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Discussion Starter #1
My husband and I are starting our journey to financial peace. :) I was hoping we could get some advice on what else we could do to save more money and get ahead a little quicker.

We make approximately $1600/month after taxes. Our expenses per month are as follows:
Rent: $440
Electricity: $75
Cable/Internet: $80
Car Insurance: $45 (was $67 but we sold 1 of our cars)
Groceries: $200 ($50 per week)
Gasoline: $100 ($25 per week)
Phone: $30
Laundry: $30 (no washer/dryer at our apartment - we use laundry mat)
Car Maintenance: $25
Credit Card: $75
Cat Food: $6

After all of our expenses, we are putting in about $400 in our savings account each month.

For more background:
At home it's just me, DH, and our kitty Flakes. We don't have children and don't plan on having them anytime soon. Probably TMI but we have about 75 condoms from a deal at Target back in October so we won't need those anytime soon. We have shampoo, soap, feminine products, and cleaning supplies pretty well stocked but we have to buy toilet paper and trashbags every month.

Are there any things we should do to cut back on expenses even more? I am ready to get $1000 in our savings account so we can move on to paying off our credit card. We have about $3900 in debt right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I also wanted to add that I'm doing some online stuff like surveys and get paid to websites to generate some extra income. It hasn't really taken off yet but I'm hoping that it will soon. I also occasionally work for ChaCha but that doesn't pay very well.

We are moving to a new apartment at the end of July and I'll be able to walk to several grocery stores and other places so I might get a part time job then.
 

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pocket money?
i think your groceries are low?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
pocket money?
i think your groceries are low?
Pocket money for what? When we started our budget, we figured any extraneous spending would be nixed. No going out to movies or to eat, no buying things we don't need, etc.

We have been buying groceries at $50/week for 2 weeks now and it really hasn't been that hard. It helps that my husband is okay with taking bologna sandwiches to work and I eat sandwiches for lunch while he's at work. Also,we live in Southern Indiana where the cost of living is lower than other areas. For reference, milk is $2/gallon at most grocery stores; $1.49/gallon at Aldi.
 

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Can you hand wash your clothes and hang on hangers in the bathroom or rack in the bedroom to dry? If the two of you do laundry together, hand washing isn't so bad. . . use a new toliet plunger to agitate the clothes in the bath tub. . . then rinse, and each of you grab an end of clothing and twist the excess water out.

Can you advertise for some occasional baby sitting now? Like a weekend evening or an occasional day time?

There are lots of points programs out there that will generate a few $$. quick rewards seems to be my best and fastest paying one right now. . . clixsense. . . mypoints. . . swagbucks. . . .
 

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$50 a week for 2 is reasonable for the midwest area. With careful shopping of the sales and markdowns you can eat pretty well on that amount.

Unless the savings is for something else I would put most of that $400 a month into the credit cards right now. You could get rid of that debt in less than a year. You're *paying* interest on the card and getting nothing on the savings.

Are you running the AC yet? You might try holding off until temps get really high, esp if it is just you at home during the day. You could squeeze a little bit on the electric bill. Keep stuff turned off or unplugged.

Laundromats... I remember that hassle. Are you allowed to line dry at your apt? Maybe just heavy stuff like towels and jeans, they take forever to dry and always used to cost me more than one cycle.

Does your phone service include long distance? Do you use it? We canceled ours and I use a dial-around service (10-10-220) when I need to, costs about $1 for a short call.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Can you hand wash your clothes and hang on hangers in the bathroom or rack in the bedroom to dry? If the two of you do laundry together, hand washing isn't so bad. . . use a new toliet plunger to agitate the clothes in the bath tub. . . then rinse, and each of you grab an end of clothing and twist the excess water out.
I'm not sure if I'll be able to talk DH into hand washing unless I volunteer to do it myself but I think I can probably do it.

Can you advertise for some occasional baby sitting now? Like a weekend evening or an occasional day time?
I'm really not much of a kid person. I might try advertising dog walking/sitting though.

There are lots of points programs out there that will generate a few $$. quick rewards seems to be my best and fastest paying one right now. . . clixsense. . . mypoints. . . swagbucks. . . .
I have a lot of survey sites that I do but the point sites never really pay off, in my opinion, unless you hoard referrals. My friends and family just aren't interested in those sites so I tend to just do things where I can earn even if I don't refer anyone.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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$50 a week for 2 is reasonable for the midwest area. With careful shopping of the sales and markdowns you can eat pretty well on that amount.

Unless the savings is for something else I would put most of that $400 a month into the credit cards right now. You could get rid of that debt in less than a year. You're *paying* interest on the card and getting nothing on the savings.
The $1000 savings is an emergency fund so we don't have to use the credit card if an emergency pops up. We've had bad luck with cars so we definitely need it. We are almost maxed out on our credit card so an emergency would probably drive us to take out a payday loan if we didn't have that $1000 in savings.

Are you running the AC yet? You might try holding off until temps get really high, esp if it is just you at home during the day. You could squeeze a little bit on the electric bill. Keep stuff turned off or unplugged.
Yes, we are running the AC. It's 80-90 degrees here. I do turn it off from 6am to around 10am because it's too darn cold in the morning. We have a crappy air conditioner at our apartment (it's a wall unit like in hotels) and it just doesn't do well in this heat - it's either on or off. Once I turn it on, it won't kick on and off like a normal air conditioner. I have to manually turn it off when it cools down in the apartment. We tried getting the maintenance person at our apartment to get us a new air conditioner, but he said that was "normal". I just checked our electricity bill online (about 5 minutes ago) and it was $95!!!!!! It is normally only $75. I am SO ready to get out of this apartment.

Laundromats... I remember that hassle. Are you allowed to line dry at your apt? Maybe just heavy stuff like towels and jeans, they take forever to dry and always used to cost me more than one cycle.
At our current apartment, there would be nowhere to line dry. The shared balcony makes that impossible. At our new apartment we will be able to line dry because we'll have our own balcony.

Does your phone service include long distance? Do you use it? We canceled ours and I use a dial-around service (10-10-220) when I need to, costs about $1 for a short call.
We have cell phones and they do include long distance. My husband uses a pre-paid phone - that's where the $30/month goes. I am still on a plan with my mother because she started a family plan last year before DH and I got married and she just let me keep the phone until the contract is up.
 

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If there's any advice I could give, it would be,
"Make the most of your time, because well-spent time creates value."
For example, if I spend 1-2 hours on the internet every day, I get networking interaction, some freebies, coupons, connections, ideas and support. That's the plus side.

The other side of it is that in 1-2 hours, I could be baking bread for a week--saving about 2/3 of what it costs to buy it. Or I could bake 2 or 3 desserts, make a big stockpot of soup, make homemade pasta or several casseroles, homemade juice, jam/jelly, mend stockings and sew on buttons, sew linens, repair towels with a new edge, start seeds or plant seedlings, balance my budget or chequebook, make homemade craft gifts, do little home repairs and improvements, clean & freshen my home and decorate it with grasses or flowers from outdoors, give myself a home-spa which is very refreshing and boosts my spirits, etc.
And any of these things is actually going to save money for me, and all of it adds up over time to big savings.

TIME IS MONEY.

Personally, I need to be doing more of this again too.
Lately, I've been over-involved in internet interaction and spending my time and energy on various "money-saving" websites. For a time, that's what I needed to do to meet a personal need; but there comes a time when it's wise to take stock of things, and the value that is created or lost from involvement with them.
My personal tangible resources are: time, ability, energy, money & posessions.
Where/when/how can I make the most of them? And being only human, the process of discernment comes through trial and error sometimes. But my goal is wisdom...and action...and beneficial results. :sun:
 

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I think you are doing great on the expense side and I agree with you putting the 1K into EF but in my opinion, your best bet would be to increase your income.

That would mean getting a job ~ waiting tables, or finding some type of work . So once you move, if you get a job you will be able to get the CC's paid off much faster.

Everyone else has given you great advice too especially TIME IS MONEY. Use your time to cook, coupon and earn money to pay off your debts !

good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If there's any advice I could give, it would be,
"Make the most of your time, because well-spent time creates value."
For example, if I spend 1-2 hours on the internet every day, I get networking interaction, some freebies, coupons, connections, ideas and support. That's the plus side.

The other side of it is that in 1-2 hours, I could be baking bread for a week--saving about 2/3 of what it costs to buy it. Or I could bake 2 or 3 desserts, make a big stockpot of soup, make homemade pasta or several casseroles, homemade juice, jam/jelly, mend stockings and sew on buttons, sew linens, repair towels with a new edge, start seeds or plant seedlings, balance my budget or chequebook, make homemade craft gifts, do little home repairs and improvements, clean & freshen my home and decorate it with grasses or flowers from outdoors, give myself a home-spa which is very refreshing and boosts my spirits, etc.
And any of these things is actually going to save money for me, and all of it adds up over time to big savings.

TIME IS MONEY.

Personally, I need to be doing more of this again too.
Lately, I've been over-involved in internet interaction and spending my time and energy on various "money-saving" websites. For a time, that's what I needed to do to meet a personal need; but there comes a time when it's wise to take stock of things, and the value that is created or lost from involvement with them.
My personal tangible resources are: time, ability, energy, money & posessions.
Where/when/how can I make the most of them? And being only human, the process of discernment comes through trial and error sometimes. But my goal is wisdom...and action...and beneficial results. :sun:
I never really thought of it like that! I have lots of time at home because my husband works 12 hour days and I normally just get online to fill the time.
 

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I think you are doing great on the expense side and I agree with you putting the 1K into EF but in my opinion, your best bet would be to increase your income.

That would mean getting a job ~ waiting tables, or finding some type of work . So once you move, if you get a job you will be able to get the CC's paid off much faster.

Everyone else has given you great advice too especially TIME IS MONEY. Use your time to cook, coupon and earn money to pay off your debts !

good luck
When we move, we'll be living less than a block away from my FAVORITE grocery store. I'm going to try to get a job there. It would be awesome to have a discount there on top of the great deals they have. :)
 

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It sounds to me like you've got a good head on your shoulders and you've gotten some great advice here. Good luck!
 

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I agree with time is money. I would invest in some dryer racks and hang your clothes indoors-that way they would pay for themselves in a month or two and the rest would be profit. Have you thought about cutting the cable? Also making sure not to waste food as that is money. People have given you a lot of great ideas. Handing out food samples might be a good part time job.
 

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My husband and I are starting our journey to financial peace. :) I was hoping we could get some advice on what else we could do to save more money and get ahead a little quicker.

We make approximately $1600/month after taxes. Our expenses per month are as follows:
Rent: $440
Electricity: $75
Cable/Internet: $80
Car Insurance: $45 (was $67 but we sold 1 of our cars)
Groceries: $200 ($50 per week)
Gasoline: $100 ($25 per week)
Phone: $30
Laundry: $30 (no washer/dryer at our apartment - we use laundry mat)
Car Maintenance: $25
Credit Card: $75
Cat Food: $6

After all of our expenses, we are putting in about $400 in our savings account each month.

For more background:
At home it's just me, DH, and our kitty Flakes. We don't have children and don't plan on having them anytime soon. Probably TMI but we have about 75 condoms from a deal at Target back in October so we won't need those anytime soon. We have shampoo, soap, feminine products, and cleaning supplies pretty well stocked but we have to buy toilet paper and trashbags every month.

Are there any things we should do to cut back on expenses even more? I am ready to get $1000 in our savings account so we can move on to paying off our credit card. We have about $3900 in debt right now.
After subtracting everything from your income, I see $494 available. What is the $75 for Credit Card? Is that a different credit card from the $3900 debt you have now?

Invest in a fan, small or big, that you can use to help circulate the air in the morning. That way you can keep the AC off for that much longer. Actually, it would be better if you are not in the house at all during the day. Unless you are doing things to cut your expenses and you are doing that in your house, you can do other things to curb your expenses:
Go to the library and read there, or watch shows or use the internet. Which means: Get RID of the CABLE - there is no need for it.

Sell whatever you do not need anymore. I actually had a small business when we were getting rid of stuff, I would go to garage sales and pick up DVDs, CDs and books at really cheap prices, (I'm talking bags of books for a $1, CDs and DVDs for $1 a piece etc.) and sell them on Amazon. I had a postal weight machine, shipping tape dispenser, lots of stamps, and the time to do it.

Your grocery is actually pretty low, which is great. If you can go lower, go for it, but make sure you can still eat healthy.

Car Maintenance: Is that for oil changes every month or something else and do you have to do that?

Like others have stated, you should get a job, even flipping burgers brings in something. Don't waste your time on these internet surveys and that kind of garbage, they will send you tons of spam to your email and it takes forever to be paid. And usually it is not in cash but in "gift cards" where you have to spend more to get the money. The only way to make money in gift cards is if you sell them on eBay. We did that as well. Sold a ton of stuff on ebay, craigslist, and Amazon.

But it would be better if you had a regular job. Work as many hours as DH does or work two jobs. Get rid of that debt. You'll be glad you did.

Good Luck, Work Hard and Clear out that Debt,
 

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I think you are doing great!!! What would make all the difference in the world is to get the income up....

1. I consider $50 adequate for groceries, especially if you purchase wisely, avoid junk food, and are careful of portion amounts. This is the amount I've had for many years and considered reducing it to $40/week at the first of the year. I've built at least 6-months of pantry foods, and as much as much as 1-3-years of the "Seven Survival Food" in storage on $50/week. I just added 100# of wheat last week, and will be getting a years supply of whey-based milk powder this week, and will still have over $100 surplus in my grocery budget - to date.

2. To reduce phone expense, at least until you get rid of your debt or get the income up, you might consider purchasing a $99/year TracFone (plus the cost of the phone), and then be VERY conservative with it's use. It's not enough minutes for idle chat....

3. Laundry - wash your clothes at the laundramat. Flat fold them WET, and bring the wet clothes home to dry. We did that for years. I used to borrow the neighbors clothes line for the task and also used a couple clothes racks in the house (these are still available at Wal-Mart and are relatively inexpensive), and hung clothes on hangers on the shower rod to dry. And that was back in the days when we had a baby and used cloth diapers..... I've also washed clothes in a 5-gallon plastic pail (set the pail in the tub/shower) using a toilet plunger as the agitator. Perhaps you could do this with your lightweight clothes and take heavy/large items to the laundramat. My best suggestion for doing laundry at home is to purchase a mop wringer bucket (cost about $40-$60 at Sam's Club and I've also seen them at Wal-Mart). You can press the excess water out of clothes using the mop winger, catch the water in the bucket and reuse the water for washing. Wringing clothes out by hand is the PITS, especially since I've had arthritis in my fingers since I was 14-years old.

4. Call your cable company and see if they have any better prices. It might mean you don't get high-speed and only basic cable, but if you bug them, they will often give you a cut-rate that is applied to new accounts, or reduced for a few months. Every cost savings helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
After subtracting everything from your income, I see $494 available. What is the $75 for Credit Card? Is that a different credit card from the $3900 debt you have now?
$75 for credit card is what we're putting towards the credit card until we get $1000 in our savings account.

Invest in a fan, small or big, that you can use to help circulate the air in the morning. That way you can keep the AC off for that much longer. Actually, it would be better if you are not in the house at all during the day. Unless you are doing things to cut your expenses and you are doing that in your house, you can do other things to curb your expenses:
Go to the library and read there, or watch shows or use the internet. Which means: Get RID of the CABLE - there is no need for it.
I actually need to keep the internet because DH and I both take college classes online. Due to my husband's schedule, he cannot take regular classes so he's taking them at home. We actually get a discount on the internet if we keep the cable so that's why we have that.

Sell whatever you do not need anymore. I actually had a small business when we were getting rid of stuff, I would go to garage sales and pick up DVDs, CDs and books at really cheap prices, (I'm talking bags of books for a $1, CDs and DVDs for $1 a piece etc.) and sell them on Amazon. I had a postal weight machine, shipping tape dispenser, lots of stamps, and the time to do it.
We've already sold quite a bit. Since we have no entertainment built into our budget, we're keeping some DVDs and games. We don't want to be tempted to go out and watch a movie if we have movies at home. Most of the movies we own were gifts anyway.

Your grocery is actually pretty low, which is great. If you can go lower, go for it, but make sure you can still eat healthy.

Car Maintenance: Is that for oil changes every month or something else and do you have to do that?
We put $25 towards car maintenance because our car leaks oil and transmission fluid. Whatever we don't spend on fluids, we put in a separate savings account in case we need a car part or repair.

Like others have stated, you should get a job, even flipping burgers brings in something. Don't waste your time on these internet surveys and that kind of garbage, they will send you tons of spam to your email and it takes forever to be paid. And usually it is not in cash but in "gift cards" where you have to spend more to get the money. The only way to make money in gift cards is if you sell them on eBay. We did that as well. Sold a ton of stuff on ebay, craigslist, and Amazon.

But it would be better if you had a regular job. Work as many hours as DH does or work two jobs. Get rid of that debt. You'll be glad you did.

Good Luck, Work Hard and Clear out that Debt,
Once we move, I'll get a job. Until then, I'm just doing the online stuff. A little money is better than nothing, right? If we lived closer to stores and stuff, I would go ahead and get a job but with my husband's schedule there's no way.
 

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A short term job would help you get rid of the CC debt fast and get that EF up to par. You can put up w/ many crappy jobs if you know they are temporary and will give you peace of mind. Your income could use a boost so you don't spend on the CC. in the first place adding all the interest spend on CC back into your income.
 

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I'm sorry, but how much interest are you making with the "savings" account? Is it more than the interest for the credit card debt? Put more money into the credit card debt. $75 is not enough, heck, it probably does not cover the interest.

You can get rid of cable and go to a Verizon wifi card. It costs $60 for 5 GB. Sell the TV.

If you really wanted to save money you should not be spending time watching TV or Movies of any sort. You should be doing whatever you need to to get rid of the debt.

We've already sold quite a bit. Since we have no entertainment built into our budget, we're keeping some DVDs and games. We don't want to be tempted to go out and watch a movie if we have movies at home. Most of the movies we own were gifts anyway.
Again sorry to burst the bubble, but why are you spending time watching movies? If you are doing college degrees, that is the time to be doing that.

You should be coming home from a job, do your homework and classes and go to bed. Repeat until the debt is paid off, and repeat until you have your savings.

If DH is working 12 hours a day, why are you not working? If he has to go over an hour to get to work, why are you not going with him, finding a job where he is, and working the same hours? Internet jobs bring in NOTHING compared to a real job, whether that real job is cleaning homes, flipping burgers, or taking care of kids.

You are in DEBT, the best way to get out of it is to get a job, any job!
 

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My husband and I are starting our journey to financial peace. :) I was hoping we could get some advice on what else we could do to save more money and get ahead a little quicker.

We make approximately $1600/month after taxes. Our expenses per month are as follows:
Rent: $440
Electricity: $75
Cable/Internet: $80
Car Insurance: $45 (was $67 but we sold 1 of our cars)
Groceries: $200 ($50 per week)
Gasoline: $100 ($25 per week)
Phone: $30
Laundry: $30 (no washer/dryer at our apartment - we use laundry mat)
Car Maintenance: $25
Credit Card: $75
Cat Food: $6

After all of our expenses, we are putting in about $400 in our savings account each month.

For more background:
At home it's just me, DH, and our kitty Flakes. We don't have children and don't plan on having them anytime soon. Probably TMI but we have about 75 condoms from a deal at Target back in October so we won't need those anytime soon. We have shampoo, soap, feminine products, and cleaning supplies pretty well stocked but we have to buy toilet paper and trashbags every month.

Are there any things we should do to cut back on expenses even more? I am ready to get $1000 in our savings account so we can move on to paying off our credit card. We have about $3900 in debt right now.
I would be putting some of the extra money on cc to get it paid off; then you will be able to put more in savings. When tp goes on sale stock up. Start using grocery bags for some of your trash bags and then buy the rest on sale. Have you seen how to save on electric in here? Unplug anything that you are not using because it is using electricity just being plugged in. Where we live if you get car insurance through your credit union (preferrably a large cu) with AAA you can save considerable amount of money. Or even check around with different companies. Do you have room to stock up on food that you use often. Buy everything on sale. Make up a book with sale prices so you will know what is a good price to buy things.
 
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