Anyone Else Feeling Budget Fatigued?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Anyone Else Feeling Budget Fatigued?
13
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 4:27pm

Someone please remind me how to stay on track!  

I'm just so sick of "splurging" on things like car repairs and flea and tick meds. . . I want makeup . . . and a new dress and shoes . . . and I want to go on a long road trip to the dessert, or in the mountains . . . or anywhere that isn't a city (the last few years I always seem to end up spending my vacation time in cities - next month we are "vacationing" in Philly/NYC due to family obligations - blah).

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Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Fri, 05-17-2013 - 1:26pm

The degree isn't some sort of requirement. It's just that because of my life path, most of my social interactions are with people who have such degrees or some foregin equivalent. So I kind of assume that whichever eligible bachelorette I meet will have the same, and it is true that all my past girlfriends have all come from this small world where an elite educational background is taken for granted.

I'm open to other possibilities, but they have never materialized. 

Maybe there is some sort of misunderstanding. What I was trying to say is that I (and my DW) will probably be concerned with where our kids end up. I wasn't saying that I want to see the transcripts of my potential dates.

When you are always at the very top of the ladder, there is no way for your kids to go but down. Some of my friends get very stressed out wondering whether they'll be able to send their kids to the schools they went to. When the kid doesn't get in, you wonder whether you've failed in some way. If you had taken a more lucrative career path, would you have been able to give your kid all the advantages possible? 

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 05-17-2013 - 11:39am

But -- skipping forward in my train of thought -- what if our kids can't get into our almae matres? Maybe by then I'll be mature enough to accept that not everyone can do that, and I'll discover that my love is not conditional.

As to your first sentence, what we and our peers have found is that our kids are actually quite a bit smarter than we were at the same age, and that there are far more resources to help them succeed.  My kids' SAT scores were much higher than either mine or DH's.  DD is graduating in the top 10 in her class of 425, better than I did.  They are simply getting a much better education.  DD has taken 12 AP classes and has a better liberal arts education (in the sense of general knowledge of English, history, government, math, and the sciences) graduating from HS than I did graduating from my "public Ivy."  My kids go to better universities too - one is at a top northeastern liberal arts college and the other is going to NYU in the fall.

My friends are finding the same thing.  The only reason that our kids aren't *all* going to Ivy League universities is that there are too darn many kids applying to them.  25,000 kids applied for 1500 spots at Columbia this past year, and they were about all equally qualified. Ditto for every other Ivy.  Cornell was the only Ivy that accepted any of DD's graduating class (for science & math, not hotel management ;)).

Besides, Poorboy, don't be a snob - not everyone wants to go to an Ivy.  DD would have been happy at Brown but if she'd gotten into Brown as well as NYU she might very well have chosen NYU anyway.  We know other kids who were accepted to Ivies and chose not to go because they didn't care for the environment.  You never know what your future wife might be like.

As for your last sentence. . . I hope you're being tongue-in-cheek, because if going to an Ivy League U is conditional for your finding someone to love, then you could be looking a long, long time.

Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Wed, 05-15-2013 - 10:35pm

The sad thing is that college education doesn't have to be so expensive. First, we professors don't make very much. While biology courses are expensive because of required equipment, the vast majority of course can be taught cheaply. If students are willing to forego parts of the "college experience" like varsity sports, fancy gym facilities, frat life, etc., they can probably reduce tuition by a lot, perhaps up to 75%. But who today wants to return the the monastic ideal, the root of the university system? A life of quiet contemplation and study, sleeping in crowded dormitory, having few personal possessions, spending all your time buried in books? No, thanks.

Besides, at the end we in the educational business know that we're also selling prestige, not just actual knoweldge, and that's what the society wants. Graduates from top universities are often very, very good, but we also want them to come from schools that have poured millions of dollars in resources into them. As a society we like getting a whiff of that posh. 

As for the examples you mentioned, Princeton is a progressive university with the "graduate with no debt" policy. I think Harvard is moving in that direction as well. I used to think I'd marry a fellow Ivy Leaguer, and send our kids to either mommy's school or daddy's school. But now the degree isn't that important anymore, and who knows whether I'll ever find someone. But -- skipping forward in my train of thought -- what if our kids can't get into our almae matres? Maybe by then I'll be mature enough to accept that not everyone can do that, and I'll discover that my love is not conditional.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 05-15-2013 - 3:38pm

You really are spinning out that fantasy wayyyyy into the future!  However, if I can offer any consolation, I know several people who have jobs in higher ed or the arts whose kids have gone to top universities.  DD's best friend is going to UVA with a lot of grants/scholarship money, and her older sister got a free ride to Princeton.  The parents are a freelance musician/composer and an art teacher (who was a SAHM until the Princeton girl started college).  My sister the professor has a daughter who got an impressive scholarship to a Jesuit university.  And so on.

The cost of college education, and the ridiculous contortions young people have to go through to get it, is one of my hot-button issues.  It can be done, but it practically requires a college degree to figure out how to get enough aid and to know what schools to apply to, and how to evaluate the alternatives.  Too many kids give up because they think it can't be done.

Sorry, you sparked a tangent/vent there. ;)

Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Wed, 05-15-2013 - 1:55am

I'm tired already, and my situation is in some ways not even as pressing or complicated as yours. I just have a lot of work trips, and they're not all paid for. (The work trips are partly to increase my professional "visibility," since I need to go on the job market this coming year.) I also have to get a crown, and my dental insurance has been maxed out. I'm not sure what to do about my shoulder -- surgery or no sugery? I feel overwhelmed. 

I don't do budgeting anymore, because all these trips are already in the red. I'll apply for grants, but who knows whether/how much I'll get.

I'd like to have a family -- a real family, not the imaginary DW and DDs that I write about from time to time so I can fit in with you guys. I guess my wife will have to be rich. I don't see how I can afford anything for the kids. It's really silly to feel stressed about this total fantasy. I really would like my kids to go to the college that I went to. Or the one my sister went to. But I just can't see how I can pay for it. 

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 05-14-2013 - 4:29pm

Now, Bumbling, I am amazed that *you* are homeschooling.  I did think about whether DH could do that (he's the SAH parent) but only briefly - I don't think that really meets DS's needs. He needs help with social and emotional development as well as academics.

When you say, "I have no regrets about how we handled things" - well, that kind of sums up my view of how our parenting has turned out so far.  Our oldest has had more than his share of issues as well, and we have paid for three years of private school and four years of private liberal arts college for him, plus years of therapy and some elective surgery.  When I see the fine person he has become, I know that it would not have happened if we'd held back on the money we spent, and I know it was all worth it.  I also know he appreciates every penny we have spent on him.  18yo DD doesn't have those issues, but I know she appreciates what we're doing for her too.  12yo DS is too young to appreciate these things, but we're still doing them, and I trust that, especially given the way this new school emphasizes compassion and kindness, he will learn to appreciate them.

I will probably have to work full-time until I'm 65 (another 15 years) to save enough money for my retirement (it's entirely self-funded), and I could probably have shaved 8-10 years off my working life if I hadn't done all this.  But I will never get a chance to raise these three people again, and I feel like there was no purpose to earning this money if I didn't help them become the people they were meant to be. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2008
Mon, 05-13-2013 - 4:51pm

How I feel you pain!!!!! 

We have had  one emergency followed by another, then another, & so forth.  I'm sick of buying tires....trying to replace things that we have no business trying to do ourselves to save money (outside light) and not having money to do diddly with.  Hubby finally got a 2.5 month over due expense check for $772 on Sat.  He put $150 in our house account and $522 in his travel account and we blew $100 on US.  He's lost 58 lbs. so he purchased two pairs of dress slacks, two bras for me.  I also got me a pair of tennis shoes and a fingernail polish.  

Some how..some way...we will get through this.  I know you feel the same way.  We do get to take a business trip for three days in late June to Charleston.  I think we'll enjoy it as most of the trip is business related and will be paid for by his company.

Hope all our car & pet woes ease up soon!  (oh yes, our dog took an unexpected trip to the vet while we were on vacation too)

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Mon, 05-13-2013 - 3:50pm

Thanks for all the replies guys.  It helps to know I'm not alone.

Karen - I'm so happy for you having that truck paid off.  And you are right, budgets are living/breathing things.  I think I'll take your advice and make some changes with ours.

Dee - I give you credit for everything you are doing.  Sorry you aren't feeling well.  That sucks and can certainly cause you to loose focus.  One of the last things I splurged on before joining this board (and finally making an effort to get myself out of debt) was buying a $100 pair of sunglasses.  (I've normally always been frugal, so it was a HUGE splurge for me.)  But boy I sure LOVED those glasses.  I lost them in Novemeber (honestly, I think my H accidently threw them away when I was in bed sick with the flu).  I sososoos miss them - lol!  Hang in there!

Bex - you've always been such an inspiration to me cause we always seem to be fairly neck in neck with our debt repayment goals.  I hear ya about home repairs.  Our home is over 130 years old, so there is ALWAYS something that need fixing, and cost money (like I'm calling landscapers this week to help me with the side yard that really, really needs help).

Senenity - I really agree with your plans for your wedding.  You need to spend something on it to honor the special occassion, but having a small, frugal (but tasteful and elequent) wedding myself is one of the BEST things I ever did.  I have NO regrets.  I'm so happy for you!

Mahopac - I do miss hearing from you, so I' glad you responded.  Unfortunately, I really, really can relate to your post.  We had very similar (almost identical) situation with our youngest.  After spending approx $11,000 out of pockets, we finally determined our only option was to remove our dd from public school, and I quit my job to homeschool her.  The fact that you are doing this without incurring debt is AMAZING!!!  I have no regrets about how we handled things . . . actually, I often think, I'm not surprised I have debt (and it's not from living extravagently), but rather I'm suprised I don't have MORE debt, ykwim?  This stuff is so tough.

---

As for me, I've decided to book a trip for my next birthday (which isn't until Jan).  I'm gonna hike the Grand Canyon with my sister!  So I've made reservations.  And I have eight months to get enough money together to make this happen.  I hope I can cash flow it, but if I can't I will slow down the debt repayment plan.  

AND, I will be buying myself a new pair of tennis shoes (which are on sale this week) in order to start training for the trip.

Hopefully having this to look forward to will help me stay on track in general.

(You know I really do feel lucky to have everything that I do, and to be making the progress I'm making . ..  I just feel like I need something to look forward to - I don't know how some other people just chug along without having these sorts of splurges)

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 05-13-2013 - 1:40pm

Ugh, I am.  I haven't posted in a long time because I'm not in debt.  However this year we had some big unexpected expenses, and we just made a massive commitment to more.

My 12yo DS has been doing terribly in school and a preliminary assessment indicated ADD-inattentive.  His neurologist strongly recommended that we have a full 8-hour psychoeducational evaluation done by a psychologist.  The psychologist doesn't take my health insurance, and I have a high deductible policy ($5700 out-of-network deductible). To make a long story short, between the psychologist, the neurologist, and a speech & language pathologist, we have paid $9000 in unexpected medical expenses in the last three months.

After all that, and many consultations with his teachers, we've come to realize that DS just can't succeed in our public school.  Fortunately there is a terrific private school near us that specializes in working with kids like him, through a noncompetitive program with only 4-7 students per class.  DS is so excited to go in the fall.  Naturally this all costs...a lot.  Lilke, college tuition-type "a lot."

Speaking of college, I will have two college students in the fall.  21yo DS will be a senior, and his education is all saved up for (yay!).  18yo DS will be a freshman, and I recently discovered that while her tuition is the same as DS's ($44,000 a year), her room & board are MUCH higher - $18,000 a year, more than I have saved.

So overall my expenses are going to go up dramatically.  My earnings history says I can do this - IF we go back to sticking very seriously with our budget. I've been trying to in various ways already this year, what with DS's medical expenses starting in February, but it's going to get a lot tighter.  It also means possibly no more family vacations for a while.  Dad's going to have to cut back on his tennis expenses, and Mom's going to have to cut her wine consumption in half, at least. ;)

So yeah, I hear you.  I still don't have debt but I do have some whopping big obligations now.  The older ones really appreciate it - I hope DS will too as he matures.  And in the meantime I have to start reining in DH more (he is the SAHD so he spends most of our money - not on big things, but smaller things like waffle irons and expensive steaks really add up).

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 05-13-2013 - 12:48pm

Well, I suppose I would have to have a budget to feel fatigued, correct?  Undecided

It sounds like you may want to appropriate your vacation funds differently, even if it means it takes a little longer to get out of debt.  As you already know, if we don't, then we splurge and make things worse.  

I think so much of what we do is relative and personal.  Are me and SO spending more than we should on our destination wedding, probably.  Could it go towards something more practical, of course.  Are we going into debt for this trip, no we are not!  

Overall, I find that when things are tight, I can find joy in little things and seem to find way to spruce up what I already have or spend very little to fix things up.  Even just a new t-shirt from Walmart can perk me up on some day.  

Hang in there!!!

Serenity CL Making a Second Marriage Work

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