Confused money feelings

This summer has been full of contrasting monetary feelings.

Last school year we were starting to feel pretty wealthy until we bought a car.  We have not yet completely refilled the emergency fund, but it is close.

Now this summer I’m not being paid because it is summer (disclaimer:  I will get some summer grant money, but closer to fall), so I see the check register balance (where his paycheck is deposited) going down each month instead of up.  Twice a month the balance goes up when DH gets his paycheck, but the end number is lower than it was a month prior because we spend more than his take-home pay.  So when I see that, I don’t feel rich and I start cutting back on spending or at least questioning purchases.  The Disney vacation also put a pretty big dent into our buffer, even though DH’s parents paid for Disney itself and housing.

Meanwhile DH still feels wealthy and keeps buying stuff without questioning as the household needs/wants it (things like electric toothbrushes or new ballasts for the kitchen light), and we *are* still wealthy and he doesn’t need to question about stuff like that.  But it’s weird how I have a hard time thinking about annual income instead of monthly income.

I’ve still been making myself donate to something #resist-worthy for each weekday I don’t get an action in.  If I don’t make my phonecalls or do some other real form of activism, then I have to find someplace to give $25 to.  Should that $25 feel like a real sacrifice or should it be a bagatelle?  I don’t know.

Maybe it’s good to have a 9 month salary because it causes me to reset my spending ideas each summer.  Or maybe we’re meant to be spending more (though we would seriously regret getting used to 2x my income if DH lost his job).

I don’t really know how to feel about money amounts this summer.

How are you feeling about your income/saving/spending balance right now?

17 Responses to “Confused money feelings”

  1. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    This was my call this morning: It is still important for both red AND blue state constituents to call about it.

    There’s other options too… This is another timely one: . That’s most likely what I will be calling about tomorrow.

    You can also call about multiple things with one call.

  2. Leigh Says:

    I have so many confused feelings too. We spend basically exactly my husband’s take home pay from his paychecks. But his paychecks are not his only income story because of the way his income is structured, which is also how he hasn’t gotten a meaningful raise in years yet his total income keeps going up. We are debating setting aside mortgage payment principal from his non-salary income to give us some more buffer room month to month. I get really anxious having no buffer month to month. It’s also a really odd mix to me to have that anxiety each month when there are two months of the year where there is enough income to cover expenses for over a year. My husband is much better than me at not having the monthly anxiety about breaking even.

    We both now think my father in law assumes we will retire early which was a really odd vibe to get to us. Guess they can guess more about our money than I thought! (Though we assume his definition of early is just before 60-65 and not having kids alone saves a lot.)

  3. Katherine Says:

    I’ve been having some interesting money feels this summer: based on our income, my child qualified for Medicaid at birth, and in our state once anyone in your family is on Medicaid, you’re automatically eligible for WIC (if you fit the demographic profile). We are solidly middle class – our income this year will almost certainly be at or just above the national median household income. We keep a tight reign on our grocery budget, and we’re generally pretty frugal, but don’t feel like we’re struggling financially – it definitely seems odd to us to be getting public assistance. It turns out that in our state, the income limits for a child under the age of one are very high. It was shocking (in a very pleasant way) to find out just how generous the social safety net in our midwestern state is!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      WIC also can have more generous benefits because it is targeted (you must be a woman with an infant/child) and because you can only buy specific things with it (which makes it less attractive than foodstamps or any monetary benefits). So middle-class people being on WIC is built into the program, though not all who are eligible take-up. There’s also some additional benefits for higher (but still middle) income people who need prescription formula but wouldn’t otherwise be eligible.

  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Meh? Not great about the income given our spending and saving requirements. Not that I should say “spending requirements” like we have no choice on any of them but let’s be honest, when nearly $—- (I can’t even type the number) a month is required to cover most (not all) non-negotiable items, the discretionary spending is a drop in the bucket.

    But I include our savings in that number because that’s absolutely required, in my mind. I don’t know how to separate that nor do I want to, so long as we’re working to earn money.

    Still, the fact that we’re covering that amount should make me feel rich and I remind myself of that regularly. Because we ARE lucky and wealthy and just need to make it work a while longer.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s true! I often wonder if we made a mistake in terms of the location/everything else trade-off. (If we cut spending and saved more, then maybe we wouldn’t have to make that trade-off…)

    • Leigh Says:

      I was trying to locate the pinch of our monthly budget and honestly, it was housing. Somehow (sigh) it ballooned to 40% of my husband’s two biweekly paychecks. It’s fine overall for the whole year, but that’s where the pinch is and not in food, travel or personal spending.

      And agreed with your last paragraph – the fact that I can say “it’s fine overall for the whole year” means we are rich. Doesn’t mean I like the monthly pinch, but means it’s more of an odd feeling than a complaint.

      • yetanotherpfblog Says:

        That’s a big jump! Is that from buying a new place or more condo board shenanigans?

      • Leigh Says:

        It’s a combination of factors. My husband went from monthly pay to biweekly pay at basically the same time as starting to max an HSA, condo fees going up 55%, property taxes continuing to jump too (up 20% this year), and we increased our required mortgage payment by about 10% with our refinance. Our electricity bill has doubled since I moved into the place 6 years ago too.

  5. chacha1 Says:

    Meh. I know in the macro sense I’m well ahead, but emotionally, it’s all about the micro. I don’t feel secure in my job, I don’t feel good about the national economy, and my DH neither earns enough nor saves enough to cover us if I end up unemployed again.

    I’m still giving, though. Monthly donor for Sierra Club and Audubon, regular donor for Nature Conservancy, occasional donor for Planned Parenthood and ACLU, and pitching in pretty regularly for ActBlue’s various campaigns.

    And I have not stopped buying booze or fancy chocolate.

  6. First Gen American Says:

    Our income vs fixed expenses is at a ratio where I should feel better than I do. At any point I can stop the crazy house repair expenses and be fine…but there is still a lot to do and I feel behind on saving for college. Also the one time we had a job loss it was quite unexpected so I still feel at any time the economy could tank or the rug could be pulled from under us.

    And in the summer our expenses are way higher too because of summer camps, so I don’t feel as flush when those expenses return. I just realized the other day that I was paying my nanny all but $200 of my take home pay on the weeks I use her. (Granted it’s after taxes and all my other auto deductions but it still was jarring).

    I think it’s just natural for a saver to always be hedging against that worst case scenario.

    And I’ll tell you, the car thing stresses me out too. We have one family vehicle that is 11 years old and one company car that I pay a portion of as a personal use fee. It gets swapped every 4 years and everything is covered but if I lose my job, I also lose my car. I almost wish our family car was newer because then it sort of resets my worry wart clock again for another 10 years….so if times got tough we wouldn’t have to worry about our one car breaking down.

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