Stuff

The car mishap has turned into the car saga. We still don’t have our car back and are now paying out of pocket for our rental car. They are hoping to have our car back to us by the 27th meaning that in addition the the $500 deductible we will be paying $240 for the car rental out of pocket. We tried to figure out if we could live car free for a week – in the end it wasn’t super practical unless we canceled everything we absolutely did not have to do. So paying for the car it is.

This means that our bad financial place is now worse. Not all of our bills will be paid this month – not even close. We’re living on credit cards that will be close to maxed when payday hits. The good news is we will be caught up next month and on top of that I think I can afford to get a haircut which is a big win right now. Credit card balances will remain but I tell myself what I always tell myself: Someday we won’t pay for daycare and will never have financial troubles again.

Except you and I both know that is not true. I can fix our current financial crisis by putting an extra $600 to bills next month. I can put an extra $600 to bills but I can’t ever find a way to save money? Why is that?

Stuff. The answer is stuff. We all have it, we all buy it. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Lesley and I used to have and buy ourselves more stuff but really don’t do a lot of that anymore. In general our stuff has gotten more expensive. While we used to buy random stuff at the thrift store now we buy cast iron griddles. So there’s that – We buy less, but fancier things. But the real killer? The kid. We buy the kid stuff.

In my head I know better. Child has so so many toys and his favorite? A set of measuring cups and a salad spinner. I know this is true about kids. I tell other people this is true about kids. Yet I still buy him toys. I try to tell myself it isn’t bad. I only buy him stuff on sale or used. I buy good quality brands. I resell stuff when we aren’t using it. But the reality is I still buy it.

Now I am not saying Gus has 9000 toys. If we counted outside toys and his kitchen we could fit all his stuff in the back of a pickup. If we didn’t count outside and kitchen it would all fit in a crib. He has more than he needs, yes. We have a box in his closet of future birthday/holiday toys I have gotten used or on clearance. We have an elaborate wooden dollhouse with furniture and other various accessories stores that he will get for Christmas – I spent around $100 on it. I will buy him something for his birthday (one of our favorite toy companies is coming out with a new barn this fall he will surely love) but then will probably grab something from the box so we keep holiday type stuff fairly simple. We’re trying to be better about rotating toys around some and we do get rid of stuff. Most of the stuff he has now are more for the next stage then now toys. I justify things however I can.

But it’s not just toys. Who can stop buying kids books? Who? Who doesn’t have favorite kid book authors? Who has that self control? I want to meet that person. (Again, we buy used.)

And then clothes. Look, my kid wears a lot of fancy kid clothes. We have a favorite kids clothing brand. I’ve been known to be appalled at the idea of him wearing carter’s when we are going to be with other people. I am a children’s clothes snob. I am not proud. We buy used or on great sales. But you know what? I way overbought long sleeve shirts and we just had a heat wave where I realized I under bought short sleeve shirts. So I got 5 shirts for $20 from the grocery store. And they are cute. I know this. I know he is cute in whatever. But still, I buy my freaking toddler fancy clothes. So many clothes.

I don’t know what portion of my budget this eats up. It honestly is what keeps me from budgeting well. Gus stuff and going out to eat are for sure our spending leaks and our ability to semi weather this financial crisis really proves that. It shows me that if I could get that better under control I could save more, pay off debt faster, and do more things. But I struggle so much with it and don’t know why. Do I feel guilty about working so buy Gus things? I know it is important to me that our house is fun – I want our house to be where Gus and his friends want to play. But realistically, we don’t do much of that. Most play dates in this town are during working hours so we don’t often have people over. I think some of it comes from his age – I don’t know what he will be into next so I want him to have a variety of stuff to explore? I’m not sure.

When we are all together we play outside or wherever we can run free. We read books. Toys rarely come out. I’m working on developing more activities we can do over the weekend. Structured things that we can spend a little time doing – painting or drawing, sensory play, ect. Our lives so rarely involve the stuff yet there it is. Why do we buy stuff? Why do we keep stuff? I value time. I value experiences. I’m trying hard to buy less but am so interested in what drives me to buy more.

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Posted on April 22, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I can so relate to this. Except it is Corrie who is the spender. It really hits home each year when we do our taxes and look at our W2 and go where did all of this money go?!? Each month I say I am going to budget and don’t. Corrie finds a super sale or something comes up or we eat out to many times. Then there is that daycare thing…UGH!! When you figure it out let me know and we can try and follow your lead. πŸ™‚

    • Oh god taxes are the worst. When i was in my early 20’s I used to think that if combined me and my partner made $50,000 we’d be so set and live super comfortably including no debt and vacations. HAHA young Emily.

  2. I’m guilty of this too. Books in particular drain my wallet, probably because I tell myself they’re educational so it’s okay. I’ve just realised that Oscar’s main toybox in the lounge room has a few puzzles and blocks stacked on top of it. It’s literally being used as a shelf! I can’t remember the last time he opened it up and actually played with the toys inside. He’s more interested in remote controls and the kitchen draws. You certainly aren’t alone in over buying things for your child. It’s incredibly difficult not to!

  3. I think you should unsubscribe or unfollow all of your shopping sites for a couple months, I bet that will cut down on the frivolous spending!
    When I first quit working and our money was super tight, we did that dorky envelop system where we budgeted every little thing and only used cash, it worked well.
    For me, shopping is sort of a hobby and a time waster, it’s hard to slow it down!

    • I did unfollow all but the two local ones so that helped-i dont buy much from national groups but it helps me not feel like I’m always shopping which is good. We also love going to the thrift store on a rainy day which wouldn’t be a big issue if it didn’t rain here so much…

  4. Also Lesley pushes the envelope system but I always end up using money from one envelope on something else and getting confused. 😐

    • Hehe, the whole point is that when that money is gone, it’s gone!

    • twomamasonebaby

      We do a limited envelope system and it works really well for us – we do it for gas money, food money, and for our dog walker. I really should do it for my monthly kid budget, too, but haven’t because it makes PayPal payments super difficult. But that would probably be a good thing.

  5. I get sucked in too – but find it true time & time again that the very best “toy” of all is nature. Regardless of whether it’s games they invent in the backyard with dirt & sticks & plants & water & rocks (and some buckets & scoopers & a few toy cars/trucks) or camping or taking a walk through the nature reserve that’s a block from our house. That being said, we fixed up our finished basement into a giant playroom. These kids have way more toys than they need, although their access to them is pretty limited in the summer.

    When G’s a little older, you might feel better toning it down on the book purchases and satisfied with borrowing them from the library instead. Baby/toddler-sturdy books are more compelling to buy because they can be kind of gross when used by many other baby/toddlers. But once they’re older and not destroying books and past the age when most toddlers mouth books, we’ve found for us that we’re much more content hoarding books from our nearby libraries than *needing every book we love right this moment to live forever with us*. Granted, we have huge library systems around here (10 within 10 mins of our house) but Eugene’s is probably great too, right? And don’t get me wrong, the compulsion never goes away entirely, but it’s easier to quell.

    I think you’re crazy about the clothes, but you have to do what makes you happy. πŸ˜‰ I can only justify spending $$$ on fancy pjs, because sleep time is the only time when my wild children don’t get filthy dirty. Otherwise, the only kid clothes that stay nice around here are the clothes we put away & forgot about & thus never got worn.

    As much as I try to be a minimalist(ish), the pull for stuff is real. When I can get it off of my radar, I’m a lot less tempted. CL and local swap sales are both a blessing and a curse.

  6. I hear ya! For us it’s not so much the stuff, although believe me there is a lot of stuff, as much as it’s the “do.” Every weekend it’s “what are we going to do?” Sure most stuff is free or inexpensive, but then it is the meals out, parking fees, and maybe a little something for the kid. Then there are the little weekend trips and vacations. You’d think we didn’t rack up thousands in vet bills that we are still paying off lol. But, we’re making memories I guess.

  7. JFulbright7987

    Do you have a Half Price Books near you? They have amazing clearance sections. We get the kids books for 1-2.00

  8. twomamasonebaby

    I struggle with all of those things, as you know. I’ve always been a shopper and instead of buying myself stuff, I just but Declan ALL the things – toys, clothes, and books. He actually does play with a fair amount of his toys so I don’t necessarily feel bad about what we have, but I do need to get rid of some and I’ve been trying really hard not to buy any more. It’s so hard to see something SUPER cool for SUPER cheap on the b/s/t or at a thrift store and NOT buy it, though. Same with clothes. You know, it’s funny – I’ve always generally refused to spend a lot of money on nice clothes for myself because it seems unnecessary to me but then I have no problem buying brand new designer clothes for Declan. I’m the first to admit it didn’t make a lot of sense, but I literally can’t help myself. And I always ask myself how I expect to foster a love of reading if we don’t have a million books?! Even though he really only wants to look at/read about 10 different ones while the piles just keep getting bigger. I don’t have any advice, just solidarity.

  9. I am SO, SO, SO poor right now due to the daycare fees. I mean like at the end of the month I barely have two nickels to rub together. I’ve entirely cut out eating out which was one of the things that brought me great happiness, but I still find myself in the same situation – broke at the end of the month.

    But like you, I buy shit for my kid. I’m not a clothes snob but I love buying her clothes. And books. Allll the books. I was never taught anything about money except that it “doesn’t grow on trees” and our “family doesn’t have any” so budgeting is just…well, it’s self-taught and I’m not doing that great a job at it.

    I don’t know why I’m saying all this except to tell you that you’re not alone, I’m also in dire straights and I keep waiting for the day the Evie goes to public school so I have a lot more money in my account. Only a year and a half to go! :I

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