Newcomer here from Virginia (m)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-12-2003
Newcomer here from Virginia (m)
3
Sat, 04-26-2003 - 6:50pm
I am Steph, a home daycare provider. My dh, John, is a police officer. We have a dd, age 8 and a ds, age 4. My husband and I have run into a very serious problem with credit card debt. We are in the process of choosing a credit counseling service, which will help us reduce interest rates so we can pay off the principal on this debt in five years. I am hoping that with some serious lifestyle changes we can abstain from using credit while paying off this debt, and even pay it off in LESS than five years. After scrutinizing the budget for the past few days, I believe this is possible.

We do not consider ourselves extravagant. We have never taken a vacation, very rarely buy clothes (dh and I wear hand-me-downs from our parents - LOL), seldom eat out, and so forth. Yet, we have been living beyond our means for quite some time. I believe the main leak is in our grocery budget. I also have a weakness for splurging on books and educational games/toys for the kids (even though we use the public library often).

I bought The Complete Tightwad Gazette today, and find that helpful. I started a ledger (actually just a stenographers notebook which I drew some lines on) to track expenses, and a price book to use while grocery shopping. I am also going back to making my own baby wipes (since I run a daycare, I use a BUNCH). It's a small start.

My goal is to spend $250 per month on groceries and household stuff, plus what I spend on food for daycare participants (which is largely reimbursed by the USDA federal child nutrition program).

Thanks for letting me come on board! BTW, I used to post on PP a few years ago, and UGH - I do *not* like this new format. LOL.

Steph

Avatar for e13lorena
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 04-27-2003 - 2:02am
Welcome Steph! Glad you come here and hope you find a great home here.

I now that tracking your expenses is a HUGE eye-opener. I have been slacking lately and have not trakc expenses since before my DD#2 was born, she just turned a year old. UGH, that's a long time to not keep track of things.

I just printed out a budget sheet to write down every penny we spend this month.

You're sure to find lots of helpful tips and friends here.

Make sure you cancel those credits cards once you pay them off. We were down to $6,000 and now we're back to $15,000+ ARGH! It's such a horrible feeling knowing that we've more than doubled our credit card debt in the last year. And we're VERY frugal. But brought a house and needed furniture to fill it. LOL!

Good luck to you and welcome,

Erin

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-12-2003
Sun, 04-27-2003 - 7:10pm
Thank you for the welcome, Erin! :-) Congratulations on purchasing a house. Good luck with paying down our credit cards again. It sounds like we're on similar paths.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 10:25pm
This suggestion may be a little late to help you, but what I did when we had a big debt (over $9,000 - mainly from a car we put on our line of credit) was write down the day and my debt, example - Feb. 20th ... $9,462. Over the following month I would set my goal to reduce my debt by a certain amount, say $462 to bring it to an even $9,000. I would put everything I could toward that debt, spending only what I REALLY had to, such as for food and diapers. On March 20th I would go back to that piece of paper and add up and mark down my new current debt (I have what I call my OWE BOOK where I keep track of every credit card transaction, etc.) If I reached my goal, and I almost always did, it would give me great satisfaction and I found it easier to make - and keep - a new goal for the following month. After 1 year and 8 months of setting and achieving these small goals I reduced my debt to a mere $168!!!

~Jolene