Monday, September 29, 2008

Becoming financially dependent

I was at the mall today picking up my contact lenses and I started thinking about how different my life is now. Six months ago I was getting ready to quit my job and I was really nervous about the finances and about being fully financially dependent on my husband for the first time in our relationship. Six years ago I finishing my last semester of college and preparing for being completely on my own financially. Both were very nerve wracking times. I'm not sure which is a bigger leap of faith, trusting that you can support yourself or trusting that someone else can support you.

That gets me thinking about how much things have changed in the way we manage our money since we got together. I met my husband 2 weeks after I finished college, right around the time I got my very first full time employee paycheck. He moved in 4 months later into my tiny studio apartment. We were both very broke and we split the bills straight down the middle. Whenever one of us had an unexpected bill pop up the other pitched in but besides that we were pretty even. I remember how touched I was when he gave, not loaned, me $40 to help pay a medical bill because that was a lot of money to us at that time. We eventually moved into a bigger apartment and got married but continued to split the bills. We paid our half and set a certain amount in a savings account but the rest of our money was ours.

One year to the week after we got married we got a joint checking account. That was a big step for us. We continued to keep our own separate accounts with a set allowance per month for play money. That worked for a few months but then we started trying to seriously save for a house and decided to quit doing the monthly allowances and just save everything we could. Eight months after the wedding, 2 weeks after Christmas, my husband got laid off. He was laid off for 2 months which stretched us even further on our budget and house savings. We bought our house in May 2006 and I got pregnant a month later. In September 2006 I got notice that I was going to be laid off the following spring right around the expected arrival time of our son.

My layoff was extended out until May 2007 and Bear came early in January 2007. Due to his early arrival I took an extra month of unpaid maternity leave to stay home a little longer. Then after my lay off I didn't work for 6 weeks. I think the layoffs and the unpaid maternity leave helped us to learn to become more financially trusting of each other. So when it came time for me to put in my notice in February 2008 at my new job I knew we would be fine and I knew my husband would take care of us. However I still had that little fear whispering in the back of my head about how I would have to curb my spending not just due to budget constraints but also because its "his" money. And for the first few months home it did feel a little that way not because of anything he did but just because it was a big adjustment for me to be dependent on someone again.

Last time I was dependent on someone was when my parents supported me and they set me a budget and I didn't have unlimited access to their funds like I do with my husband. Yet as I sat and reflected on that today I realized that it has finally clicked into place and I finally feel like it is "our" money and I feel comfortable spending it like I did when I was bringing in my half.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Little Miss Anti-Social

I have been feeling kind of anti-social lately. I usually have fun when I make myself go out and do things but it is really hard to get the motivation to leave the house. We went to our neighbors' house yesterday for their daughter's 3rd birthday party. It was a fun party with lots of food, games, a pinata, and of course, a bouncy house. It was all good letting the kids get hopped up on junk food and bounce their little heads off in the bouncy house until the birthday girl threw up in the middle of the living room while everyone was eating their burgers. Luckily we are all parents so no one even batted an eye or stopped eating. My tolerance for grossness has definitely gone up since I gave birth.

Even though it was a good party I just couldn't get myself in the socializing mood. Making small talk seemed like a chore and I felt like the comments I did make came across wrong. Usually we are the last out the door since we live so close but last night we were the first ones to go home. This anti-social behavior has even extended to blogging. I can barely bring myself to update. I'm still reading everyone else's blogs I am just in a funk with my own. I have been tagged for a meme and I got an award so I promise I will get to those soon.

In other news, I did buy myself one birthday present already since my birthday is a mere 2 weeks from today. It was the Thursday markdown at LL Bean last week and I picked it up for $49.00 and free shipping. Now I just have to wait for it to get cold enough here in Texas to wear it. I also picked up Bear's Halloween costume. I am not a fan of the traditional Disney character costumes or the scary ones for kids. I thought this was too adorable and my husband is a total golf addict.

Tomorrow I get to go blow the rest of my birthday money my Mom is sending me on an eye exam, contacts, and glasses. I live on the wild side.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bear - Doing his part to clean up from Hurricane Ike

Don't worry. All we got here was a little rain and lots of wind. No serious damage this far inland.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tonight I hosted my first small group for church. Our church building is very small and barely has room for the children's Sunday school classes and the adults to attend service. Since the church began 3 1/2 years ago they have had small groups hosted in people's homes instead of traditional Sunday school classes. It is great because you can attend multiple groups and they change out each semester.

I have attended many groups in the past 2 1/2 years we been at the church but I have never led a group before. I have never prayed out loud in front of people before. Even more nerve wracking was that my group is for college women. We have an enormous amount of college students in our church so we have multiple college groups right now. I've stressed about my decision to sign up as a group leader since I made the commitment last month.

What if they think I am out of touch? I know I am only 6 1/2 years out of college but to a college kid 6 1/2 years is a lifetime. I struggled all day today with what I wanted to say tonight. We are doing a specific study so I have the material to cover but on a personal level I wasn't sure where to go. I ended up being honest and open without TMI, I hope. I want them to know I was not a saint, not even close when I was their age.

I talked a lot tonight. They were all really shy at first so I felt like I just talked and talked. Now I am sitting here over analyzing everything I said. I have a tendency to talk fast and say anything that pops into my brain whenever I am nervous. I hope they don't all think I am a total dork and not show up next week. Luckily it is only a 6 week study...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Needing inspiration

Bear survived his first day of Mother's Day Out. Although I am a little suspicious of the progress sheet they sent home with him. Ate all of his food? Then why was there still food in his lunch sack when I picked him up? Napped? In a room full of other toddlers and toys with no bars to keep him locked in? I doubt it. Whatever. He seemed happy when I picked him up. It was a little strange having all that free time to myself. Don't worry I took advantage of it and used the time wisely by going to the new Target and going home to watch DVR'd episodes of One Tree Hill (OMG!), The Hills, and The Closer. I consider that time well spent.

Now on to my next issue. My birthday is approaching in a month. 28! OMG. Anyway, I need to provide gift ideas to my family members pretty soon and I realized I have no idea what I want. This happens every year. Between Sept-Dec. my mind goes blank and I can't think of a single good thing I need/want. Ask me in February! I will have a list a mile long and then I kick myself for not thinking of that at my birthday or Christmas.

So, my question for you dear readers is what are you coveting? Reasonably priced things of course. A car would be nice but probably not within the budget. Give me ideas. Jewelry, clothes, CDs, DVDs, electronic gizmos, books, bags, shoes. Whatever makes your heart go pitter patter. Help me get some inspiration so this birthday I will get something I really love instead of just telling them to get me whatever. Links are most welcome.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My readers are so respectful

I am so impressed with my readers. You are some classy guys and gals. I brought up some pretty controversial issues in my last post and everyone was so respectful about making their points. I really appreciate that because I was really afraid to open my comments after I posted.

It seems in the past week that the Internet has exploded over this election in the biggest frenzy since the primaries. Whew. I won't even touch the controversy over Palin. I even refrained from making ugly comments on blogs that vilified her. You inspire me.

Did you have a good Labor Day weekend? Mine was pretty good. Boring, but good. Bear starts Mother's Day out tomorrow. I admit I am a little nervous. Daycare was just such a bad experience I feel like I have post-traumatic stress. Hopefully this will go better.