I’ve started a couple of posts here only to abandon them mid-draft. I haven’t felt much like writing.
So, I have moderate-almost severe obstructive sleep apnea. I got a cpap machine last week. Instead of sleeping 12-14-15 hours a night, I am now sleeping 7-10 and feeling much better in general. The jury is still out but I think the cpap may make losing weight easier, as well. It has helped with the depression, for sure.
I’ve been getting up when the boys get ready for school and several mornings I have taken Oliver to school because he likes to get there earlier than Porter and Liam are ready to leave the house. I am focusing on discipline over motivation.
Eunie, Eunie, Eunie…. she has been a big focus for us this past couple of weeks. She had a dental where they removed a couple of teeth and she has recovered fine from that. But she also had several growths removed– from her neck, chest, and leg. She got the staples out from her incisions on Sunday, but she split the incision on her neck, which meant we switched from using her collar to her harness. She definitely prefers walking with the harness. I think she likes it because it means she has nothing on her when she is in the house. She is starting to be more playful and loving toward us. I hope it means she is starting to feel more at home.
I posted on Facebook that I was going to start seriously posting about finances in an effort to curb spending.
Yeah, about that.
So, ten+ years ago, my spending was out of control. We didn’t know how to budget– I’d for sure never been taught about budgeting aside from a rudimentary 1-lesson fake budget in college that meant nothing at the time because I wasn’t instructed to apply it to my personal circumstances.
I have always blamed myself for our having to declare bankruptcy in 2012, but Jared says my spending wasn’t the problem. The fact that I was unable to care for the kids due to my mental health circumstances, meaning we had to place two children under the age of 6 in daycare full-time, was the problem. Our wonderful friends who ran the daycare were as flexible with us as they could be, but ultimately, daycare bills went onto the credit cards.
It wasn’t just the financial side; these years were filled with deep shame for me. What kind of mother was I that I couldn’t care for my children? What was really wrong with me that I couldn’t care for them at home during the day? If I couldn’t care for the kids and I couldn’t go out and make a living to contribute to the household, what in the world was I doing with my life? What was my purpose?
Thankfully, Jared just wanted to love me. That love probably saved me in those years because there were some very dark days.
At the time, I just threw my hands up and told myself I wasn’t good with babies and toddlers and that they were better off at the daycare. At the time, these things were true. I was working a lot of stuff out, dealing with a wonk thyroid as yet undiscovered, mostly in a bad therapy situation, apparently dealing with undiagnosed sleep apnea, and hadn’t found the psych medications that worked for me yet. I was going from being an extremely spoiled only child thrust into the role of mother to two, and I didn’t take on that role gracefully at all. The big boys benefitted from the stability of a loving situation that was like family at daycare. I do not regret that decision one little bit.
Fast forward to July of 2013, and I find out I’m pregnant. I panicked and I’m pretty sure Jared held his cool publicly but wasn’t sure for real– what the hell would happen?
Thankfully, we found out about my thyroid issues shortly after Oliver was born. I was followed closely by my psychiatrist the entire pregnancy, started my psych meds the day Oliver was born, and all was well. Jared resumed night duty one last time so I could be a normal person during the day, and Oliver and I did just fine by ourselves during the day. I love all of my children equally, but the experience of keeping Oliver at home during his baby and toddler years was so therapeutic and validating. I had the mothering instinct in me after all.
So, no full-time daycare for O, just some drop-in days. And no fear of out of control credit card spending that we couldn’t manage due to daycare bills from an essentially one-income household.
We took Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey literally while we were in bankruptcy, before it was even discharged. The idea of a zero-based budget was so foreign, so scary to me. Jared discovered You Need a Budget, or YNAB, at roughly the same time. I started logging every last penny we spent in YNAB in late 2012 and have never, ever looked back. At the time, it was standalone software. It has since become subscription-based and I locked in a lifetime rate when they first went subscription. YNAB has at least taught me to see where our money is going.
Financial Peace taught zero-based budgeting but frankly, it scared the hell out of me and put me in a bad place mentally in relation to credit use and debt. Jared doesn’t buy into Dave Ramsey and despite the fact that I was brainwashed into buying into it, Jared is working on changing my mindset currently. That’s not to say that we want to carry debt or be irresponsible. But for starters, $1,000 is not enough of an emergency fund for homeowners who are a family of five. I cannot tell you how many times over the past eight or nine years I have drained that $1,000 emergency fund in literally two days due to unforeseen expenses. I mean, the alternative would have been terrible, but that minimum emergency fund should be at least $5,000 in our case.
Also– saving while paying down debt should be a higher priority, which Dave Ramsey disagrees with. The tactic we are currently taking is to refinance all our debt into lower interest rates, to save money while we pay down debt AND save. This wasn’t an option for us in 2012 because our credit scores were trash. But this year, we have refinanced the house into 2.25% for 20 years, and we are currently in the process of refinancing my van from a 5.16% loan into a 2.24% loan for roughly the same 3 year term left. Our house payment is higher than before but it is a real mental load off to know that we will have the whole thing paid off in 20 years AND watching the principal go down faster every month is a real esteem boost. The van refinance, though, will see us having about $160 extra to save or put toward other debt monthly.
I said something in a Facebook post about embarrassing myself out of spending, but my spending isn’t out of control when I am happy and busy. I only shop when I am bored and depressed. The boredom and depression is the real issue. I am driven and determined in our finances when life is going well in my world. And even then, my spending is really only an ancillary issue (at least now that I’ve gotten the kinks worked out of my photo system). We can afford for me to go to Gallery Row every day of the week to get out of the house if it means I don’t go buying randomness other times.
The real drawback to us being able to really sock away savings is the fact that we currently have two car payments. I cannot regret those decisions at the time, but we will likely do whatever we have to do to only have one car payment at the time for Jared and myself. It may be that we have other car payments once the boys are driving age, though Porter will inherit Jared’s car just about the time it is paid off, so there’s that.
That’s all for now. Oh, and I am slightly obsessed with my new Showit blog.