Even if I was still working full time, chances are we'd still be in debt. We live modestly, although I know there are many, many places we can "cut back." There are many other areas where we can't reduce expenses (e.g., medical, dental), but we are trying to reduce them in the long run with preventative measures. Unfortunately, this is difficult to do when the "here and now" expenses hit us like a ton of bricks. And we just can't catch up.
Last year we had several expenses that just weren't budgeted for:
The $1000 deductible to repair the water damage from the leaky sink. Yes it could've been so much worse. But that deductible came straight out of our savings account, as did the living expenses when we were out of our house for three weeks. Yes, that could've been worse too if we wouldn't have been able to live with my in-laws. I'm trying not to think about the debt we had not paid off too long ago for the walls that had to be repainted, the floors that had to be ripped up, the work that seems was just finished, having to be redone.
The $3000 we had to fork out because our deck had to be jacked up. Yes it was much cheaper than the $10,000+ it would've cost to eventually replace it if it reached the point of disrepair. Who knew decks could slowly sink, pull away from the house, and threaten to tumble down the hill. I didn't, I thought maybe it was me off balance as usual, just a little more so out in the fresh air. The people saying the supporting posts weren't done correctly didn't surprise me. Nothing in our house was done correctly. Probably not even the stuff we've fixed or added since we moved in years ago.
The $3000+ in dental bills. Hubby had root canals, Bubba had outpatient surgery, Moosie was tortured with 2 fillings. We couldn't afford for me to go. This was supposed to be my year, but now we find out Moosie needs 6-8 crowns, another outpatient surgery. We still haven't gotten United Healthcare to follow through on Bubba's medical portion of the surgery. They have to do it. They've said they have to do it. They just haven't done it! Yes it could be worse. We could have no dental or medical insurance rather than just crappy dental and medical insurance. But at this point we're going to need to pull our teeth and sell them to pay for our dental expenses.
$900 for four new tires. We sure weren't expecting the original tires to be that awful. They lasted 30,000 miles if you can't us unsafely driving on no tread. So tires had to be purchased before winter. Don't worry, we should be getting a $50 cash rebate card in the mail any day.
I'm sure I will find other surprises when I sit down to do our taxes. I about fell out of my chair when I realized how much we had dished out for occupational therapy for both boys this year, the chiropractor for me (better than paying for and living through two tarsal tunnel surgeries!), and all of the copays for doctor visits and medications. I dare say this might be the year we will actually have enough medical expenses to make it worth while to claim them. Is that something to be proud of?
Hubby used to get so excited about tax time. Much of his pay is taxed at a ridiculous 40% because he is in retail and earns commission. Not big bucks retail, I'm talking cell phones here. And he is ethical and honest, a really decent salesman. Anyhow, it's hard to get excited about a refund when you know it goes right to the credit card. And I'm not sure why President Bush thinks his proposed tax rebate is going to help the economy if we all just apply it to the debt we've already accumulated. But maybe other people aren't like me and Hubby? I don't know much about economics, which is one of the many reasons politics confuses me.
We knew we were going to accumulate debt. We knew it. We prepared ourselves for it. But what a heavy burden that silently but greedily accumulates in the back of our minds, revealing itself under the disguises of being angry at the kids, frustrated with the spouse, and depressed with ourselves.