I haven't given much thought to money in the past decade or so. My ex-husband and I were resonably well off. We had a two income household, a modest housepayment and the cars were paid off. We were frugal and didn't buy a thing unless we had the money in our pocket to pay for it.
Somewhere along the line, money got out of hand. I don't know whether it was the recession or that my income has stayed static for the past ten years while inflation has zoomed out of control. I think our divorce had something to do with it but I can't imagine what since my ex had not shared in the household expenses for a long time. I think a major culprit is an adult daughter and her family who always seem to need something and never have the money to buy it, inspite of their expensive cell phones and big screen TVs.
Irregardless of the the cause, I find myself waking up at night worrying about money. Twelve years ago when I became a doctor I was making good money. When I left that office four years ago to set up my own, I took a paycut to get the practice started and it was enough for just the ex and I and everything was fine. But this year, the bottom fell out. Income is down 15% from last year. I have given myself yet another paycut to make ends meet at the office, but now my household is cut to the bare bones.
I am back to when I was first married, counting every penny and hoping I will have enough to buy lunch tomorrow, while still carrying the burden of my daughter and her three children. I have a lot of money in savings, but I am afraid to dip into it because that is there for when I retire. And my novel is nowhere near to being sold for that big six figure advance.
So what to do? I suppose I could sell my practice to a big box medical group, but then I would be forced to march to the tune of someone else's drummer, something I am very bad at doing. I suppose I could let my daughter go from her receptionist posisition but that would only backfire on me even more because then I would be picking up more of their expenses. I suppose I can tighten my belt even further and forgo my lunches out and make my ten year old car run for another thirty thousand miles. Or I could get a weekend job at Walmart or McDonalds to supplement my income.
It really made me angry yesterday when it was reported that the recession is over. For whom? The Wall Street bigwigs that created this problem or the CEO's of insurance companies who keep raising premeiums but haven't increased reimbursement for services in ten years. I don't get it, but I can't waste the energy trying to change that which I have no control over.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I will go back to square one and start by changing myself. Goodbye lunch out and Hello sack lunches. Goodbye theater and concerts and Hello Red Box. Sorry Ky cat, but it is little Friskies for you. And daughter and grandkids, no, just no.