If you had asked me two years ago where I would be now, I would have had a very different answer than where I actually ended up. I would’ve said that I would be in a home with Chris and Chloe maybe planning on getting pregnant in a few months, have my car paid off and Chris would have a new truck. I’d be comfortable financially and be able to get people in need what they want all the time. I would have told you we were happy and had all we needed. But I would have been totally wrong.
I went to the store today, which is payday, and had a small list of things to buy with our money. I say our money because our food comes out of food stamps and WIC. I am not proud of that either and I honestly don’t like talking about it because of the stereotype that has been placed on people who use those. They are seen as lazy bums who don’t take responsibility for their own lives. But I’m here to tell you that some of us legitimately need the help. But that is for another day. I tell you this only to give you the perspective of our finance situation. So, I had a small list of items to buy with our money and it hit me as I was getting those things out of my car. We actually had money to buy personal items today. This may not seem like a big deal, but buying personal items had been put on hold for months and when we did need something, it was never more than one item per paycheck. I just a about cried as I pulled a box of wipes (not just one small pack), a 12 pack of toilet paper, and my deodorant out of the car. I never thought I’d ever be at the point where I felt joy when buying those things, and to be honest, I’m so glad I got to this point.
How often do you just go and buy something without giving it a second thought? I know that before Chris lost his job, we did just that. We bought things that weren’t necessary, weren’t useful, and that we could have absolutely done without. We constantly spent way more money than we needed too, and we didn’t value our money and items.
When we started hurting for money, it hit me pretty hard. I worried all the time and spent many days and nights crying because I wasn’t sure how we were going to pay bills. But we never had to go without the important things, and those take on a whole new meaning when it comes down to which bills you can pay.
Eventually, we suspended our tv (because we didn’t have enough to cancel it), we downgraded our internet only because we couldn’t afford to lose it, and we used electricity and water as needed. I started praying for God to show me why we were in this situation and he did.
We had gotten so comfortable having what we wanted, that we didn’t value the things we had and needed. It was a hard lesson to learn; to learn to enjoy being able to buy toilet paper. I had to understand that there are people worse off than I was, people who didn’t have a car but still needed to work, who had to not just decide what bills to pay and not pay, but on which meals they were goi to go without. I had gotten spoiled and I didn’t even know it. I’m so glad we went broke because now my children won’t grow up spoiled. They will know what it’s like to go without, and they will be ok with that. But most importantly, they will appreciate getting new things.
Appreciate what you have and don’t take anything for granted, you never know when it might all be gone.