So the opportunity came up for me to switch from full-time to part-time – you’d think we would have jumped on that shit since it’s what both of us had been hoping for, right? Wrong. It was a lot harder a decision than I would have thought it would be. I didn’t have confidence in my ability to make up the lost money with my side projects – even though I’m always saying that if I had more TIME they would be successful… but what it they weren’t? What if I failed? What if we went to part-time and we couldn’t afford to pay our bills? Going to part-time would make the family have to pay attention to what we were spending money on. Not take trips. Not do as many sports and activities. Not go out to eat. Not have cable. And on and on and on. I didn’t want to be the person that stopped all of that, just so I could get what I wanted. Would it have been better for our family? I don’t know. But in the end, I couldn’t make the decision. I didn’t want to be the one to take all of that away… so I asked JR to decide. He decided that we probably couldn’t afford it (he had just taken a pay cut to go to his new job) and I went with his decision. In hindsight, I probably should have taken the part-time position. I should have had the courage to take a chance and see if I had what it took to make up the money we would be losing from my reduced hours. But I didn’t.
For whatever reason, after the decision was made, I had no problem creating a budget and cutting down on spending. I made an allowance for JR and I, created a food budget, lowered our phone data plan and went to work canceling the cable. I couldn’t do it when it meant the family was sacrificing for something I wanted, but as soon as that was out of the equation, I didn’t feel bad about it at all. It helps to take away some of the disappointment from still having to work full-time and evenings to know that we are working towards me switching to part-time. Now, if the opportunity ever arises again, I won’t feel bad about doing these things – because they will already be in place.
But… budgeting sucks. It is NO FUN. Although some of it is kind of like riding a bike – you never forget how – we got so used to spending money and not thinking about it that it’s rather annoying to have to pay attention to it now. Both JR were really, really poor during parts of our adult lives and I know it’s hard for him to go back to living like that. For me it makes it easier knowing that we don’t actually HAVE to. We aren’t wondering where the money is going to come from to pay the bills – we are just living frugally to save up money so we can complete a goal.
There’s a big difference. (But it still stinks.)