The title of this post was taken from the song Money by Pink Floyd.
"NO! We don't really have to."
"Yes, Melanie, we do."
"No, we don't. Isn't there some other way?"
"No. It's either fix this now or we pay a lot more to replace it once it's beyond repair."
John and I have had many conversations that sound something like this. I hate spending money and I hate even more watching it leave our bank account. Can't I just keep all the money I earn? It's so not fair. So, one thing we are working on this year is getting our finances in order. John created a spreadsheet to track where our money goes and we are working on a budget. It's so hard. We are pretty much debt free at this moment with the exception of our house and our student loans. However, this does not mean we do a good job of budgeting. The last five months or so we just haven't been able to stay on top of things. We were doing okay up until the move at the end of July. The move was fairly expensive. We had to rent the moving truck and then the two trips to and from Williamsburg to move his stuff and then moving my stuff. It wasn't cheap. Then, we spent money fixing up things at the old house so it would be fairly done when my brother and sister-in-law moved in. After we moved, we ended up having some trouble with our cars. The engine needed to be replaced in the Equinox and the van had some exhaust issues on top of needing tires and some small things. We spent several thousand dollars just making sure the cars were maintained. After that we had some heating issues at the old house that we needed to take care of. Christmas came a long and then we decided it was important for us to go to Arizona to see his family. I felt strongly about this and so we went. Now here we are in January and we are trying to get things on track.I'm a fairly cheap person. I don't like to spend a lot of money and I try to save whenever I can. I don't buy name brand clothing for the kids unless I can get it on sale or at a really good price and I rarely buy clothes for myself. I don't have tons of jewelry and what I do wear is more like costume jewelry. The kids are involved in their various sporting activities and that always takes some money. Of course we have our regular monthly bills that we have to take care of, but I'm excited about the fact we have no credit card debt. I plan on keeping it that way!
There are lots of things we do to cut down on costs. We eat-in most nights. I've started doing some of the cooking to help John out. John is pretty handy so there have been many times he was able to fix something rather than us paying for someone else to fix it. Just the other day I got pulled over and told all my brake lights except for one was out. The officer let me go with a warning. We went that day and bought the bulbs and John replaced them in like 2.5 seconds. Okay, maybe this doesn't sound like a big deal but, had I still been on my own, I would have taken it to a garage to have it done and probably paid 10 times as much. He also fixed the van back over the summer. Nothing on the dash worked and it hadn't worked for years. I had taken it to several places and no one could fix it. John Googled the problem, soldered a few wires and voila it has worked ever since. He fixed the leaky shower head in Sebastian's bathroom, and really the list could go on and on. John also keeps the deep freezer and cupboards pretty stocked so, if something unexpected comes up that we need to pay for, we never have to worry about food. Last week he went shopping and that was the first time in about 6 weeks. We had picked up little things here and there but we really hadn't needed to until then. This was a huge help.
We have lots of things we want to spend money on. We want to put in a wheelchair ramp for my niece. We want to fence in all or part of the yard so that Jasper can run and play. We need to update some of the electrical in the house. Really, why shouldn't you be able to run the deep fryer, microwave, AND the griddle all at the same time? :) I really want to put in a swimming pool for the kids. We also have some things we would like to do at the old house. So we need to sit down and prioritize.
With all the I wants I've listed above, I would feel remiss if I did not talk about how blessed I am. We have a beautiful home that I can totally see us growing old in. I can picture our grandkids someday running around in the yard. We also have the old house that is paid off so if hard times should come and we ever needed to we have somewhere else to go. We are all healthy, we have all the things we need, and many many of the things that we don't need but wanted. I am grateful for the lessons my parents taught me concerning money. I watched this short video clip this morning before church and it sums up nicely all the things we've been trying to figure out.
"Is this benefit temporary or will it have eternal value and significance."
Any money or budgeting ideas?