I've had the money blahs where everything with money and finances seems just meh. That probably explains why I haven't posted too much.
There's nothing in particular that's bumming me out, but just sort of a collective theme that is part boredom and part feeling like I'm spinning my wheels.
Why The Money Blahs?
I'm all about making progress. Moving forward and getting things done are great! I love making lists. I love setting and reaching goals. Lately it just feels like with regards to money, things are not really moving or moving too slow to see.
- We have a nice house in a nice neighborhood, but we haven't really done a cosmetic update of any substance (beyond painting) in years, and things are starting to show their age and in some cases, are looking pretty shabby.
- We keep an overall emergency fund and a car repair fund. However when something like t he recent transmission problem pops up, it takes a big dent and it doesn't get restocked overnight.
- Our cars are both at or near 10 years of age. We certainly save, but even after being car payment free, we're still well short of being able to pay cash for one, let alone two, outright. We're actually starting to have conversations about what to do here, and realizing that we sort of failed on being able to cover the replacement costs is a bit of a downer.
- Our camper is thirteen years old, and as much as we take care of it and as much as we get a lot of great use out of it, the fact is that it's starting to come up with a lot of problems that a 13 year old camper that sits out in the Michigan elements for 365 days probably would.
- We contribute toward retirement, which is great. But as I look, my retirement age seems to be getting a bigger number. So, we make progress but not the progress I'd like.
No More Pity
Now, I'm done having my pity party. I know I have a great job that offers me a lot. I'm blessed to have been here for 10 years, and that it affords me a short commute and time with my family.
We could make different choices. I could look for a better paying job. My wife could start looking at jobs. We could forego traveling and save money. Trust me, I know there are options, and I'm by no means saying that we're in trouble.
Seeing Blessings In Many Ways
See, I know that in spite of all the ‘problems' (and I know that many would consider themselves lucky to have them) that I listed, that in the end, we're still very blessed. We have a great house that protects us. Our cars run. We have a camper that allows us to vacation many nights a year in a way that's pretty affordable comparatively. We're able to save to do a more extravagant trip every few years. We have enough saved to weather most emergencies. Plus, we have enough retirement money saved that at least I can say ‘someday' instead of ‘never'.
My wife and I had a great conversation the other day. She could tell that I've been down for awhile and couldn't figure out why. I tend to internalize things like this, not even intentionally, because I think that I often split our family roles with her as the nurturer and me as the provider, and I'd not been feeling like I've been pulling my weight on my end.
Voices That Need To Be Heard
Just talking seemed to work things out a bit. It helped unravel some of the knots that I couldn't figure out how to undo on my own. I just talked. We didn't find a pot of money. Still, I felt better. Overall, I came away remembering the importance of being on the same page, being supportive, and lifting each other up when needed. A gentle reminder that my wife had my back was what I needed to part some of the clouds.
Movie Analogies To The Rescue
In the end, just talking with my wife turned my focus from the negative back to the positive. I'd been suffering from what I call ‘Mikey Syndrome'. In Swingers, one of my favorite movies, the main character is feeling sorry for himself. His best friend scolds him: “You don't look at what you have…you only look at what you don't have.”
The conversation is an eye opener. After he admits to himself that his friend was right, he starts approaching things differently. Things wrap up with his newly found positive outlook helping lead to more positive things in his life. It's amazing how that works!
That conversation with my wife was an eye opener in the same way.
So, here's hoping now for better things ahead!
Readers, how do you get over the money blahs?