Money is evil. Money is good. But right now, money is evil. And I made it so.
At 23 years old, I was R100k in debt, with no idea how to pay it back. Now, at 28, I have paid back about R100k, with another R60-70k left. How you ask? Interest. Interest is just as evil as money is.
I have no one to blame but myself for the financial (or lack-thereof) situation that I’m in. No one forced me to get 9 credit cards, 4 personal loans and 6 retail accounts. But unfortunately, I got all of this credit before the new credit act came into effect, and by then it was too late. I then made the mistake of putting myself under debt review, which I wish with every fibre of my being that I hadn’t done.
M-L has been accepted into the primary school that I wanted her to be in for 2015, and I have to pay a deposit to finalise her acceptance. Rats ate the wiring in our car, and the auto-electrician wants R5-6k to repair it. We need 2 new back tyres, and in a few months, front ones too. The car is due for a service in 1700km. We ran out of electricity last week. L went to bed with no supper on Wednesday night, and I went to bed with no supper last night, because there is no food in our fridge or cupboards. M-L went to bed with 2 peanut butter and jam sarmies in her tummy, which she absolutely loved. I have about 5 bags of frozen veg in my freezer, and that’s it. Ironic, seeing as I detest vegetables. The petrol light in the car is almost permanently on, and it’s on a hope and wish that I leave the house every morning, saying a silent mantra to make it up the hill.
I borrowed money from a friend in April, promising him full payback in the form of my tax refund which is due in July, which I haven’t even submitted yet, because tax season only opens on the 1st of July. And now this month, I’m stuck. I have a medical bill that is going on its second month of being unpaid, M-L’s June school fees that have to be paid by the 3rd, and of course the deposit for her schooling next year. Oh yes, and the petrol, and the electricity tokens, and the rent that has gone up. I am working 2 jobs at the moment, and I don’t know how much more I have to do.
This isn’t living. This is surviving, just.
I have said from the moment that M-L was born, that I wouldn’t let her education be affected by our finances, that her life must not be affected by our financial situation. It is harder done than said. The feeling of total and complete failure, when we go to the shops for a loaf of bread, and M-L asks me with her best manners for a chocolate or a sweet, and I have to say no, not today. And she replies with
“Don’t you have any money mommy? It’s ok. Next time.”
As much as I don’t want our current financial situation affecting her, it is. It has. She at 4.5 years old tells me that it’s ok that I can’t buy her a treat because I don’t have the money for it. THAT IS WRONG. Not the fact that I can’t buy her a treat, but her justification of it. She’s 4.5. Not a grown adult like L and I.
Yes, we have a roof over our heads and a car and food in our tummies (most nights) but I am struggling to see the silver lining, the hope for something better. I have never had the ambition to be filthy stinking rich. I want to be comfortable. I want to be able to treat my family to a pizza on a Friday night, and not have to worry about how that R100 pizza is going to affect our budget for the rest of the month. I don’t want to have to save for 2 weeks, just so that I can take M-L to the animal farm. I want to spoil myself to a haircut, a new pair of takkies. Yes, those things are a spoil to me.
I know that life is far crueller and harsher to so many on this planet. But right now, I’m not focussed on them. I’m focussed on my family. My family is my priority. What’s that saying..
“Charity starts at home.”
Right now, I think that we’re beyond even that.