(not my squad, but CHS cheerleaders on a firetruck for a parade, just like we did back in the day)
And then came my third and final step dad, who is an amazing man. He has helped with everything since I was 18, and I do mean everything. But still, him having to help indicates that I was always broke. At 24 I had Isaac, still hadn't finished college, and the story could go on forever. But the short of it is, I was so broke that I never made enough to pay the bills, so too often I would say to myself "you can't pay the gas bill, so you might as well go ahead and get those cute shoes, you can afford those". What a horrible web I made for myself.
But jump forward 10 years and I met the love of my life, who had a completely different perspective. He had no idea how much anything cost, because it was never an issue. Money was always there. He had a great step dad who was very successful in his industry and took great care of them. He was the kid with the cool car and the soccer trips to Europe. I was the kids working 30 hrs a week, while in high school, trying to help pay the bills. We were so very different. I am certain the idea of combining bank accounts scared the crap out of him, as it did me. I wanted control over my money and the amount of shoes I had. By that time, I was making good money, and living with my parents, so again, for all outside appearances I looked golden. Fancy car, great suits, amazing job. But still zero in savings or retirement or an ESA. Rob's desire to put money in savings excited him as much as a new handbag excited me, and that is a little scary. But together we made good money, so no worries. Until I had to leave my job, I uncovered things that the FBI has only recently discovered and the company and the owners, one of whom was in our wedding, are in trouble to the amount of double digit millions... So it was good I left, but horrible for our finances, which we still didn't agree on.
We survived and after a year, we realized how much stronger we had become through that struggle, although not one we would want to repeat. Rob continued to excel in his company and my job continued to decline. So with lots of prayer and a lot of nervousness, I resigned. Now again, we were living on just his salary. But we did great. We have been doing Dave Ramsey's written budget for at least 2 years now. Certain months were tight, and Rob would get a little grumpy, but we always made it. You must remember, I have lived the life of "poor", he has never! So he has a right to get grumpy, he is scared out of his goard!
Regardless, we have done well. He has been able to take great care of us. But this month starts his new compensation package, which is heavily weighted on the end of the year (which worked before, because I made good money). But without me working, it is a different story. So this weekend the Feb written budget was done, just like Dave Ramsey says. We know where every penny is going. And I do mean every penny. Because for the first time since 2008, we don't have enough pennies. In fact we are short a lot of pennies. And not due to waste, we are short pennies if I don't go to the grocery store. Typically we spend about $600 a month in groceries for the 5 of us. This month, $0 is allotted. Now I am scared! I am grateful that during the good times we started food storage. But my family looks to me for exciting meals at least a few times a week and I don't know how many ways I can cook corn, pasta or tuna? I don't even think the kids like tuna, but we have a lot because it is protein that stores well!
I have only one thing that is keeping me sane, and that is my faith in the Lord. Before I left my job and tried to get pregnant, I prayed a lot. I went to the temple, to pray some more. And I am certain that the Lord gave me a thumbs up, believe me, he has given me plenty of thumbs down! As I have prayed continuously all weekend, I have had overwhelming peace. I have no clue how we will make it. From the outside we look like a pretty wealthy family. We have nice cars and a beautiful 3,500 sq foot home. And I have a husband who believes you don't charge things, which is why our dining room sat empty for 3 years! So I am grateful that in our budget we aren't paying a ton of debt, the only debt we have of course is mine...my car and student loan. He brought nothing but savings to the marriage, I on the other hand brought nothing but debt. But not credit cards or unsecured loans. I had the debt that I thought was normal, car and school.
Anyway, that is where I am today. Broke! I can't spend a penny! I have tickets to tonights Predators game (free from an old co-worker) and Rob asked if I was packing his dinner. How do you sneak that in through security?
I am praying that this trial will bring us closer together, and not tear us apart. No money can be a horrible thing! And cause lots of anger to emerge. First thought is that I should go to work, but with a baby due in a few months, I could only wait tables, and I have been so sick, that I am totally unreliable! I would ruin my reputation at the restaurant I love. So I don't really think that is an option. I am trying to sell anything I don't use on ebay... Not sure if that will work either... And I am saying a lot of prayers!
I know that I am not alone. And I also know that I am extremely fortunate! So many people have been desperate and out of work for a year or more since the recession began. I just wonder, how do they make it? How do you stay sane? How do you decide what to pay and what not to pay?? I don't have enough money to pay all the bills, although I have zero allotted for groceries, I have to buy milk, bread and sandwich meat for lunches right??? I just need a little guidance...
All I can say is that I am grateful for all my husband has taught me about the value of money! But the flip side is I can't sleep, I am so worried about what to do for dinner and lunch!
So again, any advice you have would be great. I know I am not alone, and I pray for you who are struggling every day! Thank goodness, I did that before (part of being in a financially poor ward I guess), but now I am truly understanding your pain. And for those of you still holding strong, keep up the great work! And save some, you just never know when you will need it!