As if it hadn't already.
We're holed up this weekend working on a budget and issuing ourselves a challenge - we have financial issues we need to deal with, and they're not getting any better. Neil is still without a 'regular' job, and although I do have work, actually getting to do the maximum number of hours available is made harder by our dis-organisation and over-commitment. I did say it was going to be hard.
We have rented this house and lived the dream for too long - how we ended up renting and living what passes for a dream is another story - and we have to get our house in order. In fact, we have to get our house.
We have two teenage children, and even if we work every waking minute and focus like there was no tomorrow on getting out of debt and into saving, it's too late to make a significant impact before at least one of them is thinking of leaving home. That hurts. It humbles us and makes us ashamed to have got to this point.
Hey, there were good things. They had a magical childhood, and at the time, they didn't care about the long range forecast. Why would they, that was our job. The trouble was, we didn't care either.
This isn't about feeling sorry for ourselves however. This is the new start. You'd have to be us to understand why some of the most obvious things, we can't do. Why some of the cuts we're about to make won't look as surgical as some other people might think they could. They don't live our lives and we make no claim to be a template for anyone else.
We're sat now by a fire of scrap wood, setting S.M.A.R.T. targets for the short term.
Cutting back severely on livestock, concentrating on self sufficiency, doing everything frugally - is the core activity here. Accepting responsibility for our own muddle, and striving to get out of it. Earning more, spending less, de-cluttering, This has to be the focus now for a while.
For me, this is about embracing my new job, working hard to fulfill the expectations of those who've shown faith in me to get me this far. I also need to organise my home-keeping to make the very best use of the limited time and funds available, planning menus and meals and very importantly, staying cheerful. I am a horror for getting grumpy and punishing everyone else for my own shortcomings.
I have to find time to work very hard this year on our vegetable garden, I truly am digging for victory - victory over being enslaved to debt and uncertainty. In any spare moments, I'm committed to growing my herb, salad and cut flower business, to earn extra income.
If you're a long time friend, you'll notice I've revamped my blogroll - some of my very favourites are still there, but a few have gone and I'm collecting new links to mostly frugal blogs - especially money saving small holders and self sufficiency types. Feel free to suggest any I've missed.
Please stop by in comments and say hello if you too are feeling the pinch, and would like to join us in 2014 - the year of taking responsibility and turning it round.
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