Thursday, January 3, 2013

Starting Over

A new year is always a time of starting over. For myself, never more so than 2013.

Not only am I starting over as a parent (of a boy, yet! The whole point of adoption was to insure that I had only girls). But I feel like I'm starting over financially as well.

I have no one to blame but myself.

At some point near Christmas, I simply threw the budget away and hauled out the credit cards from the ice tray in the back of the refrigerator. Hmm--maybe Dave Ramsey is on to something when he tells us to cut the darn things up!

I paid for a number of things including transportation and hotels so my grandson could be surrounded by his half-siblings at Christmas. I overspent on the clothes and toys, perhaps to make up to him all the things that were going wrong in his life. And then, to reassure my adult daughters that they had not been replaced, I overspent on them, too.

All in all, not a good financial ending to the year.

So I am now surveying the financial damage, and struggling to get back on track.

2013 promises to be an interesting year. Stay tuned.


Louise said...

nice to see you back Grace. I imagine that you had some extra expenses in the budget than usual with the adoption and Christmas. But I'm sure it's making a positive difference in his life so don't be too hard on yourself.

Mark said...

This story makes me think of the book Codependent No More by Melodie Beattie. I found the book to be very enlightening about my own behaviors. Perhaps you will find it helpful as well. Good luck.

Grace. said...

Mark--I'd be interested why you think this is co-dependency and not just plain fiscal irresponsibility?

Mark said...

Grace - My impression is that most of your overspending is on family and much of that is based on your concern about their feelings. For example: "And then, to reassure my adult daughters that they had not been replaced, I overspent on them, too."

What is this spending really a placeholder for? Is spending on your new son, your adult daughters, or your wealthy sister an attempt by you to control their feelings about you? Or perhaps your daughters manipulate your behavior by intentionally or unwittingly guilting you into things?

I think it's worth some close self-examination by you. It certainly opened my eyes about me and brought me tremendous freedom from long-standing bad habits.

The book I mentioned is probably available at your local library.

Susan said...

Hi Grace, I've wondered how it's been going with you! You know, it's very difficult for people in normal circumstances to avoid over-spending during the holiday season (guilty here!) so don't be too hard on yourself. You've had extraordinary things going on at a giddy, spendy time of the year. Best of luck with your 2013 goals!

Unknown said...

Grace, I admire you for taking on the responsibility to raise your grandson and I wish you the very best. I understand your feeling that you needed to deviate from your budget and spend beyond planned to make Christmas special for all in your family. Credit cards, even in ice, can be there calling to us, that they can help us make it better. If only, it were that easy! I wish you the best in getting back on track and with raising your grandson.

Unknown said...

I put money into a saving account marked Christmas all year. I started out small at first because the first year is hard [due to trying to pay off last Christmas] Each year i was able to increase the amount . My kids are grown now but i still save for Christmas also i have enough to pay my house taxes. Sure takes the stress out of Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I think Mark makes a good point. Underlying what you've been saying is that buying people things is how you show love, and that doesn't have to be the case. Yes, some stuff, but not tons of stuff.

I've noticed that DH's relatives who make far less than we do (and have more debt) spend much more than we do on Christmas for each kid, even though we can afford it and they can't. And not on stuff like socks and underwear, but on expensive consumer items.

As to why, they remember being poor and not having much at Christmas, but what they're really remembering is the parents fighting and the water being turned off and some Christmases getting a lot and some Christmases getting nothing. It's the stability they wish they could give their kids. But buying lots of stuff at Christmas doesn't mean more stability, and it doesn't mean fewer fights about money. It means the opposite. But that's hard to figure out.

Have you seen miser-mom's blog? She's in a situation similar to yours, though she's earlier on in her adopting phase and she's partnered. But she provides stability and love in other ways besides massive Christmas purchases.

I think Suze Orman is right that a lot of money problems are really problems with the emotions attached to money. I don't know that what Mark says about you needing to control feelings is true, but I can definitely believe that you're attributing or even causing feelings about money that don't have to be there, and may even keep the feelings you want to be there from being shown because Stuff is becoming a symbol for them.

deedo said...

Glad to see you back!

My thoughts are that the memories you've made are 'priceless' for those involved, your new son, especially. ...and sometimes that IS okay, as long as we don't make a habit of it. :)
Sort of like falling off the wagon on a diet.

Get back on, and on onward to 2013!~

Anonymous said...

Hi Grace,
Good to hear from you again. Congrats on your new boy! It's good to know you are still your good, generous and loving self! A true inspiration. I know you want to always do the right thing.

You'll figure it out.

Best of luck for the new year.

As always, M.

Sharon said...

Grace! I've missed you! Ah, emotional spending. I know it well. I'm sure you'll get right back on the financial wagon again. You are a warm, loving Mom and Grandmom. I agree with Deedo, I'm sure you made wonderful memories. Next year doesn't have to be so grand, this year was an exception. :)!

Beth said...

Yay! Glad to hear from you, Grace.

Janette said...

Children, even nine year olds, can understand money. Let him help be the master of his fate (and yours). Together you two can conquer the money thing. Nine is a great age to start. I was amazed at how many of my sixth graders understood the way a household works and the money it takes to run it. You don't have to share all of the numbers- but you need to give him an idea of the "family budget".
I know you worry about your adult daughters- but the reality is that you have the amazing opportunity to change this boy into a man who can care for himself and you. Really- what do all of us really need but love and that cannot be bought.
God Bless you Grace.

Anonymous said...

About 16 years ago ouronly chid a daughter was kicked out by her husband and she was 4 or 5 months pregnantand not doing very well. In we stepand get her heathly and she has a little boy. It was really hard at first since we had been retired a few years, but our grandson has been the greatest gift God could give us. He is a fine Christian young man and such a joy. Too long but picture

oilandgarlic said...

It's very easy to equate money with love, but really you can have a memorable christmas without blowing your budget (especially for the adult daughters, who should already know you love them!) I understand spending more on the new member of your family though. best of luck with this new adoption.

Linda P. said...

Hi, Grace,

No advice. No admonishments. Just Happy New Year to a bright and caring woman struggling to make the best decisions she can.

LC said...

Thank goodness there is Grace in his life; at least one thing in his life that is very good indeed. Thoughts and prayers coming your way as you face the joys and challenges that accompany little boys!

Diane C said...

Hi Grace - Just letting you know that you are missed out here in cyberspace. I hope your new life is not toooo challenging. What a lucky young man to have someone like you to love him.

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