Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 453 ~ My Dreaded Little Secret...

The first time it happened I had been invited to happy hour with a friend ... when I had accepted the invite I was so gun-ho, and could not wait. 

As the day approached, I started wondering where I was going to get the money.  When I accepted the invite I figured I could afford it.  Honestly, I had even wondered if when my friend invited me if she had "invited" me or we were going to meet up and pay for our perspective tabs.

I can not tell you enough how much I hate that feeling.  Not being able to afford a simple invite... a coffee with a friend... or a cocktail at Happy Hour.  Let alone a present for a special someone's birthday... or return a kind gesture to a friend.

Needless to say, as each day got closer, my stomach started to get tight, get tense and knot up.

What did I do?  The "Friday" finally arrived... I called my friend and cancelled.  I told her I was not feeling well.

Over the summer Calley was invited to her "bestest" little friend's (and her sister's) birthday party. Although a year and a couple of months apart, her friends' parents decided to celebrate both girls birthday together.

Only problem was that it was hard enough {in our budget} for us to buy a gift for some"one", but two?  Now-a-days you can not buy a child a reasonable gift under $20-30 without it falling apart or looking cheap.

As the weeks went by and the days approached to Calley's friends' party... again my stomach started to get tight, get tense and knot up.

What do I do?  Do I let them know?  Do we show up without gifts?  Do I risk people looking at us a certain way and take a chance of Calley not being invited to parties in the future?  What a dilemma!  

What did I do?  Well, the ten days leading up to the party Calley was having "issues".  We were put in a position to tell her if she did not behave she was not going to go to her friends' party.

She didn't make the grade.

A couple of days after the party I received a text from her friends' mom... she was wondering if we were okay and if anything happened... they missed us there.  I went as far as asking when I could call and talk so that I may explain what happened... preparing myself to tell "mom" the truth.

I didn't make the call, but "mom" never text me back to let me know when I could call either.

A few weeks ago I met this really great gal at the "Y"... Calley and her children were in swimming lessons together.  

We hit it off!  She was and is an amazing gal- she's a retired Officer from the Navy, served for fifteen years.  Really impressive!! 

She invited Calley to her son's birthday party this past weekend {at a local family fun arcade/park} and then invited me to a girl's night out.

Well... knowing that our budget was very tight I hesitantly accepted the invite... sure I could have said we were busy... but I stumbled over my thoughts and words, and before I knew it I was saying how great it all sounded.

Honestly... I was somewhat hoping that I could confide in her my dreaded little secret...

... We're broke!

It didn't use to be this way.

It's been a "long row to hoe" for us ... trying to get back on our feet these past four years... and it has not been for a lack of effort either!

My husband works very hard at his job... and after he puts in 8 hours in a day there, he then is helping his parents with any repairs they need and trying to get a business with his brother off the ground.  He has at least twelve hour work days.

So... It's not for a lack of trying.

So tell me... what would you do?

For the most part people who are close to us know our predicament... so ... then end result... we don't get invited to many places... or ... the tab is paid for us.  Not a great feeling.  Not at all.  We're very grateful... but I would rather have money in my pockets and get treated out, than lint in them and get invited.  

Pride?  I don't know if it's pride... but it is a little embarrassing or sad having to explain how Dino lost his "great paying" job four years ago. 

However... I am the first to invite family and friends over to our house [in lieu of] and I will cook up a storm for them.  Somehow we can afford that.  Go figure.  Big smile.

I just don't want people to feel sorry for us.  I want to work as a team with people- anything to help... however I do not want them to pity us.

I don't want people to feel sorry for Calley either.  We do provide for her.  We have a sturdy roof over our heads, our utilities all paid, and even can pay for cable.

Calley's tummy is full... and we have manged to put together a beautiful bedroom for her with a closet full of beautiful dresses.

We cook a lot... we do a lot for our church together... and we do a lot for in-laws and spend a lot of time with them as well.  Not to mention that parks and sunsets are free.

So... do you tell people you can not afford to go?  Do you graciously decline and make up an excuse, tell them you're busy that night?  Do you get a "headache" at the last minute? OR...

Do you tell them your dreaded little secret... your budget will not allow for the expense... you're broke?

Tell me... what do you or would you tell them?  What would you like for me to tell you?  The truth?  Do I risk it?  Will you look at us differently?  
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. ~ 1 Timothy 6:8 (NIV)
[here's to you finding your... ]


I am second..

... for a, l & c.  You are my sunshine(s).  

Images are courtesy of google or Bing images.  Some images maybe labeled property of Carla Barila Karam and of this blog, Took It... Making It... Living It... My Life .  © 2012  U.S Copyright Laws apply.


Karen Dawkins said...

You cannot serve both God and man, you will hate the one and love the other.

In my opinion, it is pride. You don't want people to know your finances are tight, but instead, want them to see you like themselves. Instead of accepting an invitation for coffee, why not say, "Our entertainment budget is zero right now. Would you like to come over for a cup of coffee or maybe go for a walk in the park?" Offer alternatives without apology.

Ditto with the birthday parties. Instead of saying yes and then not sending your daughter, ask the parents what their child's favorite toy is and buy an accessory to go with it. I'd rather have my daughter get a new $5 zooble than a $20 toy she won't ever play with. She loves her zoobles. Be honest!

When our finances are tight, we have canceled cable, netflix, etc. We started putting aside $1/week per person for entertainment. That means coffee once a month for me, a birthday party gift every couple months for my kids, etc.

No shame. Be honest! :)

ReviewsSheROTE Pamela R said...

As of late I've been having to back out of things because we just don't have the cash--I think its always best just to let everyone know right as the invite comes--most friends are understanding.

Dominique Goh said...

IT's really difficult to answer such a question. I know you are trying yoru best but presents are really too expensive nowadays.. how about you doing some bakes or something handmade? Will it work?

Michelle G said...

I understand your predicament. Depending on the person, it can be embarrassing. But, I've had people tell me before. . . "you know, the economy, we're just not ____ as much any more" and truthfully, we weren't that good of friends and they weren't afraid to tell me. Some people see it as being wise about money if you're not out spending it all willy-nilly. :) I say show your wisdom. You are being very smart and you're not out running up credit card bills you can't afford just to impress people. So, I also say, "Good for you!". That was one of the reasons I also used to put, "Please, No Gifts" on all of my kids birthday party invitations. I didn't want people to feel like they had to bring a gift. Even now, I try not to spend much more than $10 on any child's Bday gift. I mean really. . .when is enough, enough? Sorry about the novel-long response. .

mail4rosey said...

I'm so happy you found someone you hit it off with !

I'm sure financial stability is in your future. that's the great thing about knowing things are only temporary. Until then, hugs, and happy thoughts. I know it can be rough!

Shannon Milholland said...

I love your honesty! We choose to live on a limited budget for financial freedom. This choice requires me to say no to things I wish I could say yes to like home parties, expensive gifts and expensive outings. But honoring God and my husband with how we spend money is ultimately so much more rewarding. Proud of you!

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Being one who seldom can afford to do what others do, I'd take no offense whatsoever with someone telling me the budget was too tight for that this week. I usually am honest about it. Some stop inviting you along because they know you will say no. As to kids birthday parties, I usually let Bug give a card with whatever we can spare like five or ten. My kids have always loved getting cash they can put with other cash to get something they really, really want over something that they will fool with a few days and then will collect dust.