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Stumbling Blocks

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Hopefully ya’ll read this morning about how we paid off two of our credit cards.  Now, let’s talk about the bad news.

Ever since we heard about my moms diagnosis our strict adherence to our budget has gone out the window.  We haven’t gone buck wild crazy but we have been eating out waaaayy more than we were before, which was basically not at all. Also, I’m pretty sure we have been giving in to the kids’ wants a little more than before. Nothing major but little stuff here and there. I can’t really explain it.  Before, I was laser beam focused in on spending as little as possible so we could throw as much as we could at our debt. Since the deal with my mom I find that I’m having to really force myself to care about paying off our debt. Like I mentioned this morning, I seriously considered not putting all of the “extra” money towards those cards.  I know that it would have been crazy not to and I’m really hoping that this high that I’m feeling from getting two things paid off will help me to get back on that debt busting wagon.


15 Comments

  • Reply Mary from SC |

    I can completely understand the feeling. It’s important to remember though that the quicker you get your debt under control, the more control you will have over these types of situations. Yes, a family crisis always takes precedence but remember that you are not only handling your debt for yourself, but for your parents, your children, etc. When you have debt freedom, then you will truly have the freedom to do whatever you can to help when a crisis hits. This is much like a diet that you just have to keep at it – even when the desserts look so appealing. I read somewhere that it’s difficult sometimes to see the big picture and when that happens the only thing we can do is the “next right thing”. So when that “extra” money comes along…the “next right thing” would be to put it towards whatever current debt you are working on. Don’t ever think of it as “extra”. It’s all a mindset. Yes, somedays it’s hard to care when there are other bigger issues on your plate. But taking care of your finances will take the pressure off so that WHEN (not if) the bigger issues hit, you can focus your all your energy on them and not let the stress of money have a place. I hope this makes some sense. Basically – when it’s hard – just do the “next right thing”.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    Stephannie, your Mom’s diagnosis threw you for a loop. Try not going overboard with the eating out, but remember that right now just do the best you can. Cheryl

  • Reply Mary |

    I think you have to cut yourself a little slack; it can be rough staying laser focused when we are in a crisis of sorts. On the flip side, there will always be “something” going on and staying debt free gives you the freedom to be helpful to yourself and others in times of crisis.

    Two things that come to mind though. One is to think of alternatives to eating out. If it’s a day where you’ll be visiting your Mom, etc. plan for a quick/easy dinner at home or make something ahead of time. On days when my ex-husband comes over to help me take my son to a medical appt., I make a pizza ahead of time so that we can eat when he arrives and we won’t be hungry later. When I worked outside the home, I used to make these oat bran muffins and freeze them in packs of 2. Then, in a pinch, I had a 30 second lunch. I’d grab the muffins, a piece of fruit and an iced tea and I had lunch for under 500 calories.

    Second, in times of crisis, sometimes you have to brainstorm ways to get to your goal. My son was hospitalized a lot for a few years and required 24/7 care at the hospital. I stayed with him but was on Weight Watchers at the time and wanted to get in my exercise every day. At home, I’d walk outside or on the treadmill. At the hospital, I decided to take 5 minutes every hour and walk the floors at the hospital. I did it while the nurse was there. My point is that you may need to get a little creative when things are going on, but if you brainstorm a bit, you can figure out ways to meet your goals and take care of their needs as well. Good luck. It’s not easy and it takes a little while to figure all of this out. Even if you do something better “one time”, that’s a start.

    • Reply Stephannie |

      I think that’s great advice. I’ve got to get out of this mode of feeling stunned and get back to planning ahead. Thanks!

  • Reply Juhli |

    I think it is important to be kind to yourself when dealing with family illness. One way to not get to far off track financially though is to give yourself a time limit for eating out, etc. My mother recently passed away and I gave myself a week to do whatever made my life easier. Then I needed to get back on budget, eat healthy food again, etc. That approach might help you.

    • Reply Ashley |

      I second Juhli’s comment about being kind to yourself. I also think its important to accept help any/every time it is offered. I know when my husband was sick we had many people ask if they could bring us food, for example. I have such a tough time admitting when I need help so it was painful to have to say, “Yes, Please!” But, honestly, those dropped-off meals were often the only homemade food we had for a few weeks (otherwise I was driving through fast-food places or skipping meals entirely when things were totally crazy). I don’t know what type of community or social support you have where you are, but I would let people know your situation and if people offer help let them know how much you would appreciate a freezer meal or home-cooked food, etc. Hopefully that can help alleviate some of the stress since you won’t have to focus on cooking when everything is in such turmoil.

      • Reply Lynn |

        I concur. Be kind to yourself but set a limit for yourself. Have you tried freezer cooking, maybe not the day long mega cook, but doubling and freezing the extra when you make a meal. It could really help.

        • Reply Stephannie |

          Lynn, I’ve not tried freezing but, I need to. Usually I cook extra and we eat leftovers until the kids cry for mercy. I’ll give it a try, thanks!

      • Reply Stephannie |

        That makes sense, Ashley. I’m going to have to think on that. It makes it doubly hard when it comes to asking for help because my mom doesn’t want anyone to know. Also, I suck at asking for help. Lol. Thank you for the suggestion!

    • Reply Stephannie |

      I’m so sorry to hear that about your mom. Thank you for the advice, Juhli!

  • Reply Hilary |

    Paying down debt and living with a strict budget takes a lot of mental and emotional effort. Though some people have more of these internal resources than others (I’m sure we all have those unflappable friends who never seem to have an issue in this area), increased stress can make them run lower and makes it harder to stick to those plans. Imagine someone on a diet who has a bad day at work and winds up eating the whole bag of chips that night. They’re not unmotivated, out of control, or a “food addict” — their internal resources to keep themselves on track got depleted. Forgive yourself and figure out what you can do to recharge some of your mental and emotional energy. I love Ashley’s recommendations. Get adequate sleep, exercise, and social time; meditate or pray; practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation; journal; whatever helps. You’ll get back on track! Let us know how things are going. I’ll be sending positive thoughts your way. 🙂

    • Reply Stephannie |

      Thank you for the positive thoughts, I appreciate them!! I’m trying to shake off the feeling of shock and the I don’t wanna’s. I’m slowly getting to a place where I’m functioning a little more like usual.

So, what do you think ?