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.