Balancing the books

Well, it’s a new year, and I have to admit there’s not much to report at the moment, except for the fact I became the Grinch who stole New Year about 6pm on Jan 1!

We received a call last night from a friend relaying that later this month my hubby’s best friend was having a surprise 50th birthday party – in another city. Of course, he immediately decided he wanted us all to go down to it. I was hearing one end of the phone conversation, thinking `oh no’ and my heart dropped. I knew we could find the money, but it would mean one of the other things I was planning would probably go out the window for a bit longer. And I would need to start juggling again.

When he got off the phone, I said that I thought it would be best if just he went, and I have to admit that I expressed some disappointment to him that the whole thing had even come up. After a few terse words both ways, my hubby basically implied that I was negative about everything and that we still had to have fun occasionally while paying off debt. I let him have his say and then afterwards I went in to him and apologised – this is a big occasion for this friend (a `big’ birthday) and it isn’t just an acquaintance, this guy was his best man. I shouldn’t have acted like I wished it wasn’t happening.

But I explained that I spend so much time trying to maximise our debt repayment, and trying to ensure we do fun things at the same time, that stuff like this makes a big difference. I reminded him that we had jointly developed a plan to pay for a big party of our own later this year, and that we still needed to be able to afford that. I also reminded him that we are going on another trip south later this year, which also needs to be paid for. We aren’t in the same position as many of his friends, who mostly have two full-time incomes. So sometimes it is hard to do everything we want.

Luckily, after a few minutes we could both see where the other was coming from. I apologised for my immediate reaction and he apologised for acting the way he did and not giving me some time to process how I could make it happen. He also thanked me for all the effort I put in to balancing our finances. The fact is, we can’t do everything we want to do, but with the benefit of a few hours thought and planning, I can now see that he can go to this function reasonably cheaply.  However, we both need to recognise that when we choose to do or have one thing, invariably something else we want gets delayed or doesn’t happen at all. So it would be best if we could work together to meet our goals.

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