Christopher, Ashley and I have always had enough money to get by. Enough to get by and to have lots of extras. We do lots of weekend getaways, stay in hotels several times a year and eat out whenever we don't feel like cooking. When we go to Target or the mall, we are always able to buy something extra. We go to movies, buy lots of books and donate lots to charity. We have cable (the biggest package) a DVR, wii, X-Box 360 with X-Box Live, Playstation 2 and Netflix.
Well, not so much anymore. We knew that the adoption would put a financial strain on us, but I don't think that we were prepared for quite how much of a strain. The Lawyer's fees alone were nearly $5,000. We also now do not receive child support from my ex. That is fine, we have always wanted to be rid of the strings that come with that support money. We used it well. Ashley has always gone to camp in the summer, has a guitar, trumpet, violin and piano. She went to the best day camps, goes to music lessons and ski club and always has nice clothes. That support money was used for those things and to help keep a roof over her head and food on the table.
Now that the child support money is no longer coming in and we are trying to pay off the legal fees, we are really hurting. We have about enough money for the bills and groceries, but not much more. We are not used to this. Sure, when the legal fees are all paid, we will have a little more cushion, but not a lot. I can be frugal, I love coupons and sales and am quite good when it comes to household goods and groceries. I almost always save 10-15% of the total by doing some smart shopping. But smart shopping doesn't lower the car payment, or help with the student loans. On top of it all, we are trying to save for our vacation. We are going back to Alaska in July. I have paid for our flight already, that was a big thing, but I still need to get the money together for all of the things we want to do while we are there and the lodging and food. *sigh*
I suppose we are going to have to cut back on the cable, but really, cutting out about $40 a month doesn't seem like it'll do much. It seems worth it for the entertainment we get out of it. When we have movies at home, we don't have to go out for entertainment. $40 is one night at the movies and dinner for us. So why not spend it on cable and have entertainment for the whole month? I guess these are the harder choices that we will have to make.
Now, I fully realize that I sound like a spoiled brat. I have so much to be thankful for and here I am whining. The reason I'm whining here is to get it out of my system so that when the time comes to talk about these things with my husband, I will (hopefully) be done with the whining. I have to buck up and lead by example for Ashley. This will be a good thing for us in the end, it will teach us all a lot about wants vs needs and help us to prioritize what we want and to delay gratification. It's going to be a bumpy ride though. Hang on.