Sunday, September 16, 2007

On Life ....

I've been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now, but it just hasn't happened ... until now.

My family is in, what I would call, a time of a lot of transition. There is a lot going on here, a lot of changes that we are working on making (and of course a lot we still need to make). I am going to try to keep this brief, but forgive me if this gets wordy ... It's wordy and long. I'm sorry, bear with me if you read it!

First of all, the big thing is the state of finances. The FPU classes have come at just the right time. DH and I were heading right down the very wrong path. Thankfully, we were able to get into these classes before things got too bad. Our debt is pretty limited at the moment and with dh selling his side business soon, the debt will be eliminated and an emergency fund will be started. However, even with that said and done, we will still be living paycheck to paycheck. Frankly, that idea scares me. I believe we need to (sadly) sell our house and get something that costs less. Right now the mortgage alone is 50% of our take home pay. It doesn't look pretty folks. DH is adamant that we will NOT sell this house. He loves this house and more importantly feels like the neighborhood is fabulous. Besides, he tells me, the market is slowing down, it won't sell and who wants to move in the winter anyway. He wants to stay put here and then see where we stand in the springtime. I can tell you right now, without him getting a HUGE raise (which is pretty unlikely since his company has put a freeze on raises!) or I get a good paying job (which is unlikely since I stay-home and homeschool three children and I can't think of one job I could get that would even cover the cost of childcare) I can't imagine things getting better in the next 6-12 months. Maybe things will be better in 3-5 years .... it is very hard for me to sit back and accept his opinion of sitting here. However, I also know in my head and heart that my husband is pretty good at making those sorts of decisions - he doesn't take them lightly and really thinks about it whereas I react almost 100% with my feelings/emotions. I need to sit back and trust him for the moment. And that is HARD. Even though I know his plan makes more sense for the next 6 months. But I'm learning to not get my way.

Of course all of this has moved us in different ways as well.

Because I sit in my house and I look around and it is bothering me! Why? Because if you came over here you wouldn't believe that I tell you we are tight on money and living paycheck to paycheck. We have SO MUCH STUFF. It's disgusting how much stuff we have frankly. And it's the entire family - myself, my husband, my kids, we just have stuff, stuff, stuff. And what's even more depressing than that? It's never enough. The more we get, the more we need! How does that even make sense? Because we buy more thinking well when we get x amount, things will be better. But life doesn't work that way does it? The more we get, the more we want. I will admit it here and now: My name is Brandie. And I have stuffitis. I want it bigger, better and more of it. Enough is not enough. Nope. I need more, more, more. And my kids, they want more, more, more. At the end of the day, that more doesn't give us anything. I don't feel safer looking at all the movies I own. I don't feel peace when I look at the piles of toys. I don't feel fulfilled when I look at all the bookshelves packed with books. I don't feel relaxed when I look at the piles in my house because we don't have places to put all that we own. Not at all.

For the last few weeks, we have been going through the house (slowly but surely) and getting rid of stuff. We thinned our movies, the toys, the clothes. I've gone through my huge magazine collection. I want you to know, I still have plenty of things to go through. And we've made such a small dent in it that you can't visually tell. But I also want you to know, that the more we get rid of, the better I feel! I am actually enjoying this process. It feels good. A few areas of the house we have tackled and things actually fit in the space we allotted for them. Seriously, it's a miracle! I have a bunch of piles in my garage (we may have a garage sale to pick up a few extra bucks, but it might just be easier to take it to Goodwill, we haven't decided yet.)

I am discovering that I don't need stuff to be happy and to have a good life. I do NOT need to keep up with the Joneses. I do not need to buy more things. As a matter of fact, the less I buy, the more we can save and the better it feels at night! I am now dreaming of the day we have paid off the mortgage. I am dreaming of the day when we can contribute to retirement and the childrens' college funds. I can't wait until we aren't living paycheck to paycheck - until we can have more freedom. Mind you, not because I will have money to just go buy "stuff" because that isn't what I will need. But I can figure out what is important to me and my family, and I can use the money towards those things. Not just filler things, but things that I will care about! I mean, how cool would that be?

And in a way, we are currently doing that. Because the more I stop spending, the more I can save. In the last month we have: cut cable, tightened our food budget (well, okay, I just stopped buying all that extra stuff we didn't really need at the grocery store), we haven't eaten out, we started to set aside money for yearly expenses (so they won't catch us off guard when it's time to pay them), I have not driven if I don't need to, we have been trying to use less energy, and we are just being more conscientious about spending in general. It has been helpful so far.

Come November, if we change nothing, we will have 100 a month to save. I would like to see us cut more spending and have 400-500 a month to save.

So now I feel like I am on mission. Not only am I trying to get rid of all the "stuff" in my house. But I'm trying to spend my money very wisely and in the best way possible. And it's amazing how when you look at things this way, just how quickly you can figure out how important things are.

And not only that, but to really get into this program, I need to be on top of things going on around here. Which is also a big change for me. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, wait until the last minute (as I type this I am nursing a very sore tooth because in May I was told I had a filling and I procrastinated following up on it. I know, shame on me. Trust me, this is a very painful lesson to learn). I am not a naturally organized person. I am not naturally good at planning ahead. I am not naturally the person who is on top of things. But, I have hit a point where I NEED to do this. Where I need to start being on top of things. You might have thought the whole getting married and having 3 kids thing would have helped propelled me to that point, but alas, it hasn't (not to say my family is suffering - I do take excellent care of them and feed them, but most days I don't know what we are eating until about 20 minutes before I need to cook!).

All my rambling is to say there is a lot of change going on in this house. Most of it, I think is taking place internally - with the hopes that it will eventually show externally! My mind is racing 100 miles an hour most days right now. I am learning, trying new ideas, trying to be vigilant with lots of things. But, things are changing! And they are changing for the better. Anyway, the blog may be all over the place for a bit - but I hope you'll hang in there with me for this ride because I think in the end the results will be fabulous and worth this ride! =)

5 comments:

  1. I think you are heading the right way!
    The state of your finances are one thing, but the realization that you don't need things, don't need to buy things to be happy is much more valuable. I've realized that too not so long ago and it has helped much, not just that I've got more moeny in my pocket, but also how I live.
    Of course, fleamarkets and craft supplies are still my bane, but I try to only buy those if I really need them...

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  2. I am right here with you.
    I am currently going through something similar finance wise.

    I too have had that realization that we do not need all the stuff that has cluttered our life.

    As far as organization and such have you ever checked out Flylady? Even if you don't need the push to clean and routines and such her site and emails are a wealth of information and encouragement.
    Good luck!

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  3. I am proud of you guys. Selling your house is something not many people are willing to do, we knew someone who sold their home and one car.....something we absolutely could not do, especially considering we live in the country and don't have city transportation. I applaud you!!!!!!!

    As far as stuff goes, I was raised with the mentality of the more stuff, the fancier cars, the bigger the house the happier you are, it took a GOOD MANY years of marriage for me to change my tune. Now I look back and realize how shallow I was (as well as the person who raised me).

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  4. hang in there. We are still recovering from a ch13 bankruptcy.

    and I have something for you.
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  5. Great post! Totally understand everything you're going through! I think the ride is worth it, but tough!

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Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)