Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Money's Too Tight to Mention

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?

12 comments:

Ilove2travel said...

It doesn't seemed to matter how much we make, it never seems to stretch as far as I think it's going to. Now that I'm working, you'd think we'd have all my money as extra income, but it doesn't seem to have worked out that way.

If it's any consolation, I think your boys are too young to really enjoy Disneyland.

Anonymous said...

This isn't really a coment regarding to the post, but I couldn't find a "contact" so I hope you read this--just wondering--is the title of your blog from What's Up Doc? (My favorite movie of all time).

Darlene said...

Hey, thanks for posting, Anonmous. You are ubiquitous--haven't I seen you post on lots of other blogs today? (JK)

Yep, you guessed it. Shall we now proceed to have a line-quoting war?

("Do you have a pencil, dahling?")

Heidi (not Anonymous anymore) said...

That is so funny. I actually watched it again last night. My sister insisted that Howard said, "Old, wrinkled, and flabby," and I of course, being right, said, "No, it's wrinkled, lined and flabby." We actually had an exchange student from the Philippines whose name WAS Eunice, and we had no end of fun with that. OK--here's one for you . . .

"That man is in posession of secret government . . ."

Heidi (not Anonymous anymore) said...

OK--I just looked at your profile. You say one of your favorite authors is Niel Chnadler. Now I have a dumb question: Is that the Mormon Niel Chandler from Cleveland? If so, he was in my stake and we are really good friends. Small world.

Darlene said...

. . . documents."

How about this one: what does VRUSP stand for?

"You know, 'Bannister.' As in . . . "

My guess is that we're talking about the same Neal Chandler, although I don't know where he lives. If he's a writer, I'm sure he's the same one.

Heidi (not Anonymous anymore) said...

Actually, the one I am thinking of . . . in the court room . . . the governmant guy says ". . . underwear." (He opens Judy's bag on accident).

Vocal Reverberation Under Spinal Pressure (I think I've read a monograph on that).

Fill in the blanks:

J: "Did you break your_____? I hope it's not your______." (Extra points given for correct spellling).
H: "Is it possible to break a _____?"

It would be too indicative of the state of my life if I said this is more fun than anything I've done in a long time.

Heidi

Heidi (not Anonymous anymore) said...

"sliding down the . . . "

Darlene said...

You win! I can't remember that one. And I obviously blew it on the secret government underwear. It's been a while since I've seen it. I'm only remembering the ones that have become part of our daily conversations!

Here are some more for you:

Judy orders a "bottle of diet [?]."

Howard to hotel manager: "Come in--it's [?]"

Howard to Mr. Larraby: "It's a [?] to meet you, sir."

Judy to Howard: "You're going to need an awfully big glass of water to get that down." (What is he holding?)

Judy telling Howard what to say to Eunice: "Judy and I are going to put you . . . "

So, Heidi, how did you find my blog? Whom do we know in common?

Heidi (not Anonymous anymore) said...

It's "coccyx" (the technical term for tailbone). Howard asks if it is possible to break a lung.

. . . coke? I'm not sure on that one.
. . . broken."
. . . Larraby (you're upside down)
It's an Alcatraz prison souvenir rock from the store where Howard went to buy aspirin. "You call this a honeymoon?"
. . . home."

Some questions for you: How much for non-buffered aspirin?
What chord does Howard play on the piano on the top floor?
What is the address of the "Larraby Foundation Offices?" (the one that "Sylvia-Louise" tells Eunice)
What 3 German explitives are uttered during the fracas at Mr. Larraby's home?
What was Judy trying to become?

Well, I saw your blog on the Segullah blogroll. I knew I had to contact the person with that name for their blog.

Darlene said...

It was a "bottle of diet anything."

You're way ahead of me.
I can't remember if the clerk gives a price for the non-buffered. How much was the clock? (I don't remember that either.)

C minor 7th (or something like that), right after "You must . . . remember this."

459 Dorilla Street.

Can't remember the German.

A graduate.

"What wine are they serving at table [?]"

heidi (not Anonymous anymore) said...

Table one.

Oh yeah! Speaking of diet anything, who ended up eating the lunch Judy ordered?

The aspirin (buffered and non-buffered) was 69 cents. The radio was something like $60, which seems like an awful lot for a litle transistor alarm clock.

The German words were "Fuerchtbar!" "Schrecklich!" and "Schweinehund!" (Never say the last one in polite company. as it really is a bad word).

What is the meaning of the Croatian curse Hugh pronounces at the airport?