If there's one thing that's always on my mind, it's money. Specifically, do we have enough of it to get through the week? The month? The long haul? How will we ever pay off our debts? How can we earn more money? When will we ever have enough?
Really. It seems like I'm always calculating figures wherever we go.
Okay, we spent $20 less on groceries than I thought we would this week - that means we can spend up to $20 on a special trip to our favorite coffee shop.
Oops - gas prices are rising. More money on gas means I'll have to wait a week before I can pick up a new book of stamps.
Yay. We're doing okay - let's go out to eat! And to see that movie! A trip to the ice cream stand, anyone?!
Problem is, the decent times when we have just a bit of surplus funds, always seem to get me in more trouble than the lean times. We get cocky. We make more financial allowances. We have more fun with our money.
Then, when I finally get around to checking the books again, I see that, inevitably, we've gone too far. We've purchased one (or a few) too many treats. But now the mortgage is due. And the electric bill. Uh oh.
At least when things are tight, when money is always on my mind, when my internal calculator keeps plugging in the numbers with every purchase - at least then I'm not surprised by the sorry state of our affairs. I'm perfectly aware of how pitiful things are. It's not good, but it's the truth and I'm all too certain of how tight the purse strings are.
I just hate when the shock of dwindling dollars hits me out of the blue.
What?! We just had a bonus! We were just doing so well! What happened?! Where'd it all go?!
Then I start kicking myself for allowing us to go out to eat, to get something for the house, to buy new clothes.
We totally could have lived without that thing! We did not need to spend so much there! We have so many more important bills to pay and debt to decrease! What were we thinking?! How are we even going to make it to the next pay check?!
But wait.... Stop.... Breathe, Amy... Breathe....Just take the time to focus....
We're doing okay. In fact, we're actually having a pretty good year - we even have a surplus in savings! Yes, things may get tight from time to time. But they will get better - they always do. Be thankful that we have a savings to fall back on when we need to. That's why it's there.
We have friends who have less stable jobs than we do. Who have bigger bills than we do. Who choose to spend their money in different ways than we do. But they're doing okay - and so are we. Things are not now, nor have they ever been, as Doom and Gloom as my frantic, self-deprecating mind often tells me they are. This too shall pass.
We all just need a little focus in our lives. I don't agree with the popular notion that says the one with the most toys at the end wins. Even though it's hard to think past it now, I know forty years from now, I'm not going to be looking back on life, remembering the day in and day out dramas of trying to live within our means - yet failing miserably.
No. I'm going to look back and marvel at the awesome life that Sweetie has made for herself. And the small, but critical, roll Hubby and I had in helping her form that life. I'm going to look across at my Hubby as we rock together on the porch and thank God for the beautiful, fun, adventurous, comfy (if not always comfortable) life we've shared together.
Focus. Focus on security. Not on material security - there's no such thing.
Focus on the security of your family, friends, and the love that surrounds you. Make a goal of keeping that focus concentrated and strong.
Determined focus on the right things - that's what makes a life rich beyond you're wildest dreams.