Please help me live on $2000 a month - Page 2
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  1. #16
    Registered User jkelstaten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenixmama View Post
    I cook really simple stuff, tex mex, meat loaf, curries. I think our bills are higher because I don't shop smart and my husband likes junk food so we get a lot of chips and cookies. We used to eat out a lot but since we are down to one car, I havent been going out to eat as much.

    I do think groceries is where I can save probably $150 to 200 a month. Especially once I get the kids potty trained.
    Cookies & junk food are EASY to save on. Just make it yourself! It's much tastier too. Cookies, muffins, cakes, whatever you can think of. Even cheaper if you can get the ingredients on sale.

    I don't know how old your kids are, but DD#2 is 2 1/2 and just now starting to potty train. You might think about buying some reusable, cloth training pants. They are essentially pull-up cloth diapers. Some snap on the sides in case of messy accidents. They are more absorbant than the gerber trainers you find in stores. A little bit expensive to start with, but if you have your own washer you would really only need enough for one day and you could wash at night while your child is sleeping. Even if you bough 6 trainers at $10/each (you could probably get used ones cheaper) that equals less than a month worth of disposables.

  2. #17
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    We're a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids with 2 of those in diapers). We live on $2,000. Our house payment is right around $600 a month, so you're spending a bit more on housing than we are but that's just regional differences.

    I budget $140 a month for groceries (but this does not include diapers, laundry detergent, etc.) I budget around another $40 for the non-food stuff. It can be tight to feed us on that amount sometimes, and I know as the girls get older it will have to go up, but it works for now.

    Definitely check into more competitive health insurance. We pay for our own. We have a $5,000 deductible and we pay $214 a month for all of us. Our insurance includes an HSA (Health Savings Account). We don't have a maternity rider so we've paid cash for each of our children. We don't have dental or prescription insurance but our insurance negotiates lower rates for those things and also for doctor's visits.

    It can be done! We do both try and work to get a little extra $ each month (selling stuff on e-bay, piano lessons, substitute teaching, babysitting, etc.) but we only do our monthly budget on dh's income of $2000, so any extra is icing on the cake.

    Good luck!

  3. #18
    Registered User WigWamChic's Avatar
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    just my suggestions :

    If your married , and your spouse makes over 800 you may not qualify for public assistance in TX , if you are afianced or un married or single and make under 800 you may qualify for public assistance.

    Your income being soley what you get from work. you need not report money from your mother or boyfriend , diability DOES NOT count as income.

    If you are on Disability you automatically qualify for Food Assitance programs , as do your children.

    You can look into Medicade , of CHIP for your children in TX CHIP regardless of Marital Status.

    Look into WiC if you have children under the age of 5 (most offices will work with you even IF you are over a income level) , also hit those pantries if you have to. Groceries are a pain and when money is tight you gotta reduce , weed out convenience foods , cut back meals for light work adults , for hardworking adults reduce portion , increase caloric value as needed.

    Use google to find pantries or community resources in your area.

    Hope it helps you some how.

  4. #19
    Registered User cebsme's Avatar
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    Check out Angel Food Ministries to help with groceries, in Houston their are tons of host sites.
    http://www.angelfoodministries.com/states.asp?st=tx

    You pay about 25 dollars per a box of food, and you can usually buy as many as you need or want, and your income is not an issue.

    You can call which ever host site is closest to you to find about ordering and such. Heres a the menu page which shows what you can get.

    http://www.angelfoodministries.com/menu.asp

    I know you said something about state aid and I feel that. Everyone needs help sometimes, my husband and i make pretty good money and we have still used this program when we were just to tight on cash and it really helped.

  5. #20
    Registered User Radish4ever's Avatar
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  6. #21
    Registered User betharoo0's Avatar
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    first off I would get the kids potty trained. Then I would lower the monthly food bill. If you cannot pay the bills alot of junk food seems unnessesary.
    Do you realize that w/o utilities you are already over 2000? I would not feel bad about trying to get some help with health insur.
    Have you tryed WIC? This saves sooo much in Milk,cereal,etc... I know you qualify.
    I would also try to lower the car insur. shop around.
    If your credit card debt is out of control, we went through C.C.C.S. SAVED US! We are almost debt free as a result and our credit is not damaged.
    Google it.
    I would also get the low income cuts on the utilities. Can you cut down on gas,watch your water,lights,energy eff. bulbs,cut down on phone service, cut down on internet service,etc...
    I would try to get DH on the same page also.

  7. #22
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    I'm in Texas, too, but in the Dallas area. Personally, I wouldn't touch your health insurance at all. Four hundred dollars a month is not bad, especially with kids! Dropping insurance is a dangerous game to play. But I wouldn't hesitate to look for cheaper car insurance. Just make sure it's a reputable company, and you're getting the appropriate coverage.

    I'll warn you as a fellow Texan: electric bills are sky high in summer! It's HOT here, and it's humid in Houston, so that makes the heat feel even worse. If your home has blinds on the windows, take advantage of those in the summer and use them! Install ceiling fans if they are not already in the various rooms of your house, especially in the bedrooms! Ceiling fans are our one saving grace in summer. I can manage to keep the AC set to 80-82 degrees as long as we have the ceiling fans going.

    My best suggestion to you on that budget you've presented is to cut back in the grocery department. Watch for sales. If you don't have a daily newspaper subscription, it's worth the 50cents each Wednesday to buy a paper just for the grocery ads. You can sit down and plan a menu or stock up on necessities using the ads. For example, I went to Albertsons today and bought 4 jars of store-brand peanut butter because they are on sale for $1 each. Tortilla chips (don't remember the brand) are $1/bag this week, and they're good! I always keep tortilla chips and salsa in the house. I rarely buy any other type of chip. Your hubby may have to sacrifice a bit in that area. As for his cookies, start baking them. Stores regularly run sales on baking staples.

    I have no idea what diapers cost since I have no children, but I do have the vague sense that they're expensive. The best I know to tell you is to watch sales or shop at Sam's or Costco. Good luck with the potty training!

  8. #23
    Registered User Marie78's Avatar
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    I would keep the health insurance (that is so important) and I would try to decrease the cost of groceries. I would also think about doing some extra work that is flexible around your Dh's schedule. You could always look into trying to lower the car insurance bill too. I wish you luck . We are considering moving to a less expensive apt. to decrease our monthly bills. I won't compromise on a safe neighborhood, so we might have to compromise on space.

  9. #24
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    Without including gasoline, utilities, clothing (kids need shoes and things), you are already over $2,000 a month. I would talk to the IRS about reducing your monthly payment, get the kids out of diapers ( I also recommend the cloth training pants), do you work outside the home? My DH and I have always just had one car, too, but we worked opposite shifts, so one of us was always at home with our daughter. We never needed a second car, or daycare. We did that for ten years.

  10. #25
    Registered User i.m.cheap's Avatar
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    I would estimate that gas for your car and utilities will add (at least) another $300 a month. What about telephone, cell phone, cable TV, trash service, internet? Do you pay for any of those?

  11. #26
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    No, I didn't include the other expenses, they add probably another $400. We have the bare basics, no cable, dial-up internet, no car payment, etc. I have called around and reduced my car insurance, health ins without giving up coverage, and irs payment. That saved me $200 but I am still well over $2000. I have realized that we can't live on less than $2500/mo. Usually my husband brings home $3-4K depending on sales but the last two months have been slow so I was just trying to see how low can we go.

    My husband is going to try and get a part-time job while still running his business. He doesn't want me to go to work because of the kids, so we shall see.

    Anyway, going to work on my grocery budget, I need inexpensive recipes that are tasty and healthy.
    Last edited by phoenixmama; 04-26-2007 at 05:14 PM.

  12. #27
    Registered User Radish4ever's Avatar
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    Remember that most grocery stores have online grocery ads these days, including Albertson's and HEB

  13. #28
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    Yes you can do it, but you're going to have to reduce something. You're over your target and you haven't accounted for utilities. In a real pinch, one can certainly go phone-less, though most of us hate that these days. I'd be looking at really tightening utility bills - as in can 2 kids share a bath, put the TV away where it isn't even plugged in and won't be tempting, forget A/C for as long as you can, and then just use it to keep the house at a healthy level - not a comfortable one (like maybe 80?). Groceries could be reduced and if you can plant things to eat, I would - for one thing the kids usually get into it. Look for free entertainment (walks, parks, library, etc.)

    Good luck. I live on that amount, but with no kids, no irs payment, much lower rent, and no spouse - so I have no-one to blame but myself if I miss.

  14. #29
    Registered User Lori Biever-Launder's Avatar
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    How about babysitting a child or two in your home? That way, you will still be home with your little ones and bringing money at the same time. When my two were little, I did bookkeeping for my FIL. DH brought the stuff home (he worked for his dad at the time) and I did the books while the boys played with Daddy! It gave me a break from two toddlers and gave them some much-needed time with their father. I made 140.00 a week (gross) over ten years ago.

    We pay 119.00 a month for BOTH of our cars with full coverage on them. Are you SURE there's no better rates around? We have spotless records however and you may be paying more if you have had tickets, accidents, etc.

    I feed eight of us (four people, four pets on high quality foods) plus buy all of our HABA, paper goods, etc. on about 100.00 a week. I have TEENAGE BOYS who can eat waaay more in food than diapers cost! How do I do this? I pay full price for almost nothing! My top price for a box of cereal is 1.50. I have paid as little as a quarter for a box this year. We also eat oatmeal on a regular basis. My family will also eat pretty much anything. DSs love all the "weird" stuff kids aren't supposed to like: broccoli, sushi, spinach, hominy...you name it, they pretty much scarf it down. When you are broke, you are NOT picky--you can't afford to be!

    One way to keep cool when it's truly scorching out is to get your hair wet and keep it that way! You lose 35% of your body heat through your head. I know it sounds weird, but try it! Conversely, when it's cold, get out your rice bag. What's a rice bag, you ask? Just what it says it is! It is a little cloth bag filled with raw rice and sewn shut. Put it in the microwave for about 1:20 and crawl into bed with it on your chest. Ahhh... I use mine when I am watching TV or reading. I set it in my lap. When your torso is warm, your extremities will be too because your body pulls heat from them to warm your core (where all of your vital organs--except your brain!--are). If each person has his/her own rice bag, it is often possible to turn the heat down a full TEN degrees! This is the 21st century version of the hot brick our great grandmothers used to warm the beds at night. we use throws as well. Also, hit the Goodwill for WOOL blankets. Wool is still a great way to keep warm and they last soooo much longer than the cheapo acrylic blankets. If you can find a Vellux blanket, get those as well. They are so soft and feel so good!

    Part of your food budget may be getting eaten up (pardon the pun) in meat. If your family is big on meat, look for ways to stretch the meat further. Nobody needs huge slabs of meat on his/her plate at each meal, contrary to what most red-blooded Texans think! Use meat as a condiment and it will go MUCH further. For example, instead of steak and baked potatoes, make baked potatoes but instead of slabs of meat, make a stroganoff with some cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, a few sliced mushrooms and ONE cut up steak. You still get the same flavor from the meat, but you use cheap but very good for you) potatoes to fill you up. Add a veggie and fruit and you have dinner for a fraction of the cost of two steaks!

    I work at a library and can tell you, there is NO better resource for money starved young parents. We lend DVDs (even ones on potty training!) , VHS, books on CD/tape, have movie nights, story times, and much, much more! When we kick off our summer reading program, we even have a carnival with games, food and lots of fun. Before you say we must live in an affluent area for this, let me assure you that this is NOT the case. This town is solidly middle class with a large number of working class as well. You can and will meet many new friends when you attend story times; we see new friendships budding out all of the time while your children learn to love reading and the library at an early age. Every week, we hear a toddler crying as s/he is carried out: "Mommy I want to STAY at the library and read/color/play some more!"

  15. #30
    Registered User betharoo0's Avatar
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    Those are all good ideas Lori. I do the rice bag thing too, except I pour rice in a lonely sock and tie off the end. Kids love to play catch with them too!
    I also drop a few drops of lavendar on the rice too...smells sooo good!

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