Accountability: Mea Culpa

I’ve already fallen off of the wagon, letting an entire month pass since my last post.  We’ll get into why shortly, but suffice it to say that June has been a particularly uncooperative month for both my finances and my productivity.

Things started off well enough, we’d bounced back from our little hiccup in May and were excited for my son to visit us from North Carolina for a couple of weeks.  I had requested leave for the whole time he’d be in town so we could have plenty of “family time” since we don’t get to see him very often.  Two weeks away from the day job also meant much more flexibility to work on my site, or so I thought…

What got in the way?

First our five month old daughter got sick.  We’d all been feeling pretty crappy for a couple of days after CD Jr. #2 came back from day camp, but then what we thought was a simple cold in #3 turned into a 101-degree fever and rapidly developed into pneumonia.  The resulting ER visit and follow-up appointments with her pediatrician got her back on her feet (so to speak) very quickly, but also racked up about $200 in unexpected medical expenses between co-pays and prescriptions.

A couple of days after that ordeal, we all came down with the same viral respiratory infection.  We were dropping like flies at Casa de Cash Dummy; as soon as one person would start to bounce back another of us would be laid low, leading to more doctor visits and more prescriptions.  The final tally on co-pays ended up being around $400 over the first two weeks of June.

We managed to get ourselves through that about two days before my son was due to arrive, which meant a mad dash to get the house ready.  This included touching up his bedroom that we’d recently painted, making sure we had enough food to feed a ravenous high schooler, and of course sanitizing every surface of the house so he didn’t come down with the same plague that had so recently afflicted us.

All of the scrambling between illnesses and extended out-of-town company made it extremely difficult to stick to our normal spending routine on groceries, since there were so many days where we just flat out didn’t have the energy to cook.  That translated into spending almost double what we normally do on restaurants ($285), and when we did cook we ended up hitting the grocery store 2-3 times a week which balooned our grocery spending to over $900.  All told, we’re looking at almost $1300(!) spent on food alone this month.

What about the blog?

That one’s much more straightforward: I let myself get distracted.

Normally I work on my site from my phone while riding in my vanpool to and from work since that works out to 90 minutes of time each day with minimal distractions.  This month, however, I’ve been having to drive myself more and more often due to scheduling conflicts in the office on top of all the medical appointments early in the month, which means much less time to blog.

“Why not work on it at home,” you ask?  Well, technically, that’s what I’m doing right now, but this is an exception.  Blogging while working a full-time job isn’t easy to begin with, and the additional leadership responsibilities and collateral duties that come with military service demand even more time beyond the normal “9-5” workday.  As a result I tend to be extremely protective of my time at home, especially now that we have two very small children.

Also, in the interest of transparency, Mrs. CD and I have been binge-watching “The Office” on Netflix after the kids go to bed.  I may be a blogger, but I’m still human lol.

Bottom line?

Life happens.

I’ve talked before about my relationship with excuses and self-limiting beliefs.  Given the way things have gone this month it would be very easy to say “Oh well, things got too hard this month, I’ll do better next month.”

While the part about doing better next month is true, it won’t happen on it’s own just because I said it.  All of the big-name bloggers out there still experience the same challenges and setbacks we did, but they don’t let it stop them from spreading their messages and nurturing their platform.  Folks who have a handle on their finances don’t make excuses, they stay flexible and find creative ways to deal with setbacks without compromising their goals.

I’m not putting this out there to make excuses.  One of my core priorities for this platform is to be as real, honest, and transparent as I can be, and that means admitting when I make mistakes.

We’re all human, and while we can’t control what life throws at us, we can control how we respond.  In the case of those unexpected medical expenses, I’m going to pick up some extra freelance work to make up the difference so that our plans to finally eliminate our credit card debt don’t get derailed.  That monster $1300 food bill is going the way of the dodo thanks to our 5 Dollar Meal Plan subscription (we love you Erin!).  We hadn’t been following it lately (shame on us!), but it saved us over $300 on our grocery bill the first week we signed up, and we’ll be doing weekend meal prep to prevent the temptation to eat out.

What about you?  How did you deal with the financial stumbling blocks you encountered?  Let me know below!

Pursuing FI: What If I Make a Mistake?
Why the Hell is a PF Blogger Calling Himself a Cash Dummy?

2 Comments

  • Liz

    I’m so sorry sickness derailed you the past month. Summer sickness is the absolute worst! I’m sure you’ll get caught back up in no time! Hope everyone is doing better now!

    • The Incredible Cash Dummy

      We are, thanks! Lots of good things coming up in the near future, really looking forward to the next couple of months and getting reconnected with everyone!