Monday, December 1, 2008

A Letter From Bella


My name is Alison. My blog readers know me as Bella. Either is fine. I am the author of A Budget Bella, a 30 year old, married, stay-at-home-mom of two girls (oh, I have a BA (Hons) too and soon to start a MSc!). I am British (Welsh if you ask my parents), having immigrated to Texas, USA in 2006. I am constantly finding creative ways to stretch my husband's income so I can be home with our daughters until they each start Kindergarten.

Sometimes, I feel depressed, like a failure sad not having the money to do the things our friends and family are doing. And occasionally I believe that we are looked down upon as "the poor" family of the group. We are not poor. My husband brings home enough ($47 K before taxes) to keep us far away from food stamps, we have a modest home purchased with a mortgage ($89K), we own a car (just one) and we have two computers. We are not poor. We are not rich. But we do live paycheck to paycheck. We have $20 in savings.

I am slowly coming to grips that being honest about our situation is not shameful. Over the last year I have begun to be brutally honest about finances. If we cannot pay for it with cash, we will not have it. This has meant relatives and close friends have received substantially smaller gifts at special occasions, occasionally none. Hallmark cards and the like are no longer on the budget. If that has offended some, I no longer take ownership of their disappointment and feel shame. I cannot afford it. They shall not receive it. I still love them.

My husband and I have also made sacrifices. Cutting out the cellphone, Toni 'n' Guy haircuts, pretty clothes and the latest sports equipment. For me that's been hard. Our girls are our everything. Thankfully they are at an age that materialism has no business playing a role in. They are happy and full of life. Loved with affection, not Fisher Price or Little Tikes.

I view our financial situation with great hope. I know once the girls are off to school, I too shall be working. But as of writing this, we live on one income and times are frequently tough. But being with my children, seeing all their firsts is priceless. For now I will budget, scrimp and be creative, hopefull inspiring and helping a few others along the way.

I understand that people that know me will read my little blog. I have not hidden it. Do not judge my thriftiness, for I will not judge your life based on credit. I can live without the cellphone, flat screen TV, second car, larger house, new outfit and manicured nails. I guess a huge lesson I have learnt is that anyone can look rich, successful and happy whilst whipping out the plastic or applying for another loan. But one day you have to face the balance and the interest. That day has come for me, and I am forever thankful.

Thank you for taking the time to visit A Budget Bella.

Yours truly,

Alison aka A Budget Bella


Amoora said...

Awesome, thank you for sharing about yourself, I know it is an old post, but I just now read it today.

Keeping up with the Joneses, or at least your friends can be difficult. We are the ones in our group who has the least amount of money. I got my associates degree and couldn't continue to my pursuit for my bachelors degree because of our financial situation. I work, which now helps out our situation, but still, we are in debt. My husband never really told me how bad our financial situation is and I never was concerned with what I was spending. Also, we accumulated a lot of expenses from our wedding, that just never went away. We live in an apartment with most of our stuff being passed on to us by others, including all the furniture. I look forward to reading more from you and how you are living more frugal. Check out my blog for ways I have starting saving. I hope there is something in there to help you with living more frugal.

Chicagolandia said...

I can honestly say I understand where you're at, and how hard it can be. I can't help but think you're making the right decisions (frugal living, being home with your daughters, avoiding debt). Keep up the good work!