Friday, May 23, 2014

The Day I Realized I was Done.

Last week, something happened to me and I realized, I'm done.

That's right, I am so, so, so done with my money not belonging to me.

Nate and I spent pretty much my entire maternity leave trying to figure out a way for me not to have to work 30+ hours a week to make our budget work, and honestly, had we not been frivolous and spent hundreds of dollars on take out over the last 3 years, I could be a stay at home mom.

Some how we didn't make that connection when we'd cruise through the drive-through on our way home from work.

It has always been our dream to have me stay home with our kids (and our goal is to have many of them, PCOS permitting) and have Nate bring the bacon- so why in our time of infertility treatments and our several years of marriage leading up to the birth of Calliope were we not living like that was the goal?

How do you justify making over 50k a year and have ZERO savings to show for it?


Granted, we do not have any "consumer" debt, and for that we are really lucky. But here we are, staring down the face of a dryer that does not dry, a 17 year old car that is going to explode any time now and, oh yeah, I had a baby in February so we have medical bills falling out of our ass.

So how have I been coping? Panic, mostly. And not understanding what we did so wrong.

And then, the weirdest thing happened.

Nate bought me a bedroom set.

He bought me the most beautiful new quilt, rug, and curtains for our master bedroom. He said things like, "it's for your birthday", "it'll get you back in the swing of blogging" and "we need a nice calming retreat at the end of the day with all the new stress" and even the logical "summer is coming and Seamus ate a hole in our summer quilt"

It was so sweet of him. And it only cost $173.27 according to the receipt.

Guys, real life, I could have crapped $173.27 several months ago- it wouldn't have phased me AT ALL to buy that much stuff.

But, as it sat in the bags in our bedroom for three weeks with me staring at it all I could think of were the bills I could pay with $173.27

So, I don't have a beautiful new bedroom set to show you today, I have an admission of hitting bottom.

I'm officially off the blogging bandwagon where I keep buying things to have new things to show. I'm OFF it. I still have things to say and it will take me awhile to get in the groove of things but it is different now. And, it's mostly money driven.

Somehow, we were able to make our tax return kush my entire maternity leave. And then the time came barreling towards me where it was time for me to go back to work. And I won't go into all the details, but I didn't go back to my office job.

And I'm terrified because of it.

That's right, somehow a bedroom set made me realize that I want my money to be mine, but that I needed to take a step back at the same time. When we looked at the numbers, the simplest reason I left my job was that it was not cost effective for me to be at work with Calliope in daycare. After daycare I was essentially going to be bringing home about $2 an hour. Add in the weight problems she's been having (which I think are mostly under control now, thank god- finally was able to put the NB sizes away!...well most of them) and it just seemed stupid for the food source to be away from the baby.

So I took a leap of faith and so far we haven't fallen on our faces. So far.

I went back to my roots. I recently moved into a very part time job at a local non-profit art studio in Lansing. I'm loving seeing my work every day. Every day a toddler comes to their first art class, or a teen comes in for a free after school class, I feel like I'm making a difference.

It also helps that with my new job, the baby is never without a parent. That's right. I work when Nate doesn't. And so far it's working great for us. I'm in a much better mood after not being in a stuffy IT job (which, don't get me wrong I was VERY thankful for) by being back in my non-profit bubble, and Callie is happy because she is always with her people.

I'm thankful for a husband that went out and got a second job so I could be home. I am also thankful for a world where we have the ability to make these hard choices to do what is best with our family.

I am also not a stepford blog-mom. At least not yet. Today I got excited because the baby fell asleep on Nate and I was able to scrub the toilet. I'm lucky if my kitchen is clean 3 nights a week. I'm REALLY lucky if the laundry is folded, or even better put away! (Although somehow the diapers always get washed, stuffed and put away- priorities?) And I'm pretty sure there's enough dog hair in my garbage can at the end of each week that I could make a new pet.

I've done a decent job of keeping up everything my mom did for us, but it for sure looks like a newborn who likes to be with her parents lives here. By the way, baby wrapping? Amazeballs. I just wish I could bend over with her on!

I guess long story short, I put everything down on paper and prioritized. And a certain squeaking baby and her bald daddy came out above Wendy's, a big bank account, and a full time job.

I just hope we can stay afloat long enough for Nate to graduate from school and for him to get a "real job".

Though, this doesn't mean I'm not still dreaming about the bedroom set.


  1. Congratulations on your decision. It's not easy but it can be done. I know of one thing that I believe is in your area that helped me for a while. If your interested I can talk to you about it but I don't want to advertise on your blog. :)

  2. Wow, what an open hearted confession! I have two kids and you're right...the way they change your outlook on things is unprecedented. You don't even remember the person you were before. It sounds like you guys are taking some positive steps to be in a better financial place before #2 comes along so hang in there! Despite all the romantic rhetoric about being a SAHM and "God will provide" I really believe one of the best things we can do for our children is be financially healthy. So wherever the road leads, if you work sometimes and stay home sometimes, you do what you gotta do mama! Don't let the judgers stop you.

  3. Things certainly change when the babies start coming, don't they? Not just your whole life, but you, yourself. It sounds like you are doing everything just right. As for the take outs, maybe that was just what you needed at the time. Hang in there. Btw, your family picture is beautiful. :)

  4. We have realized this too. We are restructuring how we spend our money and spend it on what's important. I am pregnant and left one job due to too much stress and have a new job now that I love. I will also be able to take the baby with me once it's born. We have a 4-yr-old and to save on daycare is HUGE for us. My husband was working 2 jobs for a while to help us pay down some debt. He recently left one, leaving us without insurance. Medicaid just got approved for me and my daughter. Another blessing. Just remember the important things when times get tough. At my house, we try not to go out to eat but maybe once a month. There are lots of copycat recipes for your favorite restaurants that you could make at home and save money that way too. Good luck!

  5. So happy for you guys! Your new job sounds fabulous :) We were, umm.....lucky? in that all I had when Ari was born was a grad school stipend that would probably barely have covered day it was just a matter of whether I WANTED to go back or not. Financially it was a wash at best. Anyway--enjoy your beautiful family!

  6. Wow, keeping it REAL. Love this post, and I hear ya. It's so awesome when you find out what is actually important to you. I came to this conclusion when were first married, and I still slip up every once in a while when I see a friend from high school building some beautiful house on fucking facebook, but time brings me back to reality. We have a home, albeit small, no debt, 2 jobs and 2 cars, food on our table, we've got it pretty good.

  7. I admire you so much for putting your financial struggles out there... I think so many people are ashamed to talk about finances... It's supposed to be taboo. But money = time and how you spend your time is really really important, which you've obviously figured out. If you need some inspiration on your path, I LOVED the book "Your money or your life" (it really helped me and my husband to have important conversations about money that help us understand why each of us are the way we are when it comes to money) and also the blog Mr. Money Mustache is fantastic. Best of luck to you!!!! And I LOVE the name Calliope. We had decided against it (it was a top contender) for a girl name in case we have a girl (I am due very soon) but now I think it might be back up for discussion! It's just so sweet. Anyway, love the post, love the honesty.

    1. I just wanted to + 1 MILLION this comment, yr money or yr life and The philosophies are identifying what's important, realising it's mostly free stuff, then ruthlessly applying your money to buying your freedom...time to be with the people you love. It's not sacrifice based and it makes SO much sense. I'm reading it all now and I'm so so excited about the future now! You will be too, because you have yr priorities straight. Good on ya.

  8. Sometimes you have to have a moment of ugly realization to reset your goals. I'm single and don't have kids, but during the govt shutdown/furloughs last summer I realized my pay was essentially getting cut 24%. So I buckled down, made cuts, and tried to keep in mind whats important and focus on paying for that. I kept those cuts after furloughs ended, and now am building savings again. I totally understand the emotions surrounding that moment of realization. The good news is that the blogs I tend to like the most are about doing what you can with less. Its nice to see pretty, new belongings, but in the end its not something I can do myself. So hopefully you keep up with honest blogging about this, I know I would love to hear what changes you make that work for you. It could help a sista out!

  9. Your whole way of thinking changes with a little one, doesn't it? Good for you both for making the hard choices. You should do a post on the baby's weight issue and your struggles with it. That would be interesting I think. :)

  10. How refreshing it is to hear this from a you. This is real life. Kinda sick of seeing bloggers install their hundred dollar pendant light after taking down their last $100 pendant light. I myself have been struggling with wanting to stay home at least part time and making it work financially alongside an underachieving husband who has no interest in getting a better job. About a year ago. I said f%* it. I'm going into survival mode. Things worked out in the end, got a loan modification which was a blessing and we are surviving. Not doing great, but have the basics. Thanks for sharing your story.

  11. What a great post. Refreshing to read a home improvement blog that incorporates the most important part of home.

  12. You know, your blog is called "Broke Ass Home," not "Broke Ass House." Everything you write is about making a home--and I'd rather read about your efforts to figure out how to make a true home than see pics of a pretty quilt and curtains. Not that there's no place for prettiness. There is! But the blogs I bother to read now are the ones that deal with the whole big, messy, beautiful picture of what it really means to create a shelter for our lives. There's a cost to every decision we make about our homes, and I'm interested in so much more than the price printed on a receipt. Love this post and looking forward to seeing what you continue to find out as your journey continues.

    1. Damn Rita. Can I pretend to say that too by seconding it?

  13. Congrats on all of it - the decision, the rewarding job, the good catch of a husband, and your adorable daughter. I'm glad to see someone out there can say it like it is and admit that family is more important than new blog content. Just an aside - I'd love to hear about how you guys are doing with the changes now that you have Callie at home. I'm currently 5ish months preggers, and I'm sure that your take on having a newborn and the changes it brings would be more true to life than most others out there (read: not so full of easy money, perfect clean homes, and babies that sleep 12 hours a night).


  14. Love your blog. I'm a mother on the other daughters are 28 & 26. You have such a realistic outlook on your new life. Last year my husband and I bought a new bedroom set. It replaced the one we bought in 1986 at a discount furniture store. My new car...I only bought because my 11 year old 200,000 miles Camry was totaled by an idiot running a red light.
    Both our daughters are college educated with no student loans because we scrimped and saved so we could do our best for them. Now they are on their own, making us proud every day.
    Was my laundry always folded? Rarely, but it was clean. Was my house always clean? No but there were books every where.
    So from where I'm sitting, it looks like you are living a life of which you can be proud.

  15. So glad that you were able to work it out so that your daughter will always be with at least one parent. I enjoy so much your instagrams.

  16. Things seem to have a way of working themselves out. It's amazing how quickly priorities shift when a baby comes into the pictures. I've noticed that things kind of weed themselves out if they aren't important. There are things I used to put a lot of emphasis on, that have completely dropped out of my life now. Our families are our world, and our lives revolve around our kids. It SHOULD be that way. I'm glad you've found a happy way of living life and forcing it to work for you.


Please leave us a comment! We love to hear from you. We promise your comment will appear as soon as possible :)