Sunday, May 27, 2012

More money.

When I turned thirty we lost $14,400/year in income. I hadn't thought hard about how much we depended on that to catch budget shortfalls. It was a cushion because I officially budgeted as if we saved all of it. Ha.

We have to start saving money. We have to if I am going to be able to keep my promise to Noah that he can quit his job and do something important to him. I have to be able to fund that promise. Noah doesn't touch money very often. For a few years he didn't have a pin number for his atm card. (That wasn't actually my fault.) It's weird having so much control over money I haven't earned. But I feel like my annuity money was in the same category. I didn't exactly earn it.

How different would my life have been if I hadn't been essentially independently wealthy when I turned eighteen? I instantly had access to more money every month than my mother earned to support us both. What kind of sanctimonious bitch am I to judge how she managed to survive when she never earned enough money. No one was willing to pay her very much money.

My mother and I had very different approaches to being poor. I feel frantic if I am in the red in one section of my budget. I want to save for large purchases in advance. I want to pay in cash. If I don't have the cash to spend then I can't fucking afford it. My mother liked to impulse buy and worry about finding the money later. She was very status symbol focused. She had a large wardrobe of name brand clothing that she bought for a few dollars each because she worked in the Ross mark down department. I worked in the stock room. I saw things when they came in. She hid things under fixtures for months until it went into deep discount then she bought it on the employee 40% weekend. She had nice clothes.

I still wear a no brand random $5.00 dress I bought when I was fourteen. It hasn't come apart at the seams. It is still fairly figure flattering, why not? I don't go shopping until I'm about to be stuck running around in public naked. Or there is an important party coming up. I have a really nice costume collection. Most of that comes from the Tom-era.

I digress. Right now I am terrified Calli is going to spill a water bottle on my laptop. Corrective action taken. I can't regain that train of thought.

So I'm having trouble downsizing our lifestyle in a way that isn't bullshit. What I'm doing right now is bullshit. I'm depending too much on things being paid off over several months. I'm not saving up money in advance. I'm not getting ahead in any area. And I'm not saving anything. This isn't working.

A rather large chunk of his salary goes towards things like property taxes, home owners insurance, life insurance and other such festive big chunks. Things that are fixed expenses. I need to build big buffers. I can't just expect Noah to make more money to cover shortfalls. I can't. That's not reasonable. This is going to feel hard.

Things like: in the Sarah experiment I gave up a kitchen mixer. Whoops. That kind of blows now. I can't purchase another one. I don't have anywhere in the budget I can put it. I have a blender. I have a pastry blender. I can bloody well use my hands.

It's interesting to think about. I am stopping to think about what messages I received when I was a child. If you didn't have the "right" equipment you just didn't do things. We were always waiting for our lives to begin. I wasn't taught to use my hands. I was taught that you use money to buy a machine to do work. If you can't buy that machine you can't do the work. I've worked really hard at learning how to do hand sewing for minor repairs. It's a simple skill. Sorta.

I'm thinking a lot about my mom and my class issues. But I have to go make dinner so those thoughts will stay in my head for now.

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