OP, I'm actually not far from you at all. Just to your south I'd bet. And our COL is SICK here. But my 3 kids and I survived for 5 years on just under $18K per year. Now we are at more like $22K. But still, a FRACTION of what you make. And we've done okay for ourselves. I'm with Rainbow. I know you see your frugality and are proud of it and you SHOULD be since you don't have to be frugal but you have no idea how privileged you really are. I don't live a horror story. My kids are happy and well-adjusted despite our poverty. We feel rich beyond measure a lot of the time even though we don't have "things." Toilet paper is nice. But sometimes you gotta scrounge pennies from the couch cushions to hit up the dollar store for a pack of toilet paper. It happens. But coming from your income now down to basically my income? You are gonna hurt. And hurt bad. You think you are frugal now?? I don't envy your situation. At least I'm used to being poor and finding the good in every single thing that happens to me. I think you SHOULD come visit the low income thread. At the very least it might get you in the "sacrifice" mindset.
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Prepping for a reduction in income - Page 3post #41 of 4910/16/13 at 8:06ampost #42 of 4910/17/13 at 4:27pm
This thread has taken a couple of turns since I last looked at it and I have just one thought - everyone is right :)
Seriously, in reading all of the posts - I think the communication got a little combative because Mumm came looking for support and advice and turned down a lot of advice....as such the responses got less supportive.
Mumm, I really hope you will hangout on the frugality and finance pages because it does seem you are struggling with where you can make changes and cuts. When my family took on a much larger mortgage 4 years ago (essentially dramatically reducing our "income") I got such great information and advice on these pages.
Having read your posts, it seems you do not want to relocate or eliminate certain activities from your lifestyle so my main suggestion is that you find a way to produce some income and support your spouse and family during this transition.post #43 of 4910/18/13 at 6:22pmI would overall say congratulations on the opportunity, and I think you are right overall, it should all be worth it in the end. Your friends and your partner's coworkers, both current and future, may be the best sources of help and advice. The airline industry is a special one all its own! Many pilot families have "traveled" this trajectory of going through "poorer" times, perhaps while going through pilot training in the airforce, or similar times to what you're looking forward to. Find out their stories, you might pick up some innovative tips. Getting flight privileges for the family will be a great perk with a major carrier. On the other hand, pilots often have a tenuous existance in their career--lay-offs, strikes, not making captain as fast as you thought you would, all these things are possibilities. So I would advise continue to be frugal to some extent even after the 3 lean years are over. I for myself agree it is probably worth it to stay in your home, even if if costs you tens of thousands in fees/interest/whatever. The cost of moving costs and a real estate agent can cost you that much.
Be in communication with your partner, most of all. If she is confident about this career move, it may help you to to feel more assured about the future.post #44 of 4911/29/13 at 11:29pm
I am in a similar situation. We know it's coming, but don't know exactly when. We also don't know what our income or medical insurance situation will be. My income potential probably wouldn't cover expenses of working and childcare even if I wasn't homeschooling. My biggest money saver, as obvious as it sounds, is not shopping. I have always been frugal, or as my husband and dad call me, a tightwad. It surprised me when I realized how long I could go without stepping into a store and also how much money I saved. That means I didn't realize how much I was spending. I had to change my mind-set. Instead of thinking in terms of what needs to go on my shopping list, even if it was for the thrift store or Walmart, I started to think in terms of, what do I have that might work. I have a lot of food storage, for emergencies. I've decided this situation qualifies, I will be able to replenish my stores when we are back on our feet. I told my kids (ages 3-16) that when they've eaten all the cereal, goldfish crackers, etc... I'm not buying more. They will have to eat oatmeal or eggs or apples. For the time being I am avoiding stores, especially big grocery stores and such. I'm trying to only buy bread from the Hostess bakery outlet, produce from the co-op and milk from Walgreens. My goal is to do this for 3 months.
As far as sports and activities go, this is my solution. I volunteer at the YMCA once a week in exchange for a free membership. I can take my kids with me if I need to. That gives us a lot of options for activities and recreation. My kids are also in martial arts. I have made the decision that they will all be in martial arts and no dance or other sports for now. Originally it wasn't a financial decision. It was too much running around for me and I felt like the kids would do better if they concentrate on one thing instead of trying to do a lot of different things. We live in an area where cost of living is high, and their dojo is one of the most expensive (and best) in the area. The other day while I was waiting for one of my kids to start class, I made a joke to their sensei about doing something productive while I'm waiting, since I'm there several hours a week. He said he could use help with his clerical work and offered my kids free tuition in exchange!
I hope some of my ideas are helpful, or at least it feels good to know others are in a similar situation. Try to ignore the comments that aren't helpful. I'm sure people aren't intentionally being rude.post #45 of 4911/30/13 at 9:38amQuote:Originally Posted by LoveOurBabies
I don't think satori is trying to be mean. I think what she is saying is that you have the means to make it on this new proposed income, but are unwilling to distinguish between want and need. This is where you'll be headed into trouble. FWIW, I think sports are an "extra" and not a necessity. Doesn't matter if everyone else is doing it and your kids will be the only ones left out, it's still not a necessity. You are essentially teaching your children that by remaining in an activity the family cannot afford, that it's okay to keep up with the joneses at any cost.
A drastic change in income is NOT doable if there isn't a drastic change in lifestyle. It's as simple as that. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but after spending 3 weeks working and re-working our budget to accommodate my dh's very unexpected job loss (and a 70% reduction in income), I have learned that to stay afloat in a high COL area on very little money, much sacrifice needs to be made in every department.
Best of luck mama.
Thats exactly what I meant, she seems either unable or unwilling to distinguish between a want and a need. I want more then 1 long sleeve work shirt ( black turtle neck I wear with black slacks, I think my work clients just think its some kind of uniform) because its freaking cold but I can't afford it, the nearest thrift store is half hour away and I don't have time between work and going home to search out the ones in the city. Its a want, not a need, a need is paying the rent and electric. I scored some extra hours at work this week doing some long shifts (today I'll work from noon to 6am tomorrow) which means I can pay all the basic bills this month, its a total relief as I still haven't paid last months utilities. I was unable to take a 2 hour shift I wasn't even scheduled for that day on Tuesday, the end result was my boss gave 36 hours I was scheduled for to someone else even though he never even told me about the shift until the last minute and I would have been working for free since it takes about 2 hours work to cover gas and he knew it. I WANT to give my kids xmas gifts, I NEED to pay the utilities. I know I won't make enough on this next check which is the last before xmas to cover anything but the basics. I will need to donate plasma to get my kids something, it will be a home made xmas but I want the money to buy the materials. I don't like a needle in my arm but you gotta do what you gotta do. My point is, I can easily distinguish between a want and a need and the OP can't seem to do that at this point. Keeping up with the Joneses is proof of that.Quote:Originally Posted by RainbowAsylum
Quote:Originally Posted by mumm
I truly think that planning (and sticking to said plan!) can keep you on course and prevent the horror stories people have shared here. We'll have 5 days once the offer comes to sign the deal and be ready- so my planning starts now. Do I have it all figured out? No. But I hope to have a really good sense before that offer shows up at the door! We will get through this without creating any debt.
See, I think that's where the problem lies. These aren't really horror stories at all, they are lives many other people lead- the 99%, as it were. And it really IS ok to live that way.
I agree, it is how many many people live, the lucky live paycheck to paycheck, they can at least pay the bills but the rest of us low income folks? The food servers, the wal-mart workers, the people who help you all day long in various ways without you probably even thinking about it? Chances are they are juggling bills month to month and trying to figure which to pay, you pay the min on a shut off notice and pray it carries you a month or two and do the same with the next paycheck, your rarely current on all your bills and try to survive until you get your tax return and pay everything off then start all over again because no one pays a living wage these days unless your really really lucky, those employers are far and few between.Quote:Originally Posted by mumm
Quote:Originally Posted by Satori
I didn't get enough hours on this paycheck so I won't have enough money to pay for gas to get to work next week which means we will get caught in a vicious cycle of needing to take time off because I can't get to work then I don't make the money and again can't afford gas, and thats if I don't get fired for calling in sick due to lack of gas money.
I didn't cut things like I should have and it was a huge wake up call, one day the bottom fell out, we were down to 1/4 of a roll of TP, had no clean laundry, no clean diapers and no money to wash much less soap to wash with, the car was on empty (and the payment way overdue), the electricity and phone was about to be shut off and we were almost out of food.
Rainbow Asylum- This is a horror story- NOT how 99% live. Losing a job because you miss work because you didn't have gas money? That is how a small population may live, but not 99%. And even if it were that doesn't mean it is okay. DP may bring home the toiletries and half used rolls of TP from her 4 nights a week in a hotel but I hope my kids can always feel free to use the toilet paper as needed.
I'm surprised by how wealthy I'm being made out to be! My kids qualify for reduced lunch for crying out loud!! I wish I really was rolling in it the way I'm being portrayed. Off to supervise the groundskeepers and maids!
Incorrect, its how most low income people live. Taking toiletries won't get you far AT ALL and taking TP rolls is actually stealing them, personally not something I want to encourage my children to do.Quote:Originally Posted by RainbowAsylum
Hang out on the low income thread, it isn't a horror story as many people have to make it work through situations like that. I am jaded, I have worked in social services, I know how many people have situations like that pop up on a regular basis, and no, it isn't ideal, but referring to someone's life as a horror story is a bit over the top.
I hope you find a solution that works for you, and that you never have cause to think that situations like the 'horror stories' above are the result of anything but poor planning, and can always be avoided. However, you may want to reflect on what that says about your value for people in those situations, buying into the all-too-prevalent belief that people are struggling because either, they did something wrong, or they failed to do something right.
Thank You! Life happens and you get knocked down, sometimes a lot and its not your fault, all you can do is try to survive it until it gets better but often without help it doesn't happen. If all it took to live a privileged life is hard work then none of us low income people should be living like we do, we bust our butts working long shifts and come home physically and mentally exhausted only to get a few hours sleep and do it again and again for low wages. If anyone is to blame, how about blaming those who pay such poor wages while they accumulate vast wealth? We have no choice in the matter really, its take the job and put food in your belly and a roof over your head or don't and eat out of garbage cans and freeze on the street while you risk being beaten, robbed and raped. You can't get ahead when stuck in this cycle unless someone gives you a hand up in some way, from watching your child for free or paying for your gas that week so you can take the extra shifts, heck it could be as simple as making sure you get a decent dinner to keep your energy up to keep working that grueling schedule. Some people get stuck in this cycle through poor planning and some because something happened, loss of a job, someone gets sick, the car died and it wasn't something thats easy to recover from and you just get further and further behind until your so deep its almost impossible to get out.post #46 of 4911/30/13 at 10:52am
In fairness to the OP, I do think that she grasps what it's like to live on the edge. She grew up in it, and doesn't want to return to it. Now faced with a big income drop, she sees that retirement fund that she and her partner have built up and thinks she would rather cash some of that, because she can, than return to that lifestyle. I don't think she really thinks that if she literally had $20 to her name and nothing in the bank whatsoever she would pay a soccer fee instead of gas because her kids "need" to be in soccer. She thinks that she can get along kind of like now, being a little more frugal, by living on those funds, and then rebuild them when her partner's income increases. Assuming she is right about this, all's well. My concern here is what if she's not right about that? What if something else happens? What's her contingency plan for that? I would want to have one. It's ideal to have as many of the holes in your safety net plugged as you possibly can, with of course no disrespect intended towards those who can't afford safety nets at all.post #47 of 4911/30/13 at 1:20pmThread StarterQuote:
It is fine to take toiletries from a hotel room. DP cleaned rooms at the ritz carlton in college and knows what to report as stolen and what is there for the guests to actually use. And if you spend 5 nights a week in a hotel you get to know the staff and you can ask questions like that! It is also okay to take the tea and coffee packs. Not the Keurig though!
Satori , you really seem to have a bee in your bonnet about this. I think you are taking issue because I was asking for advice in maintaining my comfortable life. I imagine if I was asking for help in *getting* to a comfortable place it would be ok. But looking to maintain my comfort is somehow uncouth? I take no shame in my comfort. You are correct- I don't want to make concessions. I'm trying to make this work without giving up much. I've worked hard to get here and continue to work to maintain it, so I will take pleasure in it. It doesn't make me a bad or uncaring person.
I could give you all types of grief about your wealth if I compared you to someone less fortunate. (What? You have running water? So and so has to travel 3 miles twice a day for her water! How dare you complain life is hard when your water comes from a faucet!) That doesn't mean your life is easy-peasy. It stinks to struggle. I know that. I'm sorry you are.post #48 of 4912/1/13 at 2:48pm
This is a fascinating thread. OP- good luck budgeting- you obviously have it figured out You do have my sympathy. No not sympathy. Not the right word. I am not being snotty. But 4 years ago we went through basically a 3 month freeze in finances. So we cut and buckled down. Only the way things are these days- you can't cut much quickly (cell contracts cars and whatnot). It was rough for those three months and it has only gotten rougher. Anyway- 4 years later we are still trying to cut expenses and it sucks. You see I thought I was frugal before. hahaha. So obviously not true. I have now hit the point where I don't really see how I can cut our spending much more. I don't go anywhere because a tank of gas for my van is $80. We go to church in a town 40 miles away and it is really humbling to just not be able to afford to go to church. We put our kids in Wed night at a local church to save some $- that has been a good move though. My DH hates it- but when he runs errands for his work I give him a very specific list and cash because if I don't either I have to go and that just wastes gas or he spends too much and then I have to figure out how to cover it. This is how you should feel on $25k/yr. This is how people who live on $25k/yr feel everyday. It isn't some trainwreck- it is life. Yeah. I say no to the new matching hairbands. I say no to a lot of things these days. It is ok. I know this isn't forever- and if it is I will be used to saying no. When you live on 25k (or dare I say even 40) you have to change your mentality on things. Our here in the cheap seats we see your life as "holy smokes- they say they are frugal and they make 10K/month!" We are sitting here planning meals and utilities and gas and and and on 1500-2000/mo! Surely you see the difference.
I may be speaking for a lot of people- but when people are like- use the library, ditch your cable I just about go insane. I have never had cable and my smart phone limited data is cheaper than internet. It takes big changes to change your expenses. Cable isn't going to make a difference at all. Stopping going places and shopping- those are differences you can start to see though. However- being frugal for the somewhat fun of it (which is what I politely say you are with 10K/mo as income) is totally different than thinking to yourself- well what do we need the most from the grocery store and then just giving up the whole idea because you need too much and there just isn't money. Or needing a coffee pot and going to the thrift store for a $2 one. It just isn't the same. And this is life on $25k.post #49 of 4912/4/13 at 8:04am
I usually lurk around here, gathering information....this thread caught my eye as I also live in high COL Massachusetts. I was wondering if it would be helpful for the OP to post a typical monthly budget breakdown whereby more pertinent advice toward reducing discretionary income would be possible???
Our mortgage is $2500/month, but we need to stay here until our youngest(of six) graduates high school in two years. We struggle because we're both self-employed.
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