Saturday, November 26, 2016

Don't Panic

For families like mine, this is a challenging time and I can’t see that it will get better anytime soon.

If I were younger, newly married perhaps, I wouldn’t know the difference. But I am 50ish and definitely remember better times.

While my kids were growing up, I stayed home while my husband worked retail. Money was tight yet I enjoyed the challenge of stretching a dollar.

Back when we were a struggling young family, we took vacations and had money for music lessons and other activities for the kids.

These days, we live in the same house where we raised the kids. Utilities are much higher. Food prices are much higher. Health insurance is through the roof.

Now that I re-entered the work force (other than being self-employed), my full-time annual salary is the same today as when I decided to become a stay-at-home mom—21 years ago.

The combination of stalled incomes with a continually rising cost of living is making my challenge of stretching a dollar difficult on an unprecedented level.

It’s popular to tell people like us to go back to school and learn a skill to be more valuable in the work world. We’ve decided to focus our efforts on the next generation. We’re trying like mad to get our kids through college without student loan debt. Putting ourselves through college at this point is just not possible.

We’ve considered moving to an area with a much lower real estate tax rate. That, in combination with downsizing our home’s square footage, is probably our best option.

We currently have no mortgage, no car payment, no credit card debt. I know we are in a better position than most families. But times are hard.

I will start where I know I’ll have an impact—in the kitchen.

How’s it going for your family? Hanging in there?