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31Things | Day Nine: Purchase

moneyI don't like to talk about money. To be honest, I don't even like to think about money. I used to be in charge of our family budget and finances. Then while I was pregnant with Hannah back in 2002, I started having panic attacks whenever I paid our bills or tried to plan for our financial future. Thankfully, Chris stepped in and ever since has done the job that I cannot.

I was raised to be responsible with money. From elementary through high school, I received an allowance, starting at $4/month (I'm not sure how much it was when I was in high school but I don't remember ever getting more than $6/month). This was a pittance compared to the $5/week allowance that many of my friends were getting, but it did teach me to save. I saved for months just to buy a new Barbie doll, and once a pink dance leotard. My parents got me a savings account at the credit union and taught me how to balance a statement in a ledger book.

Unfortunately, Chris wasn't taught the same kind of financial self-control that I was, and in college he got sucked into the greedy credit card companies' steel trap. Almost fifteen years later, we are still paying off the balances on those cards. It's one of the only things that I would change about our life, if I could go back and do it all again. And because paying off our debt is our first priority, we can't save any money. I shudder to think what would happen to us if he lost his job - or when the kids go off to college. I can't even imagine being able to retire, ever. My mother has done a lot for us over the years (which really chafes me, even as I appreciate it): paying for my college education, giving us a down payment for our first house, helping us to buy nice furniture and decorate the kids' rooms. It brings me down to recognize that we very likely will not be able to do the same for our kids. This is why I can't be in charge of the budget anymore: I despair.

I love to shop, especially with friends. My favorite things to shop for are scrapbook supplies and toys and clothes for my kids. Periodically I check in with Chris (especially if there is a bigger-ticket item I am wanting to buy) to make sure that we're ok, money-wise. That's all I ask, and that's all he tells me: "Yes, we're doing good, go ahead and get it." or "We should probably wait until the next pay period to do that." But even when we're doing fine, I still feel guilty about spending money on myself. Especially on scrapbook stuff, which is so expensive and not really a necessity.

I do as much as I can as a freelance horn player to earn some extra spending money for myself and for our family, but there's no denying that life would be much easier if we were a two-income family. God willing, someday I will have a steady playing job that pays a real salary. In the meantime, we scrape by, and count our blessings that I am able to stay at home and raise our kids.


  1. I love your honesty with this prompt Heather! Finances are a tough topic. We're blessed right now that our only debt is our home, but it takes a lot of diligence to keep from incurring more on credit cards.

    1. Thanks Melissa. :) It's a fine line sometimes between honesty and self-pity, and I'm glad to hear I came down on the right side. lol

      Congrats on being debt-free! I really don't consider a mortgage as debt; if it wasn't a mortgage payment, it'd be a rent payment. So to me it's just another necessary monthly expense, like gas or groceries or insurance.

      We've done really well with not incurring MORE credit card debt. Once we realized we had a problem (probably back in 2002 or so) we changed our spending habits and ever since we only use cash or debit.


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