Friday, July 23, 2010

The Devil is in the Details.

Have you ever sat down with your bills and thought about how much things actually cost?  And how much money you spend every month on things you don't REALLY need.  I mean like life/death/wellbeing necessities.  I sold my car today.  I loved my car.  LOVED.  Definitely the nicest ride I've ever owned.  It was the first car I'd ever bought and financed all by myself and the first car payment I'd ever had.  I drove it for two years, and I was proud of it.  I sold it to make some room in the budget-- I want something with a smaller payment.  My payment wasn't bad in the first place, but with all the baby talk going on around our house, I figured we'd best be cutting corners where we can while we still can.  So the car is officially gone and I called to cancel the insurance today.  Luckily, I have a car to get me from  A to B in the meantime while we pay down some debt and search out a good deal on a new ride.

And you may or may not know this about me, but I obsess over our budget.  I pay the bills every month.  The hubs hands his portion over to me and I disperse it accordingly.  And the budget only leaves my thoughts when I'm distracted.  By SYTYCD or True Blood or going to the Double Wide.  But as soon as my head hits the pillow at night, it's not sleep, it's NUMBERS.  Are we doing it right?  Are we spending where we should be spending?  Are we spending too much?  Too little?  And what about preparing for the future?  What about life insurance.  I think we both have small policies through our employers, but they probably wouldn't be enough to make a dent if something really did ever happen.  We should look into life insurance.  I wonder how much that costs.  What could we cut out of the budget to make more room for life insurance?  And this is how it goes, oh, for about an hour and a half, until I decide to get up and make myself take a tylenol PM so I can fall asleep.  This is an EVERY NIGHT ORDEAL.

And I've been observing lately how much I've changed in the financial areas of my  life.  In my early twenties I had NO concept of money or how credit worked.  Nor did I care.  And my credit score and basically the rest of my life reflected it.  Then once I was truly out on my own, having to work at one point 3 jobs in college, I began to get a grip on things and learn that I would never be able to be a financially independent person (a.k.a. not having to run to mommy and daddy every time I needed something that cost more than $20) unless I learned how to stay on top of my finances.  It took a good three years to repair my credit.  And then I met my husband who had an equally horrendous credit score.  And it took us a good three years to repair his credit.  And now I'm so completely obsessed with our pennies, how many there are and where they're going and that they're getting there on time, that it's actually causing me stress, and I clearly need to chill out a little.

The bills are paid.  Period.  If we can't afford it, we don't get it.  And that's worked out well for us.  As a result, all the bills are paid.  I was having this conversation with  my  mom a few weeks back, and she said, "Ashly, I thought when you said you were stressed out about money that you meant you were having problems paying your bills."  And I was like, "Well, no.  I am a responsible person."  So why am I still stressing?  I like to have a niiiiice cushion.  And since the purchase of our house, and especially with the dreaded complications of P's child support that were finally resolved earlier this month, our cushion has grown a little smaller.  Not a ton, but a little.  And for some reason this massively stresses me out.

It's irrational.  I know this in my head.  We're a relatively young couple who's only been married for three years.  And we started with nothing from scratch.  It's supposed to be tight for a while, no?  I've got to find a way to just relax in my head.  The situation is under control.  My bills are paid.  We have a small cushion.  There's food in the pantry.  Our families are great.  Instead of...

Ok, so I can exist without a car payment right now.  That's lots of extra money!  Hey, what if we just completely cut out the cable.  No more TV.  And once fall gets here, we should completely stop using electricity, except for cooking, and just use candles and the fireplace.  We'd be THOUSANDAIRES.  Possibly even MULTI-THOUSDANDAIRES!  And you see, the vicious cycle starts all over once again.

All that to say, I think my husband needs to take me out to a nice dinner tonight and buy me a glass of wine to help me relax.  Cuz I make the budget.  And you know that's in the budget!  :)

And there you have it.