Monday, February 05, 2007

Money = An Infertile's Nightmare

I've been stressing about money. I am worried about how in debt I already am and how much more debt I am preparing to take on in the next 30 days.

People have kids every day that they really can't afford but they make it work because it's just money.

I can't even imagine making the decision not to have children because I can't afford it. My finances are a complete high wire act -

Here comes the full disclosure:
I own my House (the mortgage company owns 80%) which I can barely afford. B* had to file personal bankruptcy earlier this year as a result of a long protracted child support battle that drove him into a deep deep hole. Our finances are completely separate and we are not married (partially) because of money. He is desperately working to pull himself out of the hole - the bankruptcy is an effort to wipe the slate clean - as odd as that sounds.

I already have credit card debt (about 1/3rd related to infertility) and now the DE/IVF procedure will be paid for by home equity line. And..I am going on vacation to see B* in Australia.

B* is there for 3 months to make money so we can afford our life. I am justifying the Australia trip as my last free-wheeling vacation for a very very long time.

We've discussed moving to a less expensive city -- DC is just a big boulder of expense on top of both of us.

The insanity of all of this is that we both make six figures and once upon a time that was good money, but now it barely pays the bills.

Am I crazy? how do others manage?


Inglewood said...

Money is a big tight-rope. I have a 5 year projected financial plan. For me it is a necessity if I want what I want out of life. Every month I re-evaluate it. (If anyone told me I would be this anal as a teenager I would have laughed so hard!). It keeps us on track with our financial goals.

We have made sacrifices though. We have one car, that is 10 years old, runs great though, most people don't know it is that old. We don't have cable. We only see movies when they have moved to the cheap theaters. We don't eat out often, we do splurge on our birthdays. We only buy fancy coffees once and a while. We buy almost everything on sale. We even buy second hand clothes. There are second hand shops here that select brand-names and fashionable clothes so your not having to pick through tons of crap to get something really cool. We also only spend the big bucks on stuff that is important to us. We have plain jane cell phones that we barely use, our DVD player was 50 bucks, same with our microwave, (we lived without both until recently). Meanwhile we have a pricey BBQ because S loves to cook, I have a lot invested in quilting and SCUBA gear because that is something I do a lot.

Carol said...

Everybody's situation is so different. But like inglewood I think a lot of it is about lifestyle. We don't make as many sacrifices as she describes, but we do try to keep things pretty simple. We don't take a lot of expensive vacations (and when we do we are usually able to get the tickets and sometimes hotel rooms with miles). We eat out more than we should, but not at expensive places. A lot of my clothes come from Target or outlet stores. In fact - the super cute pair of black velvet 'jeans' I'm wearing right now cost me about $9 at the Gap outlet. A lot of my furniture is from Ikea (including my living room couch and rugs which you would swear are from pottery barn if you didn't know otherwise). I cut J's hair - he was paying $20+ every few weeks to just get his balding head buzzed. So we bought one of those clippers that they were using on him at the hair place for about the cost of 2 haircuts.

The city we live in is pretty expensive, but probably nowhere close to DC. We got super lucky 7 years ago and bought a house in a neighborhood that we could never afford now. and we refi'd and got a great rate on a 30-yr fixed when rates were so low a couple years back - so our mortgage payments are predictable.

The biggest thing though - is that we make a very big effort not to buy things that we don't have the money for. We have 1 credit card that we mostly just use in order to get the airline miles, and we pay it off nearly every month, or every few months at the most. If we don't have the money for something - we just don't do it. We don't put things on credit if we aren't certain that we'll pay it off within a month or two. We have some nice things and some nice hobbies - but we wait to get them until we have the money.

I am about to go make a big splurge of a purchase - to buy about $10K worth of cherry bedroom and dining furniture that I've been wanting for years. But I've been saving the money for this for about 3 years.

We take advantage of our company's savings programs - we max out our 401k's and our ESPP programs. And we auto-deposit a few hundred each month into a separate savings account that we try not to touch except for a rainy day (like when our furnace broke last winter) - so that we don't end up having to put expenses like that on credit.

Years ago we did a big spreadsheet with a very detailed budget - and for a long time we kept very close track of everything we spent. We categorized everything and got a good sense for what we were spending, so we could understand what areas we needed to pay closer attention to. We don't do this so much any more - but it really helped us early on to get things under control.

And finally - we do meet with a financial planner a few times a year. We are probably his smallest client. But he has really helped us identify long term goals and understand about making tradeoffs to get there.

Sorry this is long. But you asked how we do it. I don't think there is any single solution - it's lots of little stuff.