This summer we went $2500 in the hole.
Which means we’re $2500 behind where we want to be.
You know the saying, “There are only two things in life that are certain: death & taxes”?
Well I would add to that, a third: “unexpected” expenses. They’re always going to come up, they’re always going to be there.
Another truth I’ve discovered is that once kids are in the mix, there tend to be even more unexpected expenses (especially as they get older). Maybe not so much “unexpected” as much as, oh, I didn’t realize the kids would need that, or that I should have budgeted for that.
Here’s an example.
I forgot to budget in school supplies, school clothes, PTA dues, things that a responsible/involved parent will pay for. So I scoured the house & got everything we already had at home, from pencils to kid scissors, old notebooks & paper, to bottles of glue & highlighters.
But there was still a good amount of other things we had to buy (kleenex, plastic bags, new crayons & notebooks). I shopped at Walmart, got the bare necessities & still spent around $60.
The kids needed bigger everything, so new pants, shorts, socks, shirts, underwear, shoes & all the rest were on the list of things to buy. I bought all of my stuff at Goodwill when I was in Washington (the downtown Seattle Goodwill is amazing, btw). I was able to get many items 50% off & between the Goodwill & Gap Outlet store clearance rack I got all the kids everything they needed.
Still, I ended up spending around $300. $300 that I hadn’t thought to put in the budget.
Another thing is we have a few things, non-negotiables if you will, that we want our kids to do.
For the boys, cub/boy scouts (which starts at 8) & for the girls dance. For both, sports (when they are 7) & piano (as soon as they can read).
Hyrum started cub scouts this summer & the uniform, books, etc. cost $125. That was a little bit of a shock to us. I know these things aren’t free, but I’ve never had a kid in scouts before, so I didn’t even think about the cost factor.
We figured we could maneuver things in our budget to make room for Amalia to do dance & the boys to do one sport in the fall & one sport in the spring. It’s a bit of a sacrifice to make it all work, but I feel it’s so important for the kids to have these experiences. And, of course, these things cost money.
For now there’s no money left for piano. But I do have piano books & a piano, so I’ll be doing my best to have the kids practice & learn as much as they can on their own until we’re out of debt & can afford lessons.
The real budget buster for us though, was that this summer, two things happened.
First. Since we bought a reliable car (one of the best purchases we ever made–it is a great car) that would actually make the trip to visit family in Washington, we decided to make the trip for a family reunion. Joseph’s graciously parents offered to help pay for gas.
The kids & I drove up in the beginning of July (Joseph joined us in August for the reunion) & we stayed the month with family & friends.
Even though we never stayed in a hotel (even on the 32 hour drive there or back) & I did my best to avoid eating out, the inevitable was, it cost more than anticipated. Sometimes we had to eat out, & there were day trips/excursions with family that cost money. The extra gas, the extra food expense, it all added up–to much more than we planned.
We don’t regret going up at all, but the cold hard facts are that traveling costs money. Sort of stating the obvious, I know. But for me it was eye-opening.
For us to eat on the road, we did a fair share of PB&J sandwiches & fruit/vegetables, but you can only do so much of that, & it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you just need the convenience of fast food. And trying to keep it vegan/vegetarian we were often stuck with Taco Bell & Subway. Just eating bare minimum stuff at restaurants, it still cost $20-$30 per meal. It was really hard for me, because I knew I could make the same meal (& it would taste better) at home for a fraction of that cost.
At times I felt like we were hemorrhaging money & there was nothing I could do about it. We had made the trip, we were up there, & I was doing the best I could to keep expenses low without being a complete miser about it.
Second. I got pregnant.
For the whole month of June I was rolling with morning sickness. And as typical of all my other pregnancies, though cannot be explained in any rational way, when I’m in this state, I can only eat fast food. Really. I can’t think about food too much, I definitely can’t eat anything I’ve cooked or that is been cooked in my kitchen. Or anything that’s healthy, or green.
I know, it’s weird, it’s frustrating, & it’s no fun.
So I ate whatever sounded good in the moment. Lots of crap, stuff that I won’t go into any detail here (but if you want to know more, check out this post from my last pregnancy, it was pretty much the same experience this time around.)
And for the first few weeks, when my morning sickness was just getting started, I would go to the store, roam the aisles & just look for things that sounded like they might taste good. And if it did, I bought it regardless of cost. Only to discover–as I did in other pregnancies–that this is a stupid way to go, since what sounds good today will not sound good tomorrow, which equals a lot of food that goes to waste. So imagine if you will, what this sort of behavior will do to a budget. (We spent $1600 on food in June.)
Well, duh, why didn’t you just stop eating out, you say.
I know, I’m telling you, there’s no rational explanation for this other than to say, you’ve just got to experience what I did (which I wouldn’t wish on anyone), & then you’ll know what I mean. When you have unrelenting morning sickness, the kind that glues you to your couch all day, & nothing sounds good (except maybe some french fries & a large orange juice from McDonald’s), then you will know what I mean.
My morning sickness continued until about week 19 (I’m 22 weeks), but around week 13 I no longer needed to eat out. In fact, it was like a switch was flipped, & instantly abhorred anything that came from a restaurant (thank heaven!).
So what are we doing to make up for all the extra money spent?
Find out in next post.
In the meantime, watch this short little video about how food is art, a beautiful celebration of the good things of the earth.
P.S. We’re having a boy.
We’re going to name him Tyndale William (pronounced like Kendal, except with a T).
We are thrilled.
P.S.S. Thank you for all your comments & emails from last post.
Your kind words truly mean so much to me.