The Money Blahs And Blessings

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 mb-2016-09-cloudsfigure 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?  

12 thoughts on “The Money Blahs And Blessings”

  1. I was just having the same sort of feeling this month / week!

    We had $10K in unexpected tax costs, another $10K in unplanned car expenses, and while we were able to pay for it out of savings, that still stings and feels like taking a step backward. To compound matters, because of many months of being sick, I’ve simply not been able to execute any of my big picture plans. Like you, I thrive on checklists and getting things done. Feeling like I’ve only stayed at net neutral which, considering the year we’ve had, including big travel plans, shouldn’t feel bad, does!

    Though I will say that signing our estate plan this month has been a long overdue boost. Next up, refinancing our investment mortgage!

    I chatted with PiC about my frustrations with the lack of forward progress and my thwarted feelings and he pointed out that sometimes, we’re going to have years where we just stay neutral and that has to be ok. I’m still not happy with it but it helps me feel a little better about it. Here’s to setting ourselves up to a more forward-momentum 2017? (And how is it already time for looking at 2017??)

  2. I LOVE the transparency!! We’ve all been there. Great advice to appreciate what you have rather than to wish for what you don’t have. Hang in there – you’re doing a lot of things right, and just have the reality of stuff getting old hanging over your head. Pick up the savings by 1-2% for a year, then enjoy life and all the blessings you have. Choose contentment. It’s an intentional choice. Thanks for the great reminder!

  3. I am in almost the exact same position. Two exceptions, we don’t have a camper (I am not into camping, neither is hubby), and I am much closer to (and a little more stressed about) retirement. I recently started a full-time job, with good benefits and pay, very close to home, interesting work and a really nice group of people to work with. We have paid off almost all of our credit card, debt. In fact we will probably have it completely paid off by the end of the year. Our car and home situation is exactly the same as yours. I just get really impatient when I see the end is nearly in sight but not quite there yet. Reading your post helped a lot. I am also blessed in that hubby and I can talk about finances. Thanks for being so honest about this.

  4. I’m having my money blah, but I’m kind of ignoring it. When I’m feeling too much pressure, I deal with it by doing nothing. However, I’ll admit that this is not the right approach. Eventually, I’ll make a plan and kill myself to get there. But in the meantime I’ll lay in my bed, watch Psych, look at the roof, and try to get my brain to relax. I always try to be thankful for what I have and knowing that I have the ability to get where I want to get.

  5. I’ve been there a few times this year. For me, switching up my schedule and spending more time on hobbies and side projects has helped.

    Lately it’s been getting the fall garden up and running. I think the physical labor and being out has given me a bit of a boost and some perspective.

    So glad you and your wife had a chat about it! Sometimes it just feels good to get it out.

  6. I get into these funks very often too, often thinking of them as the “breadwinner blues.” I’d like to change up a lot of things in my life, but feel prevented from doing so by my responsibilities to earn money for my family. We’re on the right track and will soon reap the rewards of our efforts, but admittedly still have quite a ways to go. I try to focus on the fact that our situation could be much, much worse.

  7. Oh, we’ve been there, too! For me those moments hit when I want to be doing more than we financially can (in terms of savings, and retirement is a big one, too). But then, like you, I try to focus on what we ARE doing and all the blessings we HAVE been given. Then, I just do the next thing (and the next and next…).

Comments are closed.