Because I want balance in my life…

**One of my main goals for this blog is to write honestly about my life on the off chance that somebody is struggling with the same thing. Today’s post is brutally honest, was hard for me to write, and I only wrote it because I’m praying that somebody will read it and think “I’m not alone”. Here’s to honesty…**

Wanna know the fun thing about blogging? You get to choose what you write about. Which means that this week, I wrote about my sister’s wedding, and sweet things that Zoe was doing, and pictures of her climbing instead of writing about how I was so stressed out I couldn’t sleep at night, or how I cried for the majority of Sunday evening, or how on Monday I ate a bowl of mint chocolate chip moose tracks ice cream for lunch with a side of chips and, of course, Diet Coke… because why the hell not? Granted, writing about Zoe is always more fun than writing about stress. And writing about my sister’s wedding is something I’ve wanted to do for years…so, I probably would’ve written those things anyways…it’s just, this week? It was a cover. Here’s the back story….

Do you remember when Brad and I had our “Come to Jesus” conversation about money in August? How we kinda freaked out because the bank account was so low, I was leaving to Michigan, and we realized that it wasn’t how much we were making it was how much we were spending that we were having a problem with? Do you remember those sexy spreadsheets that our friend made for us? And how we were going to “get this under control”?

Yeah….. about that……

We did freaking AWESOME for exactly one month. We felt good the whole month. There was no stress. Everything was great. And then, for some reason we just didn’t take cash out one week. And then the next week… We were still doing great with the spreadsheet, or Brad was doing great with it, but we were using our debit card. Then the spreadsheet was used less and less, and by the end of the second month we were right back where we started.

Stressed. Broke. Living paycheck to paycheck.

And that’s where we’ve been for the past couple months. Honestly, sometimes you just get so used to a situation that you don’t think it could ever/will ever change…and so you just accept it. {That applies to far more things in life than just money} A few days before Jessica’s wedding I asked Brad to check our account and tell me how we were doing, and how we were looking going into the wedding. Weddings, as we all know, are expensive and not just for the bride…but for everybody involved. Brad told me the figure, it was in a solidly comfortable place, I don’t remember us talking about having to pay any bills with that money, and I had just shy of $200 saved up in my pickle jar.

In my mind, I was footloose and fancy free. Brad, I noticed, was acting pretty stressed out about money. I couldn’t understand it for the life of me. Here’s what Brad knew that I didn’t know…. he’d used 2/3 of the money in the account to pay bills, and I was swiping our card without a care in the world. {On what, I can hardly even remember now…which is how it always is}. I splurged on things I would never allow myself to splurge on because I could. My nails, for example. God, how I wish I hadn’t splurged on the shellac. I can’t tell you how many times in the last week I’ve looked at my nails and thought, “Was it worth it, Rebecca, was it really worth it?” The answer, every time, is “no”.

And so, I spent 2 days in blissful ignorance…right up until Saturday morning when I looked at our bank account as an after-thought. I honestly haven’t seen a bank account that low since my college years. I’ve never seen it that low when I had a baby to take care of. I can’t even begin to describe to you the stress that I felt for the rest of the week. Especially because I know that it’s my fault. I can’t tell you how many times I looked in my cabinets checking to make sure that we had enough food. Granted, my husband is a great shopper, and always keeps our pantries {for the most part} stocked… so we weren’t anywhere near going hungry…nor did we even have to get “creative” with meals. We had plenty. We had gas in our cars, and plenty of food in our cupboards, not to mention that our entire family lives in the same town as us…so it’s not like we were destitute. But still?

Holy.Freaking.Crap.

So… we had another “Come to Jesus” moment. Brad has never seen me this shaken by money. I can’t remember every being this shaken about money. I can’t imagine how mother’s do it who have to live in this reality for months and years on end. My daughter was never in need, and I still couldn’t sleep at night. Because this was really just an act of foolishness on my part, I refused to ask for help. My mom called me on Sunday and I had to get off the phone quickly because I’d been crying for a couple hours at that point and she would ask me what was wrong…and then I would tell her…and then she would fix it. My mother, God bless her, is a fixer. She has fixed my problems so many times in my life I can’t even begin to tell you…and I’m so incredibly grateful for it. In fact, when we got off the phone I texted her to apologize for my shortness and just said that it was a miscommunication between Brad and myself… nothing major… all the truth. She said “I just wish I could fix it for you”. I can’t even tell you how tempted I was to ask for help.

But then I wouldn’t have learned anything

Brad and I were forced to lay out the bare bones of our spending habits, our thinking patterns about money, our goals, our fears, our hopes, our frustrations, why we spend the way we do, how we process what we’re spending… things we never would have talked about. Brad was able to come to terms with my need for him to lead in this area, with my need for him to say “no” to me. Do you know how hard that’s going to be for him? Brad almost never tells me “no”. He’s going to have to.

Today is payday. Today I can breathe again. Today we have another chance to get off this roller coaster in the area of finances. Today we’re going to pick ourselves up, dusts ourselves off, and declare that there will be success in this area of life. Today we get a fresh start….

Happy Thursday Ya’ll

PS. On the upside of being flat broke I learned that, if need be, I can only spend $4 over the period of 4 days. That’s pretty incredible, if I do say so myself.

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9 responses to “Because I want balance in my life…

  1. Love how open you are…keep it real girl, Always:) Love you!

  2. Thomas and I had that same moment a few months after Kaylee was born. But I am the one spending left and right, and he almost never spends a dime. Just let me tell you, after a full year of tracking every penny “we” ( I ) spent in Excel, my spending habits are way different. And the cookie jar allotment every month definitely makes you feel better after you’ve been on top of it for a while. 🙂 You can do it!!

  3. Great post! You’re not alone & I love your honesty.

  4. I no the feeling! This is my life. We’re always flat broke 😦 part of it is I’ve yet to find a job making more than $8/hour ever and right now I’m not working at all 😦 budgeting sucks. I think with debit cards it makes things harder than in the past when you ALWAYS had to go to the bank to get money now you don’t even need to go to the bank to get money you can just swipe the card.

  5. We’re right there too. Don’t worry. You’re definitely not alone.

  6. I really appreciate your honesty. The first step of change is to admit it and now you truly faced it! We’ve been in the same situation since my daughter was born 9 months ago and I quit my job to stay home (which was our plan). It’s been really tough finding out how much money we were eating, literally. I’ve had to make MAJOR efforts not to rely on grabbing food while out and about, and turning down dinner invites with friends. Instead, I make sandwiches and take with me if I’m going out around lunch time and cook every night. It’s hard, but has a really rewarding feeling knowing you did it!

  7. Pingback: Week of Thanksgiving: Day 1 | Confessions of a Reluctant Housewife

  8. Thank you for the honesty. I think money is a really tough issue for everyone and it somehow becomes this GIGANTIC thing when a baby is born. i was never too worried about it until the day I got pregnant. Now I am always thinking about it. I know I said this to you before but Mint is a great tool – mint.com

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