Shifting priorities

You know, it’s funny how you just adjust your life as required.  As you know Andrew and I are going through some difficulties at the moment since I lost my job.  I’ve been offered a new job (YAY!) but it pays much less than what I would be expecting at this point.  Thankfully Jeff and Vi are going to help with babysitting since it actually pays less than my old role so there is just no money to pay for childcare.

When I sit down to look at the black box from the wreckage of our current situation it amazes me what we’ve done to make this work financially thus far.

For instance, in the last three years I have only bought two pairs of jeans, two dresses, one skirt and two pairs of sandals. Andrew has only bought underwear.  That’s it. In three years. Honestly.

In the last three years we’ve probably only been to about 4 or 5 movies.  (We used to go to 3 or 4 a month before we had Luther.)

In the last three years we haven’t purchased a single CD and only a handful of DVD’s.

But, as I’ve stated before, we aren’t flush with spare cash so where has all the money gone?

A couple of trips home.  When Luther was born we took a trip home so he could meet his family.  And when Eric got married we flew home for the wedding and had a great time.  Money well spent in my opinion and I would always do it again.

Our computer.  We had a jar that we were saving out spare change in for the last ten years.  We decided that we didn’t get the honeymoon we would have liked so we would save our pocket money and splurge on our 10-year anniversary.  However, as we had 1.5 kids we knew that it was going to be a long, long time until we could go on a holiday like that…  So we cashed in our jar.  Some of it went towards our trip to Mexico for Eric’s wedding but most of it went to buying a PC for the living room.  We’ve been able to make (fully legal!) copies of all the movies and music we own and put them on there.  That means we’ve freed up loads of shelf space for all of Rosie’s toys.   MUCH needed space in this house!

The biggest bulk of it, though, is that in the last three years we’ve probably spent £30,000 on this house.  Andrew and I don’t look at it as wasted money.  We’re improving our most expensive asset and when we go to sell we should see that money returned. (Well, with the way the market is at the moment that’s debatable.)   We still have a few medium-sized projects to do.  We need to get the rest of the windows replaced.  We need to tile the back-splash in the kitchen.  We need to put up the skirting boards and coving in the living room.  We need to finish turfing the ex-path in the garden.  We need to put paving slabs (or turf or something) down at the bottom of the garden.  I’d also like to pull up the turf from the front and lay down gravel.

Our budget has very little room for manoeuvring.   For instance, Andrew and I have an allowance of £7/week per person.  That covers everything you might want.  A magazine, a hair cut, clothes, entertainment, etc.    The only thing we’ve been able to cut with ease is our satellite TV.  After that any cuts change  our standard of living.  (For instance, we could go down to liability only on our car insurance… or cancel the contents cover on our house insurance.)   This also doesn’t take into account that every day I’m going to pay £5.90 to get to my office and this is not something that was in our budget previously.  We also don’t have in our budget things like buying uniforms or books or supplies for Luther’s school.

So what do we do now?  – Do we sell right now and cut our losses?  We bought the property for £305k and as I said we’ve put about £30k into it.    If we sold we’d probably get around £280k for it.  – Do we continue to do the work while we hope the property prices increase?  And we’re out of our current mortgage product so we’re just on the variable rate.  – Do we lock in to 2, 3, 5 years knowing there is a hefty penalty if you sell early? Well, we can stay on variable but if interest rates go up we don’t have it in our budget to pay more.

So there it is; in horribly exposed honesty.  That’s what we’re going through at the moment.  Not sure what the future holds as Andrew and I need to have some really big conversations about life priorities and the future.  Watch this space.

L xx