No topic here, really. It's just been a while since I posted and the 3 people who read this expect something.
This summer has been an erratic combination of fast and furious, and bits of down time. It's also been a total budget-buster. Sorry, Dave Ramsey, but it seems that until September comes along with it's daily routines and predictable spending patterns, we've gone back to reactive money management. Since February we enjoyed (if you can call it that) planning out where our money would be working for us in the month ahead. We faltered in June, and July has been totally filling in the blanks after the fact to try and find out where the heck our money went. August will be no better with trips and summer treats and always the unplanned expenses. It's too easy to throw 'it's not in the budget!' out the window and just say 'what the heck? It's summer.' in these cases.
I started, and gave up on car shopping again. The Stealth Van has 197,000 miles on the odometer, and may be feeling it's mortality at any moment. I found out that what I'd really love to be driving is way more than I can afford - meaning that what I'd be giving up to purchase a $30,000.00 vehicle is of more value to me than the vehicle itself - so I will continue to drive the van and hope and pray that it continues on in good health because if I have to replace it, it will be with something that might be different, but not that much better - so why bother? I was thinking about those car commercials where one spouse surprises the other with some BMW or Lexus, and then the voice-over talks about payments and financing. How much of a gift is it if the payments have to be taken out of the family budget? I find it unrealistic in the extreme that there are more than a very, very few middle-class types like depicted on those commercials where one spouse has access to $50,000.00 or thereabouts to surprise the other with a luxury car without it adversely affecting family finances. Commercials that plant unrealistic expectations are part of what got us all into this mess. Well, not me personally - but our society in general.
We're visiting Washington DC again in a few weeks. I'm really looking forward to the visit. It will be our third in four years. This will be the visit where we are finally able to slow down a touch without the guilt of regretting what we might miss if we don't keep going full tilt. We will be able to see and do things that were on our 'B' list the last couple of visits - and finally finish up the 'A' list things that we didn't have time for. The National Cathedral, Mt. Vernon, Biking the Potomac tow path, The Holocaust Museum, and perhaps even some of the rest of the small art collections that dot the city are on the list. Perhaps even the Eastern Market and the National Zoo for the simple enjoyment of a morning or afternoon. We are staying the same place we have before, and we are pretty well acquainted with the transportation system - so those normal vacationing in a city adventures will be less noted.