for a very long time now we've been buying bare bottom minimum required to survive when it comes to just about anything. if we ran out of something we went without, except for maybe milk. i would ask linnorm for help with the very basics between checks. when you have maybe $1100 a month coming in and are trying to support 6 people with it, there just isn't a whole lot of leeway, especially in a high cost state like california. as much as i've bitch about where we live, it does have one advantage: cost. we're in "income sensitive" housing, which means for the past few years i have been renting a 2 story, 4 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse apartment for under $350 per month. how much under has depending on our income. this is about to change, but the highest they will charge is about $544. so we're staying in the cruddy neighborhood and getting ourselves back on our feet. as of today i will have the utilities fairly caught up. a very good feeling indeed.
but what i'm really enjoying right now is being able to buy the food we love rather than the bare minimum we need to get by until the next check. of course, the next check used to be two weeks away and eaten up by living expenses. now we're getting checks almost every week. if we run low, i actually can keep a little money in the bank to buy milk without having to beg the ex. my first major shopping trip since the job included bagels and cream cheese, english muffins, and strawberries. i know that sounds ridiculous, but it is wonderful to be able to afford the little extras we love after not being able to get much at all for almost a year and a half now.
but it doesn't end there. this past weekend i took my oldest out shopping as a belated sweet sixteen present. just buying clothes for the kids has been a real trick on our budget, birthdays and holidays have almost been ignored. we get a cake, yes, and grandma and dad usually manage something, but saxy and me? we've always been too broke. we scrimp and save and try to get something, and often do very well, but that's usually at the expense of other things. this year she got a whole $125 to spend at the mall and time with her now not-so-stressed-out mama. and, as soon as things are a bit more under control, she'll get a little more for the clothes she needs. the same goes for jewel next check - $125 and time with mom at the mall. we've never been able to do that. ever. although jewel will have it one better than kitten, she'll have her allowance by then too. yes, we are actually able to pay the girls an allowance! and a decent one too! we've always wanted to do that, but never could afford it and dad has been more than a bit unreliable. however, with the allowance came the stipulation that they have to start buying some of their own stuff, like their skin care things. and they were fine with that.
bills paid, real food, clothes, luxuries, real shopping . . . this is very cool indeed!
site of the moment:
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word of the moment: compel
to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly; to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure