I've told you guys about our struggle with finances and making ends meet while continuing to fund the business. Well, the truth is, the struggle has been a lot harder than I've admitted to.
In the last year, we've fallen way behind on rent. We've managed to keep ourselves from getting evicted but honestly, I'm not really sure how, besides having a really awesome property manager who has taken (and dodged) many bullets for us.
We were struggling to keep up with bills, usually paying them right before things got shut off or soon after. We went two months without gas; no hot water, no heat, no stove. We made do. We asked for help when things got really bad, for the boys' speech therapy, and we did get a little bit here & there but for the most part, we've been on our own. Which is fine; we made this mess so we get to deal with it.
This is why Jay has been working so hard, so often, and that is the only reason we've been able to stay afloat: Jay. The work he has managed to pick up in the last four months has literally saved us. We started paying rent again, plus a few hundred extra, but we still owed more than a few months' back-rent. We got the gas back on. We've managed to keep our phones on, our cars insured & gassed up; we've kept the business supplied and we've caught up with bills, one by one.
We've ignored our impending-pauper status for birthdays and Christmas, yes; maybe not the smartest thing ever but it helped keep us sane. Just recently, we bought a new Xbox 360, which is definitely not necessity but I say it was a justifiable purchase for under $50. One of those sanity-keepers, you see.
After all this time, stress, worry and fear, I can't even begin to explain how amazingly glorious it feels to be able to say --
WE ARE ALL CAUGHT UP.
Thanks to our tax refund, we paid every penny of back-rent. Every. Single. Penny. We are CURRENT for the first time in I-can't-remember-how-long and we will be able to pay rent for March, ON TIME & IN FULL. I know Jay got a rush from handing our on-site manager a check for over $4200 and I know she was happy to give it to our PM.
I know our PM, Scott, was happy to get that check because he came by Friday morning to tell me so. He even asked for a hug and told me, we are now called "Mr. & Mrs. 42". He told me how much he appreciated it and that he knows how badly Jay needs a new truck. I told him that was a mistake we just couldn't make. We paid in full as much to get it paid off as we did to say 'Thank you' to him for dealing with us and not kicking us out.
We had money left over and paid more bills and rolled the rest over for next month. It feels so good to have bills paid and still have money in the bank. It feels like we are finally making it. Jay has six days this week booked up, with three rentals on top of his regular clients and he only has two open days left in February (excluding weekends). Our anniversary is at the end of the month too and while it's tempting to plan something "exotic" like a night away from the kids, in *gasp* a hotel, we won't. Maybe we'll get the night away from the kids but we'll stay home instead of going out, if we do. Much better to sit on the money we have than to rush out and send it.
Plus, there are still many things we have put off buying because we just didn't have the money; things like clothes and a doorknob for our bedroom. New sheets, picture frames and glasses; all those little household items you need but forget you need or put off getting because they aren't really necessary. CONTACTS, which I desperately need & are very necessary. Not to mention, car registration and all that noise.
Now we can finally get to some of that stuff. Who knows? Maybe we'll even be able to start saving for a wedding or, I don't know, our first home. You know, real grown-up stuff. For right now, I just want to bask in the awesomeness of being caught up, paid up and in the black. After an arduous, rocky, pitfall-filled climb, we've finally managed to get on top of our finances and I want to stay here for a long, long time.