Sunday, May 16, 2010

Getting ahead

Okay, I'm going to talk about something I rarely speak openly about. Money. Finances. My New Years Resolution for 2010, was to STOP using credit cards. I am so sick of them. Really. Doug and I, like many people, have used them when money was short and we needed something. It wasn't always a necessity we needed but we always pay our bills so if we didn't have the cash, we put it on a credit card and worried about it later. I have always known this is not a good way to live. Once we made the decision for me to stay home and raise the girls, obviously, our income took a hit going from two salaries to one. We made adjustments. We made sacrifices. We used the credit cards when all else failed. We have lived this way for the past five years. It's not like I woke up in 2010 and decided I just didn't like it. I haven't liked living this way for quite some time. But no more. I'm not going to continue living out our years living on borrowed credit. This was a huge part of the reason I decided to return part-time to work. Every little bit helps right? But, even knowing our "new and improved" outlook and trying desperately to do better and plan ahead, some days are bound to end up like last night.

I walk in the door last evening after working and am greeted with shrieks of "Mommeeeee!" I love coming home to see the girls when I've been working. It's like I actually get a chance to miss them and it's a good feeling. Hadley is coloring and Delaney is finishing up her chores. Everyone has had dinner and the house is picked up and vacuumed. What a great day! I head upstairs to shed my work clothes and get into some shorts. As I take the last step that will put me onto the second floor, I feel it. It's hot. I look at the thermostat and it's 80 degrees. Oh shit. I change clothes and head back downstairs where it's a much cooler 74. It's truly amazing what a difference 6 degrees can make.

Me: Looks like we need to call the a/c people again.

Doug: Yeah, it's pretty warm up there. It's going to have to wait until I get paid again.

Me: ( I mentally count how many days that will be and realize we'll have to tough it out for 9 days.) That really sucks.

Doug: I know but we've had a lot of unexpected things happen this month and we're just tapped out. Sorry.

I know it's not his fault. We're doing the best we can. We've already had the a/c people out two weeks ago to fix the downstairs a/c and had to replace 3 tires on Doug's car. We've also had Delaney's graduation expenses and teacher's end of year gifts we had to contribute to. Mother's Day was last weekend. You get the picture. We've had a lot of expenditures this month. Nonetheless, I find myself completely frustrated. I'm tired of feeling that we can't get ahead. We are trying so hard to pull ourselves out of debt and it's hard. It's hard not to fall back on those credit cards when things get tough. But we're somehow doing it. And that does feel good.

I bathe Delaney and get her ready for bed. I put her in a very cool nightgown as she is just like Doug and I can't stand the thought of her being too hot. I turn on her fan and point it directly at her bed. I pull up the sheet and smooth back her hair to kiss her good-night. About an hour later I check on her to find she has completely kicked off her covers. Something about seeing this makes me come completely undone. This may sound ridiculous but I just feel so bad and guilty that the kids may be hot in their beds. Isn't it my responsibility to make sure our a/c is working at all times?

I run a cold shower and hop in to cool myself down. I also have a horrible sinus headache and my head is really throbbing. I start crying. I feel bad. I feel like if we had better managed our money this wouldn't even be an issue now. We've made a choice and I feel like we have to live by it or we'll always be in this situation. I want better for myself. For Doug. For our girls. I want them to make better choices as adults because we taught them better. I don't want them to make our mistakes. We need to lead by example as parents and by God, that's what we're going to do.

I get dressed and make my way downstairs. I collapse on the couch and start crying again. Doug comes in and sees me crying.

Doug: What's wrong?

Me: I just feel like we're good people and we work hard and we just can't get ahead.

Doug: We'll get the a/c fixed. Don't worry, things are going to work out.

Me: I know. I'm sorry.

The Green Mile has just come on tv and we're snuggled up watching it. I notice the actors are all sweating and looking pretty darn warm. Then I had what Oprah calls an "aahaa" moment. I realize that the actors are sweating because this movie takes place in the 50's and of course there is no such thing yet as air conditioning. Somehow generations of people have survived without air conditioning and I'm whining about surviving for 9 days without it. I immediately quit sobbing and decided to call it a night and went to bed. Even without air conditioning, I still managed to get a good night's sleep.


Sarah said...

Katie-My mom Judy used to work with you and showed me your blog one day and I have been following it ever since. I wanted to let you know that Rob and I are trying to live without credit cards also. I know it is hard. We just took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and it was so good. We learned so much and it was great to be with a group of people that are going through the same things and have the support. Go to to learn more about it. It is really worth it!

Katie said...

Hi Sarah! So good to hear from you :) It's also comforting to hear there are others out there just like us. I've been debating even mentioning it on our blog but I just don't want to live a lie anymore and it feels so good to get it off my chest. Good luck to you and Rob! I will definitely check out the program; I have listened to Dave Ramsey before and I am a huge fan of his.