Every Christmas season I get a little more stressed out than usual, because with Christmas comes expenses. The gifts, of course, but also going out to meet with family, photos, this and that. This year is worse than normal because I’m paying thousands of dollars for my first semester of school. If I don’t pay it, I don’t get to register for next semester. I will be taking two classes from now on, so my loans will kick in. So this is the last time I’ll have this particular financial burden. In addition, I have winter taxes to pay, and I had to increase M’s daycare to two full days per week rather than two half days. I need back up in the event that my mom is sick, need my mom to be more available to my grandparents should their caregivers call in, and need her to have hours where someone can pick her up after work if my mom can’t. I lost the foster care income, and added the daycare expenses, and that has kicked my ass.
I did a great job last month cutting back on groceries and gas. I weedled down the phone/internet/cable bill by almost 20% just by calling and threatening to get a different service. I got my phone bill down substantially (like $50/mo) by giving up certain services. We won’t be continuing music classes after this session. I did all my Christmas shopping at dollar stores and/or used items from amazon when possible. I’m disappointed that I have to put M’s college savings plan on hold for now. I haven’t bought food at work in forever. But still, it isn’t quite enough. We will be tightening our belts quite a bit at least until summer, with me picking up holidays and overtime. That’s the worst part, time away from M to get more money. But bills are bills.
The good news is, I got a 96% in my first ever graduate level class.