Monday, August 31, 2009

Difficult Questions

I had a great craft show this past weekend. It was supposed to be both Saturday and Sunday, but Saturday was canceled because of the rain, so it was just on Sunday. And I managed to make $1,064 in sales! Yeay! I'm psyched about that.

I'm not so psyched about how much I spent on back to school clothes for the kids. I waited until the last minute and felt stressed - and just took them out and bought them what they wanted. I don't know the grand total, but it was definitely more than the $600 I budgeted.

Things have been very busy around here. I felt pressure getting ready for the craft show weekend, and the kids going back to school this week, and my parents are visiting from Florida and have been staying with me. My house is a mess - and things just basically feel out of control.

I REALLY need to de-clutter my house - especially the basement and the kid's clothes (that don't fit them anymore). I'm am struggling with the decision of whether to just give everything away or to save the stuff to try to sell it. My financial side obviously wants to sell the stuff. But I'm wondering if I will really get around to it. I basically have a craft show every Saturday between now and Christmas. I enjoy doing this and have made some good money at it - but I don't know if I'll have the time to do this and organize and sell all our junk.

The other decision I am struggling with is the kid's activities. My husband really wants all 3 of our kids to take piano lessons (and for our youngest to also take voice lessons). My middle daughter has an interest in theatre (she's been in several plays) and could possibly benefit from some voice lessons too.

My oldest enjoys playing piano and will happily take the lessons.
My middle daughter does not want piano or voice lessons at all.
My youngest daughter would like voice lessons, but not piano.

Piano lessons in my area are $23 for a half hour lesson.
A combo piano/voice lesson is $30 for a half hour lesson.

So, for 2 combo lessons and 1 piano lesson each week would be $83, or over $300 a month!

If I use the same teacher, I could possibly book a full hour and have each of the girls take 20 minutes of the lesson (not sure if this is possible, but it might be). This would cost me between $53 and $60 a week, or $240+ a month.

But I'm not even sure that $240 a month really fits into our budget. We still don't have our fully funded emergency fund (and it looks like it will take us almost to the end of 2010 to get it alll the way up to $30,000, at least on paper). And we haven't even begun saving for college - and my oldest is only 6 years away from starting college!

I dread discussing this with my husband. He is having a really bad time at work right now. Sales are down because of the economy - and pressure is high. I don't think he can really handle a realistic look at our finances right now. Even though I think we have been doing really well, he tends to look at the negatives - like how we will both need new cars soon, etc.

Yet I know he feels strongly about the girls having piano lessons.

I guess they don't have to start right at the beginning of September. I can wait a little till things settle down at his work - and then discuss it with him.

I hate to think that we can't afford this for our kids - but I bet Suze Orman would say "denied" if I called in to her "Can I Afford It" segment.

Oh - it's hard to know what to do.