Monday, May 19, 2014

Feats of strength

No, I'm not talking about marathon training.  Or even about parenting.  Or about time management.  (Though all of those take great strength.)

Today, it's all about money and budgeting.

Okay, just to be clear, it's always about money and budgeting around here.  From the minute I knew I needed a divorce, I knew money would be an issue.

It is.

Six months of unemployment removed my comfortable buffer, and just typing that out makes me choke.  What's more, my career switch involved a temporary, and very thought out, backwards step in pay.  My last job had little potential and little satisfaction, but it paid more than the current one.  This job gives me tons of satisfaction, but my budget is incredibly tight.  Add to this that my ex hasn't been able to pay child support, and clearly it's not easy.


I have a budget, and I'm pretty good at following it.  It's a decent budget, in that it includes things that I don't really want to budget for, like car maintenance and such.  I've squeezed it and squeezed it to tighten it up, and I fear that it can't be squeezed any more without a major change (like a different job or selling my house).

Facing those numbers requires a great deal of strength.


I'm doing this on a wing and a prayer.  I know that if I stay the course in my career, that in three years my income potential goes up exponentially. I know that even moderate raises will help out.  I know that if my ex pays consistent child support I'll be in better shape.  I'm looking into renting out my basement - it needs some work to make it rentable, and if I can figure out how to pay for that work, it will be a game changer for me.  I am grateful to have that possibility - I know not everyone is so lucky.


It's a weird financial place that I live in.  My friends all make a lot more money than I do; they take great vacations, drive nice cars, get their hair done at fancy salons.  They have big retirement funds and complain about the cost of paying someone to paint their houses.  But I live in a good neighborhood, in a nice enough house, even though I'm scraping pennies together.  I sometimes get invited to the fancy party, or the beach house, and then I feel like I'm one of them, living in that world.  And yet, sometimes I hold the $.79 can of beans in one hand and the $1.19 can of organic beans in the other and I hold a serious debate in my head about whether I value the budget or the lack of pesticides most.  When I go to potluck parties, I offer to bring dessert, because I'm a decent cook and I can make flour and sugar and butter (cheap!) taste delicious....even though I'd rather bring a healthier dish.


I'm moving tiny numbers inside Excel spreadsheets, trying to make the math work out, trying to make my life work out.  I don't want to live in a mental state of deprivation, and the numbers are humbling.  I've held off on going to the dentist and doctor because I don't want to pay the copays, and I don't like that, not a bit.

But I'm determined to make it work.  Some how, some way.  I am going to find the strength to patch it all together and make the life that I'm aiming for.  I don't need excess, but I need to make it work.

I'm working on it.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, the money issue is stressing me out. I commented on another of your posts; just found out my husband is cheating so we're divorcing. I'm a stay at home mom right now, never had a "career" before, so not sure what I'm going to do for a job. Just trying not to panic.
    But what I want to do is focus on what I hope for me and my two kids somewhere in the future, a cute little house, a paid for running car, clothes on our backs and good food, and satisfying work.
    And am I the only one that thinks there should be an organization that helps moms (and dads too) navigate this scary divorce thing? Just seems like there's a need there...