Monday, October 10, 2011

Overcoming My Fear Of All Things Financial

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Money... just the utterance of the word fills me with dread and makes me feel sick to my stomach. I have had so many bad experiences with money, all the result of ignorance on my part. The dread goes back to my childhood where money was a constant source of tension between my parents, neither of them had much experience of how to run personal finances.

Of course when I left school and started working I thought I knew better, when I received my first pay check everyone said I must start saving straight away but there was always something that needed to be urgently bought. The result was that after working for ten years, and climbing the corporate ladder relatively successfully, I merely ended up with a lifestyle I couldn't afford and a list of debt I couldn't get rid of.

The pressure got to me and I left my high powered job as a project manager to go back to my love of children and teaching. Shortly after making this decision I fell pregnant with Jesse. Jesse's dad, my now husband, was a student at the time finishing off his diploma in nature conservation. The school unfortunately did not renew my contract when they found out I was expecting and the pressure was on my husband to find a job that paid well. We both felt it was important that he worked in the field that he loved, even though it is notoriously underpaid.
Source: Pinterest, pinned by Chantal Mullens from website:

This year has been a trying year financially, as we try to pay off my accumulated debt, the medical bills from Jesse's birth (there is always something that medical aid doesn't pay for) and get by day to day. I opted to stay at home with Jesse, a virtually unheard of decision in South Africa where labour is cheap and a nanny could be hired for a very small salary per month. However, staying at home with Jesse is something that is very important to me, and my husband agreed that we should try to make it work.

Being a Mom, one suddenly has to become a responsible adult. Where every decision you make not only impacts yourself but the future of your children. It is now even more critical that we deal with our debt and start saving for the future. I want to make sure that I can send Jesse to university one day, if he so wishes. Jesse has also taught me to delight in the small things in life. Not every experience needs to cost a bundle. His favourite toys, for instance, are shells and magnets.

I have had to put drastic changes in place to ensure we have a better future, financially. Some of them include:
  • I have started the envelope system, which works well. Basically if you haven't budgeted for it, and don't have the physical money for it then don't buy it. You also get to make these really cute fabric envelopes from Just Imagine Heaven.
Source: Pinterest, pinned by Kiersten Steck from website: Just Imagine Heaven
  • I plan a weekly menu and write a grocery list, I also never go grocery shopping when I am hungry as otherwise I am bound to buy junk. 
  • You can get by living day-to-day on a very small budget as long as:
    • You make all meals from scratch and eat simple, whole foods.
    • Do not buy snacks (Popcorn is a good snack as it is affordable)
    • Leave eating out for special treats only.
    • Buy baby clothes from the most reasonable shops... they only last three months anyway before he grows out of them. Or buy used clothing. 
    • Use cloth nappies (diapers)
    • There are very few baby gadgets that are necessary (another post for another day)
    • Use natural, home-made cleaning products. 
My accumulation of debt boils down to ignorance about financial planning and a fear of money. The best way to deal with a fear of money is to deal with your finances on a daily basis. Draw up a budget, look at your bank account every day, draw up a checklist of bills to pay and work out a payment roster. Contact creditors and let them know when you expect to settle your account. 

My financial learning experience is an on-going event, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon October 11 with all the carnival links.)
  • Money Matter$ — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
  • A different kind of life... — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
  • Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down & Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the financial aspect of infertility treatments.
  • Material v Spiritual Wealth - Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family's realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
  • If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
  • Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income Family — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the "real cost" of working outside of the home.
  • Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
  • Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
  • Money MattersWitch Mom hates money; here's why.
  • Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she's made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
  • What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
  • Making Ends Meet — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
  • Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
  • The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget - and her perspective on creating and mothering.
  • Jemma's Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama Gretchen's monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
  • 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier — Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life (and budget) easier.
  • Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from realizing her dream.
  • Total Disclosure and Total Reform — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget under control.
  • Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at Tmuffin is only good with money because she's lazy, has trouble throwing things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
  • Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in BudgetingMudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
  • ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes for her children's financial future.
  • Money vs. TimeMomma Jorje writes about cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater value: Time.
  • An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
  • 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
  • Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family's lives at the same time.
  • Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains how she's willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun, she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
  • Money could buy me ... a clone? — With no local family to help out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can take care of her health.
  • Spending IntentionallyCatholicMommy loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to buy.
  • New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old's learned from having his own spending money.
  • How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
  • It's Not a Baby Crisis. It's Not Even a Professional Crisis. — Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
  • "Making" Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little greener.
  • Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
  • Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
  • Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most important item to budget for.
  • Money Matters... But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting too much of a focus onto it.
  • Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
  • Crunchy Living is SO Expensive...Or Is It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living - and her surprise at what she learned.
  • Mo' Money, Mo' Problems — Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family's finances.
  • The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if she doesn't always do it.
  • Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family's approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.

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