This is the first blog post of this type I have written. It’s been inside me for a while but in the happy snap world of blogging it doesn’t seem appropriate to talk about real life stuff sometimes. So please forgive me if it’s not to your liking, certainly move on but I hope you don’t.
This last year has been quite difficult for us. We made the fateful decision to move to a larger property so that things could be scaled up a bit – like more sheep, some cattle and more productive ground. It had always been hubby’s dream and I didn’t feel that standing in the way of that was the right thing to do for my husband.
I probably would have been ok to stay at Boonah but in truth, it was becoming quite suburban, with houses going up all around us, and the suburban sounds like people talking, playing tv/radio loud, dogs barking for hours on end; were becoming more noticeable to us.
So, the plan was for hubby to get a job in the region we wanted to move to, sell the Boonah house and move. Of course when you say it quickly it all sounds very easy, but as everyone knows, talking the talk and walking the walk are two very different things.
So, we put the pedal down on the renovations on the Boonah house, including an extensive build-in downstairs which added a big chunk to our debt. The new job came up, he got it and for about six months he commuted the 80kms odd each way daily. That worried me, him being on the road that carries so many semi-trailers loaded with goodness knows what. We investigated us renting somewhere for him, renting somewhere for us and every other alternative we could think of; but the $ numbers didn’t stack up. As well, we looked at some wonderful real estate, but most of the places had no fences, water, sheds, house – at least not those in our price range.
Then as so often happens, while looking at something else, I saw our new place on the net. Hubby went for a look, liked what he saw, we both had a look with the agent on a Sunday afternoon and made a successful offer that night. We were elated – off to the bank for bridging finance. Hubby moved into the new place straightaway, only coming home on weekends to keep pushing on with renovation work. Towards the end of 2014 I made the move up to the farm as well, it was good to both be in the same place again, and then followed six months of hard slogging to get all our ‘stuff’ from one place to the other. Hubby is one of those ‘I might be able to use this one day’ types which is pretty handy when you do need stuff, but boy there were a lot of ute loads involved.
Thankfully we finally got the Boonah place to a stage where we could rent it out and start getting some money in the door for it. Now we get to the bit I lie awake over at night – when our bridging finance ran out in March, our bank couldn’t accommodate our desire for an interest only borrowing for two years to cover both the farm and the Boonah place. It was too tight. So we started looking around for another lender. The idea was that two years should be enough to get the Boonah place sold, hopefully giving us enough cash left over to add onto the house at the farm, put more infrastructure into place, and maybe get some newer vehicles. We contacted a broker who previously had specialized in health insurance (I won’t name names) but for some reason now did mortgages too. They hooked us up with one of the big 4 banks with a ‘package’ that included the two loans, a credit card and all sorts of ‘discounts’ on things like insurance etc.
What a nightmare that has been. Right from the get-go these people had problems, the wrong paperwork was the major thing – timeframes were getting tight, two settlement dates came and went before finally settlement occurred. I might add, since the date of setting up our accounts with this new bank, no less than $764 in fees, charges, penalties etc have been charged to us for various reasons. Valid in the bank’s ‘business process’ no doubt but quite upsetting to me nonetheless. Anyway, we’re getting to learn the lie of the land now and what to and not to do with the accounts.
The next thing weighing on me is that I believe, after nearly six years of being out of the workforce, I feel as though now is the time I have to go back to work. Aside from the actual dollars in the door that a pay packet would bring, I think/hope I might feel less stressed about the situation and feel like I’m contributing more. Like much of Australia, jobs are thin on the ground in this region, and someone in their 50s probably isn’t high on an employer’s hit list. Anyway, these days I’m trawling job sites, sending off CVs, registering with employment agencies and the like. New territory for me in some ways.
The only problem is I don’t want to work outside the home – yep, I said it out loud - am I a bad person? Since hubby and I had a discussion about this just before we bought the Boonah house in 2009 and decided I would stop working, I have absolutely loved being at home. I have felt free, unstressed, and very happy. I don’t get lonely, rarely get bored, and like looking after my family including us, the dogs, the chooks, the sheep, and anything else that ventures onto our patch.
Friends and family have suggested applying to Centrelink for assistance, and I have unsuccessfully applied for a health care card and I know I should register for Newstart, but something is holding me back – pride, embarrassment? I don’t know. I’m not looking for a career, just a job to earn some money to keep things ticking over budget wise. I’m doing as many of the money-saving things that everyone suggests and advises that I can but each fortnight is still a struggle. The Boonah house is still on the market so we are hoping that there will be a result there in the near future. Honestly though I feel as though we will need every day of those two years to get it sold, the market being what it is. Anyway that is out of our hands. That’s the part I have trouble with – I’m so far out of my comfort zone financially and there are so many things that are out of our hands and out of my control. I never thought of myself as a control freak, but I’m perhaps in some things I am.
So there it is friends, it’s the thing that’s been grieving me in a way I can’t tell to people. I have a friend who says she has a little money she could lend me. If that was all it took, a little bit of extra money, I wouldn’t be too worried, it’s the weight of such a huge (to me) debt and only one income to address it.
So, I’m doing the money saving things, looking for work, praying my tail off, and loving my husband. I can’t think of much else I can do. Can you? I’m sure many would say ‘oh boo-hoo – get over yourself’ but to me it’s a big deal. Right, get on with it. Thank you for reading. Hopefully things will look up soon.