Finances and contentment

OK, I had several amazing topics in mind this morning for posting but instead a discussion on a local chat board has been on my mind all day and after chewing it over with the spousal unit, I figured I’d blog about it and see if anyone else wants to weigh in.

On my local discussion board, someone interested in moving to Maine asked about the costs of living in Maine because they were stunned to realize that Maine was not as cheap as they thought it would be. Well as a transplant, I weighed in with my two cents and the fact that my experience is that living here is costing me way more than living in Chicago ever did.

For starters, while buying a house is cheaper (the one huge perk), the fact is taxes are pretty damn high, there is only really one major insurance provider and rates definitely reflect that (this is a state where the insurance company can’t really turn you down so all the other providers blew this pop stand and the one remaining company has sky high rates). Unlike living in a large urban area, a car is a necessity and the state has all sorts of sneaky ways to tax you and charge you but more importantly salaries are on the low side so even though Mister Spousal Unit and I have advanced degrees and in Chicago had a comfy life here we do struggle to keep our ends meeting. No two ways about it.

Anyway another poster said yes its a rough place to live but native Mainers are ok with it since nobody makes any money so everyone makes do. (I am paraphrasing). Well the remainder of the conversation made me ask myself is the problem that I want too much?

See, one of the reasons I busted my ass as an adult doing undergrad in 3 years while juggling a husband and kid is that I was tired of working at jobs where one bad thing happened and bam your financial standard of living went downhill and next thing you know, you need help from the state. I saw my folks do that dance way too many times. Like many folks, I bought the dream that education meant financial security. Problem is I had to finance both my undergrad and graduate degrees with student loans and well lets just say that somewhere in Kansas or Arkansas my student loan debt could buy you or me a house.

The thing is I am 35, and Mister Spousal Unit is 40 and frankly I am tired of paycheck to paycheck living since while being self employed has its ups, the checks don’t get automatically paid on the 15th & 30th. The past 6 years we have and I am being honest here had to finagle things like eye exams, doctor visits, we are in that state of being solidly middle class yet we have jack shit. The hubster hasn’t seen his family in almost a decade except for my father in law who will fly out here and I have been home to Chi-town in 4 years…why? Too damn expensive to go anywhere.

Right now our 11 year old car is on its last legs and a sista is freaking out since its either take out a loan for a car I really can’t afford meaning more financial juggling acts or buy yet another piece of shit.

Now maybe my fellow Mainers don’t mind this sort of hand to mouth existence and at 25 I might not have been too bitter but at my current age, this shit is getting old. I don’t want an Escalade and a trip around the world on a yearly basis but I do want all the basics covered and some extra left over so that when I need to take a jaunt to NYC or Boston to get my locs done, its not this huge affair that requires major planning. I want to know when the kids need shit, I can do it and not think about it or put off a bill for a few weeks to get shoes and clothes for fall.

I know there are folks who look at us and think well damn you are middle class, I live off less, and yes that is truthful but as someone who has worked hard, I want, no I need a break too.

So maybe I am asking too much as far as financial contentment but what says you? Personally while money doesn’t always create happiness, the fact is it costs money to live and I am having a hard time being happy when I am always making financial miracles take place.