Warning. This is going to be another one of those long and rambling posts about my current thoughts. It's more a mental spew to clear my head and allow me to go back to cleaning and productiving. You are under zero obligation to read it.
I have a love-hate relationship with money.
On the one hand, I love playing with numbers. I have a pretty detailed spreadsheet saved to my computer with our budget. I love going in and figuring out how much money we have to spend, how much goes to what bills, how much is leftover for just… whatever. I love figuring out how much faster our mortgage will be paid off if we paid this much every month, or that much. If we gave up this luxury, we'd only pay it off a month faster, but that luxury would pay it off a year faster. I love the challenge of living within a small paycheck knowing it's for the greater good...
Other times I hate it. I hate having to save for months and months and months for a new washer and dryer, then realizing that money would be better served on upgrading BJ's laptop. Since that is where our extra income comes from. And then starting to save up again. I hate seeing projects I want to do, but knowing that I don't have the budget for it. I want to scan all of my pictures so I can get rid of the physical copy and clear up space in my closet. But our scanner doesn't work, and even if it did, I don't have the time it would take to scan, crop, and color-correct all of my pictures. I'd really love to just pay someone else to do it. But with what money? I would love to buy organic when I can, but my grocery budget is too low to allow for that. Speaking of groceries, I realized the other day that winter is much more expensive for groceries, because I have to actually buy my produce (minus the little bit I was able to can.)
I love paying a lot on our mortgage. I love saving money every month for various long- and short-term goals. I love watching our mortgage shrink and our savings grow. It makes me giggle and squeal inside. But for everything that doesn't fall under those very limited categories, I hate money. I hate seeing those large sums of money going to something that isn't want I want Right Now.
I feel very, very blessed for having the income that we do. I know it's a really hard time to find jobs right now. I know so many people who are struggling to make ends meet. I feel so guilty being sad about not getting a new washer and dryer right now when I know people who have to use the laundromat, especially since our current washer and dryer work just fine. (Well, if drying everything at least twice counts as "fine." Which it probably does, if I'm honest.) I thank God every night for our abundant blessings. We really have so much more than we need. We try to give, and often. I honestly don't think we'd be worthy of a good income if we didn't give to those with less who have more need. We try to make that a priority. Really. We are blessed. I am grateful for what we have. I'm grateful for where we are. I'm grateful for where I know we're headed.
But sometimes I lose sight of that and decide I want something… and hate money.
And you know what's weird? I'm actually quite grateful that I hate money. I'm glad I grew up poor so I could learn that I can be happy without the best of everything. I'm glad I was forced to work growing up so that I could learn how to garden, knit, crochet, sew, cook, can, etc. I'm glad I paid my way through school so that I could gain the value of education and money. I'm glad I had to take out student loans so that I could feel the burden of debt and know that I never want that again. I'm grateful for a mortgage so that I can learn how fast I can pay it off and how much money I can save by sacrificing now. And hopefully I'll someday be able to use that knowledge to save money for our next house to buy it in cash and not have to pay interest. And so that I can teach my children the importance of interest and saving. I'm glad I have to do without, even though I hate, hate, hate it. Because then when I do get something, I appreciate it a lot more. I respect the value of frugality and quality. I'm learning how important it is to simplify. I've noticed a lot lately how the plague of Entitlement is sweeping our nation. I've seen it hit people I know well and care about very hard. I've mourned for them. I see it in myself. I have been weakened by it. But the fear of debt is much greater than the longing for Entitlement. I am grateful for struggling, for overcoming, for hindsight so that I can look forward and do better. So that I can budget, save, and still have money to splurge and enjoy life. I'm so grateful that we have the money to provide for our family and still have plenty to help others. I'm glad that my current monetary struggles are of my own making. I live on a dime, not because we're struggling, but because we're focused on bigger and better goals. And I don't think we would have ever gotten to the point of being willing to sacrifice now in order to not have to sacrifice later if it hadn't been for the struggles.
And with all that said, I can't wait until we get our tax return. [crosses fingers that we'll actually get a tax return]