Sharon at Musings from a Midlife Mom has been on a quest to “spend less and live more” and this month she is embarking on a No-Spend Month. I don’t know that I’d call it that exactly (because you DO spend just on an a very limited basis), but it’s definitely like what I did last July when I embarked on my Spending Diet. I’ve decided to join her. I think this might be pretty useful to do every six months or so and my life right now is pretty much requiring it. So, in case Ex does have money for me this month, I’ll be in a better position to manage that money. Last month, on top of bills, I spent $1,220. This includes food in all of its forms, gas, diapers, clothes, home, and miscellaneous expenses. I’ve looked and hard where that money has gone and have budgeted myself $670 this month. This is almost a 50% cut. Both kids have a field trip and a fundraiser this month, as well as Valentine’s Day. I also need to change the oil in my car.
If Ex gives me the rest of January’s child support and all of February’s, I’ll have $1,700 at the end of the month. The sad part? Not a penny of it can go towards my debt. It all needs to go into two savings– mini emergency fund and registration fees for the kids’ school. My mom helps me go to the private school she teaches at. The only requirement is I pay the annual registration fee. This year, it will be about $2,700. We were debating until just last month whether or not the kids would go back this year and I was pretty sure they wouldn’t. But, we’ve decided that yes, they will, and now I’m scrambling to put together the $2,700 registration fee.
I’m insanely frustrated, truth be told. I feel like a child being supported by my parents still. I feel like every time a plan starts to form and I can see the light at the end of a tunnel, I’m dragged ten, twenty, fifty steps back into a bigger and bigger hole. This month, one of the credit card payments I scheduled didn’t take. I don’t know why. I even wrote it in my ledger as I’d paid it. But it never went. So, I’m late now. And Ex bounced our car insurance payment. One more thing I can’t get fixed until we’re divorced– something I took way too long to get around to doing and here I am paying for it weekly it seems.
I don’t count on tax refunds. I’ve been burned by the IRS too many times to see a refund as a sure thing the way so many around me seem to do. If it does happen, it’ll go to the registration fees before anything else. This is an annual expense and wouldn’t be such a big deal if I wasn’t a year behind. At least this year, my daycare costs will disappear when the youngest starts so saving for this annual expense which will be much easier.
I know what financial independence means. I know what that looks like for me. I want it. And I work at it. And I get nowhere. Last week, I got together the paperwork on the foreclosure we had so I could list it as a contingent liability on our divorce settlement. If Ex continues on the path he’s on, the chances that, if the bank will seek retribution, it will be against me and me alone are higher ever year. Knowing that I may have to declare bankruptcy one day makes all of this seem completely pointless. All of my financial goals seem to be completely sidetracked right now and are downright endangered. This drives me wild inside.
I had to take two sick days in January– both for my son despite the fact I’ve been wrestling with a cold for over a week now and haven’t been able to take any time to get myself whole. I feel absolutely bi-polar– full of energy and momentum and motivation on my best days and ready to do nothing but sleep a thousand years on my worst days. They’re pretty equal in their occurrence.
I finished re-reading Karen Kingston’s Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui this weekend. I took it out from the library again, feeling the need for a jolt. Here are some of the words that stood out to me:
“Clutter accumulates when energy stagnates, and energy stagnates when clutter accumulates.”
“When you care for your home by looking after it, you are also loving and respecting yourself.”
“Every choice you make is a right choice. What is really important is not the choice but the reason why you make it. Any choice made from fear is a disempowering choice.”
“Realize that every up-set is a set-up. What this means is that everything our lower emotion gets upset about is a situation that our Higher Self has set up to get our attention because smoething needs to change.”
There was also something along the lines of “what you resist persists and, likewise, when you stop resisting, it stops persisting” but I didn’t write that one down and can’t find it. She also talks about replacing the word “should” with “could” and “can’t” with “won’t” for more empowering and personal accountability.
These are gaps in my life. I’m working on it. It all ties together– the money, the house, the job, the kids, the friendships, the family, the everything. I complain and moan much too much and seem to have displaced a lot of confidence in myself. It is a building process, confidence. I’ve talked about it before and it still amazes me how difficult it is and how long it takes. Does it ever end, really? Maybe not. Taking care of yourself is a life-long process, and confidence is a part of that. It is overwhelming when you sit and think of your life as the truest reflection of you. What is it saying? Your physical appearance, your home, your relationships. What are you putting thought and consideration into? It’s overwhelming if you’ve neglected so much of it as I have. But, you just start. And you start over. Just because it’s easier every time you do something, doesn’t mean it’s finally just plain easy. Things progress from extremely dificult to very hard to quite difficult to somewhat painful and so on and so forth. It’s a long way to easy breezy.
These are things I want to remember. Focus and filter. Why do I want to reduce clutter? Because I want everything and everyone in my life to be something I love. It’s what I deserve. It’s what we all deserve. By the way, I’ve begun the classic “Your Money or Your Life” and am tearing through books this year. I’ve created a page to track their demise 🙂