April come she will

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April come she will

“There is no debt that spending time with your child is not worth” … beautiful! This one statement summarizes the issue with money: sometimes Life gets in the way!

Is that a problem or an opportunity? How do we deal with Life when it does get in the way of our finances? Or, is there a better way to prepare for Life, financially? I’m interested in your thoughts …


April has come and gone and while I did not do the no-budget exercise in April, I can certainly comment on it.

Being that I am unemployed – or is that “gainfully” unemployed, as I am busy and occasionally receive some token of affection for the busi-ness I do, but much less than I did before I quit my job – I have already gone through all my expenses and deleted as many as I can, then set the rest up on automatic pay from my bank.  My main interaction is to ensure I transfer enough funds from my IRA-once-401k to cover those payments.

That said, I still think my phone bill is too high.  But I don’t think about not paying it.

I also incurred a few extra costs in April spending a week with my son who hasn’t wanted to have much to do with me since around the day he turned 13.  He’s now 15.  There is no debt that spending time with your child is not worth.  Luckily, we still watched the pennies, but we had a good time learning to hang-glide at Jockey Ridge State Park, where the Wright Brothers supposedly took first flight (there or a few feet over, you know?) out at the Outer Banks of NC, and we had some seafood and some other meals, plus we stayed in a hotel a couple of nights.  Skinnied it down as best we could, spent time at home and just a couple of days out, but when I got a good rate at a hotel (off-season) on the beach, did 2 nights instead of 1.  Well worth it.  Worth anything.  It was that great of a trip and time with my son.

That said, there are some things I still will spend money on that I don’t need.  Books.  I tend to go to the library exclusively now, but I did buy a book in the last month – discounted low enough the author would see little of it, unfortunately, but still.  I chose it to offset the cheese I was buying my fiance and it was on his dime anyway.  He wants the cheese (he will eat it, which is good) and I bought a book for me and left all the cheese for him.  Works out well.

I also bought gifts for my nieces (I have a lot of nieces) at the beach because the gift stores were running sales and the jewelry was really cute.  Picked up a few earrings for myself as well, and at prices that – on the 10-1-1-1 chart, don’t require even a minute’s thought 😀

The thing to remember about sales is that these things add up.  So, I feel that getting something that is timeless would be worthwhile buying now rather than later.  Take advantage of the sales, but keep a list going of what you got for whom so you don’t forget and buy something else, or worse, not give them the present AND buy something else.  Then, you didn’t save at all.

I will show you what expenditures I have in May and perhaps they are more frivolous and just justifiable in my own mind.  But, using 10-1-1-1 and the $ value set, the sales prices keep sliding just underneath the radar on each item, and they are things I need usually, but again, not things I am necessarily paying for.  Could i live without them?  Sure, but if I need a certain kind of outfit for something and don’t have one, and find one for $12.99, why wouldn’t I buy it?   Now, I’m ready when I need to be.

The flowers I am planting are perhaps the most indulgent expenditure ongoing now.  I read  a recent article about how crazy we Americans are about our yard:  spending money on water and fertilizers which in turn pollute our rivers and streams so that we can cuss about mowing it the next week, or pay someone else to do that, too.  I’m not “in charge” of the yard, so there is someone cutting the grass for us currently at $35/week, plus other stuff that goes with that.  I do like flowers however, and I’d love to convert the grass area to flower beds.  THAT’s a big expensive project and it is being set-aside, thought-about, so in a way, we’re applying the 10-1-1-1 and 10-10-10 to that.  It mostly depends on income and how long we expect to stay in this current house, in the reverse order.  In the short-term, I have put out a very few vegetables that we can use:  3 tomato bushes and parlsey and mint, tho the mint was an accident and the parsley was eaten by parsley worms which would have been Black Swallowtail butterflies later, but a mockingbird ate them first.  An adventure in one of those -pologies.

Flowers are purely for the aesthetics of the scent and the view, and make me happy.  I have been controlled in my expenditures here, but not ascetic about it.  To me weeding a garden is a little bit like playing God – as if we can control what nature wants to do.  Yet, when the world seems out-of-control, I think gardening is a great way of feeling at peace with the world.   April brings the showers, May brings the flowers, and as Candide says, we must tend our gardens.

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Reader Comments

HOW TO DEAL WITH LIFE WHEN IS GETS IN THE WAY OF OUR FINANCES? The answer for me is very simple, it’s all a matter of focus and perspective. We need to stay focused on our goals and make sure that we look at them through the right set of lenses.

If I understand the process correctly finances help us realize our Life’s Purpose. Life doesn’t get in the way of our finances but improper emphasis on finances can gets in the way of our life.

From a biblical stand point there is a scripture that says “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”

Diane, I too am a flower lover and when I was laid off in late April I started helping out at a greenhouse where I got paid in “product”. 🙂
Then yesterday a good friend who is also a gardener as well as being laid off (14% unemployment here!) brought some of her excell perennials (they need to be divided regularly) and I gave her a curly willow starter and some excess lettuce starts.
For yet another source of inexpensive flowers, try ebay for seeds or plants or why not start a local exchange – sharing your passion with others.
Besides being very relaxing, gardening is considered a well rounded exercise for both body and mind.
Ryan’s Mom
PS – I’ll be visiting him next week and doing a little gardening there too and even more exciting – babysitting!

I know that think about a teenager. Mine says one word answers, is too busy to hang out with the family, or spend time with mom. lol! How fun the hang gliding must of been. I didn’t realize that you could do something like that at 15. Hmmmm… that may be a great plunge to take with my son. I think he’d love it. Thanks for the idea!

@ Diane – It’s interesting how those who need it the most, do it the least. It’s my job to call it as it is 🙂

To be totally honest, budgeting is not my forte, but I did find the ‘no budget budget’ very illuminating when I tried it (only the once, so I didn’t consider it a great sacrifice), so I hope that you will give May a try – or perhaps mid-May to mid-June if LIFE keeps getting in the way (perhaps with the ‘tweaks’ that we will unveil to our readers in a few days) …

Thanks, everyone.
@ Lee – I definitely agree with you. Perhaps that is why as Adrian says, we are the two who probably need it the most?
@ Sue – lovely ideas; at present, there is not enough to share, tho I have had ideas to dig up some seedling oak and pine trees and transplant from NC to OH.
@ MoneyMonk – definitely can do on the Outer Banks at Jockey Ridge State Park. This article I wrote might help you get started – there or elsewhere: http://www.ehow.com/how_4919165_learn-hangglide-safely-age.html
@ Adrian – perhaps I didn’t make it clear that I was doing this in May. No mind. I don’t pay many of the bills, so as I can be gifted with things, I will sometimes seem to splurge (new clothes) where I would not have spent my own money, but done without in the meantime. Note the word “SEEM” because I am still not splurging, I am just not “doing without.” Where would you put orthodontics for your children?

@ Diane – I kind’a like ‘buck’ teeth 😛 The May exercise is about taking ‘time out’ to try an eliminate any impulse shopping … we all do it (at least, I do!) …

@Diane – I did hang gliding at the same place a few years ago. For me, these experiences are priceless. I place more value in experiences at times but I do make sure I can afford it. I traveled with my college’s outdoor club and we camped there for 2 nights + hang gliding and sea kayaking. All for just $115! That was a great deal, I couldn’t pass it up. It is more expensive now, inflation caught up.