Intro (my whole life story)
Ok, so I think I'm a little caught up. Here's my intro:
Hi, my name is Jessica. I have 4.5 kids, I'm a homeschooling WAHM, and I'm returning to school for a second Bachelor's degree at the end of this month. (my first is in technology, and I'm going back to be a teacher). I'll be able to do my first year of classes exclusively online through the local community college, so I'm psyched. Even more psyched about those student loans. Dh is also back in school, and we're hoping to get his loan check in Oct, mine at the end of this month, and finally get caught back up on bills. However, this year has been our best on staying current on bills in over 5 years, so I'm not getting too down on myself. We didn't really get behind until last month, when a few bills went too far beyond the budget and dh's hours were short.
We have only $500 in cc debt and when we pay that off at the end of the month we will be debt-free except the student loans, a la Dave Ramsey. We've been working on our snowball since 2006 (when I was still working a $55,000/yr job). That was when I declared bankruptcy (before learning of Dave Ramsey). We were in ch 13 for a couple of years, but couldn't keep up when I was no longer WOH. We finally just converted to a 7 and let the car and house go last year. The house was literally falling apart, and even if the bank had cut our payment in half we still couldn't have afforded to fix the huge problems, so we just let it go to foreclosure. We just couldn't do it on an income of less than $20,000 the past couple of years for a family of 6. Lucky for me, though, the credit score seems to take into account the date you filed (my ch 13 date in 06) not the date you were finally discharged (this Jan), so my score is rebounding quickly and I'll be in FHA loan range before the end of the year.
Dh works a part-time job at Lowes (we're very thankful he has any job at all), and occasionally paints houses (when the work comes in). I used to own an online store and "sold" it in Dec on small monthly payments to a competitor/friend. So, that's a little bit of money coming in each month, too. I was teaching 1-2 tech classes at a nearby college this winter/spring, but they didn't have enough need over the summer, and I can't go back again for fall because I'll be having a baby!
We are currently receiving medicaid and food stamp benefits through DHS, and WIC. I can't believe I just wrote that. This is the first place I have ever freely admitted it. It seems like if you say these things on any other forum you are immediately an out-cast, lazy, leeching off the system, etc. Especially if you have many children and/or are pregnant (like birth control never fails/surprises never happen). Luckily, we've got a GREAT worker at the moment (I think she's new, so she still "cares") and I've actually called and she PICKED UP THE PHONE! I could NOT believe I didn't have to leave a message. Then, when she said she'd call back, SHE DID! I nearly had a heart attack. However, we run out of food benefits about 2.5 weeks into the month. And that's before this baby is born. I have babies with multiple food allergies, so I have to eat all home-made foods with alternative ingredients. Most of these ingredients have to come from the health food store, and that means major moolah. Sigh...
While we do currently require assistance, we do treat it as the "Temporary Assistance for Working Families" that it is in MI. Like I said we are both in school, trying to get better jobs at some point in the future, and dh is working literally as hard as he can to get promoted to management at work. This would nearly double his pay and, while it would disqualify us for the DHS benefits, get us out of our barely scraping by each month situation. I'm hoping beyond hope that it happens before the end of the year.
We are currently maxing out our student loans, in an attempt to begin saving toward a house. We are paying $800/ month in rent at the moment, but as soon as this baby is born we are too many people according to the zoning in our city to live in a 3 bedroom. Any 4 bedroom house or apt in this city is a minimum of $500 more/month. However, we could easily buy a great house for less than we are now paying in rent, even with taxes, insurance and PMI! (yep, the market is that bad in MI). Yes, maintenance costs can make that sentence untrue, but we have no utilities included or anything now, so, while taking that chance we believe we will still be coming out better on buying a house. Based on my calculations, and barring any unforeseen HUGE expenses (like replacing our van, etc), we should have better than 10% on a great house by this time next yr, so I'm asking everyone I meet to keep their fingers crossed for us.
Anyway, we currently have ZERO EF left right now (dh had to sell plasma today to make the last $30 we were short on rent), so we're holding our breaths until the end of the month when my student loans should come in. Then we'll have about $2000, and that will be enough to make me stop stressing quite so much. Then all we have to do is keep Murphy at bay long enough to save the big money and get out there for a house. I'll almost feel like I've arrived at that point, lol. I never want to go back to living like we did when I made the big money, but just to be able to comfortably pay bills each month, not stress about events like birthdays or the kids outgrowing their shoes AGAIN, etc, and possibly even taking a 2-day trip once a year for some learning opportunity would be freaking awesome. I plan to live frugally until the day I die, but to not have to be "poor" would be so unimaginably wonderful!confustication
- 500 mg of calcium/day for a week before your period will help to offset the dip in milk supply. http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/natur...s.html#calciumdhinderliter
- if you end up with a hospital bill, make SURE to call and explain your low income situation. They have forms for you to fill out, that can reduce or even eliminate your bill. I had an emergency room visit wiped away last year because we could NEVER afford it and the hospital knew it.