Hard Choices Part 3

In Hard Choices Part 1 & 2, I listed my family’s current want/needs.  Now I want to throw in one last monkey wrench — our current situation. After all, decisions are not made in a vacuum.

My work situation is a bit unstable right now. I’ve survived lay-offs in the past but this time, I’m scared about the company’s future and my role in it.  Due to some business decisions, my workload has decreased by one-third.  I’m finding ways to make myself valuable and take on new projects but it’s not a simple process.  There might be future opportunities but nothing is guaranteed. Note: That business decision also reduced workloads for several other people at the company.

At the same time, I have never thought of any job as 100% stable. I don’t want to make decisions based on “what ifs.”

My spouse shows signs of “caregiver burnout” which is defined as a condition of exhaustion, anger, or guilt that results from unrelieved caring for a chronically ill dependent.  While we do have nearby family and respite, my husband is definitely the point person for my son’s health issues, from maintaining medical supplies to going to endless appointments.  Note: I also have major caregiver stress although I can “escape” this via a 9-to-5 job.

Also, my husband is not a great planner.  Therefore, I have limited control over him getting the recommended dental work or his car’s repairs.

How would you prioritize the needs/wants given the new information above? I have put my family’s list in priority order based on my own beliefs and feedback from readers.

silver-car-isolated1) Car #1 Repairs (Spouse) – $1,000 – Have been putting this off for months. Check Engine light keeps coming on. This is the primary family car.

2) iPad or Tablet (Kids, Me) – $600 –  Will look for used one and also apply for foundation grants. However, I don’t want to wait too long to get this.

3)  EITHER Airplane ticket to home country OR Semi-professional camera (Spouse)  – $1,300+ – Spouse has not been home in 4 years. On the other hand, photography is a much-needed distraction for him from our stressful situation.

4) Dental Work (Both) – $500 to $2,000  – This is #4 mainly because I have little control over my spouse getting the work done. For my dental work, I want a second opinion.

5) Car #2 Maintenance (Me) – $200 to $500

6) Foam mattress or topper (Both, more me) – $1,000 – $2,200 – TBD

This is one in a series of tips/ideas to help you stay middle-class (HTSMC).  Whether you consider yourself on the lower- or higher-end of the spectrum, you can probably find some useful tips to help you stay there and find save more for retirement even as wages stay stagnant.


3 thoughts on “Hard Choices Part 3

  1. I really appreciated this series. I have been feeling a lot of resentment about making hard choices (though mine are WAY easier than yours) and one of the reasons I feel that resentment is that because it seems like other families don’t have to make these hard choices. Seeing the inner workings of your thought process on these really hard decisions makes me realize that people are grappling with very real, very challenging choices. Thank you for sharing this.


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