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Anyone else struggling to make ends meet? - Page 2

post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderdust View Post
E-mail your instructors and ask what textbooks they're planning to use. I have done this every semester so I can purchase my books from places like half.com and Amazon. Also, bigwords.com is an excellent site for finding the best prices on textbooks.

If you're taking and English or literature classes, sometimes you can get away without buying the book... many of the texts can be found online. Discuss it with your instructor first.

Also, see if your school's Associated Students Council offers any book grants or loans... some will do this, some can't. It all depends on what's in their budget. It's worth asking!
I second bigwords.com. They do a search of all of the book sites for you to find the best prices. Check the school library and the local library too to see if you could borrow any of the books. (I went to a SUNY school also, and our library had all of the Humanities books.) If someone else already borrowed the book, have them check if it can be sent from another library (interlibrary loan).

As for school supplies, check the sale ads. It seems like everyone has stuff for 10 cents. Bring the ads and all the kids into WalMart and do a price match so that you don't have to drive all over the place. If you have a Rite Aid near you, there's some coupons that combined with the sales makes free school supplies. (This week there's free Mead notebooks, free glue, and free crayons.) If your Rite Aid no longer has the tearpads, PM me with your address and I'll send you some coupons. They were a big sheet of paper, about the size of notebook paper. (Unless the mailman is unusually slow, you should get them Saturday if I mail them today. Just let me know how many coupons you'd need.)

As for soap, toothpaste, etc, check out CVS's and Rite Aid's Extra Care Bucks and rebate programs if you don't do those already. I get tons of free stuff (even paid to take stuff after coupons) from both places. Rite Aid has Dawn dish soap on sale for 99c this week, and with the $1/2 coupon from the paper a few weeks ago, it makes them 50c each. Hotcouponworld.com, afullcup.com, and slickdeals.net have tons and tons of threads about those.
post #22 of 33
You should also look into online libraries. Many have all of the books you may need and they only cost 10 for 4 months. Plus you can highlight qoutes and they'll automatically insert it into a paper and create a works cited list too.
post #23 of 33
ok, lots of info to share here

Do you have medical baseline and CARE on your utilities? CARE will drop your bills 20% and medical baseline will give you a higher baseline and save you a ton of money since its unlikely you will get pushed into high tiers and rates. Having CP will qualify you.

For text books I agree, email the instructors to get the book title. One trick I have learned is to order the previous edition, say 4th instead of 5th edition. Then just copy the pages from the reserve book if you have to do chapter questions or something. You save about 80-90% on text books this way. I have done it for 2 years now with no problems.

When a prior text wont work I have found I can often get a digital copy for less then half price. For example I had a book that was the 1st edition/just published (the teacher was the author) and it was like $80 plus it would have cost $40 in gas to get to campus, I went to the publishers website and found out I could get a web based subscription to read the book for $25 that lasted the semester.

I often donate my texts if I know the instructor loans the books out to low income students who can't afford the book. (some times its just not worth it to resale it)

You can get school supplies for free and cheap right now. I know with coupons you can get free glue, crayons and mead notebooks at Rite Aid right now. Check out the couponing threads, I have saved a huge amount in the 3-4 months I've been couponing. I'm working on a website and I'm going to C&P what I'm working on right now as I think it might help you

Quote:
I save an average of 80% on EVERYTHING between sales and coupons. I have started tracking every receipt and last month I spent $451.18 and saved $1,232.27. I’m also now well stocked on a number of items. Were good on diapers for 5 months (praying to the universe for potty training before then!) that we got for free or .99 cents a pack at Walgreens. We have an ungodly amount of wipes that I got for .14 cents a pack and I’m still using the wipes we got for free back in January when they clearanced out the Huggies xmas print wipes! Target paid me to take them out of the store if I remember right So were good on wipes for at least a year I’m guessing. I keep getting them because we use them for everything from butts to hands and faces on the go. I can’t pass up .14 cents a pack (with coupon). (Tip, eBay is a great place to get multiple of coupons! For example I spent I think it was $3 on 20 coupons for $3 off 2 packs of Huggies Clean Team wipes, well the 40 count pack at walmart is $1.64 a pack so 2 X 1.64 = $3.28 - $3 coupon = .28 cents for 2 packs of wipes or .14 cents a pack. That $3 saved me $60 or $57 is you count the cost of the coupons on eBay. This week I have been stocking up on an obscene amount of toilet paper (haven’t been able to bring myself to try family cloth yet) and for $27 OOP I now have 10 months worth of TP. Now had I realized a coupon I had worked on the TP I was buying I could have gotten 20 months worth! I can’t complain though, I got half the TP for free using a wonderful thing called Register Rewards which you earn for buying specific products. For example last week at Walgreens they had a deal on Kelloggs products, either 4/$10 or 5/$10 depending on which product. You got $10 worth and it gave you a $5 RR. (there were coupons out too so they only actually cost $5) Now for about 24 hours there was a little computer glitch and it was giving out 2 $5 RR! So I moseyed my little butt on down and got $20 worth and paid for it with food stamps and I got $20 back in RR. I in turn used that to get free TP which was on sale at a great price. This is an easy and legal way to turn food stamps into basically cash to get other items you need for free like laundry detergent, soap, TP, office supplies, lots of stuff. You’d be surprised at what you can find in some stores. Often times you can get things for pennies on the dollar and turn around and sell it at half retail to your friends or on places like Craigslist. Not that I do, just saying I know people who do it. A lot of people also stock up on tons of toiletries then hold a yard sale 1-2 times a year and easily make around $1000. I haven’t but I see posts on a regular basis from those who do. I’ve also got a year or more supply worth of Reynolds wrap (.14 cents for 20 sq ft package) Bic Soilei triple blade razors, (.29 cents a 4 pack and paid with a RR so they were all free), Skintimate shave gel (free and .45 cents a can), ungodly amount of Sunsilk products (I’m actually giving it for xmas I have so much!) was free with overage if I remember right. I have an embarrassing amount of office type supplies. This week we stocked up on Crayola Crayons, Mead single subject notebooks and Elmers School Glue for free. Ok, it was more like .36 cents for 21 notebooks, 6 boxes of crayons and 9 bottles of glue. The trick is to stock up when it’s cheap to tide you over until the next sale so you’re not forced to buy it at full price. I also got a ton of Bic pens for free this week. Coupons are awesome!

Anyway, were 12 days into the month and so far I have spent $175.20 and saved $511.98 my goal is to save $1000 a month while building my stockpile.
I learned how to do all that by reading the websites mentioned above. You have far more income then I do, I only get $689 and my rent is $583 so I have little to work with. I manage to sell little extra's here and there but it doesn't bring in very much but I'm able to start building a stockpile when things are cheap. With some new tricks you will be fine
post #24 of 33
You can do it!

We are also struggling. I know I am not the only one, so you're definitely not the only one.

In my family, sometimes I work, sometimes my husband work, never full time. This past couple of months, neither of us work, but we have enough saving to pay the rent and bills (so, thank God for that!)
My husband is disabled and trying to get back on track (get better education). He doesn't get social security because of our unpredictable income (we don't wanna deal with the hassle they seem to give us everytime)

I am trying my best to make the food we have last, buy cheaper food, and all that. I've always been frugal, but it's true, sometimes I do feel that I am hitting my limits in frugality (like, buying day old white bread because it's cheaper than making it myself, haha, but I don't do it anymore because I don't like it)
I guess we're kinda lucky. We live in a one bedroom apartement and we never had to pay more than $45 a month for electric (of course, I am strict about our electronic usage around here). I have saved a lot of money by not having/using a car, we walk and take the bus/train everywhere. We don't have to deal with insurance. I do understand it's probably not an option for you because of where you live and your disability (I was only mentioning it to explain our lifestyle)

Anyway, I think I am good with money. I can budget pretty well, and I can find the best deal for most things (except couponing, I am kinda new to that). If you want, I could help you with your budget (how much do you spend on gas in a month?)

Yeah, when I feel nervous about our financial situation, I try my best to hide it from my daughter. She's only 3, so she doesn't really notice.
post #25 of 33
I was just looking up my text books for this term and this is where I get online access to them http://www.coursesmart.com HTH!
post #26 of 33
Sounds like lots of practical advice coming your way! I have a quote to share that I read today in a enewsletter I get. It immediately made me think of your post which I read yesterday:

Brenda Cobb, founder and director of the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta writes: "...The key to success is that you must keep on keeping on even in the face of adversity. You are more powerful than disease or failure. If you stay focused on the positive experiences, you will manifest your goals faster than you can imagine. Whatever you do, be positive!"
post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone,

I haven't been able to check up on the thread for a few days because I been so busy trying to catch up. So, I probably missed out on the Rite Aid coupon thing. I have one that is about 5 miles from me, how come I never hear of things like that??

I have never eally worked with coupons. Other than cut out a few here and there, but most of what is in the paper are for things that I will never use anyway. How do you double them? Where on the net can you get them, and what stores take home printed coupons? I know that many stores in my my area don't honor them. I would so love to learn more about using them and making them worth while.

As for school books, I don't even know what classes that I will be enrolled in and who my professors are until the 24th, and then I start the 25th. This is due to the paperwork issues with my FA, (that was NOT on my part, Damn school and I wasn't able to do the early registration. I am hoping that I have pretty cool professors that will understand and maybe give me the time to order them online after classes begin. I am trying to get ahold of this program that they have at the community college for single mothers that will help cover the cost of the books. But, forgetful me didn't realize that today was Saturday when I woke up.

I have thought about homeschooling before, but with me going to school as well, I really don't think that it is an option for us right now. Plus, I think the kids need the social interaction too. It wouldn't be so bad if I could get them enrolled in other activities to where they could still see their friends, but that too costs money.

I pay out almost 30 a week for people to give me rides to places. I live in the country and public transportation is almost non-exsistant. Plus, with the C.P., trying to get bags on a bus would be difficult.

I have tried to do all this completely on my own for so long, (since I was 15)I have no idea about half the ways out there to save money, and the grants and things to help. I am just now learning.....kinda scary being thrust out in the "real" world at the age of 28.

I will check out the links, and into online libraries. Thanks for everything you all!!:
post #28 of 33
Quote:
I haven't been able to check up on the thread for a few days because I been so busy trying to catch up. So, I probably missed out on the Rite Aid coupon thing. I have one that is about 5 miles from me, how come I never hear of things like that??
Start reading the coupon sites like afullcup.com, hotcouponworld.com and slickdeals.net forums and you will likely never miss a sale again and will even know about it weeks in advance many times It took me about a month to figure it out and feel confident enough try using coupons. I felt for sure I was going to be arrested or something for using coupons becasue saving that much money must be illegal!


Quote:
I have never really worked with coupons. Other than cut out a few here and there, but most of what is in the paper are for things that I will never use anyway. How do you double them? Where on the net can you get them, and what stores take home printed coupons? I know that many stores in my my area don't honor them. I would so love to learn more about using them and making them worth while.
You can see this weeks upcoming coupons at http://www.taylortownpreview.com so you can see if its worth it to you to buy the paper. My rule of thumb is if I'm not going to save at least 3x what the paper costs or its not worth it to buy it (gas and money). If there's a coupon I really want I usually want multiples of it anyway so I get it off ebay. It pretty worth it to me, right now the only lunch meat brand dd can eat is on sale but I only have a few coupons and not enough money to stock up so I just ordered the coupons off ebay and will hit the store daily until I see the shelf empty then get a rain check for 20 packs which will last a couple months. I spent $2 on coupons and will save $11 from the coupons then another $23.80 from the sale price. So a little bit of my time and I will save $24.80 or $22.80 if you add in the cost the coupons which really isn't more then I would have paid for a single paper. Now multiply that by all your groceries To add further value to the coupons I got they also came with 20 coupons for the bacon dd eats which should go on sale in the next 2-3 months before the coupon expires so I will save another $11 on top of what that sale price is from that same $2 investment.



Quote:
As for school books, I don't even know what classes that I will be enrolled in and who my professors are until the 24th, and then I start the 25th. This is due to the paperwork issues with my FA, (that was NOT on my part, Damn school) and I wasn't able to do the early registration. I am hoping that I have pretty cool professors that will understand and maybe give me the time to order them online after classes begin. I am trying to get ahold of this program that they have at the community college for single mothers that will help cover the cost of the books. But, forgetful me didn't realize that today was Saturday when I woke up.
Only once in 4 years of school have I had a professor who couldn't wait a week for me to get the book. Many many students have to wait a week or 2 to get there fin aid checks before they can buy there books (I do!). You should easily be able to go to orientation and find out the book then go home and get it online either a digital book or one of the hard copy sites and have it shipped priority mail. Want to know a neat little trick to find out which books you will need? I am assuming you know which classes you will try to get into. See if the schools bookstore is online and allows online ordering, just act like your shopping for your books and it will tell you every thing you need to know by telling it which class and instructor you have. Then you can start finding out which will be the cheapest option for the book (usually digital).

Quote:
I have thought about homeschooling before, but with me going to school as well, I really don't think that it is an option for us right now. Plus, I think the kids need the social interaction too. It wouldn't be so bad if I could get them enrolled in other activities to where they could still see their friends, but that too costs money.
We homeschooled for 3 years as a single mom and full time college student. It sucked.




Quote:
I have tried to do all this completely on my own for so long, (since I was 15)I have no idea about half the ways out there to save money, and the grants and things to help. I am just now learning.....kinda scary being thrust out in the "real" world at the age of 28.
There is lots of help out there, you just need to know where to go. Hang around us "poor folks" online and you will find out
post #29 of 33
You've had lots of good advice, but I didn't see this one: before you buy any textbooks (even at the great discount places suggested), email the professors and ask if you can borrow a book. I would lay the situation out factually ("I'm a single mother, I have CP, we're very short on money, I really want to take your class," etc.)

Some professors won't loan books, but some will.

Also, does your school have a center or organization for disabled student services? At my college the disabled student organization maintained a "library" of textbooks to loan out.

Good luck to you. I think you'll pull through this. You're clearly doing a great job with your kids. Your daughter's suggestion about the yard sale shows that, as well as their sensitivity.
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
Also, does your school have a center or organization for disabled student services? At my college the disabled student organization maintained a "library" of textbooks to loan out.
My school's DSP department doesn't do this, but the department for low-income students is putting one together for (hopefully) next semester. Definitely ask around at the various departments; if one doesn't have it, another might.
post #31 of 33
Moneysavingmom.com is another great resource for coupons and other such deals.
post #32 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post

Good luck to you. I think you'll pull through this. You're clearly doing a great job with your kids. Your daughter's suggestion about the yard sale shows that, as well as their sensitivity.
This brought tears to my eyes. I really needed to hear something like that. I have been feeling so guilty and been feeling like a "bad mom" for quite awhile now......
post #33 of 33
Here is an article that can hopefully help:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com...Desperate.aspx
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