Saturday, February 25, 2012


If you are the kind who gets uncomfortable discussing money, go ahead and skip this post. If I may mount my soap box for a second just to say I think one of the problems in the church is discomfort with money talk. God calls us to meet people where they are, and most people are in debt, both Christians and non. As the body of Christ, we are called to deal with the hard things in life, like money and sex, with truth and love. There are some great Christian programs out there that deal with these things in a practical way, but it doesn't seem to reach those who really need it, and I would LOVE to see the church honestly tackle this huge issue. Getting off my soap box now.

Here is my attempt to deal with money in an honest and open way. I am the one who does the money stuff in our family, not because I like it, just because I suck at it less than Matt does. One of the big motivators to moving away from family and across the country was the perception that it would allow us to make some great financial choices and hopefully Matt wouldn't travel. Notice I say perception.

The first thing we ran into was a crappy move package offered by Matt's new company. Apparently the days when move packages were cherry are over. The package didn't cover our expenses hardly at all. Basically, it took care of the truck and moving company, which when moving a family of 5 leaves a lot to cover. We started this adventure by getting financially screwed. Add to that the customary one month rent Realtor fee, first months rent plus one and half months of rent in security deposit and it was quite a hit. And we had to buy a second car.

Living on the east coast is expensive, we knew that before we moved. Using the tools to calculate living expenses, we tried to make sure we took this into account when looking at Matt's new salary. We must not be that great at math. Our goal was to live here for 2 years, come back to CO with both cars paid off and a nice little nest egg. Matt's resume would look good as would our bank account.

Housing cost alone are $2,500 a month here. A gallon of milk is $4 and we go through several a week, produce and other food is just as bad and gluten free is almost non-existent meaning I have to order it on-line. Insurance costs are high. Gas for two cars adds up. All of this was expected and accounted for, so while it doesn't help the bottom line, we can manage the monthly stuff.

To register a car in Jersey you have to have the title transferred. It is a pain in the neck. Our bank swears that they sent it, Jersey DMV swears they don't have it. To register the volvo we finally had to have it sent registered mail to prove they got it. Well, the van wasn't done. And now it got towed, which is another blog post entirely. It is going to cost about $400 to get back and registered.

The c-section rate in Jersey hovers about %50. For people like me, who have had prior c-sections it is higher. I am not doing a surgical removal of this kid unless I have to. That on top of the fact we know very few people out here who want to keep our kids for a few days while we go have a baby made us decided to have a home birth. Midwives are covered by our insurance some, but not totally. Good by another couple grand. Oh yeah, and we got rid of all our baby stuff before we moved and what we do have is pink. Time to buy a new crib and changing table and maybe a blue onesie or two. Goodbye a couple hundred bucks.

Our house is cold. Not just drafty and old, though it is that, but cold. First we tried to fix the problem by turning up the heat. After a bill of about $400 and still living in an only slightly less cool house, we scraped that. Come to find out that the heat was retro fitted and done completely wrong (hot water vents for steam based heat) So we moved on to mini electric heaters. Annabelles room has NO heat source and the kitchen was so cold I could hardly use it. We also put one in the girls room so that we could turn the heat way down at night and they wouldn't freeze. Enter this months bill to the tune of $500. Well crap.

Matt's company's expense reporting system sucks. Yes, he has a corporate card but they take so long to pay it off that he can't hardly use it. This means expenses on our account that then have to be claimed. My husband is great at a huge list of things, record keeping not being one of them. This may be why his company's profit margin was so good last quarter.

So this all leaves me feeling a little discouraged. No, a lot discouraged. Matt works a ton at a high stress job doing the work of several people. He still travels. We are worse off than we were before when it comes to money. I miss my family and my friends, even, dare I say it?! My church. The east coast is a fine place to live, being by the city has been fun, though we have discovered it costs us about $100 each time we journey in. We have friends, homeschooling has been a success as far as I haven't been able to truly screw Eliana up thus far. We can pay our bills but sometimes I feel like the theme for my life is "just keep swimming..."


Denise said...

I want to fly out right now and hug you!!!!

Honeycutt Family said...

I'm so sorry, sweet friend! Ditto what Denise said! Money crap just sucks! And (as a side-note) I agree 100% that the church does a lousy job of talking about $ when that is the #1 thing that Jesus spoke about.

Thinking of y'all and praying that you can come HOME soon...

Sarah said...

All I have to say is YUCK!

Wish I could make it all better for you :-(

Lizzy said...

Gretchen, it's liz from workshop. I have a crib if you need one!
inbox me (

Lizzy said...

Gretchen, it's liz from workshop. I have a crib if you need one!
inbox me (