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Anyone else ready to GET OUT OF DEBT #3 - Page 2

post #21 of 95
A&A- good question. What does this class mean to your dd? Is it really worth the $? Is there any less-expensive alternative? Would any of the grandparents want to treat her to that? My parents and in-laws are paying for the kid's gymnastics classes.

I am a firm believer that my debt is not my children's fault, and they will not be punished by my bad choices. That does not mean that they will get every little thing they want, I need to teach them not to be like me with spending.

I don't know how old your dd is, but, if this means a lot to her, and the grandparents aren't going to foot the bill, I would sit her down and talk about the expense. I would give her an opportunity to "earn" half of he money for it (that will help determine how much it means to her), maybe have a garage sale, list some stuff on ebay, have a lemonade and cookie stand, chores, whatever.

HTH!
post #22 of 95
i'd also check and see if the class was refundable or partially so (or you could switch classes/teachers) in case dd didn't end up liking it or what-have-you. then, it's not such a scary expense. i try and ask myself pros and cons to most every purchase....then, i've made a conscious decision either way. sometimes i regret it, but at least they were thought out if you end up not paying for the class, is there anyone you know who might be able to co-op with???
post #23 of 95
My husband and I were talking last night. It was a lot about what is a good expense as opposed to a bad expense. We determined that as the bills go we will stay very basic for now. Then he brought something to my attention. Alicia's closet! Oh dear! I never really realized! When I give someone hand me downs its enough to clothe not one but TWO children! Something I like to do with friends who have children is go bargain shopping! I love to find my daughter outfits for under four dollars! However for instance in the closet now is enough for Ali to not repeat an outfit for two solid weeks! I have already begun shopping for sizes that she can't yet wear because I get such good deals!!!!! But then I just buy more and more and more because they are cute! Or they go on clearance later in the season! So that is what I feel I waste a lot of our money on!!!! I am working on it but its hard it clearance season!!!!!!!
post #24 of 95
[QUOTE=jess7396 I would give her an opportunity to "earn" half of he money for it (that will help determine how much it means to her), maybe have a garage sale, list some stuff on ebay, have a lemonade and cookie stand, chores, whatever.

HTH![/QUOTE]

I like the idea of a garage sale. (That would give us a chance to get rid of some STUFF, as well! )
post #25 of 95
Ok I definatly need to subscribe to this thread....I (well DH and I) have been living in denial ever since we got married about the state of our financial affairs : The past five years we have always gotton 'so close' to haveing a major disaster but somhow it always worked itself out.....well that is not going to happen now

We currently have almost $20K in CC debt (just one card) and goodness knows how much in student loans (my undergrad and DH's law school) which are on deferment because we can't make the payments. We also have a $563 car payment that will be done in 2 years....and there is no real way to get rid of it because we need the car. BUT our biggest problem is that was a spenders : It is totally our own fault - we are both terrible with budgeting and are big impulse buyers....and now we have spent all of our 'cushion money' and barely have enough to pay our monthly bills.

We are looking for ways to cut out some of our montly expenses - we are considering getting rid of cable and internet and I am DETERMINED to lower our grocery bill. That will help some, but we need more then that. We are due with #3 in December and I so DESPERATLY want to have a homebirth but now I can't see any possible way to get the extra $2000 that it will cost We don't even have enough to send DS back to preschool next fall - which I know is not really a *must* but he loves it so and to be honest with the new baby I will REALLY need a break (no family around)

On the plus side for the first time we are putting away 5% of DH's salary into retirement savings, as well as paying alot on our mortage - so that is instant savings. But that dosen't help us on the monthly basis when we are $100 - $200 short on bills.

Any suggestions? Or just support would be nice. We are going on vacation (already planned and mostly paid for : ) for the next 2 weeks and when we get back are planning on meeting with a credit counsler. It just makes me soooo mad at myself because my DH has a good job and makes really good money and there is NO REASON why we should be in this kind of debt.

Oh and about kids and money - my DS already says "well let's just go and buy it mommy' whenever he wants something. He is no trying to be sassy or anything - it is just what he is used to. We have always just enjoyed picking up little (or big) things here and there for the kids so they really don't know or understand any other way. It makes me so sad.....
post #26 of 95
Grace-
welcome to our group, I am getting tons of support from this thread and I am sure you will too. Really getting serious about the debt and the pressing need to get out of it is most important. I have been almost "there" before, but, this time, I am truly "there" and serious about it, and I know that a couple of years of working hard at this goal won't be easy, but, the time is NOW and we HAVE to do this. I am also hoping to truly change my ways, so that all of the money now going to pay off debt will go into savings, the kids college accounts, charity, etc..
post #27 of 95
Was just flipping through the channels and heard Dr. Phil say something right on track, he does that on occasion :LOL.

Anyway- he was talking about drug abuse, but the principal applies here too- he said that the most dangerous idea is that one must "hit rock bottom" before they can be seek help, and he pointed out that "rock bottom" can be 6 feet under. In the debt situation, bankruptcy would be "rock bottom" I suppose. I am thankful that I am getting serious now.
post #28 of 95
Welcome graceoc -- you'd be surprised where you spend your money. I'd suggest checking out of the library the book "your money or your life" -- the #1 walk away message I got from it is that to control your spending you need to know what you are spending your money on. and being 100-200 bucks short each month -- that sounds like it might be easier to find than you think -- dunno what you spend on groceries, but 10 bucks less a week x 4 and you're at 40 bucks. cut out cable and you're likely there.

Ok question for you mamas. Anyone have a fleet bank cc? I got some good cc offers today in the mail and then found out bank one regularly ups your interest after you sign up. (checked the wording closely on bank one and sure enough they don't guarantee the low rate for ___ period of time. Just that you start there). So I checked out the other offers, and fleet looks decent, but I don't want to switch if they are crappy to deal with KWIM?
post #29 of 95
Graceoc I am not as much in debt. I have no credit cards but we would like to live comfortably with me at home. We bought a 1,00$ vacum. (WHY?!!!!) We have a car payment on my car and we have a furniture bill. Again WHY! I would love to have that extra money every month to make life more bearable! Some suggestions that I have found helpful are, one utilize atleast half of your tax return for paying off or down high interest accounts! IE when we do taxes at the end of 2004 we will pay off the thousand dollar vacum and the furniture bill! YEEE HAA Two cut the other half of the return in half again put half in your savings for a cushion for the year(or years) and the other half spend it! Buy the things you have needed or REALLY wanted!(Spoil yourselves now and then!!!!) Three Try babysitting or getting an evening job. This works for some moms to get a little extra cash and its a change of pace. I get over a hundred a week babysitting for grocerys! It helps our family and I have a little spending money! Four try cutting down your utilities to the basics. There are also some free internet programs out there watch out though often its only so many hours of free access a month and then its a charge per hour. Good luck and welcome!!!!!
post #30 of 95
www.bankrate.com is a great place to find out more info on cc rates, etc. it also has some super clear advice . about the children's clothes---i have a friend who has quite a few little ones, and she decided one day that everyone had too many clothes. she went and sold, donated and traded away ALL but 7 outfits per child plus kept some playclothes. each child gets one jacket per season, and two pairs of shoes. she made a fortune on consignment! she was doing laundry every day anyway, so now she's even more apt to get it done so everyone will have clothes to wear amazing. i wish i could get to that place! i tried to go through and be ruthless, but i kept thinking, if we NEED this, it would be more expensive to rebuy it......
post #31 of 95
yeh! we lowered our cc interest rate by half just by asking for it! DH called the credit card company and asked if they can wave the annual fee and if they can reduce our interest rate and they were happy to do it. We were able to drop from 19% to 10%. But they could not drop the annual fee of 25$ because we were at a lower interest rate now. It was one or the other. With the lowered interest rate we save $20/month so it pays for itself in almost a month. From what I have been reading in this thread is that cc companies are very negotiable. You just have to call them up and ask for what you want. I hope that everyone tries this!
post #32 of 95
Welcome, Graceoc! Facing the debt is probably the hardest step, and you've done that - Woo hoo! Sounds like you've found some great ways to save here and there. You can also call your credit card company to see if they will lower your interest rate, and if not, you can try to find another company to switch your balance to that will charge you less interest.

Rather that throw extra money at your mortgage and the 5% to your dh's retirement, you might want to take that money and throw it at the cc debt and into a fund to restock your emergency cushion. For examply, if you can find another $400, split that between CC debt and your emegerncy fund... What is the interest rate on your mortgage? Have you refi-ed to take advantage of the low interest rates? Your dh's retirement is not making that much money right now, and if your interest rate is low on your mortgage, that isn't costing you that much in interest. Therefore, you will save much more $$$ by paying off your cc debt which is probably at 15%-20% or more.

On amazon.com, you can buy a used copy of "Your Money or Your life," any of the Tightwad Gazette books, or "The Millionaire Next Door" for cheap to get you started. You'll probably find that tracking your expenses will be the first major change you make. You can also start learning more about paring down by visiting the Simple Living discussion forum at: http://www.simpleliving.net/forums/default.asp

On saving money...I found a cheaper place to get a dumpster for dh's auto shop. Which translates to about $100/year. Seems small, but every little bit counts. Sold a book on amazon this morning for almost $18 - that's like a 20% raise today!
post #33 of 95
I was actually thinking of trying to sell Alicia's clothes instead of giving them away. They are all like new. (and why shouldn't they be they only get washed and worn twice!) Do you think that is mean though? I have a niece that will happen to fit into all of the clothes in the right seasons! Her mom is looking to me for free clothes all the time! Shes always looking at Ali's clothes and mentioning that she can't wait to get that one!
post #34 of 95
I think you have to make a judgement call on selling them vs. giving them away. I happen to get tons of hand-me downs from dh's cousin for my dd, and I am soooo very thankful for them. I pass my son's clothes down to my nephews too. Maybe just sell the nice brand name stuff? That's the only stuff you'll get any money from anyway, IME.

Charity in general is a problem for me, every charity that writes me gets at least $5, so, of course, then I get on all the lists, even though I am giving so little. Every homeless person I pass gets whatever I have in my pocket- which is never very much. I like the feeling I get when I give, it's addictive. I tend to think that God won't let me go broke by giving too much to those in need, and really- it's not the giving that got me where I am today- it was the unnecessary, frivolous spending.
post #35 of 95
If you're looking into low cost phone service and already have high speed internet (cable or DSL will do) then try www.vonage.com. It's voice over IP and *fantastic* quality but very low cost. There are a variety of plans - $24.99 gives you unlimited local (same area code) plus 500 minutes of long distance. That's what we have and it works well.

You can also get a "virtual number" - for example if you live in Maine and have relatives in NY that call you all the time you can get a NY area code so it's a local call for the people calling you but it still rings through to your number. I think that's $4.99. Pretty swift.
post #36 of 95
Yesterday I went grocery shopping with my kids and I had a full cart. My 7 yo. dd looked at me and said, "Mom, this BETTER all be on sale." So at least I'm teaching her something right!
post #37 of 95
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody. Welcome Grace. I've been diligently reading all the posts the last couple of days, but was too busy out SPENDING MONEY to post myself. Well, not entirely. Worked a couple days this week, then yesterday had to do the weekly Grocery Shop. ($100, not counting a $95 trip to Costco for paper goods and staple items--no astrobrite convenience foods in this house--that won't have to be repeated for three to six months) The $100 grocery bill (conventional and Trader Joe's combined) is slightly higher than I hoped--I wanted to meet $100 for the whole week, and I've still got the Co-op to hit today for a little produce and some bulk organic beans and flour. I bet I'm out of there for $15, though. This is so much better than I WAS doing, and I credit this thread for keeping me motivated and conscious of the money.

Kids' activities are expensive. My older DD really wanted to take horseback riding lessons, so we're trying that out for summer. ($30 a week) Both girls are in gymnastics ($100 a month for both), big DD takes piano ($100 a month) and little DD is in an art class ($80 a month) that she'll quit in August because of kindergarten. They LOVE these activities, and these aren't things they'll get at public school in California. But we're looking at $400 a month in scheduled activities right now!

It sometimes feels silly to be endeavoring to save a few bucks on the grocery bill when we're shelling out $400 a month in extracurricular activities. But boy, it all adds up. Our grocery bill, before the big focus on reduction, was about $1000 a month for four people. The organics, the gourmet stuff, the convenience stuff, the seafood. I remarked in amazement to DH, who works in grocery, about the people over on simpleliving who have a goal to spend no more than $35 this week and he said, "Yeah, honey, you buy the most expensive stuff in the whole store."

I'm not planning to cut the quality of food we buy, but to use my own skills to make it go further. I've been spending a lot of time in my kitchen. Got a crockpotful of beans going today (we thoroughly enjoyed our last vat), got a new sourdough starter brewing and will try making bread tomorrow, been air-popping bulk-bought popcorn for snacks and using a little real butter--DDs LOVE this. We've made juice popsicles, cookies, bread machine bread, banana bread out of rotting bananas. Used every last scrap of a whole organic chicken, and little DD ate homemade chicken/vegetable soup for breakfast one day and now asks for it every morning. Used one freezer-burned piece of turkey Italian sausage to flavor a homemade spaghetti sauce the other night. I've always loved cooking, and lately I've just put a new spin on it: use everything up and keep costs down. Like someone said earlier, even $10 a week in savings adds up to about $40 a month.

And now, my tomato garden has begun to produce! Yippee! Every day this week, we've had salad tomatoes from the yard. And fresh herbs. Happy summer!
post #38 of 95
welcome, Grace! I dont have all that much to report.. just wanted to check in. We're still keeping track of spending and as the end of the month approaches, i am anxious to pull out the statements and the lists and see where we're at.

Grace, I second bamboogrrl's suggestion about putting money toward paying down cc's rather than the retirement. Splitting the money between a cushion and cc's seems like it would tackle part of your problem and then once your' cc's are paid off you can look at retirement issues. *Definitely* get Your Money or Your Life. It will seriously rock your world- it whatever way you need it to!

Re the giving to charities... I am a firm believer in tithing and that in order t allow money to flow into your life, you need to allow it to flow out. you're right- we dont' get into debt by giving to those in need too much..lol! I highly doubt all the stores I have shopped at and the restaurants we blew money for big dinners at needed our cash!

Keep on, keepin' on everyone.

(oh, I have one personal thing to share. Yesterday was dh's and my 3rd anniversary. We ate dinner at home - mom took dd- with some filets i had bought on accident several weeks ago (meant to get a cheaper cut), salad, and homemade cards. Much better than blowing the money his mom gave us on dinner out. we're going to save it for something special in the future. Or- when we need some quick cash!)

And... I forgot. I was thinking we could all share some things that we do regularly to save money/resources. Kind of like our own Tightwad Gazette. I"ll start-

Instead of buying expensive cloth wipes, I used a bunch of receiving blankets from dd's birth (we had a million of those flannel ones. you always get a bunch. and they're cheap) and cut them into 5x5 squares. If i'd been really on it, I would have stitched the edges to keep them from unravelling. But- about 4 blankets gave us several dozen. She's a year now, and we are still using them.

Who else has a tip?
post #39 of 95
Heres my tip......
We purchase clothing for my daughter well ahead of time at clearance sales! For instance during this summer clearance we are purchasing 4t clothing which is what she should be wearing next summer. I got her winter coat near the end of the winter last year for six bucks in size 3t!!!!! Why pay full price?!
post #40 of 95
angel --- sometimes that works for me, but my dd seems to be one of those kiddos who grows sporadically so I end up with loads of things that fit at the wrong season. I *do* shop like that for winter stuff (and umm, winter is like 9 months a year here )

my tip: veggies that will go in a soup (like celery) but are destined to be spoiled before you can use them up can be chopped and frozen. I always do this with celery. We eat about 1/2 of it then the rest gets all white and dried out. So I take the inside 1/2 (with the leaves) and chop it for soup, freeze it, then when I'm making soup I just dump my little baggie of veggies in there.
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