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i'm a SAHM & DH works one full-time job. we spend more than we take in monthly. i really just need tips on where to save money here and there, to make our income work.

DH brings in $2902 a month and our mortgage payment is $1506 a month. that leaves $1300 to pay the rest of the bills with (gas, electric, cable, car insurance & we have two CC with huge balances) + groceries.
*edit: i forgot to add that $100 a month goes to a "retirement fund" for DH, so really $1200 a month is all we have.*

this obviously leaves NO ROOM for "fun activites" in our life.......

i cannot go back to work until sept 2012 (when the youngest enters grammar school).


any advice?
 

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The cable and retirement funding need to stop asap, but the bigger problem is that you can't afford this kind of mortgage on your income. If you're stuck with the house (i.e. you're upside down and really can't sell), then you've got to get your household income up.
 

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You pay more than half your income in mortgage payment? Have you looked at the mortgage reorganizing program? Cause I would think think that 60% will make life miserable.
I am sure that some will ask you to post your budget and there will be a lot of suggestions. Some will hurt and some will piss you off but all of them should make you think at least.
You have room in your budget for fun activities. They just can't cost any money. ;) Honestly it isn't a joke. By the time you are done you will realize that you don't need money to have fun.
I'm sure the suggestions will start with only internet no cable. If you have movies the kids can watch those and hulu is a great thing. For four people groceries should not be more than $450 and with care you can go even lower than that.
Yes, if you can bring in an income that would help. Babysitting? Afterschool care?
 

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Your mortgage as a percentage of your take home pay is obscene. I'm sorry but you cannot afford that house. You need to start thinking about finding somewhere cheaper to live and unhitching yourselves from that boat anchor of a payment in the ocean of life.

Secondly, that $100/month for retirement is a good idea but the huge balances on the CC's are much worse than the little going to retirement. You need to stop funding retirement for a while and focus on getting out of debt or that debt will erode your lives away to the point that what you have in retirement won't matter.

Don't take money out that's already IN - just stop putting more in for now.

Third - strongly encourage you AND DH together to read "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey.
 

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Does that mortgage payment include the property taxes too?

I think you need to look at what kinds of things you can be doing to bring in some income, hopefully working from home. There are many options out there.

Maybe childcare? Taking in an extra child or two? With only two kids that should be doable and can bring in some decent extra money. Check your states laws on daycare facilities. Usually there's a threshhold where you could take in 1 or 2 extra kids without having to get a daycare license.

Data entry? Virtual assisting? You can do the work after the kids are in bed at night.
 

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cut cable-watch hulu, rent movies from the library
cut/print coupons-budget meal plan
shop around for lower car insurance
unplug anything unnecessary
part-time job when your husband, children are asleep? I used to work a few hours a week early mornings stocking at Target
otherwise babysitting/childcare is a good option
 

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What you can do it post your expenses and they'll attack like sharks in a school of fishes. I love these people. Sometimes it *hurts* to cut back (people "can't give up" certain things) but in the long run its very worth it... Especially when you can go on vacations and spend a few dollars here and there and not feel so guilty about it (and NOT put it on a credit card)! We're VERY close to being debt free from taking advice on this board. Cable free, for example, for 14 months now... I have loved every penny saved!

Good luck!
 

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I know that you do not want to work until your youngest is in school, however, they are correct that you cannot continue to have that kind of income/mortgage ratio.
I have a couple of mitagating circumstances...
Do you have a job lined up for when you go back to work. It seems unlikely but some teacher's unions or I know NYC social workers can have very long times for (unpaid) family leave. If that is the case then you might consider this a short term hardship and try to figure something out.
Another thing to think about is: How much will you make when you do go back to work? What will the ratio look like then? How much will before and aftercare be? It may still be worth it for you to go back to work but if you are only increasing the family income an extra thousand dollars after the new expenses the ratio may not be as obscene as it is now but may still be impossible in the long term.
 

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I think reading the book suggested above is a great place to start...and yes, your mortgage is WAY too high for your income. You either need to a) sell the house, perhaps rent a few years or b) hubby gets a second job, or you get one part time during the house he's home (so you don't need childcare for the kids). You cannot continue with that mortgage and that income level and get anywhere financially- you need to pay less for the mortgage or make more $. Cutting cable or ditching a phone line will help, but it's not enough- sorry.
 

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You are in the right place--these folks have lots of ideas on saving and making the most of your bucks !!
 

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How much are you spending for groceries? Is there a way to cut back there? I used to live in South Jersey years ago and there was a great bread outlet and produce outlet in the EHT area that I used to shop at. I would plan all of your meals and since you are at home, make alot from scratch. I'm not sure of the ages of your kids, but they usually like to help with some of this.
Try your hand at a vegetable garden. Is there a dollar general near you. They have seeds 3/$1.00. Plant the seeds inside so you'll have seedlings to plant outside when the weather is warmer (usually around Mother's day or the week after). Again, this is usually another fun activity for the kids and they have a dedency to eat the vegetables that they help grow. Some vegetables can be frozen or canned if you have a surplus.
There are alot of things that you could do for entertainment is South Jersy, especially once the weather gets warmer. I used to take my kids to the Zoo in Cape May Courthouse and pack a picnic lunch, spend the day at the beach, visit the different playgrounds in the area and had my daughter is a free reading program thru the libraries (they read stories and worked on a craft). You could rent videos thru Red Box or Blockbuster Express. These only cost $1.00 per night per movie and you can normally find a coupon code online that if you pre-order the movie and then pick up the movie is free.
Of course as for the utilities, I would if possible turn off or down the heat in any room that is not being used (make sure you close the door to this room so the cold doesn't come out into the heated part of the house). Also unplug any electric items that are not used on a regular basis. I would only keep a light plugged in in those rooms.
Definitely look for cheaper options on your car and home owner's insurance. I was able to recently reduce my car insurance significantly.

I didn't mean to ramble on but I do hope that some of these suggestions are helpful. I wish you the best of luck.
 

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Here's a few more things that I just thought of that I do that helps.

Shop the loss leaders at the grocery and drug stores. These are normally the items that appear on the first page of the circular. Occassionally when they're having a large sale, Can Can sale or a 10 for $10 sales they may appear within the circular. Learn your prices so that you can recongnize a good price. Plan your meals and plan them around the sales. Also create a stockpile, even if it is small (start with some canned or dry goods $5.00/week and then to your meats). Eventually you'll be able to plan your meals using what's in the stockpile as well.

Make your own cleaning products including your laundry detergent. I know some folks may think this isn't worth it but when you're watching every penny I find it does help. There are alot a cleaning product recipes on this forum or do a web search for homemade cleaning product recipes. You'll be amazed at how many are out there.

Hang your clothes to dry. I've done this all winter with the exception of our towels. You could use drying racks, string a clothes line in a unused room, or use your shower rod to hand them. In the summer, hang them outside.

Try to find inexpensive recipes to make. There are some great blogs out there for this. Again do a web search for things like feed family for $50/week, or $5 meals and you'll find lots. If you don't have access to the internet at home, go to your local library to see if they have web access or any books on the subject. There are alot of those too.

I do or have practiced all of these tips and they have allowed me to stay home with my children when they were young, helped me to pay off some large credit card debt (we had 2 incomes when we did this), and I am now practicing them so that I could quit my full-time job to go back to college full-time. My children still live with us (one in a local college and one still in high school).
 

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what type of work does your dh do ?
i worked nights and my dh worked days for years wasnt eady but we did it until were in a place when my youngets was born where i stayed at home for 7 years was really planned for just a year but a job change on his end changed that a bit ( he traveled more-)
and then i was DX with fibro i used to sell on ebay but now its much harder to do and although the hourly rate when i broke down my time spend doing it wasnt alot - it paid for kids lunches and activities and family extras gifts holidays etc

is he home on weekends pr evenings ? i know its no fun to have to leave and work - but maybe a cashier job in retail a few hours a day on the weekends or an evening or 2 a night . or maybe just 2 weekends a month so you still have family time on 2 of the weekends.

to figure if there is anything you can do from home we would need to know what type of work you have done in past any education or training etc .

daycare can be a great idea and you can deduct portions of your home etc .

I can promise you if you are upside down in your budget eventually it will all catch up with you . when i was too sick to work and even wasnt doing much on ebay due to my fibro the bills ran up real fast and now i am able to work but working very hard to pay off the bills that ran up.
 
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