We used to be on a budget and have a little bit of savings, last summer when I was making money. That money got us through my restricted movement period when Jasper was uncooperative to working conditions, and it even held us through the period after he was born. Somehow, between having Jasper and attempting to get to know his eccentricities and dealing with the medical neediness of a preemie, I dropped the budget ball.
So we were throwing money away, basically, between late fees (for example: rent's late fee is $75 for the first day and $10 a day after that), phones, TV and internet getting shut off (that's what happens when you don't pay the bill.) We all got sick including the baby so there were doctor's appointments, copays, and missed work. And a SNAFU at the credit union that put us behind a little. Couponing became so incredibly important, and so did conservation. We have been trying our best to go without air conditioning as much as possible and drive very sparingly, all the while shopping for a house that will accomodate the needs of our quickly growing family yet still take the strain off our budget. So money kept disappearing, and there was never, ever enough.
A few weeks ago, I sat down and made blank calendar pages on paint, printed them off, and wrote up a very colorful, visual budget. I colored everything we pay out in red, outlined our paycheck dates in blue, And figured out how everything would get paid and from which check it would happen. I had it figured out by the middle of August, yet the budget could not officially start until the tenth of September, because we had to catch up on everything we owed.
Then other things jumped in and caused problems. We all caught the flu, the same week Jasper got his shots, so that was a $110 affair, when I had to miss two days of work to keep him out of daycare so as not to infect the other babies.
But by the end of September our budget should be back on track. We didn't include Brian's sidejobs in the budget, and they help take the load off a little bit. In November I'll have to apply for a second year's deferment on my educational loans, but I've still got one forbearance after that, and if we don't need it we won't take it.
We owe a little bit on my Old Navy card, and I'll pay that off next month, but other than that we have no outstanding credit debt.
As far as the medical bills we have left on Jasper, and the future ones we're about to accrue with Jonny - You all are just going to have to get in line. We have to eat and we have to live. Really, most of Jasper's bills got sent to collections when he was 3 months old even though I was paying on them, so I'm not too terribly worried about that. I don't even count them right now. Later when we get our ducks in a row, I'll worry about them.
Money is stressful. At least nothing is late this month!! Progress is progress, whether it is slow or instant.