Well, I belong here now.
I can't figure it out--DH and I *should* be doing fine. He makes a pretty good wage, I was working part-time for most of last year. We don't spend money on clothes or CDs or fancy gadgets, we don't have a car or a TV, I don't shop for fun, we don't drink alcohol or buy soft drink, eat much red meat, buy prepackaged stuff like chips (well, hardly ever)... all the cliched 'Cut Down to Save Money' tips, we already do.
And yet we're struggling. We moved house over Christmas, and it was way more expensive than it should have been. Our rent has gone up by $40 a week. We've been getting takeout a few times, partly to celebrate DH being on holiday, and partly because I had a couple of those 'there's nothing to cook in the house and I don't feel like cooking anyway' days. We had a (small) New Years/housewarming party which ended up being quite expensive, despite other people contributing meat and drinks; and whenever we have guests I feel obliged to buy splurgy ingredients, and that adds up.
So, while we're not exactly starving in a cardboard box, things are uncomfortably tight right now. We still have to pay the bond for our new place (the landlord forgot to sign something, so it's been delayed). We still owe money on DH's motorbike and sole means of transport--we had a big lump sum all saved up to pay at once, but it got frittered away on moving-related expenses somehow. We've just learned that when the baby's born, DH doesn't get ANY paid leave... he wants to take 2 weeks at least, but that means 2 weeks of no pay, which means saving up $1200 or so for rent and bills during that time. Plus he's got a conference in a few weeks. He's paid for that, but he'll still need to pay for travel expenses, food, what-have-you. And I want him to have a good time, as it's his last 'fling with the boys' (it's a swordfighting conference) before he has to deal with fatherhood. But a small voice inside me wants to shout 'Stay home, we can't afford it!'. ...Oh, and I've just found out we haven't paid for the moving van yet! Gah.
*sigh* It's feeling useless that really sucks. I'm not working. I tried to get another job last year, but nobody wanted to hire the pregnant woman who couldn't work Sundays. I do a little baking for cash (also stressful at the moment, our new oven tries to charcoal the bottom of everything we put in it!), I enter competitions online (and have won such necessities of life as movie vouchers and skincare products--it does make our life a little nicer, but it hardly 'helps' in the grand financial scheme of things). I get a little carer support money for babysitting my little sisters (technically one particular sister, but I may as well have 'em all)... I guess I could ask Mum if I could do that more often. I've joined Suite 101, I do mystery shopping... you know, little things like that... but I can't pretend I'm making a major financial contribution, and I feel so useless! DH is wonderful about it, luckily, but I know he appreciated it when I was bringing a couple of hundred in a week. 'Well done, you won a 'Hitman' temporary tattoo set!' isn't quite the same.
What a long whine! Sorry.
I just feel like we're slipping into the same financial situation as my parents--always struggling, living from payday to payday--and I hate it. We're young, with no kids--we should be saving, investing, doing whatever smart young people do. It just hasn't worked. We need to have another month of $40-a-week-food-budgeting, I think--we saved heaps in November that way. Hopefully the garden will really get going soon, and we can live off tomatoes and basil!
Thanks for listening. I know, I have so much to be grateful for... we're in a far better position than most. Just feeling down.