Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Sweet Summer Oblivion

Looking for small successes in the sweet summer oblivion

This summer won’t hold many savings for me. Small successes, sure, but big ones? I’m trying but I can’t seem to locate them. This summer season I came screeching to a grinding halt – prom, college graduation trip, birthday party for 70, then another graduation with a party for many. June came along and I breathed a sigh of relief. Too short-lived, it was, because July is in full swing with two soccer tournament weekends under our belts – and next week is August. Already.

My youngest son will be a senior this year and I told myself I would attend every summer event. Attend I did and I have no regrets, though my wallet seems a bit slimmer these days. Thank God for sharing a hotel room with a friend and splitting things up. These days will be gone in a glimmer so I take them all in, spend what I need to and have fun in the process. 

My middle daughter is heading for college at the end of August. I’m avoiding my feelings for the time being so I don’t have to deal with them. I will say that the second one sent off is a bit easier than the first one. She is focused and ready. She has been working as a waitress and just last night handed me the money for a new smartphone. My kids don’t get smartphones until they can pay for them and pay for the monthly data, so although she’s on her third phone or so, this will be her first smartphone. Again, I feel it makes them appreciate it more if they have to earn it themselves. My son has been saving up as well and may hand me his money soon. I count these as small but fruitful successes.

It’s enough to know that we can pay our bills, live in our own house and put food on the table. Living beyond your means puts everyone in the home in a foul mood because it trickles down from the parents. I read a Facebook status the other day that posed this question: “Should we tell our kids when they want something that we can’t afford it? Or should we tell them we can’t purchase it now and help them to find a way to save and get it?” There were mixed responses and it really did surprise me. Most people said kids should know when there is not enough money for something. It puts them in the real world and lets them know there isn’t instant gratification. The dissenters said that we shouldn’t put kids in a “poverty mind-set” by telling them we can’t afford something. We should help them find creative ways to save and scratch to get said item. 

I have always told my kids when we couldn’t afford something. Granted, not everything they “want” is something they should get. If we’re telling them that they can do this, this and this to get what they want, then we’re not ever telling them that they don’t need something - and believe me they don’t need everything they want. Tell them the truth because it will serve them well in the future. 

I head into August hanging onto July’s coattails. It was a wet, hot month that saw me having small successes financially and also personally. I stayed attentive to my garden for the first time in years and it is still beautiful to look at. My planted pots are lush and full and my garden is semi-weed free. The kids are keeping up with the lawn by weed eating and mowing and are doing a wonderful job. Financially, I’m setting my sights on a few small goals that are exciting and attainable. Things are coming to fruition. I’m hoping to do some front porch sitting before the month drains away because when August comes it’s that back to school rush and it’s all over. I’m going to hold on to these languid months for as long as I can.