I didn’t feel like writing much last week. I had things to say, but didn’t feel like saying them.
The truth is, I was suffering from depression. Budget depression. It’s a common affliction these days.
Our budget has an on season, and an off season. On, being the school year, when 1/3 of our income is from A-Rob’s college position. Off, being the summer, when the college income gets spotty, we cut expenses as much as possible, live off of savings (and that little extra ‘bonus’ we usually see around tax time, our income tax refund), and hold on for a loopy ride.
The start of the school year is usually when we get our budget back in order and start living from our regular line items. Though, this year my motivation to gear up was severely lacking, probably because I knew it wouldn’t be pretty.
And it wasn’t.
When I finally sat down and got everything organized and balanced, I saw that $450 per month has gone missing.
- Gas has gone up <$50>
- Food has gone up <$80>
- Daycare has gone up <$20>
- Health insurance premium has gone up <$100>
- Income has gone down <$200>
Nothing in our lives has changed. We still have the same jobs, same routines, same number of family members. It’s just the world around us that has changed, to the tune of $450 per month. And that makes me cranky.
Fortunately, the things we’ve cut out of our budget over the past year (shirt laundering, cable, credit card payments) have come to the rescue, and we’re still living below our means. But our money for debt reduction and savings has been reduced to pitiful amounts once again. Our Other Debt is looking like it might be around for a while more.
Trust me, this isn’t meant to be a woe-is-me pity parade. I know our family certainly isn’t the only one feeling the squeeze, and we’re counting our blessings for all that we have, given the current state of things.
But it still doesn’t feel good.
Two years ago, we were in a similar situation. Newly born Baby Rock was consuming $200 in formula each month, we had two kids in full time daycare, we were paying the minimums to our $11k in credit card debt and getting nowhere. That feeling of financial helplessness is what spurred us to start this website. To start making more money, and saving more money, and being proactive to get ahead.
We have no choice but to move forward once again. To take this cruddy feeling, throw it into the fire, and start stepping up to the next level once again.
I don’t know what that will look like, but I’m game.
Have you been feeling the squeeze too? Do share.