Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Internal Dilemma... and I need your HELP!
Posted by Andrea
Hello, my lovely, faithful, dear, dear readers and friends!
It feels like years since I posted on here or even interacted with you all!
To those of you who are new followers, this post is going to seem like it's coming out of left-field, so, I apologize for that.
I know that many of you long-time readers have been wondering what the heck is going on with my lack of blogging.
Rightfully so, seeing as I haven't posted anything new since July.
Many of you have emailed, commented, or messaged me on Facebook to reach out or express your concern at my lack of presence on the internet. Let me tell you, it meant a lot! It really and truly did... However, I didn't know how to respond to your queries... so for the most part, I just didn't. And I'm so, soooooo, sorry! You see, I've had this dilemma, and honestly, I haven't known what to do.
I've been struggling internally to know whether or not to continue writing for Pennies & Pancakes, and it's taken me way too long to let you all know why...
It comes down to this:
As most of you know, my husband finished his 7 years of post-graduate education and training in the medical field. You also know that those years were the very definition of "lean" years for us... over $300,000 of educational debt, a tiny resident physician salary for our family of 6, and our deep desire to get rid of debt ASAP. During those years, I threw myself into finding creative ways to preserve what money we had, and became fully, completely, 100% dedicated to living as frugally as possible.
Well, our family entered a new phase this summer...
Hubby started his first "real job" in July. (You'll notice that my last recipe post was in the same month... That is no coincidence.)
Here's the thing... I can no longer say that my focus on penny-pinching is top priority. And therefore, feel somewhat hypocritical/uncomfortable with the idea of advocating a lifestyle, that I'm no longer living 100%.
These days, I buy strawberries when they're not even on sale.
I haven't consistently made my own bread for a few months.
I've bought nicer cuts of steak to cook for dinner a couple times in the last few months... which is more nice steak than we ate it in the last few years.
To tell the truth, my budget for groceries and household supplies has "skyrocketed" to $520 a month (for our family of 6.)
It's not that we've made a complete 180 from our frugal life...
But, having a salary over 3 times larger than we're accustomed to has allowed me to breathe a little easier. We have more wriggle room. My time has been freed up from making/baking everything, daily deal-hunting, and finding thrifty short-cuts, to do other things that I've always wanted to do. Things that I have either put off, or haven't had time for... like training for triathlons, going hiking with my family, and saving for a highly anticipated family trip to Disneyland in January.
But our family of six still lives pretty frugally. Even though we don't have to do it, we choose to make significant "extra" payments on my husband's educational loans in an effort to pay them of quickly... well-over half of his paycheck goes straight from our bank account to the lender's account.
While we focus our efforts on debt reduction, we will continue renting a moderately-priced town home (while saving up for a decent downpayment in the future).
I still drive a 2004 minivan, and my husband still drives his '97 civic. We won't be upgrading those vehicles for years.
My kids and I still wear hand-me downs.
And I continue to enjoy making/baking much of what we eat... just not all of it.
So, in many regards, we still live the basic principles I've always advocated on Pennies & Pancakes... But not 100%.
And so, while I enjoy sharing my frugal recipes, and frugal living tips... every time I've considered posting again, I've felt a bit like a phony.
Like I'm no longer totally practicing what I preach.
As I mentioned before, when one of you would reach out to me and question where I was and how I was doing, I didn't know what to say... I'll give you an idea of the two trains of thought going through my head:
Brain 1: "Tell them you're done blogging because you're no longer as thrifty as you once were. Be honest."
Brain 2: "No! Don't say that... you might want to keep blogging in spite of that!
Brain 1: "Well, THAT'S shady."
Brain 2: "But you have other frugal ideas and recipes you could share! You can't tell them you're quitting if you're not sure."
Brain 1: "HA! You'll have a guilty conscience if you do that. You'll feel fake. And you should tell them you're quitting because it's the right thing to do."
Brain 2: "But it could be helpful to the readers if you continue blogging, even if the posts were a little different than they used to be."
Brain 1: "Helpful, shmelpful. It'd be a sham."
Brain 2: "You know... sometimes I really don't like Brain 1."
Brain 1: "The feeling is mutual."
So, yeah... all joking aside, now you're all up to speed on what's going on in my crazy brain.
AND I need to ask you a favor...
I feel like the best way to go about deciding whether or not to continue blogging is to include your advice as I weigh pros and cons.
Do you feel I should continue? Or does it feel fake if I post because I'm not as thrifty as I used to be?
Please comment below with your thoughts... good or bad. I've got thick skin. :)
Thanks for hanging in there with me while I sort this out, guys! You are all wonderful!!