Define: Need

There’s so much stuff I need. A new dog bed, a mat for the front hallway, a new phone, some new t-shirts for our trip, those cute ballet flats I saw yesterday, that awesome cord jacket at Eddie Bauer, and then a scarf to go with it, and probably a new pair of skinny khakis would go with those flats and… oh wait. Did I say “need”?

We’re constantly on a budget that is just a little too tight, although thanks to some recent debt being paid off, it’s not as tight as it was through the winter. It’s the Lean Years, my mother tells me, referring to life as a young family and I swallow hard because the kids haven’t even really developed big appetites or started sports yet. I have plans for Disney World in 2011 and then Vancouver in 2012 and this whole “being broke” thing really gets in the way.

What would life consist of, if I were to strip it down to the bones? If I were to eliminate every unnecessary expense? But what’s unnecessary? Race registration, at $50 a pop? Well, no, I’m not giving that up. The step Steve made for the deck on Sunday? Well, it needed to be done. The boy we found who mows the lawn for us? But isn’t the convenience of $20/week worth being able to spend Sunday afternoon together instead of consoling Alena while she miserably watched Steve mow the lawn, both afraid of the noise and desperate to be with her dad? All worth it, and yet, two of the three could probably be considered frivolous expenses.

We talk about money, and pay raises and timelines. When we have this, when we have that and sometimes I shake myself and hate the voice that’s coming out of my mouth and wonder what the bloody hell gadgets and money and stuffstuffstuff means anyway? Sometimes I think it’s just another way to let your soul get sucked dry.

Except, even with a sucked-dry soul, that cord jacket and flats would go well together.

2 Comments on “Define: Need

  1. Love the last line! The whole thing is so true though! Money is a bitch.

  2. I hear you. We are on a single income right now (although I am in process of applying for a part time thing…more so just to help my sanity than actual need for additional money). So there are definitely some things that I have thus far refused to give up like organic milk but then some things I decided to cut back. Like with races, my husband and I agreed that I would only do 1/2 or Full Marathons and that I would probably only be doing one or two per year. Which I think is a nice compromise because I still get to do them but I’m not shelling out $25 – 30 for a 5/10K.

    But yes, the savings account is still so meager and if anything major happened right now, we’d be borrowing from a family member. This is also why we are holding off on our decision for a second child until next summer. I’ve been trying to write down all the sort of need/sort of don’t on a gift list so that when people ask me what I want, I can say oh please a new bath mat. In a way I like being on a slimmer budget because I really, really think about purchases beforehand. But it still also sucks.

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