One of the down sides of living in a wealthy nation (and having so much, myself) is the problem of deciding what to do with my "disposable" income. I will be the first to admit that we are extremely wealthy, just by the fact that my kids never, ever go hungry. But I have such a hard time getting proper perspective on money and how to spend it. I really wish I could get to a point where I have things figured out.
For example, we'd like to put Terror into karate lessons. $75 a month it would be. Honestly, when we sit down and look at a budget, which we try not to do, not only do we not have $75 a month for karate, but we are not surviving on what we do have. And yet, we seem to be living pretty comfortably. But, since it doesn't work out on paper, does that mean we should not risk it and make the commitment for the $75? Or does that mean we should just dive in and hope it'll work out, as it always seems to? And how far can we push this "hoping things work out"? Can we eat out on our weekly dates? Can I buy Earth shoes for my sore feet? Can I buy my next jeans at J.C. Penney's instead of D.I.? And what about that cruise want to go on for our 15th anniversary next year?
I feel, always, as if we are pinching pennies. Does anyone ever get over this feeling? I imagine people do--at least the many people in my ward who hire housekeepers and lawn services. Somebody somewhere has to be living relaxed and not wondering which things they ought to be cutting back on. I actually don't mind the feeling of having to be frugal and doubt I could ever shake it even if someone stepped in and paid off all our student loans and mortgage tomorrow. I think feeling as if money is tight is just natural for me (inbred) and I could probably never shake it. But it blows my mind to stand back and look at how wealthy we must appear (at how wealthy we ARE) and yet I still hesitate to buy the kids new socks or to buy clothes for any of us anywhere but at D.I. I guess it all comes down to the little splurges and the little sacrificies we all make, and I'm sure we all have different things we give up/splurge on. I've never taken the kids to Disneyland. We don't own a decent TV. Only one or two pieces of furniture in the house are not hand-me-downs, and we got them at the Scratch-and-Dent sale. I buy drugstore make-up (and look like it, too!), cheap haircuts, and would never pay for a gym membership. I recently splurged and signed up for the milkman service but only because we are now mixing all of our milk with powdered.
But, the house is bigger than we need. We have a tent trailer. Roger and I usually eat out on our dates. And we take a vacation without the kids a few times a year.
After all this, how could I ever justify the immense cost of going back to school? I can't take my kids to Disneyland but I can go get an MFA?
Where is my perspective? How do I find it?