Does anyone else just feel stuck? I feel like my husband and I are doing just about everything we can possibly do but we’re still just scraping by. There are no magical answers to solve our problems. We’re simply stuck in lower middle class earning just enough to put us above income guidelines for services but low enough that the vast majority of our income goes to childcare, the mortgage and utilities. It sucks.
I didn't want to read and not answer.
I think we have been at that point, feeling stuck, in the past. And you're right, there are no simple answers. There were things we could have done to lighten our day-to-day burden (i.e., longer mortgage term), but my dh wouldn't consider that sort of thing. We took a really, really drastic measure to "unstick" ourselves. When a work transfer came up, dh took it. It allowed us to take advantage of certain benefits that allowed us to leave the house and mortgage behind (and take our equity). We sold almost everything we owned, gave away the rest and basically "started over" on the other side of the world.
We didn't have excessive debt in the first place and we were on track to pay off the mortgage within 12 years, but we were overextended in terms of our time and feeling stuck in other ways. We could also see the writing on the wall, and I think we were lucky to leave when we did. A few more months and things might have looked very different. Anyway, we're approaching this assignment as a temporary measure that will allow us more financial leverage in the future, and a huge learning opportunity.
We were working so hard to try and pay off our mortgage that we cranked our monthly mortgage payment up to about 45% of our (dual) income. The kids were almost past the point of childcare costs, except for summers, and yes, after utilities, gas and groceries, there was little to nothing left. We never had anything in savings, and had to take out loans for things like home repairs. It wasn't ever a comfortable position, even with both of us working.
It did suck.
I'll be the first to admit that on many days, our solution sucks too. We moved around the world to a place where we know no one. My dh travels for work so I am alone with the kids here. I gave up my job. As much as our home was a burden, we loved it there and I miss our life there every day. Our goal is, at the end of the assignment, to come back with a nice nest egg to be able to afford a home either for cash or with a very small mortgage. And the good thing is, we know it's temporary, so there is an end in sight.
Obviously not everyone has that kind of opportunity, but I guess my thought is, consider the extreme. Most people are not willing to go far or change everything, but sometimes, for those who are willing, there can be a good payoff.
We don't currently feel stuck, but oh man, can I vividly remember feeling that way for many, many years. We had our first baby when I was 22 and DH was 25, and we spent the rest of our 20's having babies and desperately trying to claw our way to a comfortable financial place. Now we're firmly in our 30's, and we really are on firm financial footing - it took a lot of pinching pennies, making good decisions, lots of l-o-n-g hour at work for DH to land a few promotions, and I think a fair bit of good fortune and blessings. But the economy now makes it SO much harder, and I think if we were trying to go from stuck to comfortable at this time, we wouldn't be able to do it. (((hugs))))
Thank You. Your replies actually made me feel better. My husband and I have had good years and we've had bad years. This year our expenses have shot through the roof because of childcare and tuition for full day kindergarten (in our area you have to pay for full day K). I see our situation as temporary, or at least I hope it is. I've always thought that once both of our kids reach school age then we'll have more disposable income. So far our "temporary" situation has lasted 6 years with 2 more to go. The plus is that my husband has always been promoted consistantly over the years and he has a small side business. Earlier this year I changed jobs and took a professional job in my field and I'm graduating with my degree in 2 months. I think we have a good future ahead of us. It's just making through the next two years....
I second the opinion of doing something drastic. But also, i think it helps to look at your life as not a place you're stuck in, but as a compilation of choices. You *could* change the game, and probably pretty quickly/simply--but the consequences of doing so might not appeal to you, or might not be in line with your values, yk?
For example, you could move to a smaller place or communal housing with friends. One of you could quit working and cut out some expenses that way. You could start your own business, or start taking college classes. You could even choose not to pay some of your bills for awhile, in order to have the money and time to pursue some other option.... Ahem. Not that this is necessarily a good idea--but it helps to consider things from ALL angles, yk? Feeling stuck is a bad way to feel, and from within that feeling, there's not a lot of room for you to navigate out of it, if that makes sense?
Sometimes I feel like I've been "stuck" for ten years now--or else, that someone keeps pushing the cosmic "rewind" button on me But then, I am where I am for many reasons. Some are likely life lessons I'm needing to experience, while others are tradeoffs that I knowingly make. I could go get a full-time job and drastically improve our *finances*....but then, I think it would negatively impact virtually everything else in our lives. Tradeoffs..
Hang in there!
Yes and it can really make you feel down and depressed doesn't it? I have been feeling this way for a couple years..Family problems make it worse..I work two jobs,am a single grandma raising my granddaughter.I basically flop from month to month trying to pay everything.I have an end in sight though..I am tierd of trying to make it here with no help.I am going home this Spring.I have tried to make a go of it here for other people and to make it easier for them..They love me helping them but won't help me int he way I need it the most.And it isn't money.So I have made a decision and am sticking by it..It will anger alot of people who never come around round but I have decided to do what is best for me and L..I am tiered of pleasing everyone else..And living on nothing..By going home I can get my old job back and have family to help me with daycare for L.I hope and pray you and your husband can get "unstuck" too..It feels like you are falling into a deep pit and can never get out and I wouldn't wish that on anyone..Hugs to you and yours..
I don't mean to be flip, but I've read your posts and it doesn't seem to me that you're stuck. It appears to me that yes, things are tight, but they will improve. You have a medium-term plan. Once all of your kids are in school full-time, daycare costs will decrease. And it sounds like your DH has opportunities for advancement at work (maybe you do too?).
I think you're just at that point where things are tough, but they will get better as time goes on. I know it's hard to be patient, but you're on your way.