Finally? Our Goal for 2010 (and beyond).

Are we finally going to get it right this time? My husband and I have had these new jobs for a couple of years now, but the whole time I have had a really hard time getting out of the old way of thinking. When you *think* you're poor white trash barely scraping by just to stay off welfare... something happens. You start living like that even if it's not the truth at all.

We've been married for 18 years, and for most of those years, we were scraping. We lived in a run down 2 bedroom trailer that was almost as old as we were. As more kids came along, that trailer got smaller and smaller. We were happy overall, and made some wonderful memories there, but the mindset became ingrained into my DNA I think.

Yes, we still live in a "trailer", and no it's not a double wide, and yes we are in a trailer park, BUT... this home is 1250 sq feet, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and the master suite is bigger than most I see on House Hunters on HGTV. hehe. We have 4 gorgeous and intelligent girls who are healthy (THANK GOD), and my husband and I still love and adore each other and actually talk to each other and like to spend time together. He is truly my best friend.

It's taken a year of living with the new jobs in the old house and then buying the new house and living here nearly a year for it to finally sink in. We aren't actually white trash. LOL (Not saying we don't have some for neighbors, but hey it is rural Appalachia ;) ) When we got behind on the house payment due to having to make the emergency trip to Florida to see hubby's Grandparents, things kind of started falling apart. For most of our adult lives, we've been so used to telling the girls "No, we just can't afford that." that we subconsciously were sabotaging our lives to make that true. But what's actually true is that this month, I will be making 3 house payments in cash from our paychecks to get caught up and make sure we undo the damage we did with getting behind. And we'll still pay the other bills and get groceries and gas and keep money in the kids' lunch accounts and even have some money for Christmas. Now yes it will be tight, but we can do it. Never before in our lives would we have been able to make THREE house payments the size of ours, much less still have money for other things. I guess that's when it kind of hit me. If we make enough money to be able to do that this month, then where has all that money been going every other month?

I still don't really know the answer to that, but I am going to keep a ledger to keep track of spending and figure out what's the deal. Hubby and I rarely ever go out of dates. The one had a week or so ago was the first we'd had in months, and the DVDs come from a $20/month online service so it's not entertainment that's sucking the money out. I can get groceries for the whole family for a week at Save a Lot for under $60 and even if I do go up to $200 a week, it still doesn't account for all that money slipping away. We don't give the kids money except allowances which are only $120 a month. The best I can figure is we just nickel and dime it away. It's all done in such small amounts that we don't notice. And the cash advances that we just keep renewing because we can't bear the thought of not having cash on hand in case something happens...That's got to stop.

So, hubby and I sat down to do the budget again for the first time in a while (another no-no was not even doing a budget at all, much less sticking to one). We made the arrangement with the property manager and also our auto finance people since we'd gotten behind on the van too (again needlessly!). Of course there was absolutely no room for any unexpected stuff this month - which meant of course that yesterday was the perfect day for the battery in the van to die altogether and force me to buy a new one.

Then we start making the budget for the new year, and it was just awesome. In January, we're going to be able to put a good chunk of money into savings specifically for medical expenses and medication since the health insurance starts over on Jan 1st along with a new deductible. We're also going to be able to pay the van off completely as well as two of the cash advance places. Then in February, we pay off the other cash advance places and start finally paying off these medical bills that I keep setting aside and telling myself I really need to get those paid. Faelyn also will have a great birthday.

With the tax refund (along with the home tax credit) we're going to pay off every single credit card and cut them up. We have no use for credit cards, and all they do is get us into trouble and ruin what little credit we had. I hate them. We're going to put $1000 into an emergency fund savings account. Then we'll get the kids some new clothes, get Dollywood season passes which we've been promising ourselves we'd get for the family for so many years now and just never could justify it. And we're going to get Corina a good car. She graduates high school this year, and needs a good car to get a job and go to college.

In March and April, we're going to dote on Corina even more. It's not every year that your oldest has their senior prom, 18th birthday, and graduates high school! So, I'm gonna put a chunk of money into her prom dress and hair and nails and shoes and the whole thing. She deserves it. And in April we're going to have another chunk of money for her birthday. Not a clue what we'll get her or what we'll do yet, but it's got to be good. In addition to all of this, we'll be making the house payment on time and even paying more than the payment amount as well as paying off those old medical bills, chipping away at them. I want to be able to allow Corina to have a magical and memorable last semester of high school and then also to get to where I can pay a dr bill as soon as it comes in and not have any still outstanding. That's how "normal" people do it, so that's what I want.

So then at the end of May, first of June we have graduation. I have budgeted quite a sum of money for this event. I keep asking Corina what she wants for graduation, but she really has no idea. I'm torn, do I just stick the money into a savings account and let her use it for something important like tuition or books or moving to campus,... or do we spend it on a family vacation to Myrtle Beach and let her fiance come with us and give her a wad of spending money while we're there. We've never ever been to Myrtle beach even though practically everyone I know here goes every year. It's like the local Mecca even though it's 5-6 hours away. I want to surprise her, but I also want her to get what she really wants. I'm not sending her and Tyler to Myrtle Beach alone. Even if she is 18 and engaged to him, I still don't feel comfortable with the whole idea until they're married. Call me old fashioned hah. I would have even said a trip to NYC and stay with family up there and see a Broadway show, but that's not Corina's style. She went to NYC this summer and hated it. Too many people apparently. She likes the country. Maybe we can go to Nashville? That would be cool. Maybe just me and her? I don't know yet. I really don't even want to think about her not being my little girl anymore either. Depressing.

So, after she's graduated and that's all said and done, medical bills continue to get paid off, money gets put into savings, bills get paid on time, money gets set aside to help a little with college (but we did tell her she's going to have to work her way through college if she doesn't get a scholarship). We'll get the van doors replaced. We'll redo the flooring in the house and get rid of the nasty carpet and put down wood floors. We'll go to Dollywood with the kids as much as we can. We'll stop telling them "No, we can't afford that" and start helping them manage their allowances and set up savings accounts for them. If they want something really bad, we'll show them how to get it or work for it themselves. Maybe even arrange to pay them extra for doing more around the house.

It's all about getting out of the "poor me" mindset. That's our number one goal for 2010. Once we get our thinking straight, then the rest will work out like we plan.

EDIT: I've been thinking and once we get the medical bills all caught up and where we can pay them as they come in, and put money into savings, and have good running vehicles, really our only outgoing expenses will be the monthly utilities, insurance, medical, allowances and some entertainment money. Even with all of that and still putting a good size amount into savings each month, I could probably start paying an extra $300-$500 a month on the house payment to pay down the principal. As it is, we'll pay it off in 7 years, and with making bigger payments we could pay it off a lot earlier. So, my long term goal is getting the house paid off early and then looking into buying a piece of land in the country (but not too far out cause we like being close to everything). We could move the trailer onto the land and live there. By then Zoe would probably be the only kid still in school, so we could pay tuition to keep her in the city high school if necessary. Then we'd need to decide if we want to just keep living in this home, or if we want to buy a double-wide manufactured home to be placed there, build a site-built real house, or sell the trailer and land together and buy a house in town or in the country... If we get a newer home set up on the land for us, we could keep this home for the kids to live in if they need it. My girls are always welcome to come back home, and knowing how hard it is to make a life for yourself out there, knowing that Mom and Dad have a trailer you can live in in an emergency is always nice to know.

This is just kind of thinking into the future. I know we're not going to be living in a trailer park forever. I do want to own land. I want to be able to have a clothes line outside without people yelling at me. I want to be able to have my cats and dog sit on my front porch without a landlord yelling to keep them inside. I want to be able to have a garden, and maybe even chickens and goats and a Great Pyrenees, and a view of the mountains, and to be able to see the stars at night. Living in town is very handy I do admit, but my soul aches to be back in the country. I want to be able to say this land is mine, and I will make it a home for my grandchildren to always feel welcome here, and I will be able to pass it down to my children. I think that's something I really have missed. When my Mom married my step-dad the year I went off to college, she sold our house and moved in with him. But it was HIS house, and when she passed away, it's still HIS house.

I want a homestead. I want a place that even if my kids didn't grow up in that spot, it's still their home because that's where family is and we can have grand-kids come visit and stay with us, and someday it will be theirs.


  1. Really good post, Patty. It's very easy to hang onto a feeling of not being good enough or that underdog feeling. You're right in that it permeates every area of life and we wind up sabotaging ourselves.
    Good thoughts. Stay motivated...Satan will try to undermine your efforts! Recognize it when it is him dabbling in your plan!

  2. Just wanted to say I'm still keeping you in my prayers

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I love getting comments, and I read every one. Thanks for coming by my site and reading my ramblings. I hope you have a wonderful day! -Patty

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