Oh hey yah, it’s been a while since I wrote about cash.
Let’s see…During the month of September we were like a germ bag circus.
The month of October, we had an opportunity to move away from slummy the slumlord, owner of giant dread tree in backyard he refuses to cut down.
And why clean the house when you can just transfer your stuff into a new one?
We got so busy, the laundry pile so huge, and this move has been so overwhelming, and I ate so much pizza, I kinda felt like this guy:
It’s been just over a year since I spearheaded the family effort to not be financial dum dums any more.
I just re-read my original post in which I was like: chronic disease. Top American dream killa, frack you. Here it is. That’ll get ya caught up.
A year on, are things easier? No.
However, we are making better choices and slowly, slowly (possibly too slowly) our lives are changing.
Below is a list of ways my family has changed for the better and what I feel we can do to improve.
Good thing bad thing, the list:
1. No more-ish boredom shopping
I (vastly) stopped shopping ‘because I’m bored.’ I gravitate toward shiny, pretty things so that was good.If I want to look around in a tantalizing store out of boredom or need for escape I will leave my cash n debit in the car. Mark…just…never buys anything for himself, so no worries there.
But can you (yes, you, Juliana) do better?: I go to Goodwill in search of treasure for kicks, I won’t deny it. By “treasure,” I mean, I bought a giant porcelain rubber duck for the kids’ bathroom. Also, I am obsessed with globes and found a pretty sweet one from Haiti. Who doesn’t need a giant duck and a Haitian globe? Don’t judge me. Aw crumbs it’s all money down the drain.
2. A pat on the back for saving
Saving while attempting to afford childcare for Eli and Laila is flippin hard. Even as we cut a check every week, the numbers staring back up at us are just…stunning. Because of my son’s chronic illness (cystic fibrosis) I have refused to put him in daycare. We have a nanny I love but she’s pricey to the tune around 2K/ month. That’s one big ass pile of cash for we little people of little consequence and modest means. My dad Big Al recently chipped in, because as opposed to last year when we had part-time help, we now have full-time help due to the demands of our work schedules. I feel like the biggest of all big huge losers for admitting this.
But we can do better?
With my pop’s recent big-hearted move, I hope to squeeze more into a savings account. Other changes we made to afford our childcare tab include enrolling Laila in a public school, canceling cable (boo hoo first world problem), paying off Eli’s medical bills from two surgeries with a sense of urgency and sticking to a budget at the grocery store each week. We also took on extra work, which brings me to…
3. Extra work…yaaaaay…kind of, because who actually wants to work more? NO ONE.
A good thing about sharing what’s going on in life is that people step up. Around Christmas last year I started waiting tables to kick down Eli’s medical bills. So holding two jobs plus being a parent 24/7 felt, well, exhausting and stressful, which I wrote about. My excellent friend Lee (Hey Lee!) kicked me a good contact for freelance work and I quit job 2. I’ve only had the chance to write a few articles but it helped kick-start a savings initiative. Then my pal Erika offered my husband Mark, a teacher, a copy editing gig for a curriculum company he does at night. Why are we working like this? For one thing, we have not received meaningful raises in years, which has had an increasingly negative impact on us as our expenses continue to rise. I’ve not received a raise since I moved to Oklahoma three years ago in January. My husband’s raises (OKC Public School) are like a bad joke. HAHAHAHA except no one’s laughing.
But can we do better?
Right now, like, as I’m typing, in this moment in time, no. Because we like to sleep. Wait, then why are we still tired? Because we are trying. It is statistically more likely that opportunity will present itself and your life will improve when you try. So we’ll just keep trying.
We’ve had them! Like, half the time!
Do better: Have a monthly budget. It really does work to keep one in line financially.
We moved to a new house.
Can we do better?
I don’t really know. We are renting. Maybe that’s stupid. But I believe in having enough cash for a big down payment at least and a stockpile for fixes and the unexpected, and we just don’t have that now. I think we are doing better, because we are living in a bigger, nicer, safter and more energy-efficient place and it’s just a little bit more per month. Plus OKC is one of the lowest cost-of-living metros in the country.
And I don’t have a slumlord any more.
Victory is mine.
I try to write about our effort to save, survive and thrive each Monday in the category Money Madness. Bookmark it bay-bay. Thanks for reading!
What kind of financial improvements are you trying to make in your lives? What have your successes or failures been and how long have you been givin’ it the ‘ol college try? Leave a comment or send a note. xoxoxoxoxox