Saturday, September 10, 2011

I think I figured out part of the problem

We have spent some extra money this week.  Pretty much the entire lot of purchases were not necessary.  Emotional spending.

Yesterday, we were talking about new living room furniture.  We took the slipcovers off to wash them, and WOW, our couches were bad.  I forgot to take pictures before we put the slipcovers back on, but the material on the cushions is DESTROYED.  Everytime you sit down, you feel it rip.  The attached backs are only partially attached.  Threadbare doesn't even describe them.  And because the slip covers are a chocolate brown, the dye from them has rubbed off over time onto the material, which makes them look that much worse.

If we hadn't been in grubby clothes at the moment, I think we would have bought new furniture.

I think for us right now....we have hit a wall of existence.  That is all we are right now.  Existing.  We meet the minimum qualification for on the table, roof over our head, clothes on our back....but we don't LIVE.  Our house is not a place we come HOME to.  All we see is the old, falling apart CRAP.  We have been together almost 15 years....and our stuff has been around just as long.  It is worn and done....and we can't do much about it.

Using the current situation....we don't see any of this changing in the next 5 years.  Even 7 years. 

We are in constant CRISIS mode.  We need to get into a different mode.  We can't just live to fix the next problem.  It is wearing us down. 

Will buying new furniture fix the problem....nope.  Will it make it easier to live with the problem....maybe. 

All I know is that while I do believe in Dave Ramsey's idea of  "Live like no other so you can live like no other," that will only work if it is for a finite period of time.  If you know there is something better at the end of the tunnel and that tunnel will take 3 years to get out can deal with it.  But when that tunnel is so long and dark and filled with spooky can't stay there will lose your mind.

So that is where we are at.  We have identified part of the it is finding a reasonable fix.


  1. I know it's hard, we had the same hand me down furniture for as long as you have too. I took on babysitting jobs, used $$ from being published in magazines, any extra $$ and saved & saved, then bought one item at a time. I'm still working on replacing, but try to see what you DO HAVE instead of what you DON'T have.

  2. I am where you are at in regards to vehicles... our furniture is all second-hand, but decent. Post on facebook, craigslist, yahoo freecycle what type of furniture you are looking for. Even a change to different used furniture will help. Buy some paint, change the wall colors, make some throw pillow, rearrange... Make it so it "looks" different. Change is good!

  3. I have been lurking for a while but haven't commented, but for some reason, today I felt like I needed to.

    I have no idea who you are, or even how I found your blog, but your story has pulled me in. I am rooting for you! I've told my husband (who makes a point to NOT read blogs) about your family and he's rooting for you, too. You seem like such a likable person and family, it's so easy to hope and pray for the best for you and your family.

    The foundation you are laying for your children is incredible and strong. You are teaching them that in the face of adversity, you won't quit. You've set goals and are living life as you need to. I read so many blogs where life stops until debt is paid off, and I just don't think that's sustainable. I love that you're cutting out what you don't need and saving for things that are important to you...your kids' parties, christmas, camp, etc. These are sustainable life habits you're making. It's awesome!

    I realize this doesn't change anything for you, but I hope that I am able to encourage you a little bit. Keep on keeping on, and know that you've got a cheering squad out here in Oregon!

  4. First of all, I want to point out a subtle difference that I think gets trampled on a lot in the PF world. Just because spending is unnecessary spending, doesn't automatically make it emotional spending. I'm not saying that's what you did or whatever, but just in case, there you go.

    Second of all, I don't think anyone should be miserable and I don't think the purpose of money or debt-repayment or anything is for someone to be absolutely miserable while they climb out of a hole or mess or whatever.

    Personally, I think throwing every extra cent at debt is ok-- if it's a short period of time. If not, I don't think it's ok for many of the reasons you've talked about here and I think you need to give yourself a little slack.

    There's a big difference between irresponsible and responsible spending and debt repayment. Have you played with the debt reduction calculator? I'd use it to see what differences it'd make in cutting back your debt repayment by $50 a month or $100 or whatever. Hell even play with it and see how badly it'll set you back if you strip down to only paying the minimum for 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.

    NicoleandMaggie once said something to me and it makes a lot of sense although it's hard to actually flesh it out. Figure out exactly WHY you want to get out of debt and that'll help you prioritize your funds in a way that's more in line with your beliefs.

    Maybe that's something we can both work on if you haven't done that yet-- write a post on Why you want to be debt-free and why it's important to be debt-free by such and such a date.

    I'm not giving you a pass to go spending willy-nilly, but I'm giving you a pass to stop and breathe and reconsider why you're doing what you're doing and for how long you're willing to do it.

    Priorities change all of the time and it's ok to change with them love. The only person holding a gun to your head demanding you do something a specific way is you.

    Look at what in your system makes you feel truly secure, confident, and happy and look at what doesn't. Readjust accordingly and freely.


  5. Mysti--I think the bottom line (based on your posts over several months and your sidebar information) is that you cannot afford nice furniture or anything besides the basics right now. You have a lot of credit card and student loan debt--that is simply the reality. Even if you cut back on your debt repayment (which I do NOT think is a good idea) you will simply be sitting on a really nice sofa while you are more in debt....I don't think that is what you want. I think your focus on finding a workable full time job makes sense--you and your husband should be earning as much as you can and throwing as much as you can at your debts. This is NOT the time to question Dave Ramsey's push for intense focus. Keep whittling down the debt and you will eventually find that you have the freedom to purchase what you want when you want it. New furniture right now is unnecessary, emotional and, most important, unaffordable.

  6. I agree 150% with Consuelo. It may not be what you want to hear, but in the long run, it is the best piece of advice for you to follow.

  7. Consuelo is totally correct. I am from a now wealthy family and as a young family our parents had hand me down lawn furniture in their living room with their 5 young kids, but by staying within their means they are now living on the water in a beautiful beach community. It IS worth it!

  8. I want to clarify, or at least emphasize, I am not encouraging you to accrue more debt. But to put yourself in this miserable mindset: No, I cannot have ANYTHING at all until I'm debt-free is not something I'm a fan of. I think it's silly to close your eyes so tightly. Today I passed a yard sale and they had a leather couch on the front looking in pretty good condition-- for $15. Don't go more in debt but don't kill yourself either. I just really feel Balance is best.

  9. I would consider taking some of the small amounts of money you spend on your seasonal crafty stuff and setting it aside to spend on used furniture that you find at garage/yard sales, on Craigslist, or church rummage sales (or any other religious institutions you have that have rummage sales). Maybe you can find a few pieces that will make living with the rest for a while bearable.

  10. You know what - you are absolutely entitled to want (and sometimes even get) nice stuff! Of course, you can't (and won't) run up $15k on new furniture and stuff....but it's nice to dream. Tell people to get off your back....You do your best. You do your best with the hand you are given. You do not and cannot be 100% perfect. I say give your kids the party - give them the world! Do something nice for yourself and G-Man once in awhile. So you're in debt for another year because you got a nice sofa....oh well. Did you need the sofa?

    Sorry to rant - I feel like some of these comments are SO high and mighty. You're doing your best - better than tons of other people. And yet smarty-pants people can't help but scold or criticize. Whatever people - get off her back!

  11. I agree with you, Mysti: this situation sucks. I think that living in constant crisis mode isn't just no fun, it's not good for your health. The answer? I don't know. Maybe there isn't one. I just wish I could give you a big old hug.