I’m in the third month of my year-long Spending Fast with my family. Overall, it was a good month. My husband started a new temporary job, we paid off a credit card and I got in touch with some of my feelings regarding money and spending. My husband was let go from his full-time job last month, but it was in a career he realized he didn’t like, which is why he also was going to grad school. He actually graduated with a master’s degree in the same month he was fired.
Fortunately, he had a graduate assistantship. So that paid for his schooling and we didn’t have to add to our debt. He started looking for jobs in his new field and even has had a few interviews. Fingers crossed he will find something better (in salary and fulfillment) than the job from which he was fired. In the meantime, he started working at a nearby coffee shop to continue bringing in some money. His schedule is actually better and now we don’t need childcare for when I return to work. Our schedules work out that someone always will be home. That ends up being a huge savings!
I’m going to keep rolling with the positives about the situation. At his old job he would go to the building’s coffee shop every day. When we started the Spending Fast I was irritated he couldn’t give this up. He loves coffee and it brings him joy to take this five-minute break for a cup, plus he cut back on other spending. So we allowed this on our Need List. Now that he’s working at a coffee shop he gets a free pastry and drink every day. He was doing that already, but up until now it cost us about $100 per month! And he brings home a free pound of coffee every week!
A coffee shop job might not seem ideal compared to a professional, degree-required job, but right now it’s really working for him. With the coffee shop perks and not hiring childcare, we are somewhat close to where we were in our monthly income. And if I’m learning anything from this Spending Fast, it’s that money is not everything. If my husband is happy as a barista for the rest of his life, or if he does find the perfect job at a university working with students, as long as he is happy, that’s all that matters.
Despite losing work, we still ended up having extra money at the end of the month from my salary, my husband’s severance and his part-time work. We felt comfortable, even in this transitional time, paying off an entire credit card balance. The day we paid it off was amazing. I felt physically lighter and I only can imagine how much better it will be when we have absolutely no debt! It’s very motivating!
I had some emotional moments this month. You might remember my family moved in with my parents last fall. I’ve really felt good about the decision because it’s really helping us to save money and we still are paying rent to my parents. Plus, we’re a really close family. It’s been great being with them as an adult because we do have a lot of fun times! But bringing a new baby home to your parents’ house, instead of your own, isn’t the best feeling.
I’ve had a hard time thinking about that. If it weren’t for my poor choices (picking a very expensive college and taking out way too many loans while blowing any money I earned, even after college, on junk from Target, Amazon, etc. and then charging more of it) then I wouldn’t be in this situation. I’d have my own home with my husband and my boys.
I had a long conversation with my mom about it and she said I need to forgive myself. I don’t feel like I deserve forgiveness, because we are living in her house when she and my dad are supposed to be empty-nesters. My parents never have made me feel as though I’m failing and ruining their plans. I’ve been putting that pressure on myself.
Often all I can think about is money and how my mistakes have affected so many lives. I need to remember I’m still earning a good salary in my chosen field, I’m providing for my sons now and improving our financial situation for the future. I’m really trying daily to point out to myself all the positives.
This Spending Fast is quite a journey, and I feel as though I’m learning so much more than just how to spend my money.
Starting Debt: $159,253
Start SF Date: March 2016
Debt Paid Off Total: $10,115.51
Estimated SF End Date: March 2017
To see all of Annie’s Spending Fast journey posts click on her name at the top of the post, and to follow all of the Spending Fasters click here.
P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!
I love how you ended with the other lessons that this is teaching you on such a personal level. Kudos to you and your family — keep up the brave work!
So glad things are working out smoothly for you. I know I still struggle to forgive myself and all of the debt I accumulated, but without those poor decisions I made, I wouldn’t ever know the value of money, started a blog, etc. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!