"It takes enormous courage and belief to meet your destiny in life; you can see it so closely, and yet you still have to struggle toward it. Once you're aware of its existence, it's more a hard-fought objective than a preordained fact."
I had thought that I would be able to make all of the life-upgrades I was hoping to make this year. It would've been tight, but at the end of everything I would've been in no more debt than I currently am.
Things have changed.
I'm having to put off a lot of things so I can deal with an abrupt and profound budget short-fall on both the financial and time scales.
The important thing here is that everything will be okay in the long run even if it's not okay right now or for the next few months.
Things would've been easier during this time if my car hadn't just eaten up my savings, but it had to be fixed, and it should now run perfectly (or close to it) for the next 6-12 months. The savings being gone means no new furniture (beyond the table/chairs I picked up for really cheap on C-list). Luckily, I think James will be okay in his crib for a while longer.
I'm exploring options to try to earn more money through part-time jobs. I have two leads so far. I also have some jewelry that I made a while back that I can put on an Etsy site and I've finally got my workbench organized so that I can make more, which will be good until I run out of materials. Through these avenues, I should be able to make enough to keep the internet on in the apartment (which will be how I do one of the part-time jobs and how I keep the Etsy site updated) and to bring in a little to put towards our deficit.
I'm trying to find ways to lower our costs. I've already been clipping coupons and shopping on certain days to get good deals on food. I've got a Costco membership because buying in bulk is almost always cheaper in the long run than buying in other ways. It's just the up-front outlay that is problematic. I keep the AC turned up warm and have programmed it to be more efficient. I've learned to live without a lot of things. I'm learning to use up all of something before buying new. (This includes cutting tubes open and getting every last bit of toothpaste or whatever out.)
I think I've done as much budget trimming on my phone bill as I could, and my interest rates are as low as they can be with my credit cards. I called and redid my auto/renter's insurance stuff the other day and, though I wasn't able to get the amount lowered, am now getting much more service for the same price.
James and I have been eating breakfast out 1-2 times a week so that I can get him used to eating in public and to give me a break from cooking/ give us a way to socialize with others, but I'm prepared to give that up. I'm already cooking/ putting together all of our other meals, usually making 2 big batches of food each week with some smaller meals interspersed, then alternating leftovers through the week so we don't get bored and so we keep our nutrition up by eating diverse things. The only thing I won't cut is our (mostly) seasonal organic fruits/ veggies, but I'm thinking we may need to try the farmer's market approach rather than getting them at the grocery store. I need to do a closer cost-benefit analysis to determine if it's really a better way to do things or not. If anyone's already done that, let me know. :)
The cats are eating a cheaper food and less of it. (They're both a little overweight, so now they're eating only the daily recommended amount instead of what they'd like which is about a third more than that.) I'm not scrimping on their litter though... cheap litter is way more work, way more smell, and way worse for the environment.
I've got possessions I can try to sell. We're going to gear up for the next Mama Cents consignment sale. I was hoping to keep most of James' outgrown things for my sisters for whenever they get started on kids, but, as they say: "Les temps sont durs pour les rêveurs.", and it could be years before they get around to it. I'll look through my clothes/shoes again to see if there's anything that any of the resale clothing shops in town would take. I have a few furniture items that might sell for a few dollars on C-list too. I guess I'll go back through my books again. I hate selling my books. I dream of one day having enough bookshelves to put them all out but at this rate, by the time I have the excess money for more bookshelves, I won't need them... and I guess that'll work out. :)
I'm putting off some medical work I need, and also some that I wanted. (Among other things, I was supposed to have a surgery in September.) I'm not going to die without having any of those things done so it'll be okay to wait a while longer on it. I've got things I can do that'll make things easier on me in the meantime. Maybe we'll be in a better position next year. :)
I'm also hoping that we get a scholarship at our current daycare, the application period starts next month and the discount would go into effect in September. It would help. Another couple of handfuls of sand in our bucket. The other thing that could happen that would be good is if we finally got into UT's daycare because it's slightly less expensive than our current daycare.
I'm keeping my class for the fall. It's already paid for and in the grand scheme of things it's not going to make a huge financial difference, but not taking it now would negatively effect us a lot by setting me back another year. Taking this class now and continuing with classes in the spring/ summer/ etc. is the only way I'll have the pre-reqs done in time to apply to the program I want to be in in 2012. I'm on a five year plan starting in August. When I get done, James and I will be able to have a much better life. The sooner we get to that day, the sooner I can stop fearing for our future so much.
I'm holding on to my ACL pass for now, but will probably end up selling it. The whole festival is sold out and that bodes well for at least getting my money back on it... but my sadness at the thought of missing it AGAIN... is pretty intense.
Anyway, that's where I am so far. I have faith that we'll be okay even if it's ugly for a while. I mostly feel good about what I've done and what I'm doing so far. It's a hard time, but we're moving forward. I just wish I could sleep better. :)