Through our twenties, Megan and I (well, mostly me) got into a mountain of debt. Cars, trips, entertainment, and just plain “things” were being spent upon all the time. There were quite a few medical costs sprinkled in there too. By the time we hit 30 years old, we were at our wit’s end with bills. Megan’s disability prevented her from working, and besides that, she had her hands full with a toddler either way.
It had become so stressful to manage money. It was beyond overwhelming to sit down and process numbers and balances and interest rates and minimum payments. I had relied upon Megan to do most of this for quite awhile, but it came to a point when it overwhelmed her as well. Some bills slipped through the cracks, late charges piled up, credit card bills became ridiculous (to be fair, mostly by my own doing), and there was even a moment where we feared our electricity would be turned off.Read more
Back in my real world, when Ben existed, he managed all the money and did so with quite a bit of success. He was very good at investing and made some smart moves when it came to stock picks (although it was I who insisted on purchasing Lululemon shares and I who insisted on purchasing FB shares). When he was alive I didn’t think he was that great at sticking within a budget, but now that I have to do it I understand that it is not quite as easy as it sounds.
I have also discovered that my main vice / coping mechanism since Ben died is to try to buy myself happy. In my mind I can hear an advertising voice asking the questions:
(Insert deep, rhythmic announcers voice here)
Are you sad because Ben isn’t here to help pull out the Christmas tree? Well why not buy yourself some new shoes that will sit in the closet to help ease that pain?
Are you climbing into bed alone for the six hundred and seventieth night in a row wondering how you will cope when your practically adult children all fly the coop? A little online shopping before falling asleep will probably make you feel better.
Do you find yourself less than inclined to cook because it was your husband’s job and he did it so well? You should just go to a restaurant and buy your dinner.
Are you worried sick about your upcoming surgery and the fact that Christmas is coming but you will be laid up with little time for shopping? Why not just run out and spend copious amounts of money on the kids without thinking about it or looking for a good deal?Read more
In 2011, shortly after Megan’s lung transplant, we decided to have a 5-year plan of moving out of the house we currently live in. We bought this house the year we were married...2005 It’s small, in the city, with a busy highway, shopping area, and rail line within a few hundred yards, lending an ambient soundtrack of engines, train horns, and truck traffic around the clock. The house itself is old, with funky shaped rooms and ceilings, and it creaks and groans, showing it’s age.
But, it was affordable for a young couple just starting out. It was halfway between my work at the time, and our parents...30 minutes either way. The small lot took no time to mow, and the small house was easy on the heating and cooling costs. The neighborhood, noisy as it may be, is pretty safe and decently maintained. It’s not a housing development, with manicured lawns and homeowner’s associations, but it’s not run down or dangerous either. There is a gorgeous river gorge just on the other side of the highway, publicly accessible as a park, and we are 5 minutes from Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
There is a a lot of upside to this little salt-box style, 1.5 story house. Yet, by the time Megan was getting healthier, Shelby was in school, and we were starting to talk about OUR “next chapter”