Thursday, June 14, 2012

More Month Than Money

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Today is a payday and this is where I usually have an extra pep in my step because I get reloaded. I think I think and talk about money more than most people do. Or at least more than most people share. It feels like money is a big secret or private affair. And in some ways I think there are private aspects of it; I just wish I could know more details about how other people budget/spend/save. I am a specific type person...so I want specifics.

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With that being said, should I be specific? I see the conflict about talking exact numbers. I mean $500 to some is a king's ransom...and to other people...not that big of a deal. Nobody wants to make anyone feel bad. More likely, nobody wants to be the one feeling bad either. I am the friend that will say things like, "OK..you have 6 children ...how are you paying for Catholic School???? I mean you guys eat right??" They usually laugh and ignore my question. But REALLY... I would like to know...HOW ARE THEY DOING IT?? I guess they have more money than I do. Is the answer that simple? I always think people are just better at managing what they have and I want to know how they do it.



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I want to be good and managing, making and saving money. I am not hugely material but I can see how having more money makes certain paths a bit less bumpy. And is that silly for me to say I am not "material"?? I am a gal who likes cute things..on me, around me and FOR ME!! I try not to focus on it, and sometimes I am good at that, and other times I get the "gimmies".


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What brings all this up?? Well, last paycheck we ran out of money before we ran out of days. That is not
entirely true..but we were down pretty low and we still had several days before we got paid. We put ourselves on a budget and even though we don't live pay-check to pay check in the grand sense, we live it in the day to day. I was so mad at myself. What had I done? I don't remember going crazy. I have no lavish jewels to show for the depleted cash. What did I do? I say what did "I do" because the cash we withdraw from the ATM lives in my purse, under my command. And somehow there was not much left and I could not imagine what had happened. SO when last Friday Pete asked me how much cash I had left until next week I had to confess $200. I had just gone grocery shopping...but in this house food goes fast so we knew we were in for a long week with little money left.


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Sometimes this, running out of money, really helps me. I catch myself. I take a look at the situation and figure out a way to fix it. I have some fixes. I know the changes I need to make. I will be back tomorrow with more. I know talking about money is not popular...but we all have issues with it and this here is one gals story on how I try to behave better with it...sorry if it is not popular....


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10 comments:

  1. I am so glad you are posting on this! My husband is working on his Pd. D in theology and I stay home with our girl so our budget is super tight! (Definitely on the "king's ransom" end of things...that's almost a year's worth of non-bill non-grocery spending money for us!!!!) God definitely provides for us in so many ways...I can't wait to hear your take. Where do you grocery shop? Switching grocery stores has helped us...

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  2. Please don't get caught up with what others have. I felt just like you do now, many years ago. I have always tried to pay cash for everything and live within our means while friends had all the latest toys, cars, etc. I thought the problem was me, that I did not know how to manage our money. Turns out, my husband just retired and our home is paid off, wheras the big spenders are still working, in debt and do not see retirement as an option. While I scraped by with what we had, put money away for the kids college, they put everything on credit. Today, my home is paid for and they are paying on homes with second and third mortgages. Our children had the opportunity to go to college without a mountain of loans and their children were on their own. Yes, I did not have the latest and greatest all the time but now I have peace of mind and have all time to enjoy myself.

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  3. First of all, if i had $200 left between paychecks i would be thrilled! :) I'm always interested in the way people handle their money too. It's always so hush-hush. My husband is actually a bit like that. I however think that we could be an encouragement to some people. I pretty much never have to worry about making the other person feel bad , but if I'm talking to some one who is worried about being able to afford more children and they just found out they're pregnant again, it might encourage them knowing that we have 5 kids living on less than $30,000/year. Just an example. I'm interested to hear what you have to say!

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  4. The funny thing about being military families, is that we all pretty much know what each other makes per paycheck. So I end up *rolling my eyes* when Family "A" tries to act like they can totally afford that brand new $45,000 vehicle... as an E3 with 3 or 4 kids. Not that I concern myself with what others are doing, but sometimes I catch myself thinking "how can they afford that?!?!!" and then it dawns on me that they must be living on credit and racking up thousands of dollars worth of debt.

    Anyway... we have been a one income family for the past 17 years. As soon as our first baby was born, I became a stay-at-home mom. In the beginning, we did have credit cards, and we got into trouble with them. But about 10 years ago, we got rid of all credit cards and have lived on cash-only since then (with the exception of college loans and car loans). We have always lived in military housing or rented, so we have no mortgage.

    My system is not perfect by any means. I am not a stickler about following a budget, and there are times when we float by on fumes and only have $20 left in the checking account, and payday is still three days away. It happens. But by using cash I've become more aware of what I spend, how I spend, impulse buys, etc. I now have to save up to make a big purchase like a new computer or a new washer/dryer.

    The interesting thing is that because I'm more careful about how we spend our money, we now have more "fun" money... for things like going out to the movies or tickets to a broadway show. :)

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  5. It really is all relative.  Your $200 sounds like a lot to me!  We are paid on 1st & 15th, & I allow $240 for gas, his lunch on Fri., and any incidentals.  And he has a 90 mile/day commute.  This is after groceries (I spend $240/mo. for family of 4).
    I'm like you; I want deets, but you're never gonna know someone's TRUE, WHOLE story.  Your friends could be charging tuition OR charging groceries to free up cash, have a huge inheritance, or yes, they could just make more than you.
    I really think you just have to do the very best with what YOU have, and only your family & God can decide what that is!

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  6. i love talking money. i found this great blog where she gets into the nitty gritty and talks about how they live off of less then $29000 a year for a family of 7 (I believe).
    i also don't think that everyone who buys pricey things is living off credit. i think we say that to feel better. i know that in our house we have a pretty good income, BUT very poor habits which we are working on. i think the whole money thing is interesting.

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  7. I think this is a great conversation! Proud of you for being brave enough to share:) Hope you are able to get a system and a rhythm with your finances that works well for you ( maybe I will too..lol) Much love, Barefoot Mama

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  8. I love your blog; very honest and sincere! I think we live near each other; I saw you at All Saint's parish a few weeks ago! I wanted to say Hi but we were in a hurry. I would love to catch up with you some time since we share a love of knitting, sewing, homeschooling and quilting. I love your photos of the kids!

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  9. I think people should talk about money more. I often have the same questions you do, and I ask also. No one ever wants to answer. It seems like others have the secret, and I want in on it too. Look forward to your sharing.

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  10. I agree, I am fascinated by this too. How does everyone do it?!? In our case my husband makes a nice income (mid-range for the area where we live) but we are saddled with stupid student loan debt that makes us feel like we have much less. We also put as much as we can into the 401K so we'll have retirement funds. But still, despite budgeting and coupon-cutting we always feel stretched.

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