We still have a couple of weeks before Christmas and I have less (much less) than EUR 200 in the bank account. Dear Husband is also broke. Christmas Day is fast approaching and we are asaulted on all sides by adverts and expectations.
“I got them budget Christmas blues…” (cue soulful harmonica music)
Like many, many other families this year, it is going to be slim pickings under the tree for Darling Daughter and Son #1 (Son #2 is too young to remember, thank goodness). Everyone outside of the Inner Sanctum (husband, kids) will be getting homemade presents. I have been doing homemade gifts for many years, so hopefully no-one will notice (unless they read this blog…hmmm…)
At this point, I would like to have a rant about the pressures exerted on families via the horrendous advertising that is foisted upon us on television, radio, via mail (yeah, thanks a lot local toystore, I really needed you to dump a massive, colourful, tempting catalogue of all your children’s toys through our door…) and on every high street. I would like to, but I just don’t have the energy. We all know it happens. The question simply comes down to whether we can resist or not. But when you are broke, the choice is pretty much made for you.
Sorry, this post is sounding a bit whingey and sorry-for-oneself. We are by no means in the kind of dire straits that requires, for example, food bank usage (hats off, by the way to Jack Monroe and her campaign #JACKSPETITION) and although I have been trying to sell some of my clothes (suits that (I hope) I will never need again) on eBay, it is not an act of desperation; more one of frugality. We will be able to buy one or two nice new presents for our kids for Christmas (because, let’s face it, kids do not need a pile of pressies the size of Mount Everest…will save this for another post). And if I am brutally honest, I do have a tendency to spend money on things that are not absolutely necessary (see, for example, my nice shiny new Shellacked nails or that nice new kitchen gadget for biscuit decorating…). But it does seem that no matter what we do, no matter how we do try to budget and cut down on the uneccesary, there never seems to be enough money (particularly at the moment when I am on only 75% of my normal salary..ah, maternity leave…).
Three kids are not exactly inexpensive to raise (but we chose to have them and we will always make sure they have what they need, if not always what they want). If we did not have them in daycare then it would be a lot cheaper for us (a hell of a lot cheaper, it must be admitted). But if we did not have them in daycare, I would not be able to go out to work (Germany still has a very retro attitude to working mothers…again, I will save this for a separate post…) and as I am currently the major breadwinner in our family, this would not be a good thing. We were also really screwed over when we took out the mortgage on our current house (well, the land our house happens to be on) as we were not actually resident in Germany at the time, so had to agree to horrendous rates of interest (which really bites, now that interest rates are so ridiculously low). We are half way through the 10 year mortgage now and if we re-negotiated the terms of our mortgage we would have to start all over again. Which we really don’t want to do now that we are actually starting to pay off the capital. Damnation.
Have you ever done one of those Facebook quizzes that purports to tell you what literary character you are? I don’t need to, I know who I am: Meg, from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women“. Poor, but old enough to remember the good times… It’s all in the name.
Ok, enough wallowing. It is in my nature, but I will not allow it. When you have kids and it is the festive season, no amount of worry for Christmas/life Future is allowed to dampen the spirit of Christmas/life Present.