Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Despite appearances, we really are broke

Now, I've heard this a lot, even from members in my own extended family. And I think it's common. We all think we're lower middle-class...even if some of us really are much higher in that rather broad category than others. Whatever.

In our case though, it's true! More or less...I mean, if you take our monthly income and then subtract our bills, and then subtract our food and misc. expenses (which we've really tried to cut back on) you end up with a negative number. Like, $737 negative. That's a lot. And so we've taken out loans. Student loans, which is nice, but a LOT in loans. And we're making ends meet with that. And managing to buy a new car. And go to Rome.

Yup. Amazing isn't it? Rome, Italy for 3 full days right before Christmas of this year. We've already bought our plane tickets. And, for the most part, I'm just really excited. Mr. Man remarked at one point that it really took him getting fired for us to do this, and was noting the irony. When he had the old job we actually would have had enough money to swing such a DREAM of a vacation. But we never would have and did not while he was employed there. Why? 2 reasons, really. 1. it was impossible for him to get the time off. and 2. we were so worried about being responsible and doing the right thing and planning for our future and honestly, between socking money away for retirement, babies, rainy days, etc. you have very little left that is expendable. I say that as if we had socked money away for those things, when in fact we did not. We did sock some away...but not much, and not enough to cover any of those 3 categories.

So, what's different now that we're broke? I think we realized that there has to be balance. Yeah, you should be responsible (considering we're still paying our bills, I think we are) and debt sucks. Duh. But at the same time, what's the point of always saving, and never taking that dream trip...if all you have to show at the end is a lot of money in your bank account? Sure, that equals security and I do want to feel secure. But I also don't want to miss out on living. I've said it many times while in school, I'm tired of waiting for my life to begin. Well, at some point in the last year, we realized that's just a mindset. We're living our lives every day. So stop waiting, and start living.

And, we're realizing that even though we've done everything more or less right, we're still getting screwed by things beyond our control (the economy). I mean, we did all the research, we got a vanilla 30-yr fixed loan with a large and dependable bank...and now we're stuck in a house that is worth literally half what we owe on it with very few options. How is any of that our fault? It's not. That's the thing. It's not our fault, but it is our lot and we're stuck with it. So, even though you can do everything right, you can still get screwed over. Therefore...we're less concerned with doing everything right and more concerned with seizing opportunities and living life as it comes. Being responsible too, but really living for the present and enjoying what we do have.

And so we're going to Rome. It will be funded entirely by student loans (I just accepted an extra loan for spring that should cover the trip). And really, I feel good about it. I feel like it's the "right" thing and the "right" choice, amazingly enough. And...we always said we wanted to travel to Europe before having kids. Now we can. I think that may end up being important for our future happiness, so I'm glad we got the opportunity and seized it.

Besides, I feel it should be noted that we got an amazing deal. We're both flying round trip for less than a normal single round trip fair. Can't really beat that! It's like buy one get one free! We'll have 3 full days in Rome and part of a day in London (due to a LOOOONG lay-over). I think it's going to be Awesome.

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About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.