So, how was your weekend? Good? Yes? That’s nice. So was mine.
Oh, I threw a tantrum last night.
Yeah, I had a total budget-based breakdown. I had a money matters meltdown. I had a frugally founded fit. It was epic. Maybe it was just that tantrums had been going around the house that day leaping from one kid to the next. Maybe they’re contagious. I’d like to say I fought it hard and it seemed inevitable.
It’s hard to make a change in habits and thinking and shift downward in your spending habits. It’s difficult to trim here, there, everywhere. I think it’s especially difficult when you feel as if the reduction is being forced on your by something out of your control like a reduction, or complete evaporation, of an income stream. But, it is really, really hard when you are low not just on income but time and energy too.
Let’s face it, I can probably wear the exact same wardrobe I own for at least another two years without buying anything to add to it. I get at least one gift of clothing a year, sometimes more, and I don’t really grow much in any given direction in a year. So it all fits and it’s all going to keep fitting more or less. So not the case with the kids. But I don’t have the freaking time or energy to get myself to a thrift store with enough regularity (i.e. ever) to guarantee good buys for them. So, the email lands in my inbox on Friday (following up on the flyer that went home on Wednesday– with their father– who never mentioned it to me) about how the Spring pictures are on Monday and kids should be dressed in Sunday best (no jeans) and I realize Eldest does not own a pair of pants that are not jeans. We don’t do Sunday best. We do Sunday poolside. All weekend, I gauge the availability of one relative or another to perhaps bribe them to please stay home with just two of the mutants so I can purchase said pants and maybe even replace the school shoes Eldest is now complaining about pinching his feet and he’s sporting a band-aid to prove it. No one. So Sunday at 9:00 PM I finally beg my grandmother to please come stay so I can go sans MutantEldest. I found the pants. Not on sale. I did not find the shoes. And it’s somewhere between where I’m figuring out the pants thing and giving up on finding the penny loafers he needs for school and instead looking at shoes for Daughter who is in need of some good casual shoes and/or sneakers, I start to feel the fit. It blew up in the bleach aisle.
I was shopping for bleach to replace the one my grandmother loaned me so that I could clear my drain– something else I kept postponing taking care of because I didn’t have bleach and I didn’t find it on sale and then it went on sale and I didn’t get a single damn chance to go buy it. But my shower is so clogged it’s threatening to overflow if I don’t fix the damn thing. So Abuela to the rescue with bleach (they always have bleach because they always have everything). I’m in Target looking to replace it. And I am actually doing the math on the Clorox that is on sale versus the generic Target brand and find the Target brand is eight cents cheaper than the brightly advertised Clorox sale and I start my fit about why on earth should I even care if it’s eight cents cheaper and this is just ridiculous that I’m tearing myself up over eight cents or even pants my son just freaking needs or shoes that he needs because his feet hurt or shoes that my daughter needs because she’s long outgrown and outworn the pairs that did fit and Baby is probably way overdue for some new shoes too given how fast the booger is growing not to mention how much his sneakers just reek of smelly feet no matter how many times I wash them and I’m not even trying to buy them semi-luxury items just some basic totally inexpensive reasonable things and I can’t just go and get them these items because Ex hasn’t paid me properly in three friggin months and thanks to that I’m in even more debt and besides who the heck’s going to watch the kids for me without making me feel guilty about it and why do people do this kind of nastiness to each other and total frigging meltdown that ended with me in the Taco Bell drive-thru. No tears, just tacos.
Stand down, Mutant. Accomplishments. Goals. Needs. Wants. And you stick that temper tantrum throwing two year old part of you into timeout to just cool it. It’s probably a good thing the tantrum hit when it did and not on Friday night with a full weekend of opportunities to show my budget how silly I thought it was.
Oh budget, I am sorry. I know, I swear I do, you’re trying to help me and not hurt me. And imagine my surprise when I walk into the office today and enter all of my spending from the weekend and look at my budgeted amounts and find…
I have a lot more room to breathe than I thought. I apparently had initially under-budgeted my categories not really sure Ex would give me a cent this month. Better safe than sorry and the tight numbers ingrained themselves into my brain. Of course, at this point Ex still hasn’t paid a dime but I’m sure he’ll pay something. And even if he only pays half what he’s promised, it’s still enough to cover me and roll over another few hundred dollars to next month to help buffer his financial shortcomings.
Just because something’s temporary, doesn’t mean it’s going to turn around soon. Temporary does not equal soon. Temporary simply means “not permanent”. This unreliable income stream is simply temporary and while driving me somewhat nuts, is also affording me many a learning opportunity. The most important of which is that my kids and I can count on me as a reliable provider. I can meet basic needs and more. Not only can I build a solid foundation for my family, I am working at ensuring a strong future.
So, fine. I threw my tantrum. I whined and moaned the whole “I don’t wanna doooooo this anymore” thing. I even treated myself to a couple of comfort meals (I really, really enjoy eating food I did not make myself). But ok, that’s it. We’re on target, let’s keep it that way. It’s March 14th and I’ve got $288 for the remaining 16 days (my fiscal months begin the last day of the month which is my payday).
P.S. Apparently, I’m not the only one with money moanings this Monday.
P.P.S. Someone actually found this blog by searching the phrase “Panties Princess”. Thoughts?