momofslg's debt reduction/ frugal challenge
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  1. #1
    Registered User momofslg's Avatar
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    Default momofslg's debt reduction/ frugal challenge

    I have a confession to make....I'm having a hard time with money right now.

    A little history, Hubby and I have been in debt since we met in 1991. We both worked full time jobs, but spent like crazy. We never thought that we had a money problem if we were able to pay our minimum payments on CC's. At one time we had at least 30 of them. Well lo and behold things came to a crashing halt shortly after we had our 1st child in 1997. I didn't go back to work for many reasons including that she would NOT take a bottle, and we would never be able to find a sitter to watch her. We were both restaurant managers who would work from 8am - 2am because the places we worked were never staffed with enough management (thanks corporate management)

    On May 8, 1999 my dad died of cancer and on May 9, 1999 hubby's grandma died. Needless to say we were devastated. In July of 1999 we found out that we were pregnant again. The money issue was putting a strain on us, we never knew if we would have enough money to buy food, so we met with a lawyer and ended up filing bankruptcy.

    We went 2 years with NO CC's and it was liberating. We were not stressed, had money for food worries were gone.

    Many a year has passed and we dug ourselves into a hole again (guess we didn't learn the 1st time) and were in $16,000 CC debt. Hubby's work was slow and we had to use the CC to help pay for food, but when work was ok we spent foolishly. Trips, vacations, clothes, eating out.

    Well last fall I had enough. We started to pay off our CC and since October of 2007 we have payed off almost $11,000 in CC debt on hubby's salary and a couple of bonuses). We are by no means rich. Hubby is an auto mechanic and gets paid a flat rate (meaning he gets paid by how much work he turns in) Last year we Grossed 56,000. We are on target for the same or a little less this year.

    Right now things are tight. Last week Hubby had to go to San Antonio for a conference. While the flight, shuttle, hotel and food were paid for he had to have money for food/drinks and tips for the shuttle driver. I sent him down to Texas with $60.00 and that left us with < $10.00 in the checking account to last until payday on Friday. On Sunday we had a huge wind storm with winds in excess of 75 mph and had some roof damage.

    Well we made it until payday, but now the problem arose that hubby's paycheck wasn't for the correct amount. Work was without power for the 3 days he was gone, the boss forgot to include the holiday pay, and the warranty girl wasn't there so he didn't get paid for everything. Boss cut a check for the holiday and that helps but we have to wait until next pay for the rest of the warranty money. We will be ok since most bills are due after the next check comes.

    Since this is getting long I'll post a continuance

  2. #2
    Registered User momofslg's Avatar
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    Continuing from above...

    Well I'm most worried about money since in the fall/ winter things at hubby's work always slow down. This and we have NO money set aside in our budget for the holidays or anything extra.

    I have a few jobs on the side that help with the few things that come up in the month. I make calls for the Kidney Foundation and ask for clothing/household donations, I volunteer in the schools for 4 different classrooms, and I'm a girl scout leader for both of my daughters.I don't work outside the home, hubby and I both agree that it is more important for me to be with our kids and in the schools. I want to go back to school in the fall for nursing but can't afford to until the CC is paid off.

    I'm going to be very brave and post our budget and wait to hear any suggestions

    Mortgage PITI included 1042.00
    Gas 27.00 (summer, in winter goes up to around 150.00)
    electricity 85.00 (goes to about 45.00 in winter)
    water/sewage 50.00
    Trash 14.00
    cable/ internet/ phone 115.00 (just bundled phone into last friday so no bill yet)
    tools for work 80.00 (hubby already bought so we owe, he needs to replace broken/lost tools frequently)
    Insurance/plates/registration/repairs 120.00
    food 400.00
    cell phones(2) $69.00
    Visa 196.00 (we pay 550.00 interest 11.99 balance is in signature)
    auto gas 140.00

    income

    hubby is variable but is 2400 take home
    me variable 300

    any suggestions???

  3. #3
    Registered User Mochashello's Avatar
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    1. well in the future I would say that his company should pay for the shuttle driver tip and all food so he should not have had to spend that $60.
    2. I'm assuming you live somewhere where it gets really cold in winter because your gas bill gets so high. Can you use a space heater in whatever room you are in to cut down on the expense of heating the whole house?
    3. You can try to save gas as much as possible by grouping errands, walking, and setting up a carpool with some other moms from school.
    4. I am confused about how much you are actually paying on your credit cards. Is it $196 or $550? I would say though that you need to have an emergency fund before you start paying extra on the cards. That way it is there for not only an actual emergency, but also situations like the one with the paycheck fiasco so that you can borrow $100 from your EF instead of charging the credit card for groceries or paying a bill late and incurring a fee.
    5. You might have to cancel cable if things get tight- especially as winter approaches and your gas bill starts climbing.


    That's what I see off the top of my head. Hope it helped somewhat! =)

  4. #4
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    No suggestions, just kudos for doing such a great job of digging yourself out from under your credit card debt. I did the same thing a while back - got most of them paid off, then started getting cocky and ran them back up. Now I'm back on the wagon again, and working on making this the LAST time I pay anyone such usurious interest!! I am one of the first ones to roll my eyes at victims of Ponzi schemes who get suckered in by con men, because I like to think I am an intelligent person, but then I fall for the old "Here's your free credit card in the mail" trick. Thus, my "I'm with stupid" sig.

    I am not as dedicated as many on this forum, probably because I have only myself to account for, and am not responsible for anyone's life but my own. So it is easy to slip sometimes. But this forum has been wonderful for keeping me on track, and if you'll get good advice on how to stretch those pennies until they resemble copper wire from anywhere, it'll be from the experts here!
    Last edited by madhen; 09-21-2008 at 12:29 AM.
    DH aka Mad Hen
    (http://mad-hen-creations.blogspot.com/)

    Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want. Anna Lappe

  5. #5
    Registered User lukesmama's Avatar
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    One quick thought - we recently cut back our cell phone plan (2 phones) from about what you're paying now down to $300/year by going to prepaid. (That amount includes 2 new phones.)

  6. #6
    McD
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    Mortgage PITI included 1042.00 What Does PITI mean??
    Gas 27.00 (summer, in winter goes up to around 150.00) This is pretty high for the winter. I would suggest turning the thermostat up a few degrees, dressing warmer, etc. Do you have a programmable thermostat?electricity 85.00 (goes to about 45.00 in winter)A lot of people suggest uplugging everything not in use. Even if you aren't using the toaster, you are paying to have it plugged in.
    water/sewage 50.00
    Trash 14.00
    cable/ internet/ phone 115.00 (just bundled phone into last friday so no bill yet) If you have cells, do you need a home phone?
    tools for work 80.00 (hubby already bought so we owe, he needs to replace broken/lost tools frequently)
    Insurance/plates/registration/repairs 120.00
    food 400.00 You may be able to reduce this by meal planning, shopping with coupons, remaking leftovers into new meals.
    cell phones(2) $69.00 If you keep this, I would highly recommend getting rid of the home phone if you can.
    McD
    -wife to Z
    -mommy to Dubya & Moo Cow

    Blog: http://familystylemayhem.com/


    My Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nicd...view=thumbnail

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    Registered User Mochashello's Avatar
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    The reason I keep my landline is because of 911. I have kids and worry about not being able to call 911 in an emergency. Am I the only one worried about that? It's also the reason I haven't switched to Vonage.

    Comments? Input? Opinions?

  8. #8
    Registered User Domestic Gal's Avatar
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    Well I did the math for the winter months on your budget.
    With just paying the min. on the cc you are at $2421.
    You are going to have to sit down with DH and see were you are going to cut the corners.
    I think you can get the grocery budget down. It will take some creative menu planning and sales shopping but it can be done.
    Do you have an Ald's near you. If you do check them out they are about the most reasonable for groceries around.
    I think you need to decide if you want cell phones or home phone. Cut the cable and internet you cannot afford to keep it.
    You may have to cut out some of your volunteer time to save gas unless it is within walking distance to the school.
    If you do not have a programmable thermostat get one. They are like $30 at Home Depot. You will save that much the first few month of using it. Set it for no higher that 68 when everyone is home. Put it down to 60 when you are sleeping or away.
    Can you get on budget for gas and electric then you will not have the variances in your bill.
    Call and get quotes to see if you can get auto insurance cheaper.
    Do you have health care? I do not see it listed.
    Do your kids get free lunches at school? If you are not on the free or reduced plan then they will need to be brown bagging it as it will save you some money.
    Can you sell a vehicle or down grade to get cheaper insurance better gas mileage?
    You are not going to get the debt paid off without cutting corners somewhere. It will be tough at first but as time goes by it will become your lifestyle and you will see the light.
    You need to take any and all extra monies and start an EF so if some unexpected thing happens you are not stressing where the money will come from.
    Can you babysit to bring in extra money.
    You either have to cut expenses or increase income to make this work.

    GOOD LUCK
    Debra
    Married to Michael
    Mom to
    Chassidy 26
    Tanner 21
    Johanna 17

  9. #9
    McD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mochashello View Post
    The reason I keep my landline is because of 911. I have kids and worry about not being able to call 911 in an emergency. Am I the only one worried about that? It's also the reason I haven't switched to Vonage. Comments? Input? Opinions?
    I don't worry about that for the following reasons:

    1. My son is 2, he's not home alone.

    2. My cell can call 911.

    3. The FCC's basic 911 rules say that even cells no longer subscribed to a provider (like U.S. Cell, At&T, etc.) must still be able to connect to 911.

    http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts...ss911srvc.html

    So if you have an old cell, even if it isn't hooked to a provider, you can keep it charged and leave it at your home in the event of an emergency.
    McD
    -wife to Z
    -mommy to Dubya & Moo Cow

    Blog: http://familystylemayhem.com/


    My Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nicd...view=thumbnail

  10. #10
    Registered User Cricketlegs's Avatar
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    IF all your bills are current then I would right off the bat cut groceries down to $300. $250 if you are really frugal.

    Take the additional saved and start a $500 EF. You really should have $1000 but not everyone can wait that long to get the debt snowball rolling.

    Once that is secure, start putting the extra money on your CC.

    Try and find other money wherever you can.

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    Registered User momofslg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsMcDowell View Post
    Mortgage PITI included 1042.00 What Does PITI mean?? Principle / Interest/ Taxes/ Insurance
    Gas 27.00 (summer, in winter goes up to around 150.00) [B]This is pretty high for the winter. I would suggest turning the thermostat up a few degrees, dressing warmer, etc. Do you have a programmable thermostat?\Have had one since we moved in. We live in Ohio where winters are cold. We have origional windows and we put plastic on them every winter
    [B]electricity 85.00 (goes to about 45.00 in winter)A lot of people suggest uplugging everything not in use. Even if you aren't using the toaster, you are paying to have it plugged in. Do this already
    water/sewage 50.00
    Trash 14.00
    cable/ internet/ phone 115.00 (just bundled phone into last friday so no bill yet) If you have cells, do you need a home phone? I do need the home phone for my job. Trying to do something else but with this job I work from home and can be here for my kids if needed
    tools for work 80.00 (hubby already bought so we owe, he needs to replace broken/lost tools frequently)
    Insurance/plates/registration/repairs 120.00
    food 400.00 You may be able to reduce this by meal planning, shopping with coupons, remaking leftovers into new meals. This is way down for us we are a family of 5 and I cook all meals. We only go out to eat on Bdays or anniversary
    cell phones(2) $69.00 If you keep this, I would highly recommend getting rid of the home phone if you can.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    Last edited by momofslg; 09-21-2008 at 09:37 PM.

  12. #12
    Registered User momofslg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Domestic Gal View Post
    Well I did the math for the winter months on your budget.
    With just paying the min. on the cc you are at $2421.
    You are going to have to sit down with DH and see were you are going to cut the corners.
    I think you can get the grocery budget down. It will take some creative menu planning and sales shopping but it can be done.
    Do you have an Ald's near you. If you do check them out they are about the most reasonable for groceries around. I shop Aldi's, Meijers, Kroger, Walmart and have a price book and buy where cheapest, All 4 stores are within 5 miles of each other.
    I think you need to decide if you want cell phones or home phone. Cut the cable and internet you cannot afford to keep it. Cell phones are the only way to get a hold of Hubby when working. Home phone is needed for my job.
    You may have to cut out some of your volunteer time to save gas unless it is within walking distance to the school[COLOR="Red"]. School is only 1 mile away, there is no way to walk right now as the only route there is under major construction and no sidewalks yet. Girl Scouts meets at my house so no driving is needed.[/COLOR]
    If you do not have a programmable thermostat get one. They are like $30 at Home Depot. You will save that much the first few month of using it. Set it for no higher that 68 when everyone is home. Put it down to 60 when you are sleeping or away. Have had one since we moved in. The AC hasn't been on except for when it is over 85* . Hubby has no AC at work and has to wear a polyester uniform. If it isn't cool in the house he gets sick from the heat after a while. Haven't had the AC on except 2 days in the last 5 weeks.
    Can you get on budget for gas and electric then you will not have the variances in your bill.
    Call and get quotes to see if you can get auto insurance cheaper. The insurance amount listed is for insurance, registration, tags, and repairs for 2 cars.
    Do you have health care? I do not see it listed. Taken out of his paycheck
    Do your kids get free lunches at school? If you are not on the free or reduced plan then they will need to be brown bagging it as it will save you some money.They bring a lunch every day
    Can you sell a vehicle or down grade to get cheaper insurance better gas mileage? Van 1 is a 1990 and van 2 is a 2003 both are paid off. Need 2 in case one breaks down, hubby needs a way to get to work.
    You are not going to get the debt paid off without cutting corners somewhere. It will be tough at first but as time goes by it will become your lifestyle and you will see the light.
    You need to take any and all extra monies and start an EF so if some unexpected thing happens you are not stressing where the money will come from. EF is done.
    Can you babysit to bring in extra money. [COLOR="Red"][/COLOR] I just got 1 girl 2 days a week after school and make 20.00 per week.
    You either have to cut expenses or increase income to make this work. I am the back up sitter for the neighbor and she uses me when she takes her son to story time. This starts tomorrow. I have a few days when she needs me all day and that will help.

    GOOD LUCK
    Thanks for the suggestions
    Last edited by momofslg; 09-21-2008 at 09:55 PM.

  13. #13
    Registered User momofslg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cricketlegs View Post
    IF all your bills are current then I would right off the bat cut groceries down to $300. $250 if you are really frugal.
    Please give me suggestions for meals that will feed a family of 5 three meals a day. We do not go out to eat.
    I would love to know how to feed all of us for this price. I have tried and have a hard time getting under 400. Our grocery budget includes everything food, cleaning, pets, & Health and beauty.

    Take the additional saved and start a $500 EF. You really should have $1000 but not everyone can wait that long to get the debt snowball rolling. Have an EF already

    Once that is secure, start putting the extra money on your CC.

    Try and find other money wherever you can.



    Good luck!
    Thanks for your suggestions
    Last edited by momofslg; 09-21-2008 at 10:02 PM.

  14. #14
    Registered User Domestic Gal's Avatar
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    Can you list what you normally buy for a week. Maybe we can give you some suggestions on recipes or give you some ideas on ways to save even more.

    It is possible to get your grocery budget down to $300 or less a month if you have a stockpile to shop from. If you do not have one you should start one. Take X amount of money a week and buy a few extras of something that is on sale that you use regularly. Then next week pick a different item and stock up on it until you have a nice stockpile going.

    Check this tread out it is about $5 meals. Lots of great ideas and recipes.
    [ame="http://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94061"]$5.00 Meals for 4???? - Frugal Village Forums[/ame]
    Debra
    Married to Michael
    Mom to
    Chassidy 26
    Tanner 21
    Johanna 17

  15. #15
    Registered User momofslg's Avatar
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    Have had a little money come in. I watch a little girl after school and her mom paid me for last Thursday and this week too $30.00. I am the substitute babysitter for a neighbor and she needed me today so she can take her son to storytime and for Wednesday while she is at an appointment $20.00. And I watched a neighbor boy for a couple of hours on Saturday morning and his mom is to pay me today $25.00
    So that helps greatly $75.00 for a little work.

    To answer about my meals here is what I posted in another thread.....

    I have started to plan the meals for a month at a time, that way when I go to the grocery store I know that if I see chicken on sale that I will need X pounds for the month and I will buy then. In my meal planning I try and have 1 meatless meal a week. This saves us a bunch.

    We are a family of 5. Hubby is a meat and potato kind of guy, and DD1 won't eat seafood, DD2 just likes to eat, and DS is the energizer bunny who need refueled often.

    I went to Meijer, Kroger and Aldi's, and the drug store and here's what I got for $103.79

    4 gallons milk (all 5 of us drink milk)
    2 dozen eggs
    1lb cheddar cheese
    2 lb mozzarella cheese
    3 lb boneless chicken breasts
    2 jars spaghetti sauce
    2 heads lettuce
    2 cans green beans
    2 cans corn
    3 lb bananas
    1 cucumber
    3lb onions
    rice
    chocolate chips
    2 lb brown sugar
    1 lb deli ham
    1pkg tortillas
    sour cream
    cream cheese
    stick butter
    hot dog buns
    egg noodles
    3 bags chips
    1lb pepperoni
    5lb sugar
    blue cheese salad dressing (splurge)
    sausage links
    24 rolls toilet paper
    tube of sausage
    10lbs potato
    3 cans OJ concentrate
    1 loaf bread (will buy 2 more later this weekend)
    3lb ground chuck
    4 lb meatballs
    1pkg brats

    still need to get some bacon ( I have a pig at the butchers and don't know when it will be ready to pick up so holding out as long as possible) and some more milk, eggs, bread, and fruit next week. soo probably another $20.00.

    These are the meals that we have planned from September 19 - October 4

    Pizza and salad
    ham and bean soup w/ homemade bread
    grilled chicken tortilla wraps/ fries
    chicken w/ homemade noodles
    BLT's'/ fries/ fruit
    enchiladas/ rice/ salad
    biscuits and gravy/ hash browns/ eggs
    meatball subs/ salad
    stuffed green peppers/ corn/ bread and butter
    pot roast /potatos/ carrots/ bread
    bean burritos/ rice/ fruit
    ham and cheese quiche/ hash browns/ fruit
    roast beef sandwiches/ mash potatos
    bbq chicken/ baked potato/ green beans
    Pizza and salad
    ham/ scalloped potatos/ corn

    For lunch we eat leftovers/ pb&j/ homemade lunchables/ deli meat sandwiches,egg salad
    for breakfast we eat bagels/ cereal/ toast/eggs/ pancakes/ french toast/ waffles/ muffins.

    I hope you all have a great day.
    Last edited by momofslg; 09-22-2008 at 02:03 PM.

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