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Anyone else ready to GET OUT OF DEBT? #2 - Page 6

post #101 of 139
One other thing I have realized is that I need to keep my life priorities in shape. It is very important for me to be a SAHM and for dh to be here as much as possible, evenings and weekends. I also want to be "present" for my children when I am here. I am currently babysitting a 5 year old after school and will have him for the summer. I know I could do real day care, I have many other people who have said that they would like me to care for their children. However, I know my limit. I know that my children will only be this small once, and I know that my priority is to be here.
This is what we believe as well. It is really important for me to be home, and with us having 2 kids in a few months, it will be doublely important. I have thought about doing childcare as well, but I just don't think I am cut out for it. For one thing, we don't have minivan, so I took in even one extra child, when the new baby gets here, we would be stuck at home all the time. That would drive me CRAZY (plus just the thought of driving around other people's kids makes me nervous). And, my sanity is more important than money.

I had an important realization today, I can't believe this hadn't fully dawned on me until now . Here is the crux of what got us into this mess. Suprisingly, we have always been *relatively* frugal, it's not like we ever charged "unnecessary" things- like a new comforter, or pizza hut, etc. However, when we had extra money in the account for whatever reason- we would treat ourselves to pizza hut, or I would buy that comforter I had been wanting for a year. Then, the dryer would brake, or we'd get a flat tire- and--guess what? that wasn't in the budget (plan) and we never had savings- so- onto the credit card it went. All of the CC debt we've got came from "necessary" things, we bought the "extras" with what we thought of as "extra" cash.
This is our biggest problem as well. We dont' have CC debt, but the same thing is what is keeping us from putting money into savings and paying off our car and student loans faster. Whenever we have extra money, we feel we can "treat" ourselves, so we usually go out to eat, or buy things which we "need", but don't REALLY "need" (For example we were at Wal-Mart the other day, and they had a clearance rack of toddler clothes. DH really wanted to buy DD a cute $2 shirt. It was nice, but she doesn't NEED anymore clothes, she has plenty of clothes for the summer. Then we decided we also needed to get her a cute little skorts ($2) to go along with it, she she has hardly any shorts (almost her entire summer wardrobe is dresses). But she didn't need THOSE THINGS. We are sooo used to saying, oh it is only $2 or $5 or $10, whatever. It is soo hard to change that mindset.

Also, any advice on getting DH's to be more frugal? DH is really great on most things, but the biggest thing is he has a tendency to spend lots of money on eating out, or convenice foods or soda and candy at the gas station, that type of thing. Not only is it terribly unhealthy, it is also costly. During the school year, when he was still teaching, it wasn't uncommon for him to stay after school late and finish papers and then stop at Wendy's or McDonald's and spend $5 or $6 on meal, instead of waiting the 30 mintues until he got home (he had about a 35 minute commute). Also, lots of times when he stops to get gas, he will spend $2 on a diet coke, a bag of m + m's and the newspaper. That isn't a lot of money, but when you do that several times a week, it adds up. The other problem, is it hard for me to keep our grocery budget down when DH really wants lots of convenince foods in the house (frozen pizza's, frozen burrito's, hot pockets,) that type of thing. He stays up later than I do, and he often gets hungry at night, so he will eat one of those. Plus, now that it is summer and he is home during the day, he eats those things for lunch as well. I guess I could cook lunch, but I kinda resent having to cook him lunch, since when it is just dd and I home, we eat very simply for lunch (pb sandwiches, leftovers, etc.) I cook dinner every night, and I really don't want to cook lunch as well. I guess also part of that is my upbringing. When we were growing up, my mom would make dinner for everyone, but after a certain age, we were responsible for our own lunches and breakfasts. Plus, the other problem, is DH doesn't really like my cooking very much. And, I will admit, I am not the world's greatest cook. I tend to take shortcuts, or get caught up in something else and let things burn (especially with a toddler around). We also tend to like really differnt foods. DH likes meat and burgers and fries, while I like pasta and casseroles and veggies. So, while I make dinner every night, he may not eat much of it, and wants one of his convenience foods later. I always read about the tips in the TG about eating oatmeal and whole foods (and it being lots heatheir too), but DH won't eat oatmeal, he will only eat store-bought cereals.

So, not that I have rambled on and totally bored anyone . That is our biggest struggle right now, any advice?
post #102 of 139
Originally Posted by Rosetta
I was curious-has anyone found a cheap telephone plan? I've seen this several companies adver. on TV and wondered it if they were just as good. Right now we have Verizon for local and don't have long distance (we use phone cards)

post #103 of 139
We spend too much on cable. But my kids REALLY like Animal Planet, and it's educational, kwim? It's really easy to justify everything we spend as "necessary."

We went to the amusement park this week and spent over $100. Ouch. But my dd really enjoyed it.

Sigh. Dh and I aren't so good at this "not spending" stuff.
post #104 of 139
amelia ---- I am a TOTAL snacker - like your hubby. and when I crave food I crave fast food. It literally takes my every thought to make it home without driving thru a f. food restaurant when I need something to drink. I guess I'd focus on one problem -- either keeping household receipts down or stopping the quick stop habit. And likely the household ones will begin to follow the others...

I keep snacky food in the car. Meaning a bag of goldfish, in winter cookies (they'd melt in summer), trail mix, bottles of water (or pop). Then I tell myself I'll stop after I've already had a snack. Usually that cuts the urge right there. But it definitely means I spend less at a fast food stop if I have already snacked.

another idea would be to have him bring his own cup into the gas station to fill up with pop -- usually it is about half-price to do it that way.
post #105 of 139
You know, I just realized that it took me a long time to see "frugal" as a trait worth aspiring toward. KWIM?
post #106 of 139
Thread Starter 
Yeah- frugal can be seen by some as the negative, "cheap".
post #107 of 139
We got approved for a 0% CC. I transferred the balance of the other one that was 22.9% : Now I can really start paying it off!
post #108 of 139
Thread Starter 
post #109 of 139
Hi! Just wanted to check in . I read a fabulous article in my co-op's newsletter about frugality/sustainability being akin to a type of spirituality. It got me thinking how it's all interconnected. Just like living simply, the consciousness of our actions and spending/saving habits can be viewed as mindfulness. How each action affects other actions. Who cares that we saved $2 on soap----me!!! because it's reflective of my goal of getting out of debt!!! When I CHOOSE to save our money or spend it, how does that affect my family's future?

I recently realized that I'd been repeating the spending habits of my parents (buy now, pay later), and the debt-ridden life is not what I want *my* children living. I'd like to have them learn by excellent example, starting NOW
post #110 of 139
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by georgia
and the debt-ridden life is not what I want *my* children living. I'd like to have them learn by excellent example, starting NOW
Dh and I were talking about this the other night. How do we teach our kids? By example? My parents are GREAT with money, they always pay the cc off at the end of the month, they managed to put 4 kids completely through 4 years of college each on a cop and nurses salary (and she was a SAHM for many years). So, somehow their "example" was not enough for me. I think I am really going to make my kids (when they get a little older) an integral part of our family's budget making, finance planning.

I'd like to hear other's thoughts on this.
post #111 of 139
Originally Posted by jess7396
Dh and I were talking about this the other night. How do we teach our kids? By example? My parents are GREAT with money, they always pay the cc off at the end of the month, they managed to put 4 kids completely through 4 years of college each on a cop and nurses salary (and she was a SAHM for many years). So, somehow their "example" was not enough for me. I think I am really going to make my kids (when they get a little older) an integral part of our family's budget making, finance planning.

I'd like to hear other's thoughts on this.

Like verything else you try to pass on to your kids, in addition to being a good role model, I think you need to actually talk to and involve your kids. Example: You want to go on vacation (ha! in my dreams, I know). Your kids are 7-8 or 9-10 ish. You are thinking you could do 3-4 days at disney (or insert other expensive park) or you could do 2 x 3-4 days locally (maybe a camping trip and a waterpark trip). You could hold a family meeting whereby you get to discuss this issue and as a family (i.e. not just mom and dad) decide where you go.

And I think get your kids more involved in meal planning and prep -- teaches them how to cook and it teaches them how to plan (i.e. when mom goes to the store on sunday if I don't tell her to buy hot dogs we can't have hot dogs on thursday when it is my turn to cook).

In addition I think kids need their own money to play around with. I could start a whole other thread on what people think about allowances, I'm not yet sure what I think about allowances. I have some time to decide. But I do think somehow kids need to deal with budgeting $$.

And of course, just talking about choices you are making and how you're budgeting.
post #112 of 139
When I was 7, I had a paper route. The first thing my dad did was take me to the bank to open a checking account. By the time I was 12, my paper route and allowance had to purchase and clothes not purchased at back-to-school time. I knew how to balance a check book long before high school.
post #113 of 139
Such good posts here. Congrats, ekblad7, on the 0% CC!

Amelia: my suggestion is to get him to keep all his receipts (if you trust him, lol) and add them up at the end of the month. Even though I was fully aware of how much money can go down the drain by paying for food and snacks, I was still shocked to see how much cash I was going through - even just having a muffin and tea at work each day. Until we started writing it all down, I kept justifying it as "not alot of money". So I think when your DH sees exactly how much is going to that...well, perhaps you can tell him he can take it out of his gas money, lol.

I did a bad thing this month: I bought a diaper for $23 and I haven't told DH. It was such a steal: a WIO plus two extra liners, so a total of three diaper changes for $23. But I am chicken to tell DH b/c I already had a haircut this month, and spent $25 on a baby shower gift (it's a sling!). I have a feeling we might end up a bit in the red this month; I'm trying to be really frugal now and not let that happen!!
post #114 of 139
I love this! My husband is TERRIABLE about saving money! I added up all monthly expenses lets say its 1000.00$. Then I divided it by four weeks (gets paid weekly with usual four weeks in month) Justin gives me 250.00 a wk (in this case) The rest of the money is his to play with save or purchase things he THINKS he needs! I babysit a little boy and a girl and purchase grocerys and gas with that weekly. I am taking on another little boy Monday and I will begin putting that into the savings account and pretending we don't have it all. Just think at 80.00$ a wk simply depositing it into savings that will add up nicely! Try forcing yourself to save money! Once its in a savings account it is not likely that you will feel good about spending it! Not to mention if you choose the right bank (a bank that lets you deposit by mail but isn't open weekends or late in eves) it will be hard to get to and hence won't get spent! Hope this helps someone out! Also try utilizing atleast half of your tax return for paying down debt! Keep a third for frivilous spending (have to do it now and then!) and then put the other third into each member of your familys savings (divide it by each member of the family and deposit equal shares!)
If you have any type of "welfare" health ins some states have a special phone plan for you. My daughter was on maine care and while she was are phone bill was ten dollars a month!!!! No extras of course!
Hope I have helped out some families! We will be 200$ a month less in debt with 2004 taxes!
post #115 of 139
Here's a really great link about credit counseling. I think it was Piglet who was asking about the non-profit CC vs. the others---the non-profits aren't in it to get a cut of the money you paying off. I hope this site can be of help to someone!!!

jess, about the teaching thing----my parents paid for everything i ever needed/wanted for the most part. while i got a job at 15, it was purely for spending money. if i ever ran short, i went to mom and dad. they bought my car, the gas, insurance, etc. paid for college, my apartment, etc. i just didn't have the experience of having to do it on my own. i'm not saying i'm not completely grateful, but it didn't really help me understand about spending only what/less than one makes/has. i want my dc to see and be a part of making decisions about money. i'm thinking of not using my debit card anymore and going to cash only so that they can *see* that when there's no money---we don't get.

i'd love to discuss the whole learning about budgeting thing more! gotta run---

post #116 of 139
I just saved $35 in my phone bill by signing up for Talk America! LMK if anyone wants to try it too! What a great deal! I had no idea!
post #117 of 139
Originally Posted by georgia
Here's a really great link about credit counseling.
did you forget the link?
post #118 of 139
um, that would be yes

post #119 of 139
You know when I was a teen I babysat making atleast 25$ a week. My parents went and bought me a car for 800.00$ Because I was only making a small amount my parents made me give them 15$ a week for the car ins and paying the car back. Plus I mowed the lawn for 20.00 as needed. I worked to pay it back and didn't have gas when I ran out of money so I learned how to manage money! With my sister my parents paid for her car for her and then set that same plan up but never followed through with it. She is constantly unable to manage her money! She also lost her son so maybe it is just her maturity level. (he was a premie and she never went to the hospital for visits to snuggle him! The nurses told my parents to take guardianship or he was going to foster care.) I on the other hand think that the arrangement I had with my mom allowed for me to set the ground work for healthy financial planning!
post #120 of 139
OK, I've had a good day. Not only did I save all that money on the phone bill, I found car insurance for nearly $1000.00 less/year just by looking around. And, I think we found a used 12 passanger van (sorry, but we need it that we can buy for less than dh paid for his cheepo car! It's in great condition too! You ladies have really inspired me! Thank you!
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