Your constant efforts to cut costs and corral spending, your diligence, they’re all paying off (literally and figuratively). If right now things seem a little out of control, then TAKE A BREATH. Then take a few more. You and your family have just been through some of the most stressful six months that ANYONE would ever want to have. Let’s review: you decided your life in CA was not currently, and would never be, what you wanted, and you decided to move cross country. You worked really hard on buying a house that didn’t pan out, through no fault of your own. You and your family lived in a tent (a TENT for crying out loud!) this summer while you searched for housing. Your husband took a long-distance, sight-unseen job to help pay for the move. And your family trusted in your very capable planning skills to make it all work. And it did. You are where you want to be, you’ve got work, he’s got work, you’ve graduated from being in a tent to being in real live housing with a roof and walls and plumbing and electrical and everything. For goodness’ sake, you’ve already accomplished the near-impossible. Take a moment to feel some pride and satisfaction in accomplishing what many of us would have written off as undoable. It really was/is quite an achievement.
Now, as the dust is starting to settle, you’re finding some things out of control. OK, yes, that can seem like a whole new flavor of overwhelming, because you’re comparing the Now to what you used to have when life was calm and settled. But this is a fairly standard pattern when you (or anyone) goes through something so monumental as what you just went through. As a former Navy wife, who traveled cross country in 6 years more than most folks travel in a lifetime, I learned to expect that the few months after we were “done” with a move, life would utterly fall apart. That’s where you are now. It seems to be a rule of life that stuff falls apart after a move like that. The good news is, it won’t stay that way for very long.
Wrapping your head around your money again is both a very good functional task, and a great comfort. You’re exactly right that once you’ve figured out where the money is going, you can start to decide where it should go. Just don’t think that you’re alone in having stuff fall apart like it did; that was almost inevitable. The fact that you’re at this stage now, means the worst is behind you. Go do the planning that you do so very well, take comfort in the knowledge that you SUCCEEDED in getting your family to a better place, and try not to sweat the details too terribly much. They’ll sort themselves out. Just give yourself and your family some much-deserved kudo’s for what you’ve accomplished. The rest of this stuff will come together soon, I promise. Hang in there!