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Breaking point




I think we've hit our breaking point.


I fell behind on our charitable giving last year, so I tried to make up for it last month and this month. It has made our budget very tight.


We had the big hospital bill to pay. We had Christmas (and we went pretty light on that).


We paid property tax early, from an underfunded sinking fund.


We have the money for all of our living expenses, but I've got so much going to retirement that it squeezes the rest of our life. Plus throwing extra to the mortgage, trying to reach an arbitrary goal I've set, and I'm feeling the pinch.


The problem is all mine. DH would have no problem if we took a little longer to pay off the house, or if I pulled back on the retirement savings. He wants us to continue to live frugally, but if we want to do something / give something / go somewhere -- that we just do it. I'm the one who thought - well, we're living pretty frugally, I'm just going to see how much I can squeeze without anyone noticing.....


So I didn't hit the mortgage goal by December because I increased the giving (as I should have been doing all year). In January, since I resolved to be less stingy, I've followed through on that. :)


I guess this is what I knew would happen, we hit our point -- now the question is do I back down the ROTH, back down the 401k, or try to work more hours to make the extra leeway we need in our budget?!


There's still so much I wanted to get done before April too -- I wanted to throw a couple thousand in my new Individual 401k just to get it started, I think we're going to owe some taxes (probably between $500-$1000, need to go ahead and change the w-4 YET AGAIN, grrr). I wanted to knock down the mortgage -- but after the past couple of months I think this is even on the back burner for me.


This is just rambling, I know. I am having a hard time expressing myself to my DH because all of the money decisions & goals should not be stressing me out -- especially since I'm the one putting the pressure on myself.



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I think you just need to sit down and decide what you want to do with your money. Is retirement important...then giving needs to go down. Is giving important, then retirement needs to go down. Is going out and doing something more important, then retirement and giving go down.


It's important to be good stewards, but I think Dave Ramsey would also caution you to not spend yourself away from enjoying life (whatever that looks like to you).

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I can identify a little bit because when we hit $50k on our mortgage, I wanted to be debt-free so bad I could almost taste it.  Something about $50k made the goal finally seem attainable.  I would probably cut the retirement contributions back to 15% (or some other %) to make the mortgage payoff happen as fast as possible.  Without a mortgage, and when you can do the over 50 catch-up, you will be able to really sock it away.


Whether to cut back the ROTH or 401k would depend on your current and expected retirement tax brackets.  Although I would probably tend to just fully fund the ROTH since it is a smaller limit and make adjustments to the 401ks (never going below the match amount).  If I was in a super high tax bracket, I'd probably do the 401k and cut back on the ROTH.

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I also would cut back on the roth because you technically have until next April to fill it so you could spread out your contributions for 2016

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I think we need another month or two of DH'S higher take home, and for me to bill some hours. We're trying to do too much, and all at once.


You guys are right about prioritizing.


I haven't billed hardly at all the past 6 weeks, on top of so many expenses. That should be changing starting this Friday as work picks up. I also am hoping dh gets a bonus next pay check, would help settle me down even of its just a couple hundred.


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Remember the lessons of "The Christmas Carol."  Counting our money is all well and good, but don't forget to use some of it to live and enjoy your life.  We had a friend die recently and another diagnosed with cancer.  Neither had gotten to enjoy retirement yet.  Yes, keep on working on getting out of debt and putting money away for your golden years.  But there is more to life.  None of us knows how much time we have on this planet.  So don't let the years go by without taking some time for vacations and going out for dinner once in awhile, or whatever else might make you happy.

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It sounds more like you have found the point that you need to back off a bit.  You cut and cut and cut some more, and eventually everyone gets to that point.... the one where you go... OK, this just isn't fun anymore.  So you take a step backwards to the point that it was still fun.  And sit there for awhile.  =0)Please stop paying bills EARLY that you don't have the money for.  It's just like buying stuff that you don't have money to pay for.  It causes more stress than gives you enjoyment.  So why do it?

WHY did you fall behind on giving?  Was the budget too tight?  Did you have a sudden bill?  Do you have a line item for this?  Are you following your budget?  Not sharing what you don't have isn't "stingy", it's smart.  Consider giving more when you have more.
Causing so much stress about retirement, that you have a heart attack NOW is not good.  Well, it would solve the retirement issue, but not in a good way.  =0)
I don't think that "working more" is necessarily the answer.... if you wanted to work more, then ok.  If you NEEDED to work more, again, that's a different circumstance.  But working more so that you can save more or give away more..... I just don't know if that's good.  How much are you working now?  Would working more create more stress?  Who would take care of the things that you are currently taking care of?
You have time or money.... when you use one, you lose the other.  You can spend more time earning money... or you can spend money saving time....  But one will almost always use the other up.  Which do you have?
Is paying off the house more important or building up retirement?  Both may be important, but one is MORE.  Whichever it is.... do that one.  Back off on the other.
That's my .02 anyway!  =0)  Good luck!  And it sounds a bit like you are burning out a bit.... I think maybe you could step back from it all for a few days and see what your sub-concious comes up with!  And BREATHE!!!!  It's all good... just trying to figure out where is the most good can cause too much stress!  Grab a cup of tea, a good book, and stop thinking about it for a little while.  =0)
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We are in a similar place. We increased our giving to 10% of gross last year, and are trying to fit bs4, (and soon 5) in the budget, AND have a snowball to pay off the house in 5 years. (and renovate our kitchen). not to mention he still has his dream of owning his own restaurant, which has been coming up more lately. It's tough, but we can't do it all at once.


 I have finally learned that getting excited about increasing income/snowball opportunities just puts pressure on DH and doesn't motivate him at all. He is great about sticking to our budget, but his immediate response to my income goal talk is that he needs to find a higher paying job (which means exec chef at a restaurant, which typically means 80 hours weeks/no time together at all, not to mention dealing with unprofessional/unreliable restaurant owners) or get a regular part time job (like the newspaper delivery last year which was miserable). A regular part time job also doesn't work either with the baby coming - since I will need him on baby duty every chance he gets so I can get my work done and keep up my half of the income. But, although I see plenty of snowflake opportunities that don't require a regular time commitment, for the most part, he just shuts down when I talk about them...


I know he is working hard on a raise at work, so I have decided to just drop the income goal talk, do whatever I can do increase our income/reduce expenses, and just let him be!  in the meantime, if we don't meet our goals, I need to be okay with that also!  


Anyway- good luck, it's not easy!  I always thought BS2 was the hard part, but it's nice to have ONE goal - the need to do everything at once really slows down progress

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How does this sound to you?

We all get consumed with doing this, doing that, falling behind on this, catching up with that...

A while back, I started doing a year end review. My wife and I have corporate backgrounds, so this is right in our wheelhouse.

Interestingly, it completely takes off the table the issues that most preoccupy us... What we're doing today. There will always be a NEXT goal. There is no finish line. From that perspective it can start feeling like you didn't accomplish anything.


Here's how much we earned.... Here's what we did with that money. How do we feel about that?


You need to take a step back once in a while. Celebrate your successes, dream and plan your next steps. Ambitious people don't like to admit that something's gotta give. Evaluating the past takes that off the table.

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What I'm very proud of this past year is that we saved/invested/mortgage principal pay-down a huge percentage of our income.  I am glad that we're squeezing ourselves now, when the baby is too young to be out doing very much.  


But, I am accepting that this year we are going to spend some money on experiences and on a few things that we've put off.  The baby is getting older, is easier to travel with (a little), our sons need to have experiences to look back on.  I've decided on the months that we want to do something, I'll suspend the ROTH contributions.


My part time (extremely part time) job died way down in Nov/Dec, contributing to the tight feel of the budget those months -- but I think it's going to pick up again here quickly.  I will do that as much as I can without getting stressed, because otherwise, I'm just doing housekeeping, cooking, reading, all those fun SAHM things.  I have time to spend working from home as long as I can keep it to no more than 3 hours per day.

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Just remember, you have "experiences" whether you go anywhere or not.  And the things WE think the kids will look back on, are not the most lasting memories.   Playing board games every Saturday night, or a really bad storm that turned into an adventure....those are things that build memories too.  =0)


You sound much better this week!  I'm glad you found your decision.  =0)

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I am feeling better this week. :)


I worked enough to bill over $530 just this week. I was still able to cook from scratch and keep the laundry done. This is exciting, because I have a deadline and enough work to keep me busy through February. It should loosen the budget enough to start the sinking funds for the year and to keep retirement as is.


Flexibility is key right now. Telling myself it is okay to not send extra to the mortgage on tight months, or delaying some retirement funding (especially since we're already overfunding), all ok. Relax. Breathe. We've got this.

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It's not for us to say. Plan today.

In a low month what will you do?

In a high month what will you do?

I promise you, both are in your future.


If it's all about the money and these priorities are Needs for you, quit wasting all that time at home, go work full time, buy some convenience food, etc.


Tongue in cheek, but do you understand?

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Ha, I understand!


I understand that I've pretty much got it made. When the youngest is school age, I'll probably work more, but I got it. Our biggest priorities are what we're already doing.



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