When did life get so expensive? It has never been cheap, but lately I have been taking some stock in our day to day expenses and I'm just not sure I can afford to have one much longer. It's not that we live beyond our means, but I can see us moving into the neighbourhood. And let me tell you - the view from there is not all sunshine and daisies.
The reason for this is simple. We have a lot of kids. We didn't mean to; it just sort of happened. We lived up North for a while, and I am convinced there was something in our water supply. Nothing else makes any sense.
So now that we have them, they tend to need stuff, constantly. Like, food and clothes and shelter and shoes. Which is fine, we have a budget for that. What I didn't factor into the financial equation was that the growth of these needs would increase exponentially at the rate of...well I'm no mathematician, so let's just say...a lot.
For example: in the past month I have bought my two eldest sons a total of twelve new pairs of jeans. Guess how many still fit them? If you said four, you would be correct. They go to bed at night, and in the morning when they get dressed, they appear to be taking the movie NOAH a little too seriously. Now, if a great flood does occur these two are all set, but as for this moment, not so much.
My youngest son goes through shoes like paper napkins. I do literally mean he goes "through" shoes. If he still has the same pair for two months, it's only because he lost one of them for four of those weeks. Typically, we get about six weeks from the time we buy them until the time we must say goodbye to them. I've tried purchasing more expensive shoes to see if it is a quality issue. It's not. He just wears them and then at some point they resemble Swiss cheese.
My daughter is graduating this year, so we re-mortgaged our house. At first I thought we'd be okay, but then we went dress shopping, and apparently her gown is going to cost more than my first car. This is fine, of course. I don't begrudge her that. The good news is that she will never, ever wear it again, so that will be money well spent.
When I go grocery shopping I usually fill two carts to the point where a degree in engineering would be of benefit, especially when I try and get everything back in them after I have paid. Yes, I'm the lady chasing oranges all over the parking lot because I failed to properly secure my produce bag. Don't judge me; I'm a woman on the edge.
People in line behind me often ask if I'm having a party. I'd love to say yes, but it's just not in the budget. Also, although I'm not sure if there is an actual test for the locust gene, if there is then I'm pretty certain my kids have it. I say this because I fill the cupboards and both refrigerators (yes, I said both) on Saturday and by Thursday we are typically coasting on fumes and sketchy leftovers.
We also consume so much milk in a week that I have actually looked into purchasing a cow. I'm not sure we are zoned for livestock though, so that idea is still very much in the infancy stage. No need to send the neighbours into a panic just yet.
So what's the answer? A second job? Maybe. A revised budget? Perhaps. Child labour? I wish. The darn industrial revolution ruined that dream for parents everywhere. So I guess we will just keep on doing the best we can. Paying Peter while borrowing from Paul so we can raise four beautiful children and chase the fruit of our labour through the parking lot of life.