19 January 2009

Maintaining excitement over the long haul

When I started this blog, I didn't really know how it would work out. Would I stick to it? Would I really be able to pay off some debt? Would it be incredibly difficult, or surprisingly easy? There were birthday parties to worry about, Christmas gifts to save for, vacations to hope for and Target to stay away from.

But now, 12 months later, I am still only 1/5th of the way to my goal, and short of marrying a millionaire or winning the lottery, the rate with which I'm paying things off isn't really going to increase. Which, unfortunately, leads me to believe that I won't be debt free for 3-4 more years, and that's not even counting my massive student loan.

This is a sobering and depressing thought.

Realistically, unless I remarry or switch careers, as a single mother and a librarian, I will never be rich. I will probably always struggle to some extent- when the credit cards are gone, the student loans will remain, if I ever do buy a house there will be a mortgage and only one income to pay it, then my children will be old enough for college and there will be that to deal with, and then retirement...

However, I think the point is that this is not what life is about. LIFE IS NOT ABOUT HAVING THINGS. It is not about furnishing your home with Pottery Barn furniture or driving a new car or taking vacations at island resorts. I had lunch with another librarian on Friday and we were talking about our children. Hers were grown, in their mid-thirties. And she said to me, "I love my children, I love the adults that they have become, but if I could just get one hour back with them when they were the age your children are (2 and 4), I'd give anything for that." And I went home, and I got frustrated with them because they weren't brushing their teeth or something equally stupid, and I thought about what she had said, and I stopped feeling frustrated immediately.

I will probably always struggle with financial things, but after all we've been through, I can honestly say that I am already rich.


GFCF Mommy Octopus AKA Hungry Mommy said...

What you wrote reminded me of a conversation I recently had with my 15 year old daughter. I am 34 and had her young (you do the math). I married her dad and things were great for a little while and then he started doing things that most EX-HUSBANDS do in order to gain his status from husband to EX-HUSBAND.

I worked my butt off for several years and never really asked for child support. It was a personal pride issue I had with him. I never judge other women who do ask for it. It is a man's responsibility to help provide for his children. But with my ex, it was a whole different story. He would pitch in here and there, but I never asked for a myriad of reasons.

I digress.

I worked two jobs and went to college full-time. I worked the two part-time jobs during the day and evenings and attended college full-time on my evenings off. I rarely saw my daughter (she was a toddler then) and we lived in our own apartment. Times were tough and I cut sooooooo many corners and was the most frugal lady you could EVER meet. But my daughter never went without. I had a weekly grocery budget of $30 and we managed.

My life is far different than that now. I am married, with a career, and a home. We get along great.

After all of that and this, my daughter said that she missed apartment life. I asked her why, we don't struggle like we used to. She said that she was in awe of what her and I were able to accomplish together while we were so short and tight on money. She had fun! She never had the fancy toys back then, nor the fancy clothes, but she said she had fun!

I'm sure your boys are proud of you for doing what you have done and loving them every step of the way. You are doing an awesome job and teaching them well about living and living frugally.

I promise you, they will thank you someday!

BabiesandBargains said...

I have to say...I was raised by a single mother...We were ALWAYS very poor. Some years we did not have Christmas, never had birthday parties, never had the hot new toy, sometimes had a working car. I can say it made me such a better person. My husband was given everything and thought life was daisies until I met him. I think you said it best when you said you are rich...Your children will love you and the raising that they have had. Im sure you will instill AWESOME financial lessons...However if you do meet a millionaire or find a money tree please let me know :)

That Girl said...

Thanks for that reminder! I am a former single mom and think you are doing a great job!!

crusaderservices said...

This is a system in which one must fall past due on their unsecured debts' while saving up the required cash on the side, to then negotiate a one time settlement, at a much lowered sum from the balance owed.

Become Debt Free

Looking For Freedom... said...

It's so easy to get wrapped up in the idea that we need certain things: Pottery Barn furniture, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors in almost every room, cushy carpeting in every other room, $4 coffee... I never thought of myself as materialistic, but I must admit, until this economic crisis hit, I was operating under the idea that I should be able to have these things if I want them.

I'm glad I'm learning to better appreciate what I have right now, and now worry about what I don't have.