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buckle it down
monday, january 3, 2005

so it's time for us to get it together and rediscover all that discipline we used to have with money. we haven't been exactly bad about it, but we definitely haven't been on our best behavior. i should say, actually, that we haven't been as good as i know we can be. we've been poor and struggling for so long that we're starved, so to speak. starved for a little freedom. as a friend noted some time back, i shouldn't be too surprised at the sudden lack of control. it goes with the territory, no matter how disciplined you were before.

but now it's time to behave. it's time to get things back on track.

first we need to get the living expenses under control. the utilities need to be caught up and we need to be paying current bills on time. and the rent, we need to get that up to the point where i'm paying it in full out of my checks. my big concern is we'll get caught up and then those 2 summer months without my checks will hit, but i guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there. one step at a time, you know? we didn't get into this mess in a day, it'll take a bit longer than a month or two to get it sorted out.

once i'm sure we're up on the living stuff, i need to start making payments to everyone else. and i do mean everyone else. we'll start with the small stuff to get rid of more creditors at once. and we'll go "up" from there, gradually going to the places we owe more. it's the ones with the big debts that don't like working with small payments. so i have to build up to being able to pay them off with larger payments.

what's going to be hard is finding the balance. there's things we need - school and work clothes, the kids need school supplies, home things we don't have or that we have and desperately need to be replaced, and so on - that can't be ignored. when i was in cali, i tended to over focus - when i paid bills, that's all i paid, which means other things got left out and that we had nothing in reserve to handle the sudden need for paper and ink or whatnot. i can't do that here. i have to make sure to leave money aside for when i kid needs something, when one of us needs something, for a gallon of milk, whatever. it's always been hard for me to find that balance, mostly because there's been so little to go around. now we may have the money to go around, i just don't have the practice in holding onto it like that. it's my challenge.

but i also know we can do this. we're both working and i'm looking at getting into a better paying position with the district. somewhere inside i keep waiting for the bottom to fall out yet again, but even if i don't get the provisional certificate and a full time position, this district is keeping me quite busy, which means we're in a better position than we ever were and it's unlikely to fall out any time soon. the district is in too much need of full time teachers and subs.

we're on better footing than we've ever been, and we can do this. i know we can.

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