So upset and I don't know what to do next. (long) *UPDATED* - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 37 Old 07-10-2010, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well we've tried to do the Home affordable modification for the last YEAR (since dh lost his job last year in april)...but our mortgage company takes our info and promises paperwork is out in the mail and we NEVER get it...go through this back and forth every 3 months of doing the app..talking to someone on the phone about it a week or so later and then waiting the 4-6 weeks for nothing to come in the mail to start all over. UGH.

(dh got a new job as of this January there was a pay cut but we took the BEST offer he could find because he works in the oil fields.) and we tried again to work on the mod but still NO help from our company...tried to find other options but well we got behind in payments so have two marks on dh's credit to late payments so can not refinance till it's been a year since the marks happened (sept/oct last year). Our mortgage company gave us NO help when he got laid off even though we called monthly to try to work out payment options anything so we would never be late. again they offered no assistance.

Then came a dreaded letter this March our property taxes have skyrocketed...so our mortgage will now go up 181 a MONTH...making it 1600 ...I went online and did the new online application the mortgage company does for the modification and after submitting it online it automatically popped up a screen saying we were not qualified for the program but could possibly refinance (we already know that's not an option).

So then I burst into tears yesterday and I feel so lost today.

All I can do is cry everytime I think about it. The short dh's net take home is just over 3100 ...after dh's child support and our health insurance and we don't have enough to cover everything. After paying the 1600 a month and we only have one car and it's 575 a month and that includes insurance....so yeah do the math....we still have to pay utilities (502 total), gas for the car, and oh yeah GROCERIES. We now have absolutely NO money for anything other than those important things when it's all said and done. We qualify for absolutely NO assistance because of our income from dh...I stay at home with the kids but do work for the church part time (but even that it's only an extra 400 a month net).

I'm at a loss, completely broken up inside, and feel hopeless. Working more for me to bring in income isn't an option because it'll be a complete wash after we pay for childcare for a newborn and our 4yo (I've looked into the cheapest care out here and it was 150/ WEEK just for our newborn!!).

What do I do? Is there anything? We can't sell our house it isn't an option even though that's what our mortgage company keeps saying "You need to either sell your house or you guys need to get better jobs" Yes they've said those exact words to us multiple TIMES.

*sigh*

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#2 of 37 Old 07-10-2010, 09:54 PM
 
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"you guys need to get better jobs"


Yeah, don't we all! Sorry, I can only offer a hug and an ear. My dh and I are up @#$% creek too. We owe $3000 in taxes and are now a month behind on our mortgage. I had quit my full-time job because we have a new baby. I started working part-time but they aren't calling me much. I'm so worried things are going to get worse.

I hope something works out for you.
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#3 of 37 Old 07-10-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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Can you explain why you can't sell your house? 50% of your income is a LOT to pay for mortgage, especially when it means you can't afford groceries. Your car payment does seem a bit high too, though not terribly, since there's insurance in there as well.


If you -truly- can't sell your house (or rent it out while you live elsewhere), would you be able to bring in a renter? Someone to rent either a room, or a basement 'suite' or something?

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#4 of 37 Old 07-10-2010, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thing is we have a 3br house and 3 kids. We're squeezed in and have no basement or other areas. We couldn't rent where we live because 2br's start at 900/mo (we'd never fit into one of them) and 3br are VERY scarce and if you're lucky to get one it's 1200+/mo. (there was an oil boom out here 2 years ago so things are just plain ridiculous at the moment! we probably wouldn't break even either if we tried to sell because of the boom slowing down and houses aren't selling here at the moment.)

rock and a hard place...TOTALLY.

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#5 of 37 Old 07-10-2010, 10:57 PM
 
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I sympathize with you and have no financial advice. I would look to people in your church for prayer (since you mentioned working there I imagine that is an important outlet for you). Prayer works and I bet you will find some strength to get through this from them. I would bet the pastor would be willing to offer a listening ear.

Are you doing the grocery game? That is the only thing I can think of financially.

I want you to know that it is not hopeless! Do not give up! God has a plan for you and your life. Look to him for strength. Get out your bible and review some of the gospels. If he can do all that, he can get you through this. I hope you don't mind me saying this...but you mentioned being active in your church so I'm hoping not offend.

Good luck with everything.
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#6 of 37 Old 07-10-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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I'm trying to think of options for you. None of them sound great. But some thoughts nonehteless.

I'm assuming selling off your vehicle and busing/walking is not an option? Perhaps your DH could carpool, you could get rides to church, etc? It's not ideal, but even if for only a year or so, it would give you an extra $600+ a month.

Could you provide childcare for neighborhood or church familes? Not necessarily even daycare, but casual ongoing babysitting? Once a week for $30 each still gives you gas money, or pays your phone bill or the like.

Do you have any extra 'stuff' you can sell off? That would make the house seem more spacious as well.

Perhaps you could post a quick budget breakdown, and that way we could figure out areas to cut back. The 'easiest' tends to be phone/cable/internet and also groceries.

You cannot work more because of childcare, but would it be possible for your DH to pick up some extra work? Even something like providing odd jobs to the community, or one night a week doing a part time job.

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#7 of 37 Old 07-10-2010, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the town we live in we have to have a car and we only have the one car...we had to sell the other....plus walking isn't an option with three kids in my state..I am 2 years post op from spinal fusion and just had a baby...I'm still working on regaining my abdominal strength in order to even walk enough to grocery shop...having 3 kids isn't easy to ride share with others because they're all in car seats.

DH works now from 6am to 6pm (at times he gets in at 9pm or even some days he doesn't come in at all.) He works 25 days a month and only gets 5 days off in a row per month (oh and he drives round trip anywhere from 200-500 miles a day to his rig sites and does have a company truck now). He is on call 24 hours a day so even when he isn't on a rig he can be called out at a moments notice thus not leaving him the ability to work elsewhere. (he's tried delivery at nights but got called out to a rig one to many times to keep it up)

I've been a grocery gamer since 2006 and thank God for that because I can feed us for only 300 a month now! I'm praying for strength and wisdom. God has gotten me this far and it can't worse I keep trying to tell myself but it just seems os hopeless.

Oh and our budget break down here goes..

3186 DH's net
300-600 DH's net bonus (varies on amount of work a month averages out to about 400 a month per year)
= 3486 - 3786

1627 mortgage (this includes taxes & insurance payments)
567 car & insurance
502 utilities (180electric 50gas 100water & sewer 130phone, internet, cable 40 cell phone)
300 groceries
75 household (pet foods, baby needs, prescriptions)
130 to CC debt (minimum payments on 2 cards)
50 to medical debt from my surgery(we have to pay or we go into collections)
16 life insurance for me
70 Gas for my car (basically 1.5 fill ups a month)
150 tuition for ds2 preschool (not paid in June/July but we put that 150 in the summer towards extra debt payments)


= leftover of $00-$373 depending on the bonus that month that we can't rely on to help keep us afloat.

Anytime we get extra on a bonus a month it will typically go towards extra debt payments (we racked it up when he got laid off) or towards the next months needs or even extra groceries and gas for the just in case something happens. We don't get to eat out but sometimes once a month when we get that little bit extra just because we NEED that one thing to perk us up when everything is crashing down around us.

We have NO savings (lost it when he lost his job)...our checking account is almost always hovering over near empty...and we have nothing to show for retirement.

So there we go. I feel we are scraping the barrel...we have tried to cut back our utilities and that is how we got to where we are at. I need the cell for work and it is the cheapest we could get and we're only month to month on it as it is. We have the internet for dh for work, me for work & school (well when I could go and we had the money for it ). Umm what else is there? We have to pay the minimums at least on that debt but there is so much more that like I said any extra we get goes to those because we're in collections all over the place for different doctors.

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#8 of 37 Old 07-10-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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Yeah, that does seem tough. The utilities seem high to me, but I suppose that changes depending on where you are. We pay $140/month for electric/gas and $100 every three months for water. Our phone/internet/cell/tv are exactly the same as yours though. I would definately not expect you to spend less than $300 on groceries. Heck, I wish I could spend that little. And I understand about the car. It's always a longshot, but for people in more urban areas, it's sometimes do-able.

It really just comes down to the house. I know you said it's not an option to sell, but that's your downfall, and short of your husband getting a good raise, I don't see how your position will change. I understand how in your position it would be difficult to bring kids in for childcare, but maybe look into having someone rent a room. Even if it's a student for just the school year, and it means the kids have to double up on rooms, and baby with you, it could bring in some extra cash to try to even things out a bit. And if you're lucky, they'd also be able to help around the house or with babysitting. A family friend had international students stay in her house to attend the local high school on an ESL program. She was paid quite well for it. Maybe something like that?

I wish there were some clearer options. There's got to be somebody else with ideas... There was a thread I read today about making money from home, seemed to be reputable. Maybe check it out

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#9 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 01:04 AM
 
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Can you reapply for an "In House Mod" ?

Call your lender back and ask them.

We were in your shoes until this past May. I quit praying to keep the house and told God to put me where he wanted me. I was so tired and fed up that I just felt like I didn't care anymore. He surprised me..because I thought we would move to my mother's for a while.
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#10 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 01:35 AM
 
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We are in a similar situation...My Dh brings in less than yours but I am working part time, so that helps to make up some of the difference. Ultimately, our take home is probably $400 less, but our house payment is about the same less too, so I totally get it.

First, sell your car, and buy a beater. Not a single one of our cars has a debt on it. It will free up that payment AND give you a savings on car insurance. If you are right side up on your car, use the difference to buy a new car. If you aren't, do whatever you can to scrape together $1000, scour craigslist and such and get a great deal on a car and get rid of that debt. I understand needing a car, where we are there is no public transportation, not having a car is not an option. At the very least, if you can keep it together until the first of the year, use your tax return, assuming you get one (and if our numbers are a similar as I think you should) to buy the beater and then sell the one that has debt on it.

Speaking of taxes, not sure how much you are having taken out, but see about modifying your DH's w-4 so that less is being taken out in taxes, and you have more coming home.

Also, if our incomes are as similar as I think, double check to be sure that you don't qualify for wic. With a family of 5, in my state, the income limit is $42k a year.

Fourth, and I know you aren't going to want to, I highly recommend pulling the preschool tuition. I am big on kids going to preschool, but I think at the very least, look for something that costs less or has tuition assistance or something. My oldest went to preschool at the Y, I got tuition assistance for it and only paid $25 a month. Now, that was like 10 years ago, so I am sure the process is different, but check around. In my current situation, if my 2 yr old was pre school age, I would simply not be sending her to preschool.

Finally, your other debt payments-something has to give. And unless the income comes up, it's probably going to be your credit score. If it comes down to it, keeping a roof over your head is more important than keeping a credit card current. Not only that, but on your credit score, having the consumer debt "go bad" is still better than having your house go bad. As a matter of priorities, Food, Shelter, Clothing, Transportation, and Utilities are tops(not necessarily in that order, and just because they are the priorities, that doesn't mean you have to spend a lot on them.)

Ok, actually, I lied, this is the last bit of advice I have....seriously reconsider the prospect of a part time job, some how. I work opposite my DH, so we aren't paying daycare. Currently I am only working 15 hours, but that's because I am pg, due in September and this pg has been ROUGH. Too many more hours and I start having too many BH contrax for my OB to be comfortable. Anyway, I work retail, at a 24 hour CVS. DH gets home from work and I head out. I realize that something like that is difficult with your DH on call, but there are still other options out there. I worked one job where they gave me my work on Friday, and I just had to turn it in by the next Friday, they didn't care when I actually got the projects done. OR, if working for someone else isn't an option, I suggest doing something from home to try to bring in money-anything from selling Avon or other home party type of stuff, to making crafts to sell on Etsy or ebay, to doing babysitting in your home. Check out WAHM.com, there's a ton of suggetions on there.

Things can and will get better. Nothing stays the same forever, so something will happen for you. I am right there with you, all we can keep doing for now is plugging along. To quote Dory from Finding Nemo "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming."
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#11 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 02:05 AM
 
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Preschool is not a necesity, not even close. That would be the very first thing I would drop.

Beyond that....you can't afford the house. We have 5 kids and a 2 bedroom house. Now, we do have a basement we are slowly trying to turn into livable space, but for the most part, we live in 900 sq ft. *shrug* I think it just takes redefining for yourself where you draw the line between "needs" and "wants".

We are in a similar boat to you...dh pays child support, so we don't qualify for any asistance, becauase on paper, his income looks decent, we just don't get to keep 25% of it. But they use Gross income so...ya. After scrimpling and going further and further into debt, I finally just went back to work last month. I finally found a childcare solution that was affordable, and jumped. The economy is SO HARD right now, that everyone and their mother is opening a "home daycare" right now, are you SURE you can't find cheaper care?(PLaces are charging as low as $62/week here!!) If you have a marketable skill, I'd look into it. IF all you would be doing is getting like a minimum wage retail job or something, then I agree, it might be better if YOU looked into watching a child or doing some housecleaning in the evenings or just anything at all to being in more money. OR you could do what dh and I did for the last 6 years up until last mointh - work opposite shifts...granted, I never got to SEE dh, it was "ok, im home, heres the kids, by, gotta go to work", but it did keep us afloat. It's a great way to work without paying childcare.

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#12 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 01:09 PM
 
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Does your husband work on weekends? Is there a way one of you can get a part time job evenings or weekends? I think that's about the only option, besides getting rid of the car payment.

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#13 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 02:31 PM
 
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What about babysitting? That could give you some extra cash & still allow you to stay home with the kids -- or any work at home job (I know a few threads have gone around with legit WAH gigs)....

Quote:
1627 mortgage (this includes taxes & insurance payments)
567 car & insurance
Don't know how this breaks out but could you shop around for cheaper insurance (possibly combine home & car insurance to save money)...

Quote:
502 utilities (180electric 50gas 100water & sewer 130phone, internet, cable 40 cell phone)
Your utilities seem awfully high to me -- I'd look into an energy audit to see if there are efficiency changes you could make. Also consider cutting cable & internet, and drop either the cell phone or the landline.

Quote:
150 tuition for ds2 preschool (not paid in June/July but we put that 150 in the summer towards extra debt payments)
Would you consider taking her out of preschool?

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#14 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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We don't have cable, and we use magicjack for our landline (our cells are prepaid, and cost less than $15/month combined IF we talk a lot). That would save you probably $70 plus right there.

Have you thought about asking the court to re-evaluate your DH's child support, in light of changing income? It might be an appropriate course of action.

Unless you're just completely upside down on the car, sell it and get something much, much cheaper.

Also, you may be able to petition for a reduction in your property taxes. The media here did a lot of stories on people who had challenged their property taxes, particularly where the county raised them even though homes aren't selling and aren't really holding their value. Many residents were able to get a reduction. If homes really aren't selling, maybe it's an idea worth investigating.

And finally, mama, I gently suggest you open your mind to possibilities like living in a two-bedroom (you certainly can fit five people in one, stuff is another matter) and realize that, if you want to keep you family afloat AND in the home you have, drastic measures may be necessary. Look for WAHM jobs. Sell things online. Babysit whenever possible. Move all three kids into one room and rent the other. There are LOTS of options, it's just that many of them require huge sacrifices.

I hope you can find a solution.
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#15 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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we were in a very similar situation just a little bit ago, when our mortgage ate up MORE than half of my husband's take home pay, and then his pay was CUT so his monthly paycheck BARELY covered the mortgage. its going a little better right now, and partly because we also applied for loan mod and got it...
my advice to you: call making home affordable program people. they are non-profit and their task is to help qualified people get the laon modification.
before we called them, our mortgage company kept telling us WE DONT PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM, and when we called the loan mod people, they told us saying that is illegal, they have to let us participate. they got us on a conference call with the mortgage company and suddenly they PARTICIPATED. we got our paperwork in less than a week.
it wasnt easy from then on, we had to go through 2 other mortgage companies after that one, because our original company sold our mortgage, and we had to start the process all over again... and again... and again.
it was so sad and sort of disgusting.
but in the end we got it!!! we just kept calling and asking and sending our requests VIA CERTIFIED MAIL and keeping track of everything that was going on.
it was well worth it, because the mod cut our payment in HALF. so now we can breathe easier.
among other things we did:
called EVERYONE whom we were paying bills and asked for lower rates/pmts. it worked in most cases.
consolidated our consumer debt into one monthly pmt with a lower rate (we will be debr free in 3 years!!)
looked over our bills and cut out EVERYTHING that wasnt necessary: landline, tv, etc.
i agree with others who said preschool is not necessary for you right now, im sure it helps by taking some pressure off of you for a few hrs a day, but 150.00 monthly is 1500 a year, that could go to the credit card debt!
you have to try getting at least your children on medicaid plan, i dont think you make too much, but at least you can try. one of my friends did it and they didnt approve them for m-aid, but sent them food stamps which helped (here you can make up to 5000 monthly and still qualify for those).
go to your hospital and ask to speak to a fin counselor. most coutnies have whats called indigent fund to help people w.out ins or with high med expenses. apply for it and see if they can help you pay your med bill. there are other charity programs, too. just tell them you CANNOT PAY at ALL. they will should be able to find a way to find another source of payment...
and dont give up! theres always light at the end of tunnel!
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#16 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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I agree with other posters - you need to cut your cable and cell phones out. You can make do with just a landline and DSL internet. Get the cheapest landline package - no voicemail etc (get an answering machine at a garage sale).

I would also sell the car unless upside down. Can you shop around for insurance a bit more? Take a higher deductible?

If you have a pet that eats anything more than say, a goldfish, you might consider rehoming it. Vet bills, food etc adds up.

Def drop the preschool and organize more playdates etc

$130 on CC payments seems high as a minimum - your balance must be fairly high, which leads me to believe that you can't really afford to keep living in your home. As PPs have said - could you rent your place out or sell it and rent, at least temporarily? No, it's not ideal to have that many people in a small place, but it can be done.

It's a tough situation.

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#17 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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We were in a similar situation last summer (except our income was $1600 a month and our mortgage was $800) and we ended up with a short sale on our house, just before it was foreclosed on. It was really rough. The banks will NOT want to work with you. Yes, they like to throw out rude comments like, "Get a better job! Pay your bills!" like it's the easiest thing in the world.

Can you get an evening job? My husband works during the day, and we can't afford daycare, so I waitress in the evenings. I just started, and on a good night I can make $70, and on a slow night, $30. This doesn't include my (admittedly crappy) wages. ($2.13/hour.) This is at a fairly slow Applebees. And they've been FANTASTIC about arranging my schedule exactly how I need it.

Or could the church give you more work? Could you clean a few houses or businesses? My mom makes $10 an hour cleaning the town library. It's only a few extra hours a week, but it's something, and you could arrange your time around your husband's schedule.

Or take in a few daycare kids.

Sell some things in your house. Have a big garage sale and put big items on Craigslist. If you have to move out, this will be necessary anyway.

Cut the cell and the cable. Cut the phone down to the basics. I don't recommend turning of internet in this day and age. It saves too much money. (Paying bills online, entertainment, job hunting, etc)

A family of five can definitely fit in a smaller house. My family of four is in a 600 sq foot 2 bedroom 1 bath house. It's tight, but doable. It's mostly a matter of pride, trust me, I know. We went from a lovely (but modest) clean, new 3 bed, 2 bath 1200 square foot house to a dumpy little rental shack because it was cheap. I could still seriously cry over what we lost, even all these months later, but we have sucked it up and did what we had to do to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. We had to sell a LOT of our belongings to make it work. My kids have seriously limited amounts of toys and clothes, because they are in a small bedroom and we only have one closet in the whole house.

If you don't want to move completely out, I like the idea of renting a bedroom. If you could find a trustworthy renter, it could work. Yes, it would be tight with three kids in one bedroom (or two in one, one in your room) but it might be better than having to move out completely.

At least put the house up for sale, you never know if you might get a bite.

Your car is very expensive. Can you trade it in for something cheaper?

Is there a public preschool in your area? Or a cheaper preschool? If you don't want to pull her out completely, you might shop around for something else. Or just hold her out until kindergarten starts.

Serious, serious hugs to you. I know how extremely stressful and consuming this is. As hard as it was for us to leave our clean house and move into this run down house with all it's problems, we still felt SUCH relief having more breathing room in our budget.
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#18 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 10:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommabean View Post

3186 DH's net Make sure to double check his withholding- ths could free up a couple hundred a month.

300-600 DH's net bonus (varies on amount of work a month averages out to about 400 a month per year)I wouldn't count this into the income, it can't be counted on, and isn't a guarantee. When you get it, sock it away in savings.
= 3486 - 3786

1627 mortgage (this includes taxes & insurance payments)I am sure it's a great place, but without an increase of at least $1000/month, you just can't afford to live here. Rent a room for now and put it on the market if you can't get some modification to lower this.

567 car & insurance Good grief- it'd had better drive itself at that cost. Get an older vehicle and carry minimal insurance. We have an older van (paid cash) and carry liability insurance only on it. Yes, if I hit a deer, I have to pay to have it repaired, but full coverage was about $100/month more. I can save that money and come out ahead even when I do have to pay for denting the front end on a deer.

502 utilities (180electric 50gas 100water & sewer 130phone, internet, cable 40 cell phone)The electric seems high to me, but I pay $160 in a very energy inefficient house in a very heating/cooling intensive climate. Most folks around here pay well under $100/month. Have you really cut back all you can here?

300 groceries I pay more than this for food for a family of five. I applaud your ability to make this work somehow!

75 household (pet foods, baby needs, prescriptions) Check on medical coverage for the kids through the state. I also have pets, and for us, rehoming them isn't an option- so we make sure to shop sales for pet foods. Baby needs? Like what? I have a 2 year old and a nine month old, I know I don't spend that much a month on them combined.

130 to CC debt (minimum payments on 2 cards)Have you called to ask for a reduction in rate?
50 to medical debt from my surgery(we have to pay or we go into collections)Write a certified letter stating that you are currently unable to pay this. Also call and ask for a reduction, offer them $5 a month for now.
16 life insurance for me
70 Gas for my car (basically 1.5 fill ups a month)$70 in gas is over 20 gallons a month. Is there a need to drive so much? I aim for less than $50 a month and I drive an older vehicle with passable mileage (minivan) and have to commute to town 40 miles away for grocery shopping a couple/few times a month.

150 tuition for ds2 preschool (not paid in June/July but we put that 150 in the summer towards extra debt payments)This seems to me an unnecessary expense. However, I choose to homeschool, and am happy to do other things for the kids' to have social interaction.


Anytime we get extra on a bonus a month it will typically go towards extra debt payments (we racked it up when he got laid off) or towards the next months needs or even extra groceries and gas for the just in case something happens. We don't get to eat out but sometimes once a month when we get that little bit extra just because we NEED that one thing to perk us up when everything is crashing down around us.

We have NO savings (lost it when he lost his job)...our checking account is almost always hovering over near empty...and we have nothing to show for retirement.

So there we go. I feel we are scraping the barrel...we have tried to cut back our utilities and that is how we got to where we are at. I need the cell for work and it is the cheapest we could get and we're only month to month on it as it is. We have the internet for dh for work, me for work & school (well when I could go and we had the money for it ). Umm what else is there? We have to pay the minimums at least on that debt but there is so much more that like I said any extra we get goes to those because we're in collections all over the place for different doctors.
My medical debt was absolutely crushing me... to the tune of about $100K. The collections calls were unbearable. Ultimately, I had to make a decision about how long I wanted to live under that kind of pressure. While I don't advocate bankruptcy for consumer debt, I do think it is sometimes the best course with crushing medical debt. It does mean reshaping your life, and the way you identify needs and wants (we live in 900 sf with two bedrooms and three kids now) but we are all pretty happy. A few years from now we will have completely rebuilt from the challenge, as opposed to still being burried under debt and still struggling. Change and sacrifice are hard to imagine as you look at them, but coming out on the other side you may well find out that it wasn't as hard as you feared it would be.
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#19 of 37 Old 07-11-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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After reading more of the responses, I have something else to add -- I think you really need to prioritize your expenses in order of importance to YOU. For me, I would do just about anything to avoid selling my house, and I have lived without internet & cable for a long time now, and would never even consider preschool. For you, preschool might be most important, or maybe it's the car & gas so you can get out a lot, or maybe it's the cell phones. Everyone's given you a lot of ideas on where to cut back but ultimately you need to decide which 1 or 2 expenses are most important to your family & be brutal about the rest.

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#20 of 37 Old 07-12-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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I would fight the new assessment and property taxes. an extra $181 a month?! Ouch! Do your homework, like going on realtor.com, zillow.com, and/or local real estate websites and show the town assessor what similar houses in your area have sold for or are going for. (Some of these websites will say how long a property has been on the market. If its been sitting on the market for months at the current price, its obviously not worth that.) Mention things like an older kitchen, bathroom, etc. Basically make your house seem like a piece of crap to the assessor in hopes of getting your assessment and therefore property taxes reduced.

You said that you do the grocery game... would you be able to get extra "freebies" (with coupons) at the drugstores, grocery store, etc and sell those at a garage sale? You probably have a pretty good stockpile of shampoos, soap, toothpaste, etc.

For the prescriptions, have you done the deals where you get a gift card if you transfer your prescription? I've seen coupons in various sale ads or online- Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Target, Kmart, etc. Many places will take competetor's coupons. I don't have any prescriptions, but I've heard of people transferring their prescription every month to get the $25 gift card. If you have a lot of pharmacies in your area, this could help pay for groceries.

If you have some expensive prescriptions, could you ask your doctor for samples?

I'm almost positive that you can lower your phone/internet/cable bill by calling up and telling them that you want to cancel your service to get something cheaper (and name a local competetor). A friend worked for Time Warner and said that they will always offer you the lowest introductory rate just to keep you as a customer. We were paying $30 a month for Roadrunner and then about $15 a month for Vonage (100 minutes a month, basically for emergencies since we mostly used our cell phones). I think I was previously paying about $30 a month for unlimited calls, caller ID, etc with Vonage. (It was the cheapest I could find in my area.) I'd get rid of cable and watch tv online.

Have you looked into less expensive car insurance? Last time I compared prices, there was a big difference between rates. We're paying less than $500 every 6 months for full coverage on 2 cars. For us, the savings to take off comp/collision wouldn't really be worth it. DH recently had a car accident, and it was over $4600 in damage to his front end. Does your state offer a course through the DMV to get a discount on your car insurance? The course may more than pay for itself.

I agree with others on selling stuff on Ebay and Craigslist. Craigslist would be good for bigger items or items that wouldn't be worth it to ship. If you got baby formula samples from the hospital or in the mail, I'd Craigslist those. Stuff like that.

Good luck!
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#21 of 37 Old 08-06-2010, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After 4 weeks of hassling the mortgage company NON STOP every day for answers we got the modification paperwork in and accepted. It is off to the next step and could be 4-8 weeks till we hear something but my plan is to call once a week every week till I get results.

This has been a hard roller coaster and I'm just praying that something turns around.

I've been purging out the house to sell things and make money to put towards debt. I reworked the budget and ds will not be going back to the same preschool but a parent's day out program at our church that is way cheaper. I also have a part time position with the church that will give me up to 10 hours a week and this will give us an extra 200-350 a month! I also am on the sitter list and this pays 10/hour if I am called as well as being on the list of substitute teachers for the program ds will be a part of.

Proud Momma of 2 boys R(6) L(4) & finally a GIRL (5/29/10)
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#22 of 37 Old 08-06-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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Wow! Sounds like you guys are making some great progress. *hugs* mama, I know it's not easy to alter a budget that already seems like it's stretched so thin. Major kudos for finding those little things that add up!

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#23 of 37 Old 08-06-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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Can I just be a nosy nelly and ask what kind of car you have? Is that what people pay these days? Yikes. For that money, you better be driving a really nice butt car, or maybe I am so out of the loop.
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#24 of 37 Old 08-07-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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Can I just be a nosy nelly and ask what kind of car you have? Is that what people pay these days? Yikes. For that money, you better be driving a really nice butt car, or maybe I am so out of the loop.
I was wondering that too...i paid 2K cash for my 04 grandam last year...my insurance is $300 a YEAR...I love having a paid for car, esp now that I am BROKE

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#25 of 37 Old 08-07-2010, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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we have just the one family car to fit our family of 5 (on occasion 6) and it's a Ford Flex...since it's our only car payment we don't see a problem with it that high....when we had two vehicles (dh had a truck I had a sentra) our combined payments were 416 and our insurance was MUCH higher. Our payment is 467 and our insurance is 102 a month (for the car and flex).

Proud Momma of 2 boys R(6) L(4) & finally a GIRL (5/29/10)
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#26 of 37 Old 08-07-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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yeah but you could sell that and get a used van for 2k

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#27 of 37 Old 08-08-2010, 04:48 AM
 
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Im glad things are staring to get better. I would still make some adjustments. I would call to reduce to cable cost or cancel it for now. If you have a cell phone you dont need a land line. With DH all over the place I see why you want a cell. I use the library for dvd's and order things online and go pick them up 1-2x a week. When my DS was younger Id use the library kids area for 'playtime' and for a change of pace.

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Seeking zen in 2014.  Working on journaling and finding peace this year.  Spending my free time taking J to swimteam

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#28 of 37 Old 08-09-2010, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok some more great news!

I have talked to another electrical company that services our area and will be switching over to them (plus they offer the budget plan that our current company doesn't offer)...and we have looked at AT&T's new plans and will switch to that. These two changes should amount to a savings of 75 a month. (possibly more but we won't know until the average billing starts with the new company...I really pray it's more)

DS will go to a Mom's Day out program which teaches with a preschool setting at my church like I said and it'll be 100 a month. Honestly I can't give this up because it allows me more time to work at church myself and gain more hours a week. So that saves 40 a month and will help me work my 10 hours a week kid free.

I lowered our monthly plan with the doctor's office....so that saves another 25/month


The BEST part of everything??
DH worked out a deal with his brother and he is going to buy our Sentra from us by paying us $100 a week. The deal is that the cost of the car is the debt we owe on one of our CC and he said DEAL! So that puts 400 a MONTH towards that debt and then we can put our focus on our other CC and pay it 200/month. DH got a HUGE bonus this month and we put almost 75% towards CC debt ...so if we stick it out we can be free from the CC debt in 6 MONTHS!

With his brother taking over the car it will be in his name (we have it paid off) ...so our car insurance will drop 25 a month!

So in all we are saving ourselves 165 a month and will put $70 towards the CC debt (that's why I said 200 above). Now to go to the budget sheet and rework it to see where we are at...and to PRAY that a modification goes through. If it doesn't go through I know I will figure it out...this is a day to day thing at this moment but I am really trying to lower everything I can.

Proud Momma of 2 boys R(6) L(4) & finally a GIRL (5/29/10)
..Fused & Fabulous!
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#29 of 37 Old 08-09-2010, 03:15 AM
 
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Wow, you have made a ton of progress! It's kind of trippy how things start happening when you take the bull by the horns sometimes.

Wife to an amazing hubby, mother hen to four chicken3.gif 
(If you're curious, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, and yes, it's a busy house)
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#30 of 37 Old 08-09-2010, 03:36 AM
 
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In the town we live in we have to have a car and we only have the one car...we had to sell the other....plus walking isn't an option with three kids in my state..I am 2 years post op from spinal fusion and just had a baby...I'm still working on regaining my abdominal strength in order to even walk enough to grocery shop...having 3 kids isn't easy to ride share with others because they're all in car seats.

Do you qualify for disability at all?

Resistance is futile Matey
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