Mint keeps emailing to tell me that we’ve had an unusual amount of spending in various categories. Usually we spend far less on these categories, Mint says.
I’m not even talking about the required increased expenses, like daycare costs doubling or our rent being 2x our mortgage. I’m talking about the optional things that all those early retirement blogs would say we’re horrible people for doing and a few career women blogs would say we should do more of.
Turns out DC1 is a chatterbox when not in regular organized activities, so instead of having hir home all summer keeping hirself entertained with homework books, video games, novels, and the like, we quickly realized that ze will have to have some organized activities once we get to Paradise because we won’t have built-in playdates to take any of the edge off, at least not until school starts.
And the organized activities available through the park district in paradise look SO COOL. Unfortunately the prices also add up. $700 later, DC1 is enrolled in two week-long half day camps (engineering/minecraft/legos) and 2 week-long full day camps (traditional crafts + swimming + games + field trips etc.). Also swimming for the rest of the summer at an additional $55/week for 30 min each morning. There’s a lot of weeks left that ze will still be at home alone with DH and I’m not sure what we’re going to do about that. The park district daycamps that still have spots for the remaining weeks are $300/week (10am-4pm) which we just cannot justify spending. The YMCA also has some daycamps that are $250/week (7:30am-6pm), and we don’t know if they still have slots or not. If DH goes crazy we’ll investigate those. Or maybe DC1 will find neighborhood kids to play with, though I’m not really sure how one does that in these hyper-vigilant parenting days.
At some point I also said “screw it” on moving expenses. We ended up not driving any of our stuff to Paradise except what will fit in a car or on the airplane. For $1K we got a couple of big pieces of furniture that we needed (beds + mattresses) and a bunch of stuff we don’t really need, or a higher quality of stuff than we really need (like a wooden table with leaves and wood chairs rather than a folding card table with folding chairs) from a family moving away from paradise. Then we needed to get a uhaul to pick it all up and I figured, why not get the 2br size instead of the studio. And yes, we need dollies. And hey, instead of getting day laborers who are potentially illegal immigrants at $15/hr, let’s spend $200 on a couple of people from a uhaul-connected moving company. That way I won’t have a Zoe Baird moment if the president wants to appoint me to government office decades from now. So I dunno, is $1500 less than what we’d be paying buying cheap stuff new (with potentially free or cheaper delivery), browsing craigslist, and waiting for hand-outs from people wanting to empty out their garages? Probably not. But we saved some time.
We also ended up not bringing our piano, even though it’s digital, because it won’t fit in the car with all the electronics DH needs to bring in the car for work. We might end up getting one free from a friend wanting to empty her garage, but we’ll still have to pay piano movers and probably a tuner. We can rent one locally for ~$400 for the year including shipping. Or we could buy a cheaper one from amazon for the year. We’ll see what happens.
We’re also going to have to store my car for half the year (our tenants are allowing me to keep it in the garage until January, but then they’re planning on purchasing a second car and ours isn’t nice enough for them to rent). That’s $400, though I could spend $250 on a parking permit at the university, but then I’d have to be vigilant about getting someone to move it the few occasions that the lot has to be emptied of cars. The bluebook value is $3.5K, and logically I should just sell the car and buy a new one when we get back, but that’s a hassle and I’m attached to my car.
Then there’s all these after school programs at a few hundred dollars a pop (most of which I didn’t value at cost when DC1 was getting them for free in private school!) and we might pay for bussing at $800/year (which is a complicated subject– the school is 20 min away and the bus stop is 10 min away but closer to DC2’s daycare so DH’s drop-off/pick-up commute would be cut in half).
I’m also planning to spend a lot of $ eating out. And I’ve got all these local vacations planned. And fun activities for the weekends that will not all be free.
I keep going back and forth between “OMG we’re spending so much” and “screw it.” I think, as is evidenced by not paying for the $300/week daycamp, that we’re hitting a happy medium that won’t leave us having to dip into our secondary emergency fund (the one in the stock market), but I’m not so sure that there will be money leftover from the trip to allow a kitchen remodel when we get back. We will see!
Still, it’s hard to see the numbers in earmarked savings going down so rapidly. Hopefully that pace will slow once we’re actually settled.
Have you been in a situation where you spend a lot more than you’re used to? How do you feel when you spend a lot of money–Do you feel terrible, do you hit “screw it” and let the floodgates open, or are you super-rational about it?