You are here

Expecting in the Great Recession

Judging from some of the responses to my post on Tuesday, and the popularity of Family Budget Boot Camp here on, it’s evident that the subject of budgeting resonates among us parents and parents-to-be. This has surely always been the case, but of course the economic cardiac arrest that kicked off this past year has given all of us pause, and made us look a little more closely at our money matters.

My husband and I realized that we needed to get serious about our budget, both due to the economic situation and to the fact that our pregnancy was a surprise -- we weren’t planning to pay for diapers in the immediate future, let alone establish a college fund. Aaron’s work also slowed way down after our honeymoon, and we had to re-evaluate a bit. But there’s a bright side to all of this: we’ve proactively looked at what’s coming in and what’s going out, made ourselves a spending plan, and executed it together.

What a great moment in our marriage! Through this, I experienced a shift from an intangible sense of foreboding and stress to a sense of empowerment and knowledge about the reality of our finances. I’m not getting as many professional massages as I fantasized I would during pregnancy, but we are adding a small sum to our savings each month, which helps to stave off worry (and, husbands are pretty good at giving massages, too).

I’ve also discovered something that will no doubt prove invaluable moving forward, and this is the belief that everything will work out. It has to! Aaron and I decided that rather than get a terrible job that he hates, with only the short-term in mind, he’s taking the work that does come in and spending the rest of his time cultivating his contacts and connections in the professional direction he wants to expand in; he’s an illustrator, but is focusing on branching out into storyboarding and animation. Every industry’s slow right now. We figure it’s a good time to do the necessary preparation to hit the ground running when things pick back up. Believing that it’s possible to make progress where you want to is far preferable, on an existential level, to, you know, not believing that. Making our budget is what has allowed us to do this, and it’s actually working.

So, we’ve looked at the reality of our financial picture, and made decisions and taken action from there. I want our son to see his parents being responsible to themselves and others, and living happy, successful lives, so that he, too, will live in this way. Right now, we’re investing in that. We definitely haven’t started the college fund yet, but I trust we’ll figure that out. For now, I’m focusing on what’s in front of us (and on doing well in my job!), and I’m grateful that we have all we do -- especially each other, and, soon, our new baby boy.

How has the economy affected your approach to budgeting, parenting, and life?