Need Some Serious Help....Please

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Need Some Serious Help....Please
13
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 3:05pm

I need as much advice as I get get. Up until 3 months ago DH and I were doing great with budgeting our money. We put 25% of his pay back for our E.F. We did great sticking to the budgeted amount for a variety of things and planned for buying with a "Want" list so that we bought according to extra money and the "need" for the wanted item (a new AC came before a new grill etc.)

Well now we are barely living within our means and putting money into savings is a joke. What changed is DH brings home $1000 less a month because he had to stop working OT with work and start pitching in more on the farm because his dad got hurt. It looks like his dad will have to get surgery and he won't be working OT for 6-12 months. What kills me is we are buying things for the farm and the inlaws (we pay their cell bill and buy parts for broken tractors). We have never put money out but now that fil isn't working BIL is in charge and dh won't stand up to him and tell him the funds need to come from the farm acct. DH has so much going on that I don't feel like I need to add this to his plate so I need to find a way to cute some serious spending at home to make up for the extra $200 a month going out for the farm and the less income.

I already line dry clothes, clip coupons, lights off and AC off when we aren't home, I pack a lunch when we go anywhere that I might be tempted to eat out. I buy all clothes on clearance and haven't bought any unnecessary items. We have a garden growing right now that will cut the cost of groceries but that is where I struggle the most. We go thru milk, eggs and bread like crazy so instead of 2 big shopping trips I have 2 small a week. So some months I end up spending 1.5 the budgeted amount. I have put my credit card up. I need super cheap meal plans and most of our eating out budget is spent on friday pizza. I would love to learn how to make pizza dough so I could save the money on that.

Here is what my budget looks like. Now Other is for oil changes, clothes, want items or whatever else we need for the month that isn't included in the budgeted areas. All money not spent usually goes into savings. Of course there hasn't been any to put back.

Cell Phone - 200
electric - 120
internet - 61
credit cards - 500
car insurance - 100
life insurance - 47
medical - 75
groceries - 400
diapers - 80
gas - 100
home improvements - 100
other - 250
eating out - 100
entertainment (netflix, newspaper) - 50
allowance - 500

Photobucketcenter><

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 5:35pm

Hi Amy,


First, it looks like you all really cannot afford to be losing the OT and paying expenses for his parents. Doing so is literally taking the food out of the mouths of your children. So, if DH agrees that that's the case, he has to stand up for his immediate family and, in a loving way, be honest with his parents that he can't miss OT to work on the farm and

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 6:23pm

The netflix is instead of cable. It was a compromise over paying for satelite. Where we live if we don't have netflix or satellite we have no tv period. The newspaper we only get Sunday for the coupons. As for credit cards that is us paying them off every month. We don't like to carry a balance. I agree that the 250 each is extreme but it keeps my credit card down to under 100. As for the cell phone it would cost us more to pay for 4 prepaid lines than the bill is now. I did just change the plan which would lower the bill by 50 a month.

I hate to take activities away from the kids but in order to lower my allowance that means I have to stop going to the park, zoo and pool. I do want to stop with the eating out and the only thing we spend that on is pizza so I need to figure out how to make that myself. The home improvements can go as well. With that we were just trying to finish the second bedroom so the boys could move out of our room. I know dh doesn't want to tell his family that he can't help out on the farm and I think if he wasn't spending so much money there then we would at least be able to save some money. Right now with the budget the way it is we come in at saving 100 a month.

oh and I made the Other column the way I did because I didn't want to have to do a bidget page for birthday (we limit to $10 a birthday), car maintenance, clothing, donations, fundraisers, etc.

Thank you or your advice. I will talk to dh tonight about putting the remodling on hold and maybe he will be able to figure out a way to help with the budget.

Photobucketcenter><
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2006
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 6:33pm

Hi Amy,
I tend to shy away from offering advice on where expenses are too high/low since I'm not in North America and have very little clue as to what is reasonable.

You say that you run through bread, eggs and milk like crazy. Have you looked at whether you can cut back on any of these items in any way? If not, I agree with Colleen's suggestion to buy on sale and freeze (for the bread and milk). With your visits to the supermarket, are you taking a list? I know personally, without a list I will end up with more than I need.

As for low cost recipes, have you checked out the Frugal Living and Frugal Kitchen boards here on ivillage. I haven't looked at them closely so don't know how helpful they'll be, but figure they could be worth looking at.

I don't know any good pizza dough recipes - but my mother used scone dough as a base for pizzas while I was growing up and that worked well.

Lyn

Lyn

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 6:53pm
I have given up milk for myself but my boys drink a lot of it. My youngest still gets 2 bottles of it each day and a sippy cup with afternoon nap. I myself have quit drinking it to save the money there. Eggs is cheaper than a box of cereal and the boys prefer it. I usually buy 3 dz at a time. Bread is the same. I buy 2 of the loafs and always buy the $1 kind. I do take a list but then I see something on sale and have a coupon so I buy it which leads to seeing something else and so on. At my store when you spend $50 you get $5 back which is great but when I shop for a few things at a time i never get to $50. When I shop once every 2 weeks I always get $15 back. KWIM. So I need to stop with the going to the store every 4 days. Oh and I can't freeze milk and my fridge is small and only has room for 2 gallon at a time.
Photobucketcenter><
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2003
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 7:21pm

Hi Amy,

This is a tough thing to go through. I have some ideas for the milk. I know one of my friends has a large family with 3 girls that are 16, 14, 11 and a set of twin 3 y/o boys. She buys powdered milk and uses that either straight or half and half with bagged milk. She also said that convenience stores always have the best prices on milk because they want you to go in there and buy other stuff. If you can discipline yourself to just buy milk it';s a good deal. She says it saves her $1 to $2 on a large bag compared to the grocery store.
It does taste good if you make it in advance, shake it well and let it sit overnight in the fridge. She makes a small amount double strength for her and her DH's coffee and tea.
I don't know if making your own bread would be cheaper than if you can get it for $1 on sale.You'd need a powerful mixer and or lots of time your hands to knead and let the dough rose etc.
I make my own bread in a bread machine but there are just two of us so it's doable.
The fugal kitchen board here and the "hillbilly housewife" website have some really good ideas to help stretch your food dollar... check it out. Lots of recipes too!

Nathalie

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 7:29pm

I know it's hard to say no to your boys (they are adorable!), but what would you do if DH hurt his own back while working on the farm and couldn't go to his job for a while? See what I mean? If it were me, building up savings would be my #1 priority. Maybe there's a library or free park you all can go to instead of places that charge an admission?


Also, maybe someone in the family can let you store food in their freezer or loan you a freezer. My mom lets me store food in her freezer. Buying in bulk when items are on sale lets you take advantage of sales.


We have a grocery challenge on the board, which, I admit, could be better, but at least it's a place to track. And I think I saw your post on the menu plan challenge. It sounds like you are already doing the best you can to save on food.


Good luck. I hope your FIL is back on his feet again soon and things get back to normal for you all.

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 8:50pm
Luckily we still have our E.F which has 6mths of pay in it. We refuse to touch that money. But at this point we can't put more in it. We are also lucky that dh has a great job that would have great disability. I will see about freezing milk and bread. I also just need more discipline in the store. Maybe doing the grocery challenge for the month of July will help. I did get my cell bill today and it was $50 less than last month so that is great. I was going to call my insurance agent but she will be out of work for a few weeks as her dh broke his hip yesterday. I will add that to my to do list.
Photobucketcenter><
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 10:43pm

I was thinking a little more about your situation. It looks to me like you have $500 in new credit charges, $250 in Other, and $500 Allowance each month. That's $1250 in miscellaneous expenses. Correct me if I misunderstood, though.


It might help, as far as discipline in stores, if you designated that money - actually a smaller amount, if possible

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 11:16pm

You are correct. Dh is the one that mostly uses the cards. Rarely do we spend the 500 allowed but the last 3 mths dh has used that on his alone buying for the farm. But his card is for gas and if he has to pick up parts for the cars or whatever. Mine is for when I leave my wallet at home (happens more than you would think). I also use it for large purchases (like the AC or when we had to get tires on the car). Luckily we carry a good enough balance in the checking that when we need those things we can buy them and not touch the E.F.

Our allowance is for personal use. I.E clothes (not for the kids), lunch, or special activities with the kids. I also use my allowance to buy fabric to make gifts when I can. I use to only use 100 in allowance but I went from a size 16 to a size 8. I have to buy clothes so each month I buy a few things I need. I don't have much either. 2 pair shorts, 4 or 5 shirts, bathing suit and I had to buy a dress from my Avon parties. I always shop clearance. I also had to buy new bras since I recently weaned so the 250 has been spent every month.

Other is for gifts, charity, fundraisers, clothing for kids, oil changes and anything car related that I pick up, tags for the cars and all those other little things that don't have a catagory. I also used the other catagory for my plants for my garden.

Photobucketcenter><
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2006
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 11:24pm

Another idea for the milk, since you don't have the room to freeze it, is UHT milk. I actually switched to buying UHT from the stuff in the refrigerated aisle of the supermarket as I can store it in the cupboard until I need it, and I don't end up throwing out an unopened bottle of milk. I don't notice any difference between the two and I've grown up drinking a lot of milk myself.
I can't speak for the price in the US, but here in NZ although UHT milk is only available in 1 litre boxes, the price is very similar (and sometimes cheaper) than buying a 1 litre bottle of milk.

I can understand not wanting separate lines for birthdays, car maintenance, etc in the budget, however by putting these under the heading of other, you are making it easy for money to escape the budget. I know that when I first started tracking my spending a lot of items were put under "Miscellaneous" and although my personal finance software still has that option, I hesitate to use it as it indicates that the spending can't be classified and probably shouldn't have been spent (this is the same spending that I would have put as other in my budget because it wouldn't fit anywhere else).

In terms of the credit card, I can understand wanting to pay them off each month. However, I would look at what is going onto the cards each month and why. Chances are that some of the stuff that is going on the cards is stuff that you want to keep in the budget, but because you are paying the cards in full, ends up going on the card again - fueling the cycle. I am aware that I'm still reducing my own debt and will be for a while yet, but one thing I have learned is that I can live without using my credit card for day-to-day expenses and living.

Ultimately you have to make the decisions on what is included in your budget, but making sure you know where every dollar is going, will help the budget process. Oh, and remember that a budget is a living document - it has to change with your situation, it can't be made and then be expected to fit forever.

Lyn

Lyn

Pages