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Do you ever get tired of budgeting? LONG& a vent

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006: Do you ever get tired of budgeting? LONG& a vent
By Anonymous on Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 10:05 pm:

I guess I'm stressed about it. Before children, DH and I had $ galore, and spending was never an issue. We always "lived" on one income (our bills were covered in one income) and played and saved on the second. We always did it that way so that going to one income after children would not be so terrible. Now that we are a one income home, I find that I just get so tired of budgeting and so stressed about $ issues. (And I'm quite sure that some of it is just MY problem, because I know there are people waaay worse off than we are who are still making financial sacrifices to stay home with their kids.)

*I* feel like DH makes a nice living. We have a nice home (but not too nice) that isn't pricey (our mortgage is only $700/mth because we made a nice down payment), and although we do have 2 car payments, I still don't feel that we spend a lot monthly on anything other than regular bills. Other than one small school loan (VERY small, nothing to speak of) we don't have any other debt than mortgage and cars. We have a decent savings that we really guard, but there are still plenty of times when I just think "my gosh, how will I pay for that?" when it comes to something outside of monthly bills. We don't do cc's unless it's an emergency or they are paid off every month (since we went to one income).

We've always been very sensible with our $, plenty in retirement accounts, a college fund has been started, but I just wonder sometimes why $ is a struggle. We never thought it would be, but I guess once you're REALLY living on that one income you get slapped in the face with it. How do people do it? My DH makes about $65K/year, and I think we should be able to live "more comfortably" every month on that. Just loosen our belts a little bit more, but when we do it slaps us in the face.

We look around at some of our friends that we *know* the incomes of and wonder how in the world they have/do all of these things and seem as light and free as the wind! We *are* a little serious about things, but really we just are not interested in getting into cc debt. A good friend of mine has/lives like $ is nothing and sometimes I feel jealous of that "carefree" feeling. Of course I know for a fact that she is living with $25K in cc debt and quite honestly I would be in the funny farm if that were me!!!

It is worth every single penny for all the $ I'm losing every year from my job, DO NOT get me wrong! I would not change a thing and DH and I both feel very strongly about me staying home. It's the most wonderful thing I've ever done and the best decision I've ever made. It just gets tiring thinking about it all of the time and planning every purchase. I find that all of "things" you have to buy for that aren't budgeted (birthdays, mother's/dather's day, holidays) suck any extra before you know it and then you're in the hole. Sometimes I feel lik I need an account for EVEYRTHING, but honestly if I had that there wouldn't be enough to go around anyway!! We have cut back on spending for those kinds of things, cut back on everything really.
Sometimes it really gets me down. And it's not because I/we want, want, want....it's not really about not getting something we want. It's more about just feeling more "comfortable", you know? Anybody feel that way, or is $65K income really small to other people? We don't live in a high COL area. With 2 incomes we made right around $100K.

We pay our set bills every month okay, with about $300-$400 left over each month. Would you consider this to be very little? *I* think it's very little, and that's why all the incidentals really add up. It's the sacrifice we chose to make when I decided to quit my job, so we knew it would be a major change but we're still not used to this feeling of not having what WE consider to be "enough" $ left over at the end of the day.

Thanks for letting me vent. I take care of our finances and although DH is very up on how we are financially, I really hate to vent about it to him because I know then he feels deep down that he's not making enough to support our family. He works very hard so that I can stay home with our child, and I don't want to him feel that he's not doing enough.
Thanks ladies. And BTDT's would be nice to hear right about now.

By Anonymous on Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 10:46 pm:

We are struggling, too, and it isn't fun. I am a sahm, and I really should be getting a job, or getting more aggressive with selling on ebay. I do the coupon thing, and I put off buying some things until they are on sale.

I think if you are comparing yourself to those you know who *seem* to have it easy, you are just kidding yourself. Many people live way beyond their means and hide it well since, after all, outward appearance is everything.

My dh makes $43K a year (which is why I went anon). We have life and health insurances, car ins, mortgage, cell and land phone, cable-which is cut way back to VERY BASIC channels, electric, heat, water, trash, storage rental, non-reimbursed job expenses, and of course, food and gasoline. The extras don't come cheap, and my son is learning to work for what he wants. I also learned that you HAVE to budget for the holidays and birthdays. Otherwise, you risk getting behind on everything and getting caught up is like spinning your wheels in a pit of mud. We got our income taxes back and that's how we got caught up from Christmas, but we spent 3 months falling behind until that money was available.

How old are your kids? If they are still in diapers and on formula and such, it will get better once they are done with that. That would be one expense you wouldn't miss.

That $300-$400 goes quick, I know. We don't even have that much left, and I can guess that it probably goes for stuff you need. Our dog needs to go to the vet, and I need new glasses, but the money isn't there.

Are you frustrated because you want to make more money? I have been dabbling on ebay and it's fun! I sold a couple of parts from my husband's old pickup, and I got $120! I told my husband to get me more parts!

By Mommmie on Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 11:21 pm:

It is curious how some people seem to be living large and you can guess what they make by what they do and you think, How in the world can they afford to live that way?

Well, I know plenty of folks who still get parental economic outpatient care - money from their parents. Regularly. I have relatives that are gifted money every year from their parents to avoid estate taxes. I have co-workers whose parents work overtime to help pay apartment rent so the adult children can live in a safer place. And, of course, I know far too many people who had big credit card debt and then do a home equity loan to pay it off. They'll tell you they have no credit card debt, but fail to mention their HEL debt.

I live in a fairly low cost of living area, and $65k gross would be on the lower end. Net, that's what $45k? After taxes and benefits? I mean I don't think it's your imagination that you are sometimes having trouble making ends meet. Maybe some of the things you bought with the 2nd income weren't so luxury or extra afterall?

If it gives you piece of mind, I'd try to bring in some extra money - ebay, or work part time or do some nighttime babysitting for people.

And I always recommend the book The Price of Motherhood. It's a great book! It was written by a women who left a well paying job to become a SAHM. And, you know those financial experts on Oprah talk about how families often get in trouble within 2 years of going down to one income because they underestimated how much it cost to do so.

By Anonymous on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 12:38 am:

Not to sound rude, but your guys should feel happy about what you are making. My DH just got laid off from a job he was making $13 hour. Whats that $2000 a month. 24K a year? And that is considered a good job here. I guess I should move somewhere else. Thats the base pay around here. Talk about trying to make ends meet.
But I guess the standards of living and cost is different here. My morgage is $477 a month on what I feel is a very nice home. 4 bedrooms not hugh but big enough for our kids. A kitchen, living room, dinning room and our computer room and 1 bath.
Do I get tired of budgeting??? All the time!

By Unschoolmom on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 06:30 am:

I can't help thinking that those friends you think are living free and easy are likely looking at you and wishing they had your restraint and money handling skills.

By Karen~moderator on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 08:00 am:

First - what you make is proportionate to what area of the country you live in, in most cases.

Second - I know very few people who DON'T have to budget, PARTICULARLY when they are raising kids, even if they are a two-income household.

I noticed you have retirement accounts and college funds - consider yourself ahead of the game! Many, many people on two incomes do not have that! When I was divorced, I accounted for every penny. I had neither of those things. For that matter, when I was married to my X and we were both working and raising 4 kids, we didn't have those things, and after paying bills and buying groceries and putting gas in the cars, we literally did not have $100 left over each month. Times were very tough then.

And something you should consider - many of these people who have *nicer* homes and more money, who appear to be so carefree - may pay for it later in life. Example: A close friend of mine has 2 kids, ages 20 and 17. She and her DH used to live literally at poverty level when I first met her. She was constanting waiting for checks from her small business to cover the OVERDRAFTS in her account when I first became friends with her. Times were very tough. Now, 15 years later, she and her DH are making over $200,000 a year. They've bought a new, large, beautiful home, they have several car notes, she is spending a fortune furnishing and decorating this new home. But she's not happy, and they have NOTHING put away for retirement. The 20 y/o is paying her own college tuition, there is no college fund set up for the 17 y /o.

Granted, there is a level of income that is clearly near impossible to survive on, but it is surprising how little you CAN live off of if you know how to budget and are willing to do without certain things. It sounds to me like you've done a great job budgeting, and honestly, you are much better off than a lot of people/families I've known over the years.

My friend swore that if she ever *had money*, she would have savings, etc., but she is spending every penny they make - and the more they make, the more she wants.

You have made an important decision to do without your income so you can be home with your kids. That is the most valuable *job* you will ever have. And one by one, as your kids grow up and leave the nest, your budget worries will loosen up.

I think you should be thankful for what you do have and how you do things. I agree with Dawn, your friends probably wish they had your budgeting skills.

By Kaye on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 08:32 am:

The short answer is yes.

We make plenty, but by time we pay what we have to, put away for savings and retirement, we also only have about 300 a month for extras, it very rarely covers it.

I have a BIL that just spends so much, I know what they make and it doesn't make sense to me. Turns out they filed for bankruptcy last year, so they obviously were living outside their means.

The other thing that figures in for us. We put away 10% of my hubby's income for retirement, we put another 10% into savings of some sort (we have 3 different accounts). So although what we live off of is tight, the reality is we do have money in the bank.

But we are leaving on vacation sunday, the first just our family vacation in 7 years. I found a great deal on a cabin, meals are very reasonable we also will have a cabin. I told my DH that I just wanted to use our charge card and balance out when we got home and he just about lost it. He just doesn't think that is a good idea. I explained to him that we just aren't talking about that much money and I don't want to worry about money for a whole week. I think I have him convinced now, I did the math, I showed him what everything was going to cost, etc. Drives me NUTS!

Ultimately in just sucks being responsible doesn't it!

By Anonymous on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 08:42 am:

I know exactly how you feel. We are in the same situation only I'm not lucky enough to stay at home, and we have cc debt to boot. Could never get by without the cc. Your DH makes more than me and mine put together. BUT, we are happy and so are our kids!!! I could be stressed also, but the way I look at it, why? The monthly bills are paid, we vacation at a hunting shack(no electricity or plumbing), have a nice home(3 bedroom, 1 bath ranch), are healthy, love each other. What more do you need. If you really did want more, you could return to work as you have that option.

It does feel good once in a while to vent but then after it's all over you realize it't really not that bad!!!

By Debbie on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 08:42 am:

I don't know many people that don't budget. I am lucky that we live very "comfortably". However, the price we have had to pay is moving frequently. Dh has been promoted several times with his company, but with those promotions usually comes a move. Our move next month will be the 4th in 9 yrs. Even though dh makes a comfortable living, I still budget. We also have a nice savings account built up, 401K and college funds set up. These are things that are important to us. We are moving to a very nice home, but we have made good decisions when buying previous homes, so we had a lot to put down. We do not have a car payment. My van is 8 yrs. old and dh's is 6. But, they still run great, and new cars are not important to us. We do not have cc debt either. I sit down at the beginning of each month and figure out how many "extras" we will have that month and budget for those. I pay all bills, and then what we have left is "free" money.

Most of those freinds you are envious of probably have a lot of debt. A lot of people look carefree from the outside, but are in terrible financial trouble. I think you are way ahead of the game. Most people don't have a savings, college fund, etc.

By Pamt on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 09:00 am:

Well DH is a minister so we definitely aren't raking in big bucks (that's only cheesy tele-evangelists :)) and I work part-time, primarily so we will have good health insurance. Over half of my check is gone by the time taxes, health insurance, and dental insurance are taken out. If he worked in the secular job market (his B.S. is in business mgmt) and I worked full-time we could easily make 6 figures, but that's not important right now.

I have to mentally think about every single purchase I make. I keep a running bank balance in my head. We do put $300/month in a savings acct plus we have mutual funds and other investments, but we live with about as much "extra" as the original anon. Our only debts are our mortgage and we owe $2000 on 1 car. We always buy used cars and we bought a 30 y/o house that needed some updating. Most clothes come from Old Navy, Target, and Lerner/New York and Co. We do go to and rent movies often and go out to eat a couple times a week. We also take a family vacation every year, but we save for it, drive, and do it pretty inexpensively. This year we are tent camping for half of our vacation to save money.

Here's my take. Most of the people who seem to have it easy are in HUGE debt. We have some friends who have a multi-million dollar home in the most desirable subdivision in town. We're talking huge wooden antique front door from a hotel in France that was so thick they had to have custom made deadbolts to fit, copper countertops, over 4000 sq ft, etc. The wife found out that her DH was having his 2nd affair of their marriage and the other woman was pregnant. The husband never got to move into his new house, but his ex-wife and 3 kids live there now. There is and always has been huge debt to finance their lifestyle--house, luxury cars, and frequent travel. It resulted in a broken marriage (with lots of debt still) and a broken family.

Just this week one of my co-worker showed me the new house she is buying online. It is 165k which is probably on the slightly high end of average here (we couldnt' afford it). She is an SLP and a recent college grad. This is her first job and she is actually only PRN, filling in for another co-worker's maternity leave. She is not guaranteed to have a job, or a full-time one at that, come July. She was married a month ago and her DH is a entry level firefighter in training. I can speculate at how much they are making and it's not a whole lot, plus the fact that her job is not stable. I wanted to say, "ARE YOU CRAZY???" when I saw how much she was going to pay for a house on so little---and I'm sure the bank will loan the money b/c they'll qualify you for waaay more that you can afford.

Yeah, sometimes it stinks that I live in an older home without all of the bells and whistles, but at least I know we can afford it. While things are tight and budgeted there is wiggle room and we do get some of the "extras" along the way. I always thought it would get easier, but as the teenage years loom in the not too distant future and I start thinking about cars, insurance, and college it does get a little stressful. However, DH and I personally think that we will never have much wiggle room because money could very easily become a safety net for us and cause us to rely less on God. For us it is a faith issue as well, when you are close to that financial line, the less we have the more we rely on God to meet our needs. Plus, we are actually trying to downsize even more and work on giving more away. We are both reading lots of books on simplicity and it just really makes so much more sense to live simply and well than to clutter our lives up with the stuff and busy-ness that money seems to bring.

In America, we don't live in a materialistic society. We live in a consumeristic society. Materialism is about keeping up with the Joneses (and it does play a part), but consumerism is about possessing or buying and then using up because you can. Think about most electronic gadgets and cars--they are always adding new bells and whistles so that the cool Ipod you bought 6 months ago and thought was great now looks so inferior and you are embarrassed and wish you had a better one. When your TV broke, you used to call in a TV repairman to fix it. Now, most TVs or unfixable or it would cost more to fic it than buy a new high-definition plasma TV which you've been wanting anyway, plus 12 months interest-free financing, plus....You get the picture. It is a horrible, horrible downward spiral. DH and I recently read about a group of people who resolved to buy nothing brand-new for one year (except food). The main goal was to realize that they didn't need "stuff", but if they did need things like clothes then they would buy it second hand. Cool concept. We're thinking of trying this, but aren't quite there yet.

Although it gets tiring budgeting, realize that most of us are there with you and we are all probably happier and better people for it.

*stepping off my soapbox*

By Anonymous on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 09:35 am:

I have to say that what you make would make my life easy. DH and I together make less that 50K a year. We do have CC debt but under $1500 plus 2 mortgages and normal monthly bills. There are months that we cannot pay all of our bills no matter what we do. We never go anywhere or do anything above the normal weekly things. Our 2 kids are not spoiled by any means and renting videos is big for us.

We do not have any savings we live week to week. We have no college funds or CD's or anything of that we have what is in the checking account right now and that is it. The kids each have savings accounts with less that $50 each in them. DH has a life insurance policy but otherwise we have nothing for the future. I wish we did but we just do not make enough to put aside anything right now and still live.

I cry all of the time because we both work so hard and have so many things we want to do and cannot afford to do them. If we just had 10K we could do all we want and more to our home to improve it plus pay off all of our debt and treat the kids to a nice vacation without worrying what bills will suffer.

Sorry I am rambling I just read your post and wish I was in your shoes.

By Truestori on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 10:09 am:

My husband and I have been on one income since we were 16! We had our first apartment then, and he only made $8.00 an hour. I have managed the money since day one and it can become a chore.

We moved to Southern Cali. six years ago and it truly amazed me how many people have to be flashy. I quit going to the moms group here because the majority of the moms wore high heels to the park, bragged about their husbands careers and just thought they were the world! This really disturbed me. I was raised by a single mom, and we struggled, so seeing people so wasteful truly makes me upset! My favorite saying is...HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A UHAUL BEHIND A HEARSE? :)
Hang in there anon. it will all work out.

By Breann on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 11:09 am:

I'm a SAHM too :) My husband does have a wondeful job. Especially for our area. It isn't expensive to live in our area, and I am so thankful for that. Just a couple of hours down the rode, it's 3 times more expensive, yet jobs don't pay much more. I don't know how some people do it.

Love that quote about the hearse :)

By Boxzgrl on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 12:20 pm:

We live in the world of budgeting with the military, lol. DH actually doesn't do *too* bad bringing in 30K take home with the military and it doesn't include our housing allowance (which is an extra 17K a year) but I have to budget for the cost of living in CA along with a DH who likes to spend big on a small paycheck. I'm open about our finances because all you really need to do is look online at a military pay website and it will tell you how much he makes. No hiding there!!! :)

I hate budgeting. At this time last year we had a lot less bills so we spend a little more openly. Now we have to watch everything we do. I know it's only temporary though because I made a plan with our bills and we should be cutting them literally in half by the beginning of next year. When I have a plan with our bills and I see them disappearing, I feel better about them and more in charge. I just figure that bills are a fact of life and we will always have them, no matter what. I've learned to live life a little more and not be so stressed because you never know what tomorrow brings. I think the safety net of my DH never losing his job helps too.

By Anonymous on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 01:40 pm:

Okay, I DO feel better. :) I was pretty down about it lastnight and it felt better to vent a little, so thank you to everyone!

Some of you are so right...especially Kaye from what I remember in the posts. We have not stopped our retirement or college contributions and don't plan to. We DO have nice things...and we are the type who will drive our cars until they quit running. We're the kind of people that if you could win the lotto with stipulations like "you can only spend x amount and the rest has to be put in savings" we would be FINE with it because it just means peace of mind! Knowing there's a comfort level is very important to us...some "wiggle room" so-to-speak. It's definitely not about "I don't have this or that"...we can live without those things in order for me to stay home.

I knew there would be responses of people both financially below and above us, because there's always someone above and below you in *some* way, and I appreciate those thoughts.

Someone said it sucks to be responsible and I couldn't agree more!!! :) To all the friends with cc debt out the wazoo, I am envious not of what they have (because I know I have a lot), but envious of their "attitude". That irresponsible attitude that allows them to buy, go, and do with no thought for the future.

I appreciate all of the responses. I definitely DO NOT feel like someone who doesn't have anything, because I know in reality I've got it made compared to soooo many people. But it's all relative, and sometimes thinking about every purchase just gets TIRING. I by no means feel "unlucky"...it's just a different way of living I guess, and even though it's been a few years, we're still not "used" to it! We have wonder fulhealth, dental, vision, and a lot of life ins., and I know all of those things are like precious gold to people who don't have them.

I do appreciate what I have, there's no doubt about it. I just miss the "wiggle room".

Thanks for letting me vent. :)
*Original Anon

By Crystal915 on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 01:47 pm:

Karen hit the nail on the head, income is relative to where you live. Cori and I are very close, and have discussed the differences in cost of living between our areas. We couldn't survive on our income in her area, the difference is just so vast. Melissa is right, you can easily go find out what my DH makes, and the only thing that really saves us is living on post. Anyway, I do get tired of budgeting, and we make a comfortable income, but our savings and retirement plans are not well-padded, and we still have to be careful. I can understand not wanting thousands of dollars in CC debts or loans, and promise that no matter how carefree someone with that ACTS, they are internally stressing about it, or in complete denial. (((Anon))) Being a grown up sucks sometimes!!!!

By Ginny~moderator on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 05:34 pm:

Oh yes, I remember budgeting, especially when I was a single parent of 3 growing boys. We ate a lot of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, and most of my sons' shirts and jackets came from the thrift shop, as well as most of my outer clothes. I still remember how upset I was when my middle son, then in 7th grade, shot up and went through 3 shoe sizes in one year. The only vacations we had were when my parents paid for us to visit them or go on a trip with them. My church subsidized summer camp for the boys. And savings - forget it! All of our furniture except beds was either from my marriage or second hand, including refrigerator and washer and dryer.

It's only in the past 10 years, and really only since I started collecting social security and kept working, that I have what I consider significant financial ease in my monthly income/outgo. I don't have a lot of retirement savings, but I've beefed that up a lot in the last 5 years, and I have been working hard at building up savings. I know only too well what an emergency can do to your life if you don't have a couple of months income stashed away. For me, it feels really good to know that if I do have to buy a new washer, I can - for cash - and won't have to go the laundromat route because I can't afford the appliance for a while.

I do understand how you feel. And, when you stop buying diapers, you will start buying school clothes and putting shoes on rapidly growing feet, plus all the extra-curricular and social stuff your kids will be doing.

What it boils down to is that you and your dh made a couple of choices. One was to be financially responsible and not use credit to buy wants instead of needs (and it is really frustrating to have to use credit to buy basic needs); and you and dh have decided that you will be a SAHM. Clearly, from what you say, you don't really regret either choice. What you have, I think, is a bit of envy for your acquaintances who seem to be free floaters with no thought of the future and little sense of responsibility. But if you could live that way, you would be.

As Crystal put it so well, being a grown up sucks some times. But think of the example you are and will be to your children - you are reaising people who will more than likely be responsible also. (I know that doesn't help much - but believe me, it will when your kids are grownups - and also finding out that being a grownup sucks some times.) It is a joy to me to hear from my sons thoughts that I worked very hard to pound into their heads, and see behavior that I know is based on what I tried to model and teach.

By Tarable on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 06:44 pm:

We are on a budget and it is rough sometimes, but no where near as rough as it was when I was making 20-25K a year and was a single mother of 2. At that time neither of my kids were in school and if I hadn't had a little help from friends and family I would have never made it. But I can look now and see how great we have it since DH has come into out lives and even tough I can't stay at home I am still very thankful for everything we have. We may have a tight budget but we have always found the way to get the things we need or want. I am very happy with our budget but it does cause problems with my DDs sometiems when they want the same things thier friends have and I tell them they will have to wait or it is not in the budget right now. Hopefully as they grow they will understand this more.
And I totally agree that "being a grown up sucks sometimes"

By Sandysmom on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 08:15 pm:

I am thankful to be able to stay home. I'm not really good at budgeting, but thankfully our mortgage isn't that much. $875.00, Not really bad for living in between Philly & Baltimore. We were blessed to be able to buy this house before the housing market got ridiculously high. We do have credit card debt which I am not happy about, but we are paying it off soon. It really does stink, though that we have very little after everything is paid off.

By Yjja123 on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 09:55 pm:

We live on a budget and my hubby makes 3 times what he used to. We put money into savings, college funds, and vacation savings. We have a mortgage and 2 car payments, no credit cards. It seems like even though we are bringing in more than ever, I still need to budget. Gas has gone up, groceries cost more, and our home owners insurance has sky rocketed (thanks to hurricanes).
My point is, most people (regardless of income) budget.

By Anonymous on Friday, May 26, 2006 - 10:06 pm:

Anon #2 here... :)

Of course I am thankful that I am at home. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I worked for a couple of years full time outside the home and I was the most miserable I had ever been. I was tired all the time, and cranky as a result. I was always coming home from work and working some more. My dh, on the other hand, could come home and sit on his tushe until dinner was ready. I was resentful that I had to work and that made everything that much worse.

Yes, we are guilty of refinancing our cc debt into our mortgage. We actually got lucky and got a lower interest rate than we had before with the original mortgage. But we were advised by people we trusted that it would be the best thing to do for us at the time. I was disgusted with how it was handled by the mortgage associate that we worked with. The refinanced mortgage amount was $7,000 more than what we needed to pay off our cc debt. We never asked him to do that and he never told us that was going to be the case until closing. Furthermore, if we didn't go through with the refinance, we would only have owed half of what we currently owe on our house.


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