The Squeeze

by Lindy on September 26, 2011

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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.

  1. Gas has gone up <$50>
  2. Food has gone up <$80>
  3. Daycare has gone up <$20>
  4. Health insurance premium has gone up <$100>
  5. 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. 

(photo credit)

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  • I feel for you. We get paid again for the first time since summer started on Oct 1st. I did our bills this weekend and it’s higher than our take-home pay is going to be for the month, especially since our fixed expenses have gone up but we haven’t gotten a raise in years. *sigh*

    Better work on that grant application…

  • You’re preaching to the choir! ;) We’ve had a substantial drop in our income this year, yet costs keep on climbing higher & higher. We just have to realize that we are MUCH better off than so many others & be grateful for the many blessings we have! :)

  • That’s exactly the same reason I put off looking at Plan Bean for so long…I was scared. And still am.

    Spend Less or Make More Money is easy to say, but not easy to do. And in the short span of one month I go through about sixteen different periods of budget depression/money confidence. Makes me kind of dizzy.

  • I’m sorry to hear. It does stink when the income goes down and the bills go up.

  • I’ve had that happen too many times to mention: I get a raise (wheeeee) and end up with less money…huh?? That makes no sense…my pay increases can’t keep up with the rising cost of living. One step forward, two steps back. And it’s all going to get worse before it starts getting better. Whoa…looks like there’s a pity party happening here! On the bright side we’re very fiscally aware and thus can make the needed adjustments. Where there’s a will there’s a way and I know you’ll find it and so will I!

  • Steven

    Yes I have and it is depressing. I have just started with the idea of earning online and I have been trying hard to learn the more about the mechanics and learn new techniques. It is great that you have decided to move forward and face the facts. I hope you succeed in this venture. I wish you the best of luck.

  • Kathy

    I’ve been squeeze a lot of times, It really happens that income goes down and bills really goes up.. It’s so depressing but that’s life reality that we have to face and do our best to overcome.

  • hate lurking money anxieties! like rosanne rosana dana’s father always said, “it’s always something!” we recently bought a new (to us) vehicle and a new dishwasher, so I’m feeling anxious about spending so much. That feeling always puts me in a clamp down on spending mode, which is not a bad thing, I guess. *sigh*

  • We’re right there with you. Everything has gone up, but our income hasn’t and it’s getting very difficult to raise more. We recently re-added a car payment (ouch!) and an ambitious vacation goal and I was hoping to find something extra to pay for that but nothing had come up.

    We’re at the point where a haircut seems like a luxury expense.

  • Sorry to hear that. I’m feeling the squeeze coming this month and next month. The 4 plex we acquired need some repair and one unit is empty. I’ll be anxious until that last unit is filled. I don’t know, I guess keep busy. It will keep your mind off the problems.

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  • I noticed traveling this summer that groceries are up by about 10-20% down in the US whereas I think ours here in Canada haven’t gone up as much – or at least mine hasn’t, I think I leveled out from having a “no throwing out food” mindset. (Mind you there was a pretty big differential before – up to 100% on some things.)

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