In need of some major tips.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2002
In need of some major tips.....
7
Mon, 06-28-2010 - 12:46pm

I have been trying to save money for years now and most recently in the past year because I am certain I will need to buy a new car soon, or do a major tuneup on the one I have now. Problem: I managed to save $6.25 to keep my savings account open and I am even over the limit (only by a little bit) on my credit card. HELP! A HUGE majority of my money goes to living expenses which I cant cut down because they are set prices of course. Any tips about ANY money saving ideas you have would be helpful. I dont have to worry about cutting down on using water/gas/etc cause I only pay rent/electricity/internet/cable for my apartment.

I also need tips on how to just deal with what Ive got. I have a bad habit of buying food when Im craving it (living right behind Hyvee doesnt help at all) and thats mostly where my extra money goes. I need to learn how to curb cravings and resist the urge to spend money. Another problem, I have virtually nothing that feels like a "reward" so saving money and treating myself to something doesnt really work. I have high expectations of just about everything (which I cannot change, trust me, I have tried) so something that is satisfying to me is a vacation when I want it or something thats going to make my life easier (cause im a very lazy person too) like someone to clean for me. I wasnt raised like that so I have no idea where these ideas/thoughts/expectations came from.

Anyways, I need tips for all of my problems. I am tired of not having money to even go get something from Burger King! After my rent check goes though Ill have money for gas and thats all. Then I have nothing until I get paid again and have to pay more bills which will eat the rest of my check then too. I am tired of living like this, its stressing me out really badly!

I have tried to fix it myself but have gotten no where...I need some more ideas. Also, dont say "therapy" because, THAT COSTS MONEY!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
Mon, 06-28-2010 - 9:39pm

Hi! Welcome. You sound like you are ready for a change!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2008
Mon, 06-28-2010 - 11:59pm

Hey, I have an idea on the needing a cleaning lady cause of the laziness. I'm in the same boat, but I don't get to get a cleaning lady, cause we don't have the space for it in our budget. Actually we can afford it, but to me it seems like wasted money cause I can do it myself.


But look up Flylady. Its all about getting the chaos out of your life, and even though it applys to cleaning up the house, I believe it also works for the budgeting world.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-28-2010
Tue, 06-29-2010 - 2:01pm
I've been trying to budget/save money for years! So any good deal that I come across I try to utilize. I just saved A LOT of money by refinancing my car! I read a blog post on AOL's walletpop the other day about a company called MoneyAisle. It does the online research for the consumer and has banks bid on us online, where we receive the top 3 rates to choose from for auto loans and refinancing. I went through the process and ended up saving $75 a month on my payment, which basically pays off my insurance. Right now the search process for the best rates is such a pain and dealers try to get the best dollar amount, so this is a super awesome tool. I def suggest taking a stab at going through the process, you will be shocked when you see what you get as a rate compared to what you are currently paying or what you are given by other banks/dealers. Hope this helps!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2002
Tue, 06-29-2010 - 2:39pm
Well for one, I dont know ANYTHING about refinancing...I dont even know what that means! I dont think I have enough credit to get a loan either (hence getting my credit card). I dont monkey with stuff I dont understand cause people notice vulnerable customers and take advantages of it. I also dont need to get a car right now, I just want to save for the future when I do need one, and to have money on the side for emergencies. If I got into an accident or something right now and couldnt work for a few weeks, there would be NO way I could pay my bills cause $6.25 doesnt get you anywhere!
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2006
Tue, 06-29-2010 - 7:52pm

Hi there, I've got some thoughts in what you've said and what could possibly be done to help the situation.
You say that you can't reduce your living costs because they are set prices. There are a few things that I want you to look at:
Rent - I know that this can't be reduced in the place you are in, but is it possible that you could look at finding a place with cheaper rent?
Electricity - I would recommend shopping for a different power company but as I understand it, in the US you don't get the choice of making a decision on who supplies your power. So instead, look at whether you are doing everything that you can to keep your power costs down. Things like only using the heater/ac when you have to, turning out lights when you leave a room, if you are using the heater or ac are all the windows closed, are appliances off at the wall and not left on standby, etc.
Internet and cable - Are these with the same company or different? If they are with the same company, have you checked whether you can get a better deal - the company could maybe offer a package deal. Regardless of whether these are with the same company or not, it sounds like you need to shop around and see if you can get cheaper prices. Before you do that though - are you paying for more than you use - for example I'm paying for a broadband internet plan that gives me 5GB of data per month because I use that - but if I was paying for a plan that gives me 10GB of data I'd be wasting my money because its more than I use; do you need all the channels that you receive with your cable. Just reassessing what you do and don't use and doing something about it could make a lot of difference to what you are spending on living costs.

In terms of the food - I would suggest meal planning for the week, and committing to only going to the store once per week. I know this is difficult, I still cave sometimes myself since I'm within walking distance of a supermarket. It may help with sticking to the meal plan if you note on it what advanced prep has to be done for the next day's meals the night before - things like taking the meat out of the freezer to thaw, packing your lunch, that sort of thing.
I still haven't truly learned how to curb cravings, but what I have started doing that helps is noting down what I'm craving so that I can work it into the next meal plan. This usually takes the edge off the craving since I know that I will get to have that food/drink next week.
I've also learned that I often crave chocolate, so I make sure I ALWAYS have hot chocolate mix in the cupboard so that I can have something chocolaty.

I can understand that it is satisfying to go on a vacation when you want to - however while you have a credit card that is over limit and essentially no savings you can't afford to be taking a vacation unless you can afford to pay cash (which I doubt that you'd be able to do at present). Each time you go to spend money that isn't essential spending, I suggest asking yourself what you want more - a vacation or this item?

Things that make our lives easier are nice, but when we can't afford them they are a burden. I know very people who want to or enjoy cleaning, but it is something that we all have to do. Honestly, I'm inherently lazy when it comes to cleaning and I'm looking up Vanessa's suggestion of FLYlady myself since my home goes through phases of being clean and needing cleaning.

You mention in another post that you have no clue what re-financing is - which indicates to me that you are not financially savvy. It could be a good idea to check out the personal finance books (including debt reduction books) at your local library - along with this board this is primarily how I learned good information about money, budgeting and other important information around finances. You may find that some of these books are able to challenge your high expectations.

Also just a piece of advice with the credit card - it doesn't matter whether you are a little bit over or a lot over when you are over-limit on a credit card. Any amount that you are over-limit gives your card provider an reason to charge over-limit fees (and I believe it makes it possible for them to have an excuse to lift you interest rate). If I was you, I would focus on getting the card under the limit, not using it (put it in the freezer if you have to), making sure you are able to continue to pay the minimums, and then getting an emergency fund in place. However, in addition to doing this, it sounds like you either need to include space in your budget for car maintenance, or to save for a new-to-you car.

My disclosure - I'm studying and working part-time so I need to keep a very close eye on my living costs, and as evidenced by the ticker down below, I am focusing on reducing my debt.

There's lots of information here, and I hope at least some of it helps you.

Lyn

Lyn

Avatar for lucy4980
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 11:25am

naz - This is exactly why you should read Suze Orman's stuff - to educate yourself about finances.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2003
Fri, 07-02-2010 - 9:34pm

This is a great post Lyn!
You really have some great suggestions listed here. I agree with everything.
I hate cleaning too but it needs to be done!
FLYlady is a system that works! I have been a member for years! You can join up and she will send you a daily email, each email has a 15 minute task that you do to clean your house. the rooms/zones are rotated weekly.....eventually you get to clean everything without being overwhelmed and daily/weekly maintenance is now easy. Try it! FLYlady has great tips for decluttering too.

There are 2 boards here on iVillage...Flybabies and flylady for working women.

Nathalie