Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s & Complaining
I have observed that I live in a society obsessed with having the newest and presumably the best. Many people live trying to keep up with their neighbours and some even try to live like the Kardashian Family (I should point out, I have never once watched this show as we do not have cable tv), when they simply cannot afford to. In fact, I read recently that in 2014 the average Canadian had $28,853 of consumer debt + a mortgage (source), so I suspect most of people are living well beyond their means.
So, here’s the thing about Mr. MPB and I. We work hard for our money and we appreciate that it is not limitless. We have always made sound financial decisions like buying a home that we could afford on only one income and unless we have the cash we simply don’t buy something no matter what it is. For example, let’s look at our household stuff: I like to think my house is beautifully decorated, but we also wait for the right pieces at the right price. Our favourite price is free, which includes many hand-me-down pieces of furniture that we received when we moved out on our own, or pieces of furniture that were given to us when people moved and were getting rid of things. We also like to buy second hand when we can – in fact my favourite spot to write is in a chair we recently bought for $70 used on kijiji, and my beautiful Crate and Barrel wine shelf was also bought second hand for a fraction of the retail price. And, we’ve even refinished a hutch that I bought at an antique sale for a great deal. We thought it was a little too country for our style when I first bought it, but now that we’ve refinished it, it’s one of our favourite pieces.
This isn’t to say we don’t splurge, every now and again we do buy retail, but we wait for the right sale (i.e. our bed – I am not willing to buy a bed used!). And by keeping our physical wants in check and spending wisely, we have also been able to spend money on travel adventures in the last few years – Thailand, Cambodia, Peru, Scandinavia, New York, Whistler, Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge Amphitheater.
While I just realized I am starting to write a piece on home decoration and travel, that’s not my point. The point is that we are conservative with our money, we always saw it as our responsibility to be able to save money and provide for our future children. We see this as responsible, yet others have accused us of being cheap. In fact, Mr. MPB’s mom once told us she is sad that are so financially conservative just like her husband. Who knew this would be seen as a bad thing?
But of course, today we are reaping the benefits of our cheapness. Today, our cheapness has meant that in the last 2 years we could make hard decisions that were based on our families needs, not our income needs. When we made the decision that I would stop working we did so without too much concern because we had been financially responsible. Heck, this is largely why we are able to go out of country to adopt, which we feel is a much better process for us.
So, here’s the thing. While we are able to meet our needs right now, I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because we cannot do everything we want to do. We are determined to live within our means and not go into debt, that’s not changing. But, as Mr. MPB has recently told me, I want my cake and I want to eat it too.
Having children is expensive, and it is particularly expensive when you cannot do it the “normal” way. We’ve already spent money to fly across the continent to see a recurrent pregnancy loss specialist in New York City and now we are pursing USA International Adoption which will probably cost us about $40,000-$50,000 USD. It is our dream to be parents, and now we will do so through international adoption. So, while this is our decision to make, and our choice, we will also live with the consequences.
For us, the consequences now means that our plans to do a month long road trip this summer to Alaska and Northern Canada are cancelled. It’s a trip we really wanted to do before kids, because not many little kids would enjoy spending a month in a car seat. I’m sad and frustrated that we are now changing our lifestyle just to be able to afford to have children. This is my complaint, and maybe the point of today’s post. This is bullshit! The cost of having children the non-traditional way just sucks! While we live in Canada with a “free” public health care system and yet we have still shelled out cash to see the right medical specialists out of country as they were not available to us here. And, while we are absolutely fortunate to be able to afford international adoption (and part of me feels bad for complaining about it), we are also cursed enough that in order to do it we have to compromise our lives in ways that normal fertile people don’t even need to consider.
I’m frustrated because no longer is our cheap lifestyle affording us the ability to have savings for when we do want something we saw as a little more extravagant. While I do not want to keep up with the Kardashian’s, I am finding that my want list is getting bigger by the day and I hate feeling this way. I’m not about to break our rule of living beyond our means, but man, I am starting to miss our old lifestyle.
Sure, we could have chosen not to seek specialized medical treatment and we could choose not to adopt, neither of these were valid options in our minds. Heck, we could have chosen for me to continue to work full-time in a high stress industry against the advice of mental health professionals. Yes, there are ways to have the old lifestyle back, but none of them sound very appealing.
We want children, we want to grow our family, and so we will live with the consequences. But honestly, at times, the cost of this is very overwhelming. Really, it just sucks!
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