Splurging on a Budget

Both of my parents grew up frugally.

IMG_3908My father’s parents are notorious for saving money, and its amazing to see the fruits of their labor as they do loads of traveling in their retirement. It must’ve been hard for my father and his siblings growing up though, because they certainly did not have the newest toys and gadgets, and had to DIY as much as they could (before DIYing got popular).

My mother grew up on a farm, before her parents divorced making their finances even dimmer. She put herself through college by working two jobs and eating ramen noodles every night, paid for her own wedding, and bought most of her baby necessities herself when she got pregnant.

To 95% of my peers, I grew up extremely fortunate. I wouldn’t disagree.Especially here in the Midwest (not saying there is anything wrong with the midwest), our lifestyle was luxurious. But that isn’t to say my parents didn’t work their asses of to achieve it. My dad was an officer in the Coast Guard after attending the academy, and when they decided to have children my mother was a stay at home mom. If you think you make a lot of money by being in the military- even on the officer side -please reevaluate your perspective and think again. That is by far not the case. Yes, the military blesses you with ample benefits. You have wonderful healthcare, housing (should you so choose to live in) or a housing allowance, dental insurance, are eligible for USAA Banking which provides excellent resources for car loans, mortgages, etc. So yes, the military is fabulous! But my parents certainly never made us grow up spoiled (at least not in the stereotypical “bratty” spoiled)

I have had chores since I can remember. I was taught how to balance a checkbook when myIMG_2914 dad opened a debit account for me when I was 13 (or somewhere around that age). I had to get a job as soon as I was able to (that means 15 with a work permit!), and from then on purchase my own gas, make up and toiletries, clothing, and outings with friends. I was also supposed to save for college. Now, granted, my parents were very helpful. They would buy my school supplies, if I went through a growth spurt and needed a bunch of new clothes they would give me $100 for new jeans/etc.

(What is her point in telling us all this?)

Well, now that I am on my own with Tyler, we don’t exactly make much. Having a baby is expensive. Currently, we are living with his brother and sister-in-law and their two daughters. Its fine- for now. But everyone knows tensions eventually run high when you live with family, especially as adults when you each have your own family, parenting styles, and finances. After delivering Genevieve, I was feeling down. Long story short I was feeling depressed, insecure, and lonely. I decided to treat myself, something I whole heartedly believe in. You are always going to have bills to pay, always going to be in a “crappy” financial situation. While it is important to work towards paying off debt and getting to a better state, if you are going to go about it unhappy, it defeats the purpose. I bought myself a pair of Tieks designer ballet flats with some money my Grandma had sent me. When they finally came in I was so thrilled I posted them everywhere- Facebook, Instagram, and just ranted about how amazing they were (because they are fantastic). Well, I guess I offended some people. I guess to some people I was irresponsible and rude for spending that much money on shoes when I should be putting it away for future rent or bills, or what have you. Little did they know that those shoes were the one thing I had done for myself in months after spiraling into a depression in an attempt to cheer myself up and have something positive. It was brought up that I should explain that I used gift money to purchase them, that they were in a sense a giftI am sorry but I do not, and will not, explain my purchases to anyone so that they are justified. It is nobody’s business but my own and Tyler’s how I afforded something. So, instead of feeling excited and pleased with my purchase I spent the next few weeks debating on returning them, deleting all posts about them on social media, and feeling like I had to walk on eggshells.

"Never get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life."

Aaaaaaaaaanyway,

So in order to force motivate myself to get back into the shape I used to be in, I signed up for a Spartan Sprint Race, a few 5ks, and a 10k this upcoming year. The Spartan Race sin June, and is going to be the most intense for me since it involves obstacles that are damn difficult to do. But I wanted something to intimidate me into getting fit (the pricey registration fee makes me want to get my money’s worth too). Thankfully, I have a few friends and Tyler is in it with me too! So it is going to be exciting.

I have been trying to start running, since the race is about 5 miles long. However, now that Tyler is working in the busy season a moment without baby is few and far in between. A creature of habit I am, so I like to do the same things at the same times every day. When Tyler can’t consistently be home on time on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I can run, I get bitchy cranky, even though it is something I know he can’t help. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until baby is at least 6-8 months old before using a jogging stroller due to the jostling of the stroller at faster speeds, to make sure they can stabilize their core and head better.

Well my friends, Evie will be 6 months next week!!

So the past few weeks I have been trolling Craigslist and Yard Sale groups on Facebook for a good deal. After ample research (because ya’ll know I am a planner), I wanted to go with a “good” brand. Not that there is anything wrong with the “cheaper” brands for joggers (Graco, Schwinn, Jeep), but the design is just not there. I personally have a Grace Travel System myself, which I love! Its convenient, lightweight, and stylish. But for jogging, I personally am not comfortable with Graco. Read up BabyGearLab‘s review of 13 different ones, and make your own opinion! The “better” joggers had a better suspension system to make all the high speed bumps smoother for your little one, as well as varied steering options (swivel vs. fixed wheel), and were lighter in weight.

I immediately knew I wanted the #1 or #2 rated stroller- unfortunately both were over $400 brand new. I figured I would have to deal with a budget brand stroller in the meantime, and continued my search. I was minutes away from purchasing a used Schwinn for $40, when I came across an add for the BOB Revolution. It’s like God had answered my prayers. It had a swivel wheel- with the option to lock into a fixed position (perfect since I couldn’t decide which I wanted), a large canopy sunshade, was lightweight, and in a gender neutral color. It. Was. Perfect. 

It was only $200.

$200.

Okay- I get it. I was aiming for under $60 really. But come on! A $480 stroller for $200?? That’s a steal! And the quality is impeccable. We all know you get what you pay for! I wanted something to last me through Genevieve, and potentially even my next child! It had to withstand taking Winnie on two-three walks everyday (I use my other stroller for this currently, but it would be nice to have something a bit more “rugged” and not have to unload/load it into my car everyday #FirstWorldProblemsIKnow), going on runs three times a week, and the occasional race or trail hike. Do you really think a Graco Jogger or cheapo already used one is going to withstand all that? Nope, because I don’t.

So, I bought it.

The Catch?

Tyler was going to be irritated I spent that much. He would say I should have waited until the next paycheck (but by then it would have been snatched by someone else!), and I knew that there would be people seeing me with a pricey stroller wondering how and why I purchased such an expensive item when we can’t afford to get our own place.

But you know what? I don’t care. Not saying I don’t care about Tyler- he was actually only mad about the fact that I didn’t communicate, which is 100% fair. But I don’t care what people think. If you want to sit there and assume I am spending my money irresponsibly, or that I am naive and have no realistic grip on reality and finances because I am young and my boyfriend/baby daddy basically pays for everything, fine.  But the fact of the matter is, I don’t owe them, or anyone else, an explanation, justification, or reason for my purchase.

I know that I am going to use it every day, and get my money’s worth. They can just take their opinions and shove it up their ***.

In Conclusion,

This whole post was basically a big vent-sesh in an effort to reassure myself that I am doing the right thing. I don’t owe anyone anything, I owe it to myself to stay healthy and happy and that is what this purchase is doing. Does is blow spending $200 instead of paying that towards a credit card? Yes. But, it is going to allow me the opportunity to exercise consistency, exercise my dog, and get my baby fresh air. In my eyes, it will pay itself off in a jiffy.

Plus, Genevieve looks cute as shit in it. Just saying’ 😉
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