The last few months I’ve become painfully aware of one truth that I had, for years, denied myself from believing. It’s the truth that unless something drastically changes in the lives of my family, we’re going to forever be owing money to other people. Mortgage loan servicers, credit card companies, auto financiers, utility companies, insurance companies, etc.. The list goes on and on and anyone living the “American Dream” is painfully aware of how difficult and out of reach that dream really is. I’m far from being uncomfortable right now, in fact, I think we’re living just inside our means as I’ve consistently said “No” more than I’ve said “Yes” for the last year since moving into our current home. The problem is that we’re in a home where we aren’t certain what has and has not been properly maintained and it seems we find out when its the most inconvenient. Murphy’s Law in full effect for our household. In the last year, we’ve repaired or replaced:
- Main water line (inside the house)
- Water softener
- Hot water heater
- Kitchen appliances
- Front door
- Garage doors and openers
We’ve also had the back yard fenced in with post & rail with green goat fence stapled to the inside. We really didn’t need a fence, but the dog was getting bolder in going after rabbits and would make it much farther into the field before deciding to listen to our screams to come back. She’s a good dog, but damn, that girl is determined to get a rabbit in her mouth. We paid cash for the fence, cash that I had saved up rather painfully for several months to establish a cushion. One bank statement a few months back that the wife looked at saw the money and was like “we have money, we’re getting a fence.” Who am I to argue. My back thanked me for not having to sleep on the sofa if I said anything other than “Yes.” I’ve since converted our statements to paperless and they’re emailed to my account now 🙂
The wife isn’t working through the summer, it’s school break time. We have very little cushion at this point and it’s started to irritate my normally pragmatic approach to finances. I should have held my ground firmer and explained what the savings were for, like the hidden problem that will cost a few hundred or more that we’re not aware of yet for example. I know the air conditioner is too small for the house and it’s only a matter of time before the thing overloads and burns out. Internet and air conditioning are two necessities that I rank higher than anything else in the household; only the mortgage is higher priority. She doesn’t get it and is rather impatient with the whole waiting to replace things aspect of having a house that wasn’t built to our specifications. I have sometimes questioned why we moved in the first place when a few changes could have made our previous house workable. Hindsight is a bitch.
I’ve made so many changes and cuts to our monthly budget with very little difference to show for it. Every time I think we’re backing away from the edge some unforseen repair or payment pushes me back to the edge again. The most depressing part about all of this is that I’m nursing pants, shirts, shoes and other items to their bitter end before breaking down and buying some new stuff. Not because I want to, but more because I know that the daughter needs them more than I do. That girl grew almost 2″ from November to now and she is in the same size shoe as my wife……the daughter is 10 by the way. I’m not growing that much and can handle a few stitch repairs to extend the life of a shirt, but she literally is growing out of her stuff every 6-9 months.
What to do, what to do. The summer is going to be really tight and with me doing all the finances, I’m the one that worries and bears the burden of making sure there’s a roof with utilities for us to live in. I may just have to swallow my disgust and start letting people know I’m doing computer work on the side again to bring in some extra cash. I can only take so many “I don’t know how that malware got there” excuses before I get cranky with people’s attitudes towards security, or lack thereof. I need a vacation.