I really need to start meditating. Maybe it’s my age, but I get so stressed out about stuff with my kids. It consumes my mind.
I used to actually think that when my oldest son moved out, life would get easier. (He was a tough kid to parent.) But it actually got harder. A lot harder.
My mind just tends to be drawn into what’s not going right. And then I worry and think and fret and worry some more. I’m definitely my father’s daughter.
And living paycheck to paycheck definitely doesn’t help. I carry the full weight of the emotional labor that’s required to do what’s necessary to break the cycle. This just adds to the stress. I feel like I have to figure everything out. That I’m the one that needs to solve the problem.
Of course, this isn’t true. But I am the only one who cares, so I do feel responsible.
Trying to stay inside the boundaries of a budget is difficult when your spouse is always ignoring the boundary line.
I keep thinking that maybe this isn’t a curse, but a blessing. Maybe this pressure I feel is what I need to push me to a different level. Maybe my budget-resistant husband will be the reason I step out of my comfort zone and actually try to come close to my full potential.
At least, that’s one way to look at it.
Can you believe Christmas is like 3 weeks away? My mom and brother are coming from Vegas and I’m so looking forward to it! I haven’t seen my brother for a couple years. It’ll be nice to hang out together.
November was a bit of a rollercoaster for me emotionally. Changes going on with my kids, changes I’m not ready for.
Financially, things are getting better. I’ve been able to work more and my husband’s hours increased. But we still fell short in some areas.
My biggest disappointment is the realization that my student loan payoff plan is not going to happen as I expected. I’m thankful I can make up for the income that my husband isn’t making at his job, but pretty bummed that I have to use most of my paycheck for our regular budget. Maybe things will get better after Christmas.
Our youngest had his 15th birthday, and we bought him a couple of nice gifts and took him out to dinner. These extra expenses stress me out. I hope someday we’ll get to a place where I can fully enjoy these celebrations.
Here’s the good and bad for November:
GOOD: We had money in the budget to buy our son some new basketball shoes and take him out to a nice dinner. This is so important to me, and I do still struggle with not overspending (see the BAD below).
BAD: I charged one of our son’s gifts. I know, I’m terrible. This cycle is tough to break. But the gift (a gym membership) will serve him well through the winter months here in Colorado, when he can’t play on the court at our local park.
GOOD: I found an affordable basketball league for our son to play in during the winter season. He was really upset he didn’t make his high school team, so at least he’ll still have the opportunity to play. The cost is like 1/10 of the league he’s usually in!
GOOD: Like I mentioned above, I’ve been able to substitute more days lately. I got 13.5 days in for November, which added over $1,800 to our budget!
BAD: I couldn’t use any of my paycheck to pay off extra toward my student loan. My husband just didn’t have the hours to support our budget. (I’m thankful I could fill in the gap, but bummed I still haven’t been able to pay more toward the loan.)
GOOD: We haven’t had any additional medical bills for a couple months, and I’ve been able to pay all monthly payments with just our HSA funds. I’m so grateful we don’t have to add any medical payments to our regular budget.
BAD: We went over budget in a few areas, most notably dining out. Either I need to crack down on eating out, or allow more for this budget category. Because we consistently go over budget in this area.
BAD: I’ve been wanting to get some insurance quotes and (probably) change companies. But my oldest son has an open claim with USAA for hail damage to his car. He hasn’t had the $1,000 deductible to get it fixed yet, so I haven’t been able to make the switch. However, he has been saving up so hopefully I can do that within the next month or two.
BAD: We ran out of money before the end of the month and had to borrow from our bank’s reserve loan. The balance is now close to $1,000 and I know I won’t be able to pay that off until January. One more thing keeping me from paying off my student loan.
GOOD: Our 401k has been crushing it!! Our average rate of return has been over 20% since January and we finally crossed the $400k mark. Still not where we need to be at our age, but hoping this trend continues.
Our Savings & Debt
Our bank account savings has not made much upward progress in a while. But we’re back to our $100 monthly 529 contribution, and our 401k is doing really well.
Our medical debt is slowly going down. Actually, since last January we’ve cut it in half. It’d be nice to have it all paid off by the summer.
I’ve racked up some on our credit cards, which I won’t be able to pay off until I get my paycheck in January. I’ll have a good sized check for December, but that will probably all go toward Christmas gifts and going out while my mom and brother are here. That’s okay. My goals are being pushed back some, but I’m thankful we’ll have the money to have a nice Christmas.
Remembering how much I have to be grateful for helps alleviate some of the stress. I just have to remind myself often, because I forget so quickly.
Like, with our daughter. She’s moving out this week into her own apartment. It’s something she’s been talking about for months, but I always thought it wasn’t going to happen. First, she’s not great at keeping a job. Second, she has no credit history, And third, her mental health is not great. I just thought it would be a while.
But she set her mind to it. Got a job paying good money. Found an apartment that didn’t care about credit or employment history. Paid for it all by herself.
She’s leaving tomorrow. And my heart hurts.
So I have to remember – this is what we’ve wanted for her all along. To be well enough to go live her own life. Or, at least to try.
A year ago we admitted her into the psychiatric ward on Thanksgiving Day. We’ve come a long way in a year.
I don’t know what will happen. Maybe she’ll fall. Or maybe she’ll fly.
But I’m thankful she’s well enough to try. Because that means she wants to live.
What are you thankful for this season? I encourage you to reflect on how far you’ve come since last year. Maybe you’re not where you want to be, but every step is still called progress.
Don’t give up. Stay thankful. You have so much to look forward to.