Christy’s Story: Grandparents are the Gifts That Keep on Giving

Meet Christy, the director of nursing at a nursing home who lives with her husband and three daughters in South Carolina.

What’s your household like these days?

With daughters, it’s tears and laughter and glitter 24/7. Things have certainly been different since the girls started virtual school, but we’re getting used to it.

On a typical day, I wake up at 6am and get the girls up and fed. By 7:50am they’re online doing virtual school, and that’s around the time I head to work. My husband works nights, so I make sure he’s situated before I leave for the day. Depending on the day, I usually work 8-10 hours, maybe go home to eat lunch with my family, go back to work, and then I come home for supper. Then I go to bed and start over again the next day.

My girls are in kindergarten, third grade, and fourth grade. It’s been a learning curve for all of us for sure. With my oldest daughter, school isn’t her forte, but there are less distractions at home so she can concentrate more. My middle child is what I like to call the “little mother” because she helps our youngest with anything she needs. My husband and I have done our best to be proactive and help our kids learn, and we’re in constant communication with their teachers.

We’re also lucky that their great grandmother is still in our lives. She loves teaching the girls new skills just as much as they love learning from her.

It sounds like your grandparents are a big part of your life. Could you tell me more about them?

They’re 81 and 85 years old. They helped me make my way through my nursing school. My grandma was kind enough to help me study and I like to joke that she should’ve gotten a degree in nursing alongside me. She’s also taught one of my daughters how to knit and another one how to cook.

My grandpa loves music. He’s trying to get each of the girls to pick an instrument they want to play. He recently bought them an electric keyboard.

I don’t know what I would do or where I would be without them.

What do you and your family do to relax?

We’re really trying to unplug more. When I’m home, we try to do outdoor activities. For example, my girls wanted to plant a garden this year. We failed miserably, but there’s always next time. All my daughters like to read, so we’re reading Charlotte’s Web at the moment.

What’s it like with you working during the day and your husband working at night?

We make it work. My husband was unemployed for about five months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. There were a lot of jobs he was supposed to do that just got postponed or canceled.

As for me, my job is more demanding and difficult than ever. We’re busier and stretched thinner these days. There are more precautions we’re taking like screening everyone who comes in, taking their temperatures, and wearing masks. I used to work in a long-term care facility before this. It’s especially tough for the residents because the facility isn’t allowing visitors.

Are you shopping during this holiday season?

We’re shopping for immediate family only this year. Trying to plan what holiday gatherings will look like this year has been hectic, but we’re lucky that the majority of my family lives in town. We did a virtual Thanksgiving with my cousin in New York, and hopefully him and his wife can quarantine themselves and join us for Christmas this year. We’re still playing it by ear.

I’ve talked with my girls about what gifts might look like this year. It’ll be tighter than normal but we’ll make it work. They’ve been really wanting Nerf guns, and my husband and I may have to splurge and get two for ourselves so we can join in on the fun, too.

What does saving money look like?

We had a house fire a couple years ago that we’re still trying to build back from. It was a big ordeal. We eliminated our savings trying to recover from that. In the last couple of years, we managed to build our savings a little, but after my husband lost his job earlier this year, we had to use what savings we had left in our emergency fund to stay afloat. Right now, I’m just trying to re-establish our savings. I’m hoping we won’t have to spend money to repair our car within the next five years.

Recently, I set up an Acorns account and tried to squirrel away a bit of money there.

What would you like to do when things get better?

I think that we’d all really enjoy a trip out of state. My grandparents really want to go to California. We’ve never traveled outside of the South, so that’d be a fun vacation to take.

Tell me about your biggest financial achievement.

Not going bankrupt when my husband lost his job and managing to keep out of the red as best I could. You have to appreciate where you are. Without understanding what trials you’ve had, you can’t fully enjoy your triumph.

My goal is to have a nice retirement account and set up a fund for my girls’ college expenses.

How do you feel about SaverLife?

I was on Google searching for resources to help us when my husband was unemployed and that’s how I found SaverLife. SaverLife introduced me to Steady, too. I love the articles and I’ve enjoyed earning points for doing activities. I even won $5 once which was really exciting! I think SaverLife is a wonderful resource for anybody that doesn’t know where to start with saving or is struggling with saving. Right now, people need help in a loving and kind way.

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