nagging fear that we’re going to take a big back slide every month and we still hold our breath when the daycare cheques are due or a bill has to be paid.
My hubby will have the odd temper tantrum about having to take a peanut butter sandwich again and lament about the days when he could grab a big greasy burger and fries or a nice fresh sub. I get frustrated when I can’t satisfy my compulsion for book buying or partake in other instant gratification type activities. The kids miss the indoor playground on rainy days and still grumble every once in a while when they can’t have that toy or treat when we’re out shopping.
The mutiny is fairly minor but it still makes me question, are we really all in this together? Are we slowly cracking around the edges or is the frustrated undercurrent and bitter looks over bowls of generic brand, not quite right, not so “Cheer” -ios’, normal? I had such grandiose ideas of this process being blissful and I had dreams of my children actually preferring my failed attempts at homemade granola bars over the store bought ones. I envisioned my husband happily steering my bandwagon and singing songs of debt freedom, instead of giving me exasperated and scornful looks when he has to take his lunch in a washed out milk bag.
But when I look back over the six months, I wonder if I am being a bit too sensitive and maybe it’s my worry over their happiness that’s got me down. The kids are fed, clothed and generally happy on an everyday basis. My hubby is bored of anything served to him between two slices of bread, but I’ve caught him with a look of serenity while eating generic brand ice cream right out of the tub by the light of the fridge. It’s me that still has that nagging Gen Y need to give them everything right now, whether they need it or not.
Jealousy of those around us who are buying bigger houses, going on vacations and driving new cars is rampant, but I have noticed that we are taking better care of what we have and the kids are playing with toys that have been previously ignored. Our impulse to fill each weekend with new and pricey adventures has slowly dissipated and we now spend our time doing simple family activities. We aren’t part of the rat race anymore and we’re okay with that.
We are finding ourselves less stressed and finding ways to save the almighty dollar has become a bit of a contest. My husband loves to come home and announce the grocery bill and when it’s my turn I do my best to beat him. Part of me knows that this shouldn’t be easy, we got ourselves into a big mess by being greedy and irresponsible and we should have to work hard to rectify the situation. Another part of me is sitting in a corner screaming profanity and whining that it’s just not fair, but we’ll ignore her.
In the long run, all of this will be worth it and all the money we are currently putting towards debt can be allotted to a bigger rainy day fund, savings and investments, and some good old fashioned fun! Fun that costs money still gets me a little excited! Okay, it gets me caffeine-high jittery with glee! I do think these growing pains and frustrations are normal because I often tell my clients that making change is hard and it will take a long time to convince yourself and those around you that these changes are serious and here to stay. I guess it’s time to take some of my oh-so boring and all too realistic social-worky advice, even though sometimes it feels like I’m swallowing some nasty cough syrup. What do those Buckley’s commercials say? “It tastes awful but it works!”
Happy Frugal Living!