Keeping up with the Parentals (or the one where I whine. Even more than normal)

Posted on | October 28, 2010 | 11 Comments

When I was a kid, we never wanted for anything. That is not to say that my parents held parties where everyone came over and rolled around in money… we weren’t wealthy. We were comfortable. We had what we needed. My parents never seemed to be stressed about how to pay the doctor’s bill or how to afford shoes for school. They just seemed to make all of that happen. Effortlessly. (Okay, not effortlessly because my dad owned a small business and worked/Still works HARD, y’all.)

But the point is, I never thought about where the next meal would come from or if my parents could afford for me to go to camp or on the next big school trip. That was a given. I was always able to go.

So here’s my question… what in the hell does it take to get there? Who do I have to become to be able to provide for my son the way my parents always provided for me? Because right now? We don’t really know where the money is going to come from when the bills come in. We don’t actually know how we’d afford it if a car broke down or one of us (ahem, me) had a medical situation. We just don’t know how we’re going to afford that.

And lets be honest, we’re not exactly bottom of the barrel poor folk, either. I make decent money and so does Husband. But we have so. many. bills. We have car payments, rent payments, water bills here and in Macon, power bills both places, cable bills, phone bills, mortgage payments, day care bills. We have so many bills that I could throw a party and have everyone swim around in all the damn debt that just hangs over our head every. freaking. day.

I don’t know how to get to that place of serenity. That place of knowing that the next year is covered. That we will be able to send J to private school if that continues to be the only option for a quality education. That we will one day be able to own a house again… that we actually live in… in the same city and everything.

It’s so daunting.

The debt feels like it could just swallow me whole. And on top of that? Now, in order to determine what may or may not be wrong with me, I have to manage to scrounge up $649… just for a test. FOR A TEST. What happens if they need another test? Or another one after that? How did my parents do this? Was there a book I didn’t get? A memo? Hell, a mission statement? Because I just feel like we’re never going to get ahead.

How are we going to afford this test? And after that? How do we afford whatever comes after that? I’m just so tired. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being broke. I’m tired of feeling… broken. Like there is a piece missing to the puzzle that is me and without it, no one even wants to bother trying to put the rest of me  together. I’m tired of feeling like this, but I just don’t know how to fix it. And I don’t know if a $649 test is really the answer.  Is it? Because if someone could look me in the eye and say to me “Have this test. You will solve the problem and feel better” then I would do it. But lets face it, the odds are this is just a fishing expedition. And at the end of it? I’ll have thrown $649 down a drain and be no closer to the answer than had I used that $649 to rent a freaking pony to poop on my sofa.

I’m so tired of the ends not meeting. I’m so tired of crossing my fingers when I pull up the bank statement. I’m just. so. tired.

ADDENDUM:


So, the above is what happens when you forget that your blog is not actually the same thing as a diary. Ahem. Sorry about all that emotional vomit. I do realize, rationally, that when I was old enough to remember what was going on, my parents were a lot farther along their journey than Husband and I are right now. By the time J gets to middle school and high school, maybe we’ll have the money to take care of all those things, too. For now? We’re doing okay. I just have to remember that.

Comments

11 Responses to “Keeping up with the Parentals (or the one where I whine. Even more than normal)”

  1. MrsPatterson
    October 28th, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. As a kid, I never worried once about my parents and their money. The older I got, the more money my parents made, and I always thought they were "rich". Well they certainly weren't/aren't rich, but it wouldn't be crazy if my husband and I went to them to ask them if we could borrow, say, a down payment for a house. (Not that they'd give it to us, but they could if they wanted.)
    And I have no freaking clue how to get to that place. I want my kids to go to private school so bad, but in our current situation, that's an almost laughable aspiration. At the very least, I want to be able to pay for them to do extra-curricular activities without laying awake at night hyperventilating about how we're going to afford it.

  2. mrshiggison
    October 28th, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    Note: this won't be helpful. But, I just need to say this post was ME like a year ago. I thought like this every fricken day. It was like a nagging devil on my shoulder and stole the beauty of my days. It made me a bitter mom. It made me a cold wife. I would sweat when ripping open a bill. I still wonder when it's "my" turn to be financially worry-free….when will I get to always say "sure, we can afford that"…….

  3. Mae
    October 28th, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

    Total Money Makeover. Dave Ramsey. get it from the library. Download the free podcasts. Short answer is to make minimum payments on everything and adjust your standard of living (cable, smartphones with data plans, eating out etc) until you've saved $1,000. That's your emergency fund. Once you have that you pay off your debts smallest to largest until they're gone, using every available cent.. Yes I understand you have large student loans. You continue making minimum payments on everything the whole time you're "snowballing" the smaller debts.

    DM me for more info if you want. We do it. It works. I can tell you honestly it was a game changer for us.

    Do you have a budget? For things like groceries and other spending? Is the house up for sale or rent?

  4. Caroline
    October 28th, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

    I was going to suggest Dave Ramsey as well. Husband and I had $24,000 of debt – not counting cars and we didn't own a house – in our first year of marriage. Last year, we had none. We have since picked up a mortgage, and just cleaned out our savings – but I don't work. And we have a plan to build our savings back up. We live on one income, pay all of our bills, and still have money left over at the end of the month. Not a lot, mind you, but it can be done. It's a whole new way of thinking and approaching paying the bills, so it will probably take some time, but you will be SOOOOOO glad you did it.

  5. RsMom
    October 28th, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    First off, the fact that you have a mortgage and rent is taking a lot of your money right now…not that this statement makes you feel better, but once you can get your house sold, that should help a lot. I certainly couldn't affort rent and a mortgage. I offer this just as a reminder that you're in a bit of an "extreme" situation for the moment…but not one that will last forever.

    As you to your parents, if they were like mine, then some of the things you mention (like camp, new shoes, etc.) might have been a stretch for them, but they were careful to not let their money woes affect the kids. You'd probably do the same for J. We've had some interesting discussions with our parents, now that we're adults too, on how they made things work when we were kids. Like how they were down to the last $1 in their checking accounts some months and made it last a week…but we were none the wiser because they didn't want us to worry.

    Finally, if the test is important, you'll make it work. Most hospitals/doctors offices are very willing to make payment plans if you are up front with them. They are less cooperative if you let it get to the point of them having to call collections on you. But if you call, and tell them you can pay $15 a week (or whatever) until it's paid off, I think they will work with you. It's your health. Don't skimp on what your doctor says needs to be done.

  6. Kim
    October 28th, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

    sounds like you need a hug. And a cup of coffee. And a J hug. Get the test. Let God take care of the rest.

  7. Mommy Attorney
    October 28th, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

    OK, tons of assvice, but I'm going to second what Mae said. I still worry about money, but I'm starting to realize that I don't need to. I did Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (Same as total money, just with more Christianity). It pushed us. A lot. But things are so much better now. The only debt we have is our mortgage. We have a budget. We lost my salary and I thought I'd be begging for work in 3 months just to pay bills, but that never happened because of this program.

    I'll be honest, it's uncomfortable to do some of the stuff. We had to get a new vehicle, and we made sure we could pay for it with cash so there was no car payment. Would I like to have a new car? Sure, but not having that payment every month is worth driving the older minivan. We negotiated down our phone and cable bills. Dave didn't have a cell phone for awhile. You have to not care that people can tell that you're trying to pinch pennies. Because honestly? Most people are broke and just raking up debt pretending they're not.

    I could go on, but seriously. Total Money Makeover.

    (And yes, you did miss the handbook because our generation learned less about this practical real life stuff than any other generation. Trust me, I know EXACTLY the feeling you're describing).

  8. Dre
    October 28th, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

    I feel the same way, lady. We are a two-lawyer household for freak's sake! Why, oh why, can we not make ends meet? Why do I juggle bills every month? But again, my husband reminds me that these are the "dark days" financially speaking and that as we progress it "should" get better. I sure hope so.

  9. ~*Jess*~
    October 29th, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

    I completely understand. It's very frustrating that I'm a lawyer and I make shit for money and I'm not "rolling in it." It is not unreasonable to be frustrated. Why else did we go to school for 7 years? Because we're crazy? Probably.

    Changes will be made on my end, because I don't like that feeling. But seriously. Feel ya.

  10. Stephanie Appel
    October 29th, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

    So I can't remember if your old house is being rented out or not? BUT if it's sitting empty, maybe this will help. Friends of ours just moved from Chicago to Cali for a job opp, and due to the market couldn't sell their place. Here in Chicago there is an awesome rental place called "At Home Inn" and they do corporate rentals. Furnished or unfurnished, but they will fill your place and clean it between renters and take care of all the paperwork. I know my friends are making way more money doing that than they would be just renting on the normal market. Maybe there's something like that you could look into? Good luck!!

  11. Alena @ Charmingly Chandler
    October 30th, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

    Mae is right, Dave Ramsey. He speaks at my church a lot, and they do things on post here (he's from the area-ish). The man is a money wizard. He is so genius. Is it easy? No. In order to follow his plan it's HARD. We actually have tried a few times, but it's a difficult commitment.

    How soon before you can sell the other house? I'm sure that would help so much!!

    Seriously, Dave Ramsey.

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