Our little family is doing well. The littlest is starting potty training, and continuously surprises us with her knowledge of colors, animals, and words. Our oldest started 2nd grade, and besides some weird 8 year old behavioral stage, is doing great. My husband and I kind of got in the habit of being grumpy with all the stress, but things are getting better and better. I love you, honey!
Freelance writingThis is actually going about as well as I could ask for as a newbie. I have a manageable bit of steady work each week, and then when I get side gigs or sell on ConstantContent.com (only happened twice though...), I can make a little extra. I think I'm finally getting a little better at the research and writing part, so I can do them in about two-thirds of the time that I used to. For steady income, I make $40-$70 a week depending on word counts and any extras. That $200 extra per month the last few months has gone a long way towards bridging the gap between paydays. I've also discovered I really like writing, and am starting to think a little bit beyond the short term. What do I want to accomplish with this? Do I want to try to make some kind of career out of it, or just keep it for emergency living money? Maybe even write creatively a bit? Heck, while I'm feeling optimistic, maybe I could write a best seller someday!
FinancesOh boy, where to start? Honestly, it's still a roller coaster, but at least it's not
My husband got a stipend for the first couple of months as a manager that enabled us to move, and that was awesome, but of course that is gone now. As his store does better, he will start earning bonuses which could potentially be significant, although that is still quite a ways away I think. Just knowing it will happen eventually makes any momentary hardships a lot easier to handle, though.
Rent & bills
Our rent is pretty darn expensive, but we just ran out of time and choices and will have to pay this for the duration of our lease. As renewal approaches, will will probably revisit this, and decide whether we should move again. I HATE moving.....we've moved 4 times in two years...but if it would be better for us long term to have cheaper housing, we just may end up doing it again. I hope we can keep our oldest in the same school though, I feel like that is really important.
We have more bills too, with our new place, since water and gas are not included. So far they haven't been too high, so we are going to try to keep the that way, but those on top of rent seems like an insane amount of money leaving our bank account each month.
We have not yet been able to pay off any debts, so we still have all of those, but I'm hopeful that will change as our financial situation finally stabilizes.
For now, we have been able to go grocery shopping for a healthy amount and selection of food every week. Obviously, it could still be better, but not having to stretch $20 for four people any more has been down right amazing. One week we went grocery shopping for everything we needed, and then the next day found a farmer's market and were able to spend another $40 on some of the most amazing produce I have ever tasted. Where we used to live had very little farming due to the climate and didn't have any farmer's markets. I had no idea what I was missing! The bounty that $40 bought at that little stand was about twice what you could get for the price even at Wal-mart, and tasted ten times better. Seriously.
We still have none to speak of really, but again, we are trying to change that as things improve. The money we do save goes straight to rent and bills, but at least they are getting paid. There always seems to be something in the way of saving money, but after we pay bills this month, we are going to make it a much higher priority.
Yes, there are still lots of things we don't have. We still need a vacuum cleaner, we still need dressers, we will need winter clothes and shoes as the weather cools down. It's still a juggling act, but over all things are so much better. Going without those things is a lot easier, because at least we have all our necessities. And - I have faith that we will get them in the future. I have lots and lots of hope lately, and with it comes faith that everything will be okay. I have faith that we WILL be able to get a vacuum and dressers and whatever else at some point. That is really the biggest change: I have hope for the future. I feel like I know things will keep improving. I feel like it's ok to dream about starting my side business, even though it makes me a little scared, because it could actually happen someday! Am I ready for that??
So, I guess in closing, things are a lot better, with the potential to be great, and someday maybe even awesome! We're just gonna keep on keepin' on, and hope for the best.