Author Topic: Starting to get overwhelmed  (Read 4757 times)


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Starting to get overwhelmed
« on: November 03, 2011, 10:34:09 AM »
So what do you guys do while you are paying off your debts? I have about 3 years to go and the student loans and house will be done. Ive been at it for about 3 years now, got through (some)student loans, two cars, credit cards etc etc.  3 years of living like this knowing that A LOT of money just goes to the principle of some debt, is really starting to get to me.

  We do have an entertainment budget, but it seems lacking for the most part. The TV is starting to go out (i built a DVR for the house on top of our antenna i built, and we use netflix backup movies we get) and that is starting to cause some tension around the house. I refuse to spend any money at all unless it is needed or it goes toward the next principle we are paying down. In a family of 4 with a stay at home mother, i feel like we really need something else.

  So what do you guys do to handle these (what i assume to be) typical situations? We do have a garden but it is pretty much self sustaining at this point. Even tho i work two jobs, i work them both from home and concurrently, so even i am starting to find myself wanting to do something. I can't be the only one this is taking a toll on. So share your ideas, and "family game night" is pretty much every night, so lets leave that stuff alone : )

Offline tomtom

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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2011, 10:52:59 AM »
I have found a few cheap fun ways to pass the time. Geocaching is a fun cheap way to see places you never new existed. How old are you kids? Sometimes just getting outside and going down a hiking trail is an adventure.

I have a computer hooked up to my TV and got a 5 year warranty so I won't have to worry about it becoming an expense while I work to pay off debts. I use streaming Netflix quite a bit and play old school Nintendo/Super Nintendo/Nintendo 64 games. Also play the occasional computer game. Cheap TV's can be had on Craigslist, Pawn Shops and with Black Friday you may be able to find a good deal at a any of the big box stores.

Do you have any hobbies? They help to pass time even though they sometimes cost a bit of money.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2011, 12:02:30 PM »
we don't have a tv.  we occasionally use a computer to watch a movie from DVD or netflix.  Hubby works 2 jobs as well, both from home, and we homeschool, so I understand what you mean about being home a lot.

mostly we have building toys - legos, train tracks, etc.  we read a lot.  even the 2-yo will sit with a book on his lap and "read" and refuses to get up until he has "finished" the book.

how old are your kids?  mine are still young (oldest is almost 10).

and maybe you take a small break for a bit and get a new tv for Christmas.  do the research, look for used stuff on craigs list.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2011, 12:19:01 PM »
Check your local papers for nearby outings to take with the family for free or nearly free... museums, concerts in the park, music concerts at churches or schools... There are a lot of site-seeing places in many areas that you can visit. If you pack yourselves a lunch, you won't even have the cost of a restaurant meal.

During the holiday season, there are many free concerts going on. I used to sing in an early music group (medieval music complete with lute, vielle, harp, drums, recorders) that gave free concerts several times a year. Some of our biggest turnouts were during the holidays. Many of the larger churches will have wonderful Christmas concerts -- you may find Handel's Messiah being performed in your area soon. Something we used to do in the weeks leading up to Christmas was to drive through the decorated neighborhoods and admire the yard displays. Some neighborhoods even have competitions...

Also, check your area for low-ticket price movie theaters. We have found one locally where we can see films on the big screen for about $2/person. At that price, you can afford to splurge now and then.

Do you guys like to entertain? We find it is really fun to invite friends over for game or movie nights. If you invite them to come over for games and snacks, it is a really fun and low-cost way to liven things up. Especially if you have friends with kids who are compatible with yours, it is fun for everyone.

Maybe you need some new hobbies? Sometimes you can take free (or very inexpensive) courses with the local extension agent to learn things like canning, etc. If you volunteer at a local museum, they often offer free art courses for their volunteers. Join a choir, become your kids' scout leader, volunteering your time to help with your kids' activities can be very rewarding. How about exercise... family bike-riding (I know, depending on where you live, not the best time of year for it), family walks through the neighborhood, hiking on the weekends, tent-camping (test out your survival skills), teach your kids how to cook an entire meal and then let them do it for you... learn about once-a-month cooking and find a group of like-minded families to share recipes and cooking... Visit retirement homes if you know a shut-in. Many of the elderly really love to see the little ones (and some don't get many visitors).

Maybe you guys are just getting a bit stir crazy after 3 years of austerity. Congratulations on your excellent success on getting rid of most of your debt. You can do it!!! If you need to cut loose and take a vacation or something... just plan it into the budget, realizing that you will delay getting things paid off a little. As long as you plan for it and don't exceed what you allocated, it isn't the end of the world.

Good luck!


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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2011, 01:07:24 PM »
I belong to a non-profit community bike building collective.  It's volunteer on my part and I spend most of my time there re-habing/fixing bikes for the organization to give to other non-profits/refugees centers/ kids/etc. and even some for sale for money to go back into the shop.  It cost me $25 a year and gives me hours and hours of fun weekly and another skill set added to my personal tool box. 

I have also long ago made peace with being "bored".  This is an under rated skill.  Being able to go for a walk through my suburban neighborhood or just kinda sitting around can actually be enjoyable while providing some profound moments of pondering. 

I also think the joy of reading may be another under appreciated skill to have and hold.  My wife and I can easily shut the house down at 7pm and go read for several hours (or until I fall asleep which ever comes first.)  Costs very little and since I personally only read non-fiction, I think I'm learning and adding to my skill sets while just taking it easy. 

Since I'm a stay at home husband, I spend all day listening to various podcasts and I must admit, sometimes it gets overwhelming hanging in the world of the ants and awakened ones but in the end, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Right now today, I am kinda "agitated" about what's coming out of Japan or should I say what isn't coming out in MSM about Fukushima but I am more a peace I think in this "agitation" than if I were upset and discussing Kim K.'s recent divorce announcement or even who got kicked off DWTS this week.  Both of which I know and care little about.

Ants aren't always working (or are they) and I often get caught up in the "am I doing enough" inner dialogue.  When this happens, I remind myself that stress is probably the most dangerous thing one can do to their body so by just saying no to being stressfully busy and worrying about my getting behind, I'm really doing my body (and possibly soul) some real good.

I'm hanging in there, working and also relaxing, just trying to have fun, hope you can do the same.


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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2011, 02:12:12 PM »
Get out and move more. If the garden is self sustaining, do you have space to start another?


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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2011, 03:30:07 PM »
A big one for me has always been walking my neighborhood.  I can usually burn through one TSP podcast while just talking a walk after dark.  It's given me the chance to find some guerrilla gardening opportunities, meet and maintain some neighborhood friendships, learn where some shady areas are that are best avoided, and get some exercise without having to pay for a gym membership or drive anywhere.  In my old house in town I used the walks as a chance to run a few errands, picking up groceries, dropping my car off for an oil change, getting dinner without driving, etc.

Of course with the new 'stead, for the last year my downtime has been just trying to bring the electrical system and plumbing into the 21st century.  Boredom is rare around here at this point.  Two dogs, two horses, a large and growing garden... I have no absence of distractions and chores, but I asked for it and I'm grateful for it all.


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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2011, 03:35:26 PM »
I'm with LVS chant.  Your psychological health is just as important as your physical and financial health.  Each one has an impact on the others. 

I am very fond of a quote that I am unfortunately unable to attribute that says, "Some people are so thoroughly preparing for a rainy day that they fail to enjoy today's sunshine."

I respect and commend you on your self discipline.  It sounds like you have made phenomenal progress on the financial front and are in much better shape for it.  You didn't say, but I assume that you did not cut back so drastically that it impacted your health by way of shorting food, shelter, or the other necessities of life.

I'm not saying stop by any means.  Far from it, I encourage you to continue to target and eliminate debt.  In the long run, you will be much better off all around...but you already know that.  What I will say is that it sounds as if your austerity is starting to impact you and your family's mental and emotional health.  The effects don't sound bad yet, but have the potential to get that way.  With that in mind, might I suggest you loosen up a little on your program.  I know from experience that it is very hard to do, but make changes in your plan that yield slightly less progress, slightly more recreation, and accept that it is a necessary and beneficial trade off.

Again, GREAT JOB!!!   


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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2011, 04:35:46 PM »
Without knowing the ages of the children and what part of the country you're in, it's hard to pin down any specifics. A huge treat when I was very little(2-4?) was just going to the pond with a bag of stale bread and feeding the ducks. I think back to my childhood days in Brownies and some of the simple crafts we did, like ironing colorful fall leaves between sheets of wax paper for holiday placemats or spray painting pine cones for decorations. An outing to a craft store like Hobby Lobby might give you some fun ideas that could be done with stuff on hand or cheap supplies.

This time last year where I volunteer, a lady called to find out the number of volunteers and had her children make little gingerbread houses for each of us. They were made with graham crackers and gumdrops and a little icing as the glue. They were pretty awful looking but the little boys were so proud and happy giving them to us that it was a real joy and mine was the dining room table centerpiece for the season.   Maybe take some simple crafts to the local homeless shelter or teach the kids a little skit and go on the road to nursing homes.

Someone else mentioned free classes or activities. Our Parks and Rec dept has lots of activities like cheap roller skating outings or karate classes for the kiddos.


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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2011, 05:18:47 AM »
After some sleep and reflection, I realized that using the word "bored" like I did is possibly misleading.  My wife reminded me of a better phrase that I am fond of using around the house almost daily--lying fallow.  Like my garden beds and the farmer's field, I've incorporated into my daily, monthly, and even yearly cycle, time for lying fallow.  I would go so far as to say I require some downtime in my life cycles to regenerate and renew my bodily and spiritual nutrients. For example, we work out daily and consistently and have for over 25 years now, every so often we just stop and take a couple of days or even a week  or two off.  No guilt involved and we always return to our exercise time with renewed vigor.  Same with dieting and even prepping, we'll go hard and then take some time off.  I also think it is critical to teach ourselves and our children the need for this fallow time be it daily, monthly, etc.

Again, like a garden bed that hasn't been rotated or farm field that is over worked, without this downtime, which I attached possibly incorrectly to the word--bored, we may just require this fallow time to really be at our consistent best.  Who knows, maybe that is what all this Facebook, twittering, attention shortening tv, incredibly short media cycles, gotta do more lifestyle is really creating in us--overworked soil, and the dis-ease that it is causing is telling us that we need to build into our lives times of rest.  If this is too apples and oranges or getting a little too close to tin foil hat territory, I apologize, but again, it works for.

Fallow time is an essential quality of my healthy life which I nurture and encourage daily.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 05:32:06 AM by JoeD »

Offline Truik

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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2011, 05:28:33 AM »
I always check out and look in my zip code to see what kind of crazy crap they have going on in or near my zip code. Sometimes they have some pretty interesting events and most of them are free.

Offline vagabond1101

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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2011, 01:58:44 PM »
One of the things that I like to do for fun is to go to the library and check out a few books on different topics that interest me and educate myself about them.  As an example one of the subjects I'm currently studying and reading about is Math and Physics.  Take up a hobby such as gardening or blacksmithing, or cooking, and just have fun with it.  If you enjoy playing games and have a computer with the internet there are numerous free games to play online as well as websites that have free game content to play. 

Offline Malamute

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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2011, 04:45:53 PM »
The TV is starting to go out (i built a DVR for the house on top of our antenna i built, and we use netflix backup movies we get) and that is starting to cause some tension around the house.
Good.  American TV is programmed to destroy/denigrate families.  Fathers in particular.  The sooner you shitcan the TV set the better. 

Offline Herbalpagan

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Re: Starting to get overwhelmed
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2011, 05:25:57 PM »
We try to have "practical" hobbies...wood carving, wood burning, building small items, crafting, sewing, bee keeping. Products made can also bring in extra money and be made for gift giving.  When my kids were little we volunteered with 4-H and held weekly meetings, went to fairs and classeswith the kids (free).  We also gardened (and still do), learned herbs and have a fine cottage garden as well as vegetables.  When we need to "get out" we go to free sites in the area, walks, parks and as someone mentioned, feeding the ducks. Many farm stands have an area for kids with small animals and such. For adults, most communities have events, concerts, museum (low cost) exhibits and such.  If you are a techie type, an on going computer game might help.  We also enjoy target practice, skeet, archery as a hobby.
Since we've cut back on spending, we actually have more hobbies and things to do!