What are you doing to improve your financial situation? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Just wondering what everyone is doing to try and improve their financial situation. I have gone back to school to get some better qualifications, so hopefully some day (seems so far away), I can have an enjoyable, well paid career, instead of working dead end minimum wage jobs I hate. You?

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#2 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 07:08 PM
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Having a garden, paying off debt, simplifying my life, conscious consuming, saving money, decluttering. I hope to be completely out of debt come 2011. Then save, save, save.
I am hoping to take some classes at the community college this fall and some other classes from some local women.
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#3 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 10:36 PM
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We're staying in our current apartment as long as possible, even though we're a bit cramped.

We're trying very hard to save even on a tiny budget, so that when issues arise we have a buffer.

My husband is taking classes right now. He's going for a bachelor in nursing. It will require him to quit work eventually and we'll have to live on loans and/or part time jobs. So we're working on paying off debts and when the time comes closer looking for jobs we can juggle.
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#4 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 03:16 AM
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Babysitting even though in my pregnant state it's been a struggle to maintain my energy.

Taking odd jobs here and there, photography gigs, subbing, small organizational jobs.

DH is taking every odd job that is thrown his way in addition to working his full time gig.

Doing our best to spend our money only on necessities, and not on stuff we don't need or eating out.

Me my DH 4.5 year old DS and who just arrived on the scene 6/10 Excited to be blogging! Decluttering in 2010: 2010 / 2010
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#5 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 08:26 AM
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I am in school to get my masters so I can be a policy analyst. Working between one and four part-time jobs at any given time. Currently trying to find another part-time job that pays more and is more interesting than what I have. Living in a house that is pretty small (500 sq feet - two kids and myself) but also pretty cheap for this area. Still keeping a frugal kitchen (just ate oatmeal purchased in bulk for breakfast). Still buying almost everything I need at yard sales. Just scored two practically new sleeping bags for $4 each and some really cool toys for my kids. No debt except car loan that will be retired as soon as the divorce is completed and a student loan which I am negiating to be paid as part of the divorce settlement. I also started a Roth IRA that has a regular montly pay-in.
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#6 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 09:44 AM
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Tracking every penny, living cheap, making some tough choices about what we buy.

I am also working towards a BS in nursing, though I have 2-3 years to see that finished so we are working with the income we have and making it go as far as possible.

Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves

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#7 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 09:59 AM
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On my side of the ocean--saving (not spending) and staying organized.

On dh's--he's going to school, and just went in 50% into a business. If all goes well, that will at least provide him living expenses and some to help his family with, which means the rest of his time over there won't drain our savings.
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#8 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 10:18 AM
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Nothing yet, but we need to do something! Will be watching this thread for ideas!

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#9 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 10:21 AM
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We bought a small, (cute!) sensible house with sensible mortgage.

Instead of both of us working as much as possible to make as much money as possible and end up feeling frazzled and spending money on things to make our life easier... DH works and I stay home.

I spend my time doing things to *save* us money. I buy in bulk, cook from scratch, hang our clothes to dry etc etc. I'm planting a huge garden and hope to grow as much food as possible. Ultimately, I'd like to grow enough to last all year but I think it will take a couple years to get to that point.

We're also doing renovations on this house and some things I'm able to do myself while DH is at work.

I'm pretty much in love with my life right now and we hope to bring kids into our home over the next year.

Blogging about renovations in our first home
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#10 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 10:59 AM
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You mamas are inspiring me!
I make my own face wash, deodorant, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. I'm trying to pay off my student loan, but I need to be more diligent about spending less and putting more money onto my loan each month.

I've also started walking or biking to work at least 2x a week, to save a bit on gas.

We grow a bit of food in our one sunny spot. I would love to eventually move to a place with more sun!

 Married to my sweetie and enjoying life with our fabulous dog.  Expecting #1 in August 2012!!!!


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#11 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 11:10 AM
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To be honest, we're drowning right now. DH works full time at a good job, I hold several PT jobs and run two small businesses that contribute a little bit to the household budget, but due to crappy health insurance, we paid forty percent of our take-home salary last year to health care expenses and we're on track this year to do it again. DH's company only offers a high deductible plan with a lot of copays and they just don't cover much of what we need. Losing nearly half our income to medical bills just isn't sustainable.

So DH is looking for a new job with better health insurance and I'm polishing up my resume and applying for a higher-paying job. I'll probably be shutting down my own businesses, as least for now. How I handle my workload is complicated by the recurrence of mystery syndrome X, which, among other things, causes muscle inflammation and makes it difficult for me to walk and use my arms and hands. Switching to a more sedentary job will help.

We're homeschooling, so this will involve some juggling, but we're keeping our fingers crossed that the cards will line up for us. We already live very frugally, with a small mortgage (lower than most rents in this area), gardens, no cable service, the cheapest phone service, etc.
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#12 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 01:06 PM
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Fortunately, I obtained my professional degree long before getting married and having kids.

I just changed jobs and got a raise, plus the benefits are GREAT. As of today, we have finally rented out our condo. My husband knocked on doors (literally) almost 7 years ago and found a very low cost house for us. We have done much of the renovations ourselves and moved in last October.

We're planting a garden this year. I cook from scratch. I join co-ops to lower our costs on children's toys and clothing and whatever else we can get through them that we want/need. We cloth diaper and I knit all my son's covers. My SIL and I swap clothes - our kids are almost the same age and the sexes were born opposite each other, so, it works great!

Saving regularly and finally in a position to stop raiding it regularly. Saving for retirement and taking advantage of employer match. Earmarking employer equity awards for my childrens' college education.

My husband stays at home and that saves on child care costs.

We will be completely out of consumer debt within the next 12 mos. However, I would like to buy a new (to us) car, so, I need to shop smart for that.

Mama to a dd 10/05; ds 3/09, dd 2/15 and two angels. Expecting another miracle 7/16!
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#13 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 01:49 PM
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The main thing we are doing is paying off debt. Thankfully my husband has a very good job - he loves it, the benefits are awesome, and the pay is great. He works from home about 75% of the time and travels about 25% of the time so we also get a lot of family time.

I'm also working on expanding my business. I also work from home and just graduated so I have free time on my hands - well I will after the summer is over.
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#14 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 03:51 PM
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Changed to a high deductible medical insurance and HSA to bring down costs - employer contributes to HSA. Maxing out my 401K contributions - employer matches to 8%.

I've always cooked from scratch and almost always bring my lunch to work.
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#15 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 03:52 PM
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We're living in a small place rather than take on a bigger mortgage.
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#16 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 05:13 PM
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Ok, we are still learning to do it, but here's what we are doing:

cooking from scratch
NO eating out
Partial cash system
Lunch from home
buy used when things are needed
got a smaller garbage can (this cut our bill in half!), got a bigger recycling can (for free!)
finding free things to do with the kids
buying cheaper beer
just staying home in general

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#17 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 06:38 PM
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Finishing my PhD soon so we can stop paying tuition.
Supporting DH's travel and crazy work schedule by picking up most of the slack at home so he can continue to build his career and increase his earning potential.
Blooming where we're planted and making due with less.
Using the library instead of buying music, books and videos.
Throwing out catalogs and focusing on what I have, not what I don't.

Healthcare is a human right!
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#18 of 27 Old 06-05-2010, 01:11 AM
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subbing for ideas!

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#19 of 27 Old 06-05-2010, 12:38 PM
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We are each keeping a log of the money we spend every day in an effort to spend less and be more aware. My iced coffee habit has gotten out of control! I also bought a cooler so the kids & I can bring food with us when we're on errands, and I think that'll save alot.
Other things we do:
cook from scratch
raise our own meat
milk our cow and make butter every other day
bake own bread
make goat cheese
raise a huge garden
trade with other farmers
bring cash to the grocery store (I'm going to start this week!)
leave checkbook/debit @home, when the cash is gone your done!
use clothe diapers
use diva cup instead of tampons
buy only second hand clothes, except shoes, socks, undies
designate stay at home days
go on dates that don't cost $
shop online instead of in stores, saves gas & impulses
learning to craft
taking Lifeways training to open Waldorf inspired childcare/preschool on our farm in 2011

Loving my four beautiful children in all their various stages (17,14,3 &2), aspiring to be a graceful wife to one hardworking man
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#20 of 27 Old 06-05-2010, 12:48 PM
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We both work at pretty decent jobs. The most major good things we've done were to always base our basic living expenses on one salary - so we never got into a house that required both salaries, etc. That doesn't include childcare though.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#21 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 12:08 PM
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No eating out..
Cook from scratch.
I put in a garden since I have a small yard now.
We moved into a small cottage that is less $$ in some ways..
I have cancelled everything that I can to help my budget..No internet,no cable ect..(still trying to adjust to not having internet at home)
Cash/envelope sysytem..
Make a tank of gas last a week and 1/2..In other words I go no where except work.(if I need to go to the store I do it on my way home from work)

Looking at taking some online business classes this fall..I would have to put the internet back in but I am tierd of working 2-3 jobs and having nothing.
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#22 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 12:50 PM
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I will be going back to school either this fall or next spring, depending on when I'm accepted into the nursing program at my cc. Apart from that, we are:

Canceling cable (I have dragged my feet on this for years because my shows are all on cable channels and it sucks but trying to be positive, it will be motivation for me to put everything towards the bills)
dropping home phone down to basic plan, no long distance or frills
cooking from scratch (we're going GFCF so the savings won't be as significant but it will help)
no eating out (again, with GFCF it will be difficult anyhow)
using fans vs AC
using the library for books, cd's and movies
thrift shop for clothes (I can recon toddler shirts into rompers for dd2, etc)
Dh traded in his truck for a car with much better gas mileage
We will be paring down dd1's summer activities to just one
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#23 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 01:12 PM
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Good luck Siennaflower with nursing school...I hope the job market is good in your part of the country for nurses...there isn't really a nursing shortage right now. Lots of RN's staying in the workforce due to the economy, picking up more hours due to the economy. I'm an RN and my hospital has NO openings for new grads. Only experienced OB nurses. One of my coworkers is an instructor at one of the local college's ADN program and out of her last graduating class of 60, only 10 had jobs.

Anyhow, what I'm doing to improve my finances....I cut up ALL my credit cards..so if I don't have cash, I don't buy it.
-Dropped the minutes on my cell-phone plan
-cancel long distance on landline(we have DH's 86 yr old mother living with us so we MUST keep the land line for her incase of emergency)
-dry clothes on line in the basement
-cook from scratch
-limit activities on the weekends to those that are free--
-now we DID buy a baseball game package(to the local Detroit Tigers AA affiliate) for the three of us--for $39 each we get tickets to 7 home games, free food and drink(hamburgs,hotdogs,chicken,sausage,pop and water) during the entire game up to the last out, a free hat and all these games have fireworks following the game. We will be attending the next game in the package on Friday 6/11! A fun family night out on the cheap $6 per person per game, not including gas money and parking fees($3--brother in law pays that as he rides with us)
-reconnected with one of DH's high school classmates through facebook. She's super friendly..had us over for a picnic last week..they have a pool as well so DS swims there. DH and DS were over to her house on Friday night while I was at work to swim and have a bonfire. DS loves her 9 yr old DD.
--cutting down on caffeine consumption--I LOVE my McDonalds Iced Coffees--hard habit to break.
--Do all my banking/bill paying online to cut down on stamps
--shopping at Aldi's

Those are just a few! I love reading hints,tips and tricks to save money!

~~Kelly, WAHM to one son(4/26/04) and one
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#24 of 27 Old 06-10-2010, 05:37 AM
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Trying to always focus on positives, good energies, and only speak positive and uplifting as much as possible.
Looking to volunteer more.
Trying to focus on what is important and not be in a million directions.
Selling things.
Free activities for fun, like playing certain sports or going to parks.
Not shopping/buying things except verified needs.
Searching for better jobs, reading about how to get said jobs. Going out of comfort zone to accomplish that.
Planting a garden.
No more using credit cards.
Learning to spend more wisely and be mindful consumers.
Giving up cable, always in kitchen homemaking meals/food, bringing snacks/meals/drinks when not at home.

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#25 of 27 Old 06-10-2010, 12:29 PM
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I got another job, so I work 38 hours + at one (only management get full time) and I'm a sub for the other (some weeks I don't work at all, others I'm working 4 hours) I had to do this because they cut out all the overtime at my job

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (17) Seth (10) Pandora Moonlilly (6) and Nevermore Stargazer (3) Married to awesome SAH DH.
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#26 of 27 Old 06-10-2010, 03:36 PM
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Cancelled iPhone and went to a prepaid Tracfone. iPhone cancellation fee is not much more than one month's iPhone bill.

Trying to eat out less (for me, eating out is Subway), taking lunch to work. I'm working tons of OT at work right now, so that's extra cash for a while, but after 12 hours days, I'm fried. So, I get some frozen dinners or easy stuff to fix. Convenience food, but it's still cheaper than getting something out.

Shorter showers.

Hanging things to dry even in my apartment, and then running them through the dryer on fluff for 10 mintues to get the crunchiness out (I HATE stiff clothes!).

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#27 of 27 Old 06-10-2010, 03:59 PM
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I've been off track for a while and need to get back to focusing more energy into saving money and being more aware of what we're spending/doing. We're trying to buy land and build a house now so that is going to take a lot of money we really need to be saving.

Here are some things I've done in the past and am working on doing again (really need to start keeping up with it):
Cook at home and from scratch
Cooking cheaper more basic meals (more beans and rice; less meat)
Making lunch for DH to take to work; taking food/drinks when we run errands
Line drying clothes
Using ac less and fans more
No purchases unless we need it and then 2nd hand if possible
Try to coordinate our errands to one day a week (this has been a mess lately)

I'm not sure what else. I've been going over stuff and these are just a few of the things I know we need to get to do again. Once we get moved I plan to start at least a small garden to cut some of our produce costs. Need to start buying in bulk again too. I'll be watching this thread for ideas.
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