Measured in Stuff

I’m feeling a little guilty: guilty for measuring success in stuff. I look at all the stuff we don’t have and feel bad. I look at other people’s blogs (or hear people in real life) talking about getting keys to their first house, or a new vehicle, or a trip to Cuba and I feel sad.

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Matt and I have never gone on vacation together. Sure, we spent two nights in a hotel for our “honeymoon”, but it didn’t really feel like a vacation. Each day, we drove back into town to see Nolan and make sure everything was okay with him. Which, you know, was fine then – it was my choice to check in on him so much. I’m really pinning for a weekend away from the kids, just the two of us.

We need to save for a new car, but in order to save for a new car…you need to have, well, money to save. And we’re working on that, but we’re also trying to pay off debt. As for house ownership? Well…that’s a goal that feels a billion light-years away. We just need to pay off our consumers debt (which grows daily, go figure), start investing in a retirement fund, and save about 17 grand. Oh, and Matt needs to be working somewhere for 3 months, past the probationary period.

Right now, we’re kind of stuck. Matt is looking for work down south as actively as he can, but it’s hard when he’s up North. He has resigned to start looking for work in town, just to get out of the house and make some money. But no matter what, we’re on a fixed income because of my disability. They make sure we’ll have the same amount of money each month, no matter what. Which is good, for when Matt isn’t working (like now), but saving is kind of…well, impossible. So is paying off debt.

I want to be down south so bad, so that we can just try and move forward and towards something. So that Matt can look more actively for a full-time job with benefits. I want to move to a cheaper place, a smaller place and start fresh again. Maybe do it right this time. I feel like we make the same mistakes over and over again. I feel like we reach higher than we should, you know? Like…moving here was an overreach and it’s on my shoulders because I had to have a bigger place. We needed “room” for the baby. Such a weak excuse, isn’t it? A baby doesn’t need a lot of room. I think I was just stuck on the bigger is better mindset. A lot of my friends were getting keys to their first homes, and there we were in a tiny two bedroom apartment. I guess I just wanted to feel like we had at least accomplished enough to rent a bigger place.

Well, a few things are going to change. When we move, we’ll be moving into a more affordable place. We will not have cable TV. We plan on getting Netflix, and YMCA memberships. We’ll keep the Internet but only because I’m planning on doing some freelance writing projects, and because blogging keeps Mommy sane 😉 Not to mention, I’m pretty sure you need the net to stream Netflix. We already don’t have home phone services because we have cell phones, so we’ll be sticking with that.

My goal is to really learn how to live within our means. To only have what we can actually afford. I’m tried of the juggling act of trying to pay “the important” bills first, and then little bits of the other bills. We’re not getting ahead doing this and we’re just stressing ourselves out. So if you have any tips on living within your means, please feel free to share them!

I’m excited to get a memebership at the Y, I think not having cable will really push me to stick to a really detailed schedule. I’m not sure what the hours are like at the EYC down south, but we’ll be able to have tons of play dates and anytime we don’t have anything “scheduled,” we could always go swimming at the Y! 

Also, Cristy gave me a really fantastic tip yesterday. I was complaining about how I wish I had the money to enroll Nolan in gymnastics and she told me that any family that makes less than 35 grand a year is entitled to a 10% discount when it comes to organized sports and activities, so that your kids can still do fun things, even if you can’t afford it. You just need that pink form that came in the mail from the Government stating what you got for the baby bonus. So, I’m going to find that and then we’re going to enroll Nolan in gymnastics and soccer.

Not to mention, I’m really itching to go to school. I love being a stay-at-home mama, but I so wish I could exercise my brain some way! Every time things get tight around here (so, basically every day), I kick myself for not having finished my college education, for not having pursued what I wanted to do sooner. But I made a promise to Archer that I would wait until he is at least two years old (or nearing it) to take a full-time program.

However, I want to take some online classes, and I’m hoping to get started soon. I’m looking at taking Sociology Introduction, Complex Family Dynamics and Case Management for Mental Health. I’ve always been interested in sociology (the study of people and how they interact in various social groups) and I think learning about complex family dynamics would help me better understand myself, my family, and what I’ve been through in the past year with my mom. Case Management for Mental Health just sounds useful, especially if I want to take Social Work in college one day. They even have a Psychology Introduction online class I could take! The only bummer part is that these online classes aren’t offered whenever/wherever, like Case Management for Mental Health, Complex Family Dynamics and Psychology are only offered from March-June. Sociology is the only class that’s offered from May-August or July-October. So, that sucks and I’ll probably miss the boat on those other classes but still, at least I have options for online courses that interest me. They change it up often too, so I just have to keep my eyes peeled for writing courses too.

I know I’ll feel better once we move, downsize on like everything and learn how to live within our means successfully. I also am working on figuring out a way to contribute more financially by pursing freelance writing projects, so if you have any advice on how to go about freelance writing, feel free to offer up suggestions!

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in complaining, I don't really know, random, stuff, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Measured in Stuff

  1. natasha says:

    Have you heard about the canadian tire jumpstart program? It gives kids opportunities to play organized sports and will give 700? Per yr towards it depending on your income. Can't hurt to check it out. I always like to take advantage of resources available. 🙂 & I go to the eyc in newcastle frequently, so whenever u move down I could let u know about the programs & introduce you to the girls. They have a lot of programs in the newcastle rec centre (pool). Can't wait til ur closer!

  2. jessi ♥ says:

    That sounds awesome Natasha! Thanks, I look into that jumpstart program. And I can't wait either!!!

  3. tierney says:

    Not having cable would make me a whole lot more productive, that's for sure! As for online classes, that's a good idea! I took some when I was in high school & had my surgeries. My only suggestion would be to take one at a time until you get into it. It's super hard to self-motivate & keep on task. I'm a Sociology major at McMaster University, so if you need a study buddy I may come in handy. Good luck!

    Ps. I take it you re-considered real estate??

  4. Oh girl…I think this is everyone. No matter how much we have, we always want more. This time last year I just really wanted some extra money to be able to go out for dinner with my husband once every three months. Or to take my kids to the zoo before they were 12. Now that we do have a tad extra all I want is to be able to save the money to take them to Disneyworld one day. I think it's just in human nature to want want want. And it's in our hearts as mothers to want our children to have have have.

    Remember you also had to remind me…a lot of people go into debt to do the major things. At least on the rare occasion that people like you and me get to do something extreme like, go to Cuba (haha, I hope I get there before I die) we'll do it without putting it on our credit cards. And I don't mean that as an insult or judgement towards the people who do choose to treat themselves that way, I'm just saying that even the people who do all of those exciting things aren't rolling in the dough.

    Your goals are most definitely NOT a billion light years away. Home ownership is not as complicated and hard to achieve as you think (you don't need to save $17 000 or even $5 000). You already know what our financial situation was a year ago and how far we've come. Matt just needs to find the right job, and he will. He's trying hard and you're both open to relocating so it's just a matter of time. I know that doesn't exactly help right now I'm just trying to instill a little hope. All of the things you want are absolutely attainable, so don't have self doubt.

    From the bottom of my heart, I wish your family the very best!

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