Money: Kids Take it All

I just got back from writing cheques for my son's acting classes this spring.... OK I need a Job. Between Acting School, Dance Classes and Gymnastics I'm broke again. Is it OK to tell your kids in lieu of birthday gifts they can still go to their activities?

It's not like they play hockey - that is an expensive sport. However, I'm learning that competitive anything is costly. How do families do it and still manage to get ahead?

Even with cutting back I spent everything I had on gifts for Christmas, I even gave my husband his late so I could wait for the next cheque to come in. My husband and I talked about money and my spending habits last night because I can't afford to buy groceries. I am terrible at keeping track of what's in my bank account and what's supposed to be coming out of it. I thought I had $100.00 left after I paid for everything but I forgot about my kids activities and specifically a dance costume fee that would be debited January 1st.

I've tried keeping track and it lasts for all of 2 days and I'm back to spending money without a record. It's not like I have a lot of cash, after all I'm unemployed, so I need to be more careful.

Thing is I know what to do and I know how to budget and tricks to keep on track but I just don't do it.... I'm too lazy to organize myself every payday. The best way I've found so far not to spend money is to stay home - of course it works for me because I cut up all my credit cards.

I don't get why I'm so irresponsible when it comes to money. Both my parents were very thrifty and responsible when it came to money, that's why they are so financially solid now. My brother is a good saver and very responsible with money and credit. I am not....

Thankfully my husband is extremely responsible and anal when it comes to money and that is what keeps us afloat and in the Black as a family. He has ensured that are solvent and never are strapped for our mortgage payments etc. When I think of all the money I've wasted it's no wonder he is always mad at me.

When I look back to 10 years ago when my son was born it was different, I was very responsible with my money. I only bought what I needed, I only bought him stuff on his birthday and Christmas. I had money in the bank and an RRSP savings account. Then 3 years later I stayed home and started scrapbooking and going to WalMart or the mall more often. I started buying him toys and stuff every time we went out and then it just became habit. Now my house if filled with books, scrapbooking supplies and toys they never use and my bank account is empty.

Basically my income went way down - I mean way down and my expenses went way up. I didn't manage my money or my time very well. Well that has got to change - there is nothing that anyone in this family needs and there is one thing I want but I'll save for it. Time to get responsible, time to be an adult.

Will it ever end? Payments for dance, acting classes, and hot lunches - every time I turn around I need to write a cheque for something. Christmas tapped my account into the red and with all these extra expenses I don't know if my account will ever see black.

September is expensive because of back to school and new activities. During September the kids come home almost everyday with a new request for funds or things to buy.

December is a complete financial loss with Christmas and all the holiday trimmings.

January has more activities to pay for.

April is my most expensive month because both kids birthdays land in this month.

June brings my husband's birthday and father's day.

July and August are expensive due to holidays, activities, daycare, and wardrobe change.

There is nothing like kids to drain the finances.... well except maybe a house. I am trying to get a surplus of funds to pay for renovations on the new used house we purchased but at this rate we'll be living with plywood floors for a long time.

My kids haven't even hit competitive programs yet. Once that happens their activities will cost more than groceries each month and groceries aren't cheap.

I'm not about to deprive my kids of activities or school perks so I just have to suck it up and find other places to save.... like groceries.

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