Living on one income as we do, can be frustrating at times. I know it was our choice, and there are no regrets for me staying home to take care of the girls, but it is still difficult when it comes to necessities and luxuries. We are constantly checking the bank account and making sure we don't overspend or having to say, "we can't have that right now, maybe someday." There are a lot of what-ifs and could'ves and should'ves; like if Hubby had been able to find a job sooner before we used up our savings, or we should have waited until a transfer came in, instead of quitting a secure job with benefits for a lower paying job or we shouldn't have bought that used car. Or, or, or, or....
It is a constant struggle not to think negatively and to learn to live without. There are so many things Hubby and I would like to do if money was not an issue. Hubby would love to buy a vintage car to fix up and turn into a classic hot rod car. He would like to get all kinds of "toys" for the yard: tractor, lift, bulldozer, ATV, etc... I would love to fix up my kitchen, gut the whole thing and put in vintage style cabinets, new flooring, new counter tops, turn it into a 50s style kitchen. I'd like to put in a pool for all of us to swim around in and a greenhouse for year-round gardening. But those are all luxuries. We can make do with the cars we have now. The kitchen works just fine, if not easy on the eyes. Someday, I tell Hubby, we will be able to get those things, but not now.
We have learned to appreciate the things we do have. We fix things instead of tossing at the first sign of deterioration. I replace missing buttons and save scraps for rags or rug projects. We make more of our own meals instead of relying on heat-and-serve food kits. We grow food in the garden and save money on groceries. We cut out coupons and look for good deals in the sales ads and stock up on sale items. We have become experts at making multiple stops on one trip to save on gas. We give leftovers to the cats and save a little money on cat food. We take advantage of the free activities out there; the local parks, the library, and the animals we "meet" at yard sales. Hubby says he feels like we have gone backwards in time a little, to the days where nothing was wasted and used over and over until there was nothing left to salvage.
When I am not stressing over how to pay the next car payment or insurance bill, I actually enjoy the challenges of making our money go farther. This is where the yard sales and thrift shops come in handy. This is where I can buy good items for a small fraction of the price. I like to think I am savvy at finding good deals and paying bargain prices for them. I have been wanting to set up a crafting area/school room in a large corner of the basement and have been thumbing through the sales ads for good deals. At a yard sale last week, I scored on getting 2 nearly new base cabinets with double doors, a drawer and slide out shelves for $5 apiece! This will be the base of my crafting island in the basement! I will be looking at the clearance section of counter tops at the hardware stores now for just the right size and color and then we are in business! Can't wait for it all to fall into place! Moments like these make me feel good about the lifestyle we have chosen, and I know that we can keep on doing it. I know that one day, one day, we will get the things we dream of, it'll just take us a little longer than usual.