Update: hubby and I paid off our debts in 2015. It was a long road, but we made our goal! I wrote this post on not giving up during the process.
What do you do when you feel like giving up?
I’ve been feeling mighty discouraged lately. I have some big goals that I need to reach, and I’m feeling inadequate.
Does it always have to be two steps forward, one step back?
Last year hubby and I attended Financial Peace University. I was so fired up about getting him out of debt.
Since I was pregnant, we had some months to really focus before baby arrived. We made our budget, figured out where we could reduce expenses, had weekly budget meetings as a couple, and paid off a good chunk. We also paid our midwife, and saved a few thousand dollars in preparation for buying a bigger vehicle (our current car only seats 7, and there are 8 of us).
Baby comes, and is healthy and that’s the most important thing to be thankful for. Another thing that comes is a bill from the tax man stating that we made more money than our accountant figured on, so we owed several thousand in taxes.
There went our savings account. Every penny, and then some. And hubby got notice of some more debt he didn’t know he had.
Do you know how it feels to think you’re closer to being free, and find out you’re actually more in the hole than a year before?
I thought I had no personal debt, then I got a medical bill for $900 for an E.R. visit with the 5 year old – and unbeknownst to me, her medical insurance had lapsed 5 DAYS earlier. The same thing happened two days ago, when I got a bill for $2,000 for an accident that happened to my daughter two years ago, when I *thought* she had insurance. (The paperwork had been going to my ex, so I was unaware of this situation.)
Frugality can be so frustrating at times.
You shop at multiple grocery stores and do sales and coupons to get the best deals, and can’t figure out how to make a meal out of what you bought once you get it home.
You decide to cut your son’s hair to save money. Then you botch things and end up paying a professional after all.
(I’ve cut their hair in the past, and I always did a good job. But this time, I used clippers (something I’ve never done). The 10 year old looks great, but I goofed a little on the oldest’s bangs. I fled to my room and nearly cried out of disappointment and frustration at myself. With a little gel it looks fine, and it will grow… but still.)
I feel so tired. Too tired to attack my problems.
Right now I need to clean out my basement in preparation for our move. I need to set aside stuff to sell, decide what we’re keeping and storing, and clean the space. (After it flooded several times because the landlord procrastinated on solving the problem, mildew is growing. We have to get rid of it before it makes us all sick.)
The thought of all I need to do to save, sell stuff and increase my income is overwhelming.
Ever been there?
Today I remembered a scripture and I’m trying to meditate on it. I wrote it on several index cards and I’m sprinkling them throughout the house.
Galatians 6:9 –
“So let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due season we shall reap if we do not tire out. “
I have to keep thinking that things will get better. That eventually we’ll meet our goals. Baby steps.
I’m doing a lot of things to save money. I started a new savings account yesterday and am shaving every dime I can off the budget to add to the balance.
And I hope I don’t sound like I’m whining. I know very well how fortunate I am.
It’s just that I don’t remember feeling this way before. When I was a single mom, I paid off my debts. It was an amazing feeling. I’ve always been the kind of person who attacked her goals. I used to be able to sustain the inner drive that it takes to get where I needed to be. Now I feel … weak.
I’m also thinking about these two:
“For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.”
“… but those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not tire out.”
I keep praying for that strength, that energy. It takes a lot. I don’t know how people stay encouraged when they have tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
I know they have to create massive energy towards meeting that goal, and the momentum keeps them going.
I can’t seem to get started slogging up the hill.
What do you do when you feel like giving up?
Stephanie Watson says
I know how you feel. Financially my husband and I are in a good place right now, better than in the past, but we were in a better place before the Tornadoes happened here in Alabama. While we weren’t affected that badly, we did lose a lot of food and I didn’t really ask for enough from the insurance company for some reason wildly under estimating the cost of the food.
Plus due to no utilities we had to just leave. That cost money in the form of hotels.
Then we had to visit homeland security, more money for a trip.
Then, I had some slow payers for my services.
Then, we had unexpected expenses to fix our daughter’s car (not even done yet).
Then, we had some uncovered medical expenses.
Then, I fired a client.
And while I can see the light at the end of the tunnel clearly enough to be sure it is NOT in fact — a train, it is frustrating to feel behind. I’ve had it worse though, so I can’t complain too much. I just know that I need to do what ever it takes to improve the situation, replenish our savings, and work with my clients to ensure timely payments.
Like Kelly said, we have the ability to fix it. Often times people who work at jobs can’t just make more money anytime they want to. But we can. The best way to start when overwhelmed, as I’m sure you know — is to do something small but something that counts, meaning something that puts dollars in your pocket. Even if it’s not as much as you deserve, or as much as you need, it’s something.
BTW if you owe enough on back taxes you can do something called an Offer in compromise, and you don’t need anyone to do it for you, you can download the paperwork and do it yourself.
You can do this!
Kelly McCausey says
I feel you Carrie!
Medical costs have created havoc in my finances – plus six months of related reduced work time – together it has put me in a tight spot.
The thing is – WE DO HAVE THE STUFF – to turn it all around. I know I do and I know YOU do! Woohooo!
So get moving – I’ll come behind and give you a solid push!
Denise O'Berry says
I feel for you. At one time or another we have all felt overwhelm. I would advise you to stop thinking in elephant size portions. And start thinking in bites. Do one small thing, then another small thing. Soon all those small things add up to one big thing and you can check it off your list.
Elizabeth Ashe says
Luv ya, Girl!
Just take it one day at time, I know the feeling for sure. Especially when you have to move with a large family and a new baby.
Here is one of my favorite Scriptures, that I turn to time and time again, I’m sure you understand.
“Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you. So never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Sufficient for each day is its own badness.”
I’m here for you let me know if you need anything:)
And I hope the post didn’t give the impression that I’m not *moving*… because I am. The difference is that I don’t seem to have a great, empowered attitude about it. And I know that if I’m discouraged, my “power will be scanty….”
Working on it 🙂
Wow Stephanie, thanks for sharing your story! I find it motivating to listen to others who have felt the way I do. We have a payment plan worked out with the IRS. My husband has been self employed for a decade, and never made quarterly payments – until NOW lol! It was something I insisted on. Owing Uncle Sam is not something I am willing to do. 🙂
Great advise Denise, my to-do list is growing by the hour. 🙂 I need to cultivate more patience. 5 years will come whether I attack these issues or not – but I’ll either have them solved or not depending on the actions I take in the interim.
Thanks Elizabeth! I’ll bump you on Gmail chat if I need a pick me up. 🙂
Christina Lemmey says
I can SO feel your frustration because we’re in a similar situation. Lots of medical bills this year (though nothing serious, thank God) but they were still unexpected. We’ll be buckling down on the spending and living much more frugally, too.
I’ve always admired your drive and successes so I have no doubt you’ll find yourself in a better place soon 🙂
Aurelia Williams says
Carrie — Sorry you are feeling discouraged but I know there is a fighter and a winner in you!!
I loved Stephanie’s suggestion about doing something small but something that counts and will put dollars in your pocket.
Start off with some small steps to keep the overwhelm down and keep on going! I am sure you will see the other side of this mountain soon!
I know how you feel financials are a big stressor.
I’ve always admired how you turn things around. Keep on keeping on Carrie.
Val-Mom Chats says
I’ll second Denise with scaling back that list. Rewrite the to do list with things that could make you money each day, then add the other things on top. It is quite overwhelming when you look at the big picture if you feel you are at the bottom.
You can do it and you HAVE done it 🙂
What do I do? Let’s see… I tell everyone around me to give me space and let me sulk LOL. Yes I seriously do. For me, denying myself time to feel down actually makes it worse. The key is to come back and I have to say I always do. After wallowing, I often feel convicted and that’s when I feel empowered all over again.
This will pass Carrie – HUGS
Funny Lynette, I read that exact same advice in a book recently. I believe it was called Happier, by Ben Shahar.
Before reading this post I applied to about 10 new part time child care gigs on weekend nights, so I’m right there with you.
My approach right now is to just do the best I can, tackling things as they come and not worrying about what I can’t control. I also know that when things get really stressful I have to be extra conscious that I’m meeting my spiritual need, getting rest at night, and working out. If I don’t I know I won’t be able to handle it and could slip into depression or discouragement again and not be able to dig myself out on my own.
I’ll pray for you to have the peace and strength you need. Just know that you are the person I think of whenever I’m going through something hard. To me you seem to have such an ease about you and accomplish so many small victories everyday that it is inspiring.
Don’t give up!
Stephanie Watson says
I wanted to tell Val Mom that I agree completely with what you said. Each day after checking social media for 30 minutes. I only work on money making activities until I’ve finished making the amount of money I needed to make for the day. I call it my “quota” then I do other things that don’t make money.
By making money I mean billable hours or billable projects that pay a specific amount.
The “non money making” activities might be updating my affiliate websites, blogging for myself, updating social media etc… but I know I must make x dollars each day that I work, period. Believe it or not it gives me an energy boost when I am done with the money making part and can move on with the other parts of my business.
Carrie, if you’re not jazzed as you normally are ask yourself these questions:
Are you eating right?
Are you getting enough sunshine?
Are you deficient in any vitamin? (like B12?)
Do you have some sort of hormonal imbalance?
Sometimes it’s not anything you’re doing, sometimes our emotions are caused by other factors. I’m sure you know that though :). A couple of months ago I discovered I had a vitamin B 12 and a vitamin D deficiency. Once I addressed this issue my mood changed drastically. (and my back pain became less!)
Wow Carrie, I certainly can relate! It’s hard especially when you feel like some invisible force is pushing all of this adversity in your path.
2008 was like that for us. Wow, I hated that year. We had an infant and medical bills from what was left after our insurance paid for my emergency c-section and other complications. Then we went house-shopping, found a really cute house and decided to rent out our current home.
In the span of about 2 months we: 1. Couldn’t find a tenant 2. Found out my husband had cancer 3. Celebrated our son’s first birthday with a restaurant party because our house was too small 4. Husband had to go on partial disability while being treated for cancer…goodbye 30% of regular pay and ALL overtime. 5. Missed out on our house because the stock market and real estate market completely tanked and we lost thousands that would have gone toward our new house.
Then, the holidays…and a trip to the West Coast that was already planned before all of this for a family thing. It was like as soon as one issue would end, another would start. Very frustrating!
But we learned that there’s a time for everything. That if you handle one issue and stay strong you’ll be all that much stronger for the next one (and there’s ALWAYS a next one!) I felt very much like you do and it’s been frustrating to say the least to feel like the world is against us. But this too shall pass….
Stephanie I have been feeling bone tired lately. I did just have a physical, my thryoid checked, etc. I got a clean bill of health, for what it’s worth. But it could absolutely be something physical going on. Baby has been going through a period of increased night waking, so I’m not minimizing the impact of that on my energy level and mood!
Wow Jen, that is a lot to deal with. I am thankful that noone has experienced any serious health problems here! How is your husband doing now?
Hugs Carrie! My hubs and I make enough to cover our bills but we never manage to save anything. If the you know what hit the fan we would be up a creek without a paddle. It terrifies me and the fact that we don’t budget or even watch our money means we are just lazy with our finances. Will we ever grow up?!! I really respect what you have managed to do with money. You are a rock star to me!
I know you will pull it together and find the motivation to solve these issues and come out on top with all your goals.
He’ll be in remission three years this December! =)
I re-read all of that and was like, “Hey I could have said I relate without all the details” but I guess my point was that Life throws curveballs sometimes as fast as a pitching machine! =) But it all evens out eventually. Giving up wasn’t an option for my husband or for me even when there was so much coming at us and what you learn on the way is worth the stress and the worry. Really, it is.
I think you have a fantastic attitude even if you feel a little down about the issue right now. You’re a determined person!! Look what you’ve done already!
I just know that I need to do what ever it takes to improve the situation, replenish our savings, and work with my clients to ensure timely payments.
We are also working through the Baby Steps and I SO feel like we’re constantly being tested. One thing I DO know, even though it feels like two steps forward and one step back it’s FAR better than practically running backwards like we were doing less than a year ago.
One month, DH worked enough overtime for us to knock out our last credit card (not our last debt), but then my car broke down. We replaced the entire engine! Then we needed new tires for DH’s truck (we’d ignored them too long). The next month all DH’s overtime got cut and we’re used to having at least 10 hours per pay period so that was significant. Then our water heater started leaking and we had to buy a new one!
Three months later and that stinkin’ credit card is STILL around! And now, as you know, BS2 is on hold and we’re in pile up mode. Before the water heater incident I was going to knock out that last card then pile up. But since that stupid card seems to be intent on sticking around, we decided to get right to pile up and if we get to a point were we feel comfortable using part of the pile to pay that thing off we will. Otherwise, we’ll just wait until the “storm” passes.
But yes, whatever you do, DON’T give up!!! It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it. 😉
Carrie, I hear you, I really do. I want to give you hugs and encourage you. I am a single, homeschooling mom and sometimes I get really, really overwhelmed and fragmented. I am there now! It’s hard to keep going in a world that is forever poised to eat you alive. It gets wearing. The Bible verses you cited are so wonderful. I am praying that God will relieve you of all your debt. He can do that.
I had over $16,000 in medical debt when I had an emergency appendectomy with no health insurance. After many months of just paying $5 a month on each bill to keep them current and hours of phone calls and fruitless visits to the local DHHR, I found out about hospital charity. It was not advertised; it was only through a labyrinth of phone calls that I found out about it. I applied, was approved, and the $10,000 hospital debt was completely waived. Then I faxed the approval form to the other care providers and they agreed to waive their bills, too. I now have NO medical debt. …well, I will in a couple of weeks because I need a crown on one of my teeth. But God can do it again! He has amazing, unexpected ways.
As Kay Arthur says, hangeth thou in there! You are loved!!
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33