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#1 of 21 Old 05-13-2010, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my kids' father and i have separted, and i'm having to learn how to live on much less money than i was living on before. unfortunately, i'm not doing a very good job. and i'm racking up credit card debit very fast! i've asked him for more money, and he won't do it. i am going to discuss some things with him regarding the house and where i live with the kids, but i don't think it will go in my favor.

that said, i need some advice on how to make my money go as far as it can go!!

i've got a wic appt set up to see if i qualify, and i'm going to see if i can get on the gas and electric plans where your bills stay the same every single month. like this month i could swing electric fine, but two months ago my gas bill was over 500.00!! so................

i try to shop in bulk and freeze, and bake from scratch, and not buy processed foods. i have a garden and am ready to plant for this year ( my blueberries and raspberries are already coming in). i joined an organic co op for the summer and i won't have to pay anything out of pocket for fresh veggies and fruit this summer!

but, my bills and groceries are still more than i can realistically pay for. and for the first time in my entire life i have CC bills i cannot pay off. it's not the end of the world and i know that. i know that at some point things will all even out. but, i figure you ladies are all very wise when it comes to financial situations. maybe some of you could offer me some wise wisdom and help me not make it worse in the near term?

i have 5 kids. 4 of them are girls. i live in an expensive part of the country, northern va. my house is big and does a horrid job staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer ( hence the seeing if i can convince the STBX to let me move!!!).

ummm, i don't work. i rely on his money, and i homeschool. so, clothes and lunches aren't an issue, and i don't buy curriculums either.

so........ there ya go in a nutshell. if anyone has ideas, please let me have 'em!
thank you!!!!
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#2 of 21 Old 05-13-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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Oh dear. What an awful situation.

When you say that things will eventually even out, what does that mean?

If I was in your situation, I would move to a smaller, cheaper house and then find a way to support myself (most likely working full time). Do you have a degree or any work experience? It doesn't sound like your current lifestyle is sustainable.

In the mean time, keep your credit cards at home and get a lawyer.

Healthcare is a human right!
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#3 of 21 Old 05-14-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by danaalex View Post
hence the seeing if i can convince the STBX to let me move
Is there some reason you would need his permission to move? I mean you must be able to find a cheaper hoursing situation even within the same general community??

Unfortunately, it sounds like you need some income, in all reality depending on your ex to pay support is not a great long term solution. If your ex would be unemployed, I assume his checks would stop coming as well. Even if support is court mandated, if the ex doesn't have incoming money, you won't be getting incoming money either and then you will be in a real dire situation.

At first glance with what little information you've supplied, it sounds like you need a job and income of your own.

I don't know what else to suggest without actually seeing what your budget is and where you are not making ends meet.

Best of luck to you
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#4 of 21 Old 05-14-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post
Oh dear. What an awful situation.

When you say that things will eventually even out, what does that mean?

If I was in your situation, I would move to a smaller, cheaper house and then find a way to support myself (most likely working full time). Do you have a degree or any work experience? It doesn't sound like your current lifestyle is sustainable.

In the mean time, keep your credit cards at home and get a lawyer.
This. I'd be looking for a job and a more affordable place to live. It may mean some significant lifestyle changes, but sometimes you gotta do what you've gotta do.
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#5 of 21 Old 05-14-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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i'm just getting my divorce started. currently stbx has to maintain "the household" but as soon as the house sells the girls and I will be living in a much smaller place (apartment most likely)
i hope to live off alimony and cs while i go back to school

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#6 of 21 Old 05-15-2010, 10:17 PM
 
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Is the house rented or does your ex own it? Are you paying rent or living there for free? Is he paying court ordered child support, or is that still being negotiated?

How long was the relationship, does he have to pay any form of alimony?
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#7 of 21 Old 05-17-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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If you file for child support, you don't have to ask him for money. It is his obligation.

Even if you get that, though, unless it's a very large amount, I don't see any way around getting a job - six people and no income doesn't seem realistic to me. Expenses will increase as the children get older.
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#8 of 21 Old 05-18-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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i'm also confused why you would need his permission to move? For me, divorcing was the start of having my own life and *not* having another adult control my situation.

I've been divorced for a couple years now, and also homeschool, so I feel ya. But in reality, you really can't get a free ride on child support. Mine is through child support enforcement, but that doesn't mean I'm guaranteed to get money. I get paid if he pays. His boss wouldn't sign any paperwork, so they can't automatically take it from his payment. Since then he's lost his job, and now gets unemployment checks. Thankfully that's through the government, so they do send me little cuts of that. But any work he does on the side (which he does LOTS of, he just milks the unemployment checks), he doesn't report, obviously, so I don't see any of it. Anyhow, I'm saying all this because you need to be proactive and not depend on HIM to decide how you live.

WIC is pretty puny, IMO. Get on food stamps, unless you *really* like milk and cheese! If you don't have a job, you'll immediately qualify, and with that big of a family, you'll get alot of food stamp credit.

Also, like everyone else said, you need income. I sell stuff on ebay, as well as do childcare from my house, and take any odd jobs I can find. There are discussions on these boards somewhere (maybe in the single mama part) of homeschooling single mamas who all have great ideas for income. I also moved to a teeny tiny house that we're all squished into, so I wouldn't be scrounging every month, and it's great!!

Good luck!
Much love,
Julie
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#9 of 21 Old 05-19-2010, 05:02 AM
 
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Well I dont want to repeat what has been said but you need a job. There is no guarentee STBX is going to pay child support. Just because something is ordered does not mean it will be paid. You need a smaller place to live, larger income. A smaller place will have lower utilities. 5 kids makes it hard to get an apartment and any place will want proof of income (something other than child support).

You can homeschool and work full time.

How old are your kids?

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#10 of 21 Old 05-19-2010, 07:24 AM
 
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I just wanted to offer a hug!

I was a single mama for 2 years and didn't work (i'm in the UK, so there is a benefits system here but it was HARD and i lived VERY frugally!) but it was hard. I was going to suggest you a) move to a smaller, better (in terms of warmth and cool) house, and b) look at things you can do now to make money. It actually sounds to me like you are thinking pretty well - the co-op garden etc. sound great, BUT sometimes really huge sweeping changes are needed after a break-up. I don't know what your STBX does, but my child support has NEVER been more than £20/week, and right now it's £12.50 (my XP chooses not to work). If i was in any way relying on it we would have starved.
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#11 of 21 Old 05-19-2010, 08:31 AM
 
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a lot of places you need permission to move the children unless you can demonstrate a reason for the move that would give the children better quality of life(ie, moving in with family in another state, moving for a better job, etc). but i do believe that in most areas, there is a time frame that he is no longer capable of keeping you in that area. in most situations I want to say it's a full year from the separation date?????? don't quote me. check with your local court clerk.

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#12 of 21 Old 05-19-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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Still waiting for an update from the primary poster, but it looks like they were married as opposed to partnered. The difference being with a divorce she gets alimony + cs, not just cs. Probably, the house is jointly owned and may have lost value in the recent real estate "crash".... the mortgage may be underwater.

My 2 cents - it is expensive to keep up a big "family" type house... home repairs, mortgage, heating, electric, real estate taxes, etc. I am not sure what you pay, and what the ex pays, but this may be part of why you are having difficulty.

If the divorce is not yet finalized, I suggest you NOT keep the house in the divorce. Many many women choose house over cold cash and come to regret it later. Houses are expensive to keep up. Apartments have lower utility costs (usually) and no maintenance costs.

Next, apply for LIHEAP and weatherization. That may be able to reduce your housing costs.

How old are your youngest children? A job is sounding like a good idea.
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#13 of 21 Old 05-19-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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WIC is set aside for pregnant and nursing mothers and children under five, so if any of your wee ones are older than five, you will not be able to get WIC for them. I second the poster who recommended looking into food stamps.

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#14 of 21 Old 05-19-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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Whoops, forgot to sub.

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#15 of 21 Old 05-19-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
This. I'd be looking for a job and a more affordable place to live. It may mean some significant lifestyle changes, but sometimes you gotta do what you've gotta do.
Depends on the age of the kids. Daycare for 5 kids is likely to cost more than the OP will be able to earn.
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#16 of 21 Old 06-06-2010, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi!
sorry for the lag time between updates.
my kids are all under 8. the youngest two are 2.5 and 16 mo. so, they would qualify. i am looking for a job, which is a touch tricky because of the whole child care issue. i'd have two full timers, if i put the other three in school in the fall.

we are not divorced yet. i do not get any alimony at all. we have been married 10 years. i am trying to make changes as fast as i can. i went from not worrying about money at all to suddenly living on less than i would normally spend on my credit card each month. its been HARD!!!

this past month i decided to live on my food storage for as long as i could. the WIC could've helped w the milk, eggs and cheese. plus, my mom said they now do veggies and fruits too ( she runs a WIC office in balto, MD). so, that would've helped because my youngest two love cheese and eggs, hahaha. and the additional fruit and veggies really would've guaranteed a summer without needing to buy much at the store.

i have put away the credit cards. and i'm not spending money as much as i possibly can. i'm going to start either ebaying things or i'm going to have a garage sale soon.

part of me moving is that i really cannot afford to stay in this area at all. most rents would be about 1800-2000 a month, and i doubt i could get a job where i earned that much money. if i left the area i could find somewhere cheaper to live, but here in VA i'd need the kids' dad's permission to " leave the area." even the 1 bedroom apts here are 1000.00 a month. soooooooo...............

i have pulled the kids from their activities, and i'm doing the whole "no driving" days. i'm gonig to look into the utility programs that regulate how much you pay each months, instead of paying the accurate amount each month.

i will look into the food stamps and try to get my STBX to write a letter again. i would need the financial asst if the kids go to school in the fall and i'm still here.

the hardest part of this is telling the kids i don't have money for this and that anymore like i used to. and their dad being able to afford all of these things for them. and then him telling them that i CAN afford things. he told me that he thinks half of the debt i have now is related to purchases for ME!! which is sooo upsetting. there were two things i had to buy because he's been spying on me for over a year now. via my computer and my cell phone. and i went as cheap as humanily possible. but, those two things do not add up to even close to the mid point of my debt. oh well......

thank you for all of your advice and suggestions. if you have any for day to day frugal living. things that might help ( other than things like coupon counting). i'd love to hear them. i'll continue to read this forum for advice and what not too!

thanks!!!!
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#17 of 21 Old 06-07-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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dang mama!! that is some serious crap you are having to wade through Could you get a roomate? Sounds like you live in a desirable spot, so probably there's someone (like a college girl or older woman) who would be totally cool living with a bunch of youngins (and probably being able to trade out some rent for occassional childcare).

I know our towns are not the same, and I'm in one full of hippies, but one summer I was living in a house that was bigger than i could afford, and i put an ad in craigslist for people to camp in my back yard. I charged $10/night, and they could come in and use my kitchen & bathroom. We made some amazing friends, I got enough to pay my mortgage every month and sometimes the guests couldn't pay for a night so would trade doing a small home repair or helping with a project. i only had one family camp at a time. it pretty much rocked. But I live in a super tourist town where there's a billion hippies so there's always 40 people eager to camp in your back yard while they vacation or house hunt or whatever. anyhow, you're definitely at the point of needing to get creative and make some MONEY!!!

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#18 of 21 Old 06-07-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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So sorry things are so difficult right now. I am in Richmond but know how outrageous the COL in Nova is! I think relocatng would be a huge help, and WIC, while not the be all end all solution, saves us abunch of money each month, with 3 of my 5 and me as a nursing mom being eligible.

Good luck to you!
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#19 of 21 Old 06-13-2010, 03:14 AM
 
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Is you STBX still living in the house or has he moved out? Is the house upside down? A roomate or better yet other single mom to share costs with would help and then you could share babysitting. Any chance of doing daycare in your home? Maybe overnight care or weekends... something "different" that you can charge extra for?




You say seperated so is there any chance of saving the marriage and not divorcing?




Do you have any family you could stay with?




Do you have anything in writing yet with STBX? If not he could just stop the money at any time. Do you have joint accounts?




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#20 of 21 Old 08-21-2010, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi! i just wanted to update this thread.

i am still living in the house, which is hard. but, i did qualify for food stamps. so, that helps with the cost of the house. i went to not using my credit cards, which has been such a help! basically, i pay all bills when they come in. use the food stamps for our food ( which is not a lot of money at all for 6 people, but i shop at aldi and i make a TON from scratch using the hillbilly housewife site). every little bit helps i think.

we have cut back on pretty much everything. i'm getting as many hand me downs as i can. i hit a consignment sale today for clothes for my oldest child and my one son. i bought a TON of stuff for them both for 70.00.

my STBX was nice enough to give me cash for my one daughter's school books. so, that helped. and i signed up to be a sales consultant for a company that i'm thrilled to now about. so, on my own time i can try to make some money. but, they have a program where even if you don't sell anything you can make money. so, we'll see how that pans out.

if i could find a cheap place to live i would move, to get rid of the utilities, etc. but, there is just nothing. even the itty places around here are too expensive. and i'd move if i could, but my kids have expressed a lot of angst over the idea of moving far from their father. even the thought of 2.5 hrs has them in tears. not that i would be sure i could afford to move even 2.5 hrs away. the places i know are cheaper, are much further than that.

so, that's about it. :-) i feel better than i did a couple months ago. i think knowing my kids will have food regardless of anything else has REALLY helped my mental state over money.
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#21 of 21 Old 08-21-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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I just wanted to pop in to give some encouragement.
I was a single mom of three for years. It was the most challenging time in my life. I've never lived off so little money. The kids went without the niceties for a while until I was "back on my feet". I did manage to survive without child support for a couple of years. My parents did help me a few times like when I needed a new car. They cut me an interest free loan and allowed me to make a very, very small monthly payment.
While I'm no longer single we now have two more children in our family and our income is just making it. I know this will be silly to some but I get much inspiration from the Duggar family, especially the early days when they weren't making nearly as much money. If they can feed and clothe all those children and have NO DEBT, so can I!

I wish you and your family the best.
s to you all
GL!

Cate
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