New and De-Lurking

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
New and De-Lurking
7
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 11:34am
Hello everyone -

I've been lurking on this board for the past week, now, and take comfort that I am not alone in my struggle to be debt-free. I am experiencing A LOT of stress right now because the April mortgage payment is past due, the April car payment is past due, both the gas bill and the auto insurance payment are 2 months past due, CC debt is piling up and DH and I have other miscellaneous bills that need to be paid (the least of which is a $1500 debt for an accident he had when we were uninsured).

I feel SO stupid because there seems to be enough income to cover expenses but (and maybe I need to be on the compulsive spenders board) it trickles away - mostly towards dining out($234 so far this month). I cook but I don't like to all the time and when we're on the go (with our two kids) it's easier to grab something or we'll have date night (nearly every weekend). I track all our spending in Microsoft Money but it doesn't matter.

I am a law student/stay-at-home mom so I really don't have the time (or energy) to get even a part-time job. Besides, I keep telling myself that more money won't solve the problem unless we learn money management skills. Also, we keep saying that things will be so much easier when I graduate but things are really hard RIGHT NOW.

I'm selling stuff, on EBAY, that's been in the garage forever to make some extra cash while ignoring phone calls from creditors. In the meantime, I'm not sleeping well and my hair is falling out.

Thanks for listening.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Fri, 04-25-2003 - 9:56am
I was looking for a bald icon. My hair falls out when I stress too! I get this dracula-style hairline above my ears...

I'm penny-wise, pound-foolish, and I also believe money management skills would save the day for me. I'm all over these ivillage money boards, compulsive spenders, budget tips and tricks, frugal living. I've still just wiped out my entire savings account.

Let's keep posting here, and we'll all dig our way back into the sunshine together.

Lee Ann

Lee Ann

www.werenotafraid.com

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 11:02pm
Welcome to the board! I know what you mean by tracking your spending and that it doesn't matter. My dh and I were the same way. I tracked everything and so what? Well now that you have taken a first step in admitting you have a debt problem start taking baby steps in cutting back your spending and getting out of debt. It took me two years to really realize how much I needed to cutback our spending and looking back its something I did in small steps. First we moved to where the rent was less, I canceled cell phones, extra cable, call display, magazine subsriptions etc. I would always say to myself 'its" only $10 or $20 (it being cable, eating out etc)- what difference is that going to make on my 20K debt? Well it does make a difference. Just check out our snowflaking (link at top of page). I feel like you do when it comes to cooking. I enjoy it but I have days where after being alone all day with the kids last thing I want to do is cook. So now I am using my crock pot more (easier to get something going at the beginning of the day rather the end of the day) and when I am making easy to freeze recipes I double up and freeze a meal. I slowly have become frugal in lots of areas of my life - groceries being one area I am still working on. We now bake our own cookies and muffins (its also an activity my ds loves to do) and I am going to try and bake my own bread. I am making my own baby food as well. One of the things I say to myself to keep on track from unneccessary spending is " is buying this or eating here going to get me where I want to be" (in terms of my and my family's goals). I think about what is important to me (my dh and two sons) and having lunch at McDonalds loses its appeal. I shop thrift stores and I love it when I find a good deal! This will take time and you will take a few steps forward, one step back but you can do it! We are all here for you.

Sandra

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 2:49pm
I appreciate all the sentiment and advice. In answer to your questions: Yes, DH is aware of the financial problem but he doesn't worry and/or doesn't want to talk about it and tells me not to worry. I hate that! No, DH cannot work OT as he is salaried-exempt. I have suggested that he take a job as a carrier (early AM) until we can get back on track but he doesn't seem interested in that. In-home childcare is great idea but I hardly have time for my own kids let alone someone else's.
Avatar for mrslove2000
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 2:19pm
Welcome~~ thanks for delurking. You will find wonderful support here and you are right, you are not alone. I understand how frustrating it can be when you are stretched in so many directions. Is DH aware of the financial problems? Is there any possiblity of him working OT? What about bringing in extra income by providing child care in your home for 1 or 2 kids? I wish I had a magic wand for you. Keep posting, you find a solution right before your eyes.

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 1:07pm
I recently found a budget recipe on Cheapskate Monthly. It's called Blasted Chicken. It's good, easy, and cheap. Here's a link http://www.cheapskatemonthly.com/ed_cheapskate.asp?ID=11084.


Avatar for cl_phocid
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 12:56pm
Wow - thanks for delurking and sharing your situation. My dh and I also fall into ruts where eating out is easier/faster/quite honestly more enjoyable than cooking. Here's what I try to do when we need to rein ourselves in:

On Sunday, I pull out the crockpot and make a huge pot of something that will last - chili, chicken stroganoff, vegetable stew, etc. That's what we eat on Sunday nite, and then I store some in the fridge and some in the freezer for at least 3 or 4 meals (lunch or dinner) throughout the week. Sure it can be somewhat repetitive, but it SAVES US MONEY - and that's the ultimate goal. I find that things like chilli and stew are often BETTER after they've been in the fridge a day or two.

I've found some great recipes on the iVillage crockpot-style cooking board: http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-fdcrockpot

Another favorite dish during the week is baked ziti - that's usually good for about 3 meals, and it's relatively inexpensive.

As for the bills, my suggestion is to prioritize them. Roof over your head, warmth, and transportation are usually my big 3. The credit cards, when all is said and done, could be dismissed in a bky if push came to shove. They're unsecured debt. Sure, they're a huge burden hanging over you right now, and fees and such continue to rack up, so they do need to be paid - but take care of your living situation first.

We're all here for you you in the meantime! Let us know how we can help!

All my best,

Danni

All my best,
Danni

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 04-24-2003 - 12:43pm
You are NOT your debt. You are a capable wife, mother, and student. Likewise you are not your spending. Buying shoes, clothes, toys, or dinners out doesn't make you a better person or a worse person. It makes you a person who can't pay your bills. The mortage payment, to keep a roof over your head, is much more important than a dinner out. Just set priorities.

Learning money management can be difficult. I'm still learning at age 42 and 25 years of marriage. Things will improve. Especially with good choices and hard work.

You can do it.