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#61 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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But I really really hope you find something and get out of there ASAP.  For your kids' health.


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#62 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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Wow, what an amazing resource.  I hope the OP and her family will take full advantage of everything they are able to.  It looks like such a great launch pad for a positive and empowering life change for them. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JacqNS View Post

Good luck to you, mama! Here's hoping you are able to put into action some of the advice that these wise women have shared. 

 

I don't live in your city, but I did a little research to see if I could come up with some resources that might be of use to your and your family. Have you heard of Metropolitan Family Services? Among other things, there is a Family Self-Sufficiency program that provides job training, education, intensive career and family counseling, transportation and day care. There's also a Young Father's Initiative (I know you and your DH are young parents), legal aid, counseling, child development programs, etc. It looks like a wonderful organization! Anyway, here is the link:

 

http://www.metrofamily.org/programs-and-services/

 

 


OP I know it's really hard to  make the break from the family, but this is something that will be great for you in the long run if you do it right.  I really wonder though if you can do it without help.  You haven't been paying on bills to this point, and they were much less than they will be when you are in an apartment.  I suspect that you and your husband could really use some budgeting help if you plan to make it work, and you will both need to be on the same page about spending.  The programs linked above look like they would really help you both learn to manage money better and become more stable.  You will need more income to make it work in the long run, either you need accept that daycare will be a reality for your kids and find something ft for yourself, or your partner needs to find a better paying job with more hours.  My partner and I are in our 30s with over a decade of experience, and we've just reached the point where we are able to afford for one of us not to be working- and that's at a lot more than $10/hour. 

 

Have you thought about returning to school?  You would probably be able to get assistance to help with living expenses as well as tuition and books, and you might be able to do most of your prereqs from home so daycare wouldn't be an issue yet.  It would certainly mean taking on debt, but it would be good debt and would get you ahead in life.  If you both went back to school and worked part time, I suspect your family would be far more comfortable and stable now, and many times over in the future.  I just don't see long term change and stability without education for you and your partner.  The time to do it is now, while the kids are young.  It will only get harder in the coming years. 

 

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#63 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all, I am taking what was posted into consideration.

 

I called the realty company this morning to confirm that my application and payment were received and she said yes, that they haven't been processed yet but someone will call me back by the end of the day.


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#64 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 10:00 AM
 
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OP-

The Chicago Public Library offers a number of classes that will help you

 

 

http://www.chipublib.org/events/details/id/60180/   Money Smart- there is a whole series

 

http://www.chipublib.org/events/details/id/59270/  Money Smart - womans guide

 

They also have computer 101 and mouse/keyboard skills.  If you or DH need a refersher course or a prerequesite this could be something to keep in mind.

 

http://www.chipublib.org/events/details/id/58255/   JOB WORKSHOP  every week!

 

http://www.chipublib.org/events/details/id/60217/   different types of word processing programs

 

http://www.chipublib.org/events/details/id/57259/   healthy eating on a budget ( maybe coupons, WIC info, other community services there) Whole Foods sponsor

 

If you keep searching there are tons more classes.  I would be at the library every. day. taking a class, getting info, making contacts etc.  I wouldnt care how long of a bus ride it was to that branch I would make sure I was there.


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#65 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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Megan,

 

As much as we are all cheering you on and wishing you the best, I think the time has come for you to start reaching out beyond the realm of MDC to the resources in your community. The community based resources that the OP and I linked to above will provide you with the skills, opportunities, and support system that you'll need to build a better life for you and your children. You've been given many wonderful pieces of advice from so many wise women on these boards. I think the time has come to stop talking about making change and actually doing it! I've read many posts of yours about the unsafe conditions of your apartment, your abusive DH, your financial struggles, etc. Each time you speak of making change, and yet everything remains the same. I hope by now it has become clear to you that these situations will not improve on their own and that the betterment of your future and the wellbeing of your children rests in your hands. Will it be difficult at times? Yes. But, it will be worth it. So very, very worth it. 


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#66 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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hmmmm... i am keeping my fingers crossed really tight and sending good thoughts for you. your chances of getting that apt based on statistics are not very good unfortunately. young couple, not regular full time job and no cosigner. i have been in your place and i know. even with a fulltime job it was a struggle. so please dont be disappointed.

 

wish you had more time to move out so you could be a little more financially settled. just paying your rent i can see can create HUGE stress for you guys. esp. if dh does not get full time hours. keeping my fingers crossed he does and that you find a job soon. though not sure how this all would work. would it be financially feasible for you to stay home instead of working and paying dc for two kids, unless you guys can find opposite shifts so no dc.  have you started checking out dc prices too? or another mom who is willing to watch them for a certain amount of money?

 

its so unfair that it takes soooo much out of us just to provide a simple and safe place to live in and provide basic amenities.

 

i would also look at one bedroom apts and section part of your living room as your child's bedroom. might be a good monetary choice for your family at this time. 

 

do you have someone IRL to talk about the practicalities of how to handle everything? a sounding board if nothing else?


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#67 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

hmmmm... i am keeping my fingers crossed really tight and sending good thoughts for you. your chances of getting that apt based on statistics are not very good unfortunately. young couple, not regular full time job and no cosigner. i have been in your place and i know. even with a fulltime job it was a struggle. so please dont be disappointed.

 

wish you had more time to move out so you could be a little more financially settled. just paying your rent i can see can create HUGE stress for you guys. esp. if dh does not get full time hours. keeping my fingers crossed he does and that you find a job soon. though not sure how this all would work. would it be financially feasible for you to stay home instead of working and paying dc for two kids, unless you guys can find opposite shifts so no dc.  have you started checking out dc prices too? or another mom who is willing to watch them for a certain amount of money?

 

its so unfair that it takes soooo much out of us just to provide a simple and safe place to live in and provide basic amenities.

 

i would also look at one bedroom apts and section part of your living room as your child's bedroom. might be a good monetary choice for your family at this time. 

 

do you have someone IRL to talk about the practicalities of how to handle everything? a sounding board if nothing else?



I'm hoping we get into this apartment- my stepfather makes less than my husband, and has his mother and brother on the lease, they smoke (really really noticible) and have a lonnng history of past evictions.  They seem to get into every apartment they apply for, so I'm hoping that this works out for us.  

 

I'm still looking but unfortunately most places that are 1br won't take on four people.  They tell me "sorry, too many people.  what's your budget? Maybe we can get you in a 2br.  oh, okay.  goodbye." dizzy.gif  I found a 3br for $700 (what?!) on the other side of the City in a good neighborhood but the lady got all snooty with me and hung up when I asked about security deposit & what type of heating it was.  Grr!

 

I called a food pantry today and have an appointment to get food on Tuesday, which will help out quite a bit since this paycheck and next paycheck need to go entirely to a security deposit and first month's rent.  I just sold a laptop on craigslist for $150 (it was a small laptop) and I'm supposed to get that money tonight so that should cover us as well.  I've got quite a few things on craigslist... crib, crib mattress, stroller... not many people are biting so I may lower prices... 


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#68 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 03:53 PM
 
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Dont sell your only stroller.  Even if your kids dont ride in it you are going to want that thing if you are out walking everywhere.  Your baby is going to get tired, your 3 yr old is going to get tired and want to ride.  2 kids plus packages, bags, groceries etc is alot to carry.  You can use the stroller for the bags, the kids, just a place to puts thing when waiting for the bus/train.

 

I would also start calling 411 or your local hotline/information number.  They will be able to provide you with information about housing.  Community services will be able to give your more info about apartments that rent to low income families, credit issues, etc,  

 

I also know the shelter systems in my area have tons of social workers on staff and once you enter the shelter system you get a social worker who helps you get food stamps, WIC, medical, all that plus they help you find employment, child care (which you are going to need), build your resume, and find proper housing.  If you go tonight, they start the processes I just listed TOMORROW. I dont know what Chicago is like but I can guess its very similiar.

 

 


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#69 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IxIa View Post

Quote:


Crossing my fingers for you. Peace.gif

 

Another thought: Have you guys considered moving into the suburbs where the cost of living is slightly cheaper? Chicago proper is insanely expensive, which is the reason DH and I moved to the 'sticks'. We live in the far North suburbs and rent is considerably less - if you search around enough, a two bedroom can be found for about $600 or even less. Schools are good, neighborhoods are generally safe, and there's always the Metra train to get around. My husband works in the city, and it only takes him about 40 minutes to drive there.

 

Just a thought. 

 


As a native Chicagoan (spent 1st 30 years of my life there) the only concern I would have with suburban living is that aside from the suburbs closer to Chicago like Evanston, Oak Park, etc they would be dependent on having a car. If she is in the city proper a car is not necessary and depending on the area there are often cheaper markets for shopping so while yes rent is higher she can live a little cheaper in other areas. The thing is Metra is not all that cheap, I was in Chicago this past summer and took Metra and that could really add up versus the what $80 or so for a CTA monthly pass.

 


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#70 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wrote up a post and accidentally deleted it :(

 

So I came up with a budget, and I also have a few questions.

 

Monthly Income: $1500 (just DH, my income when I get a job will add about $500, but that isn't reflected in this budget)

 

Rent: $750

Electric: $50 (asked around & did research)

Cooking Gas: $30 (again, research)

Heat: Included in rent

Groceries: Checked DHS website and we'll get between $300-$400 in SNAP benefits (food stamps) plus WIC.  We currently spend $50/wk in groceries.

Car Insurance: $100/month placed into savings paid semiannually

Car gas: $60/mo if even 

 

Left over thus far: $510

 

Some things..

Transportation.  A CTA monthly pass is about $80.  I'd need this to take the kids to doctor's appointments etc.  DD1 is likely going to be going to occupational therapy at least once/wk half across the city.  

My husband has a 1995 Ford Escort.  It is stick shift, so there is little hope of me ever learning to drive it (I don't drive as it is).  Our car seats don't fit in it very well either but it might be do-able.  It has no heat and has no a/c (thought it did.. just found this out).  DH paid $400 for it.  Someone is asking to buy it for $1500 and will have the money very soon (waiting on their tax return).   If DH sells it, we could use the money towards the remainder of the credit card debt.  DH could take a bus to work- however, that cuts into our schedule because I need to be able to go to work and pass off the kids as soon as DH comes home.  I don't know of anyone who would be able to care for our children.  I have no family, we don't trust DHs family, and our friends are in college or otherwise occupied during the day.  I can't afford daycare and my DD has social anxiety that may prevent us from putting her in one.  What do you all think about our options?  WWYD?  Sell the car and both take the bus?  Sell the car and use the money to fund a decent car that I could drive and take DH to work in?

 

Also..

Phones.  DH and I currently have phones from US Cellular.  His is a smart phone, mine is a regular phone.  Since our contracts are not up, and his mother doesn't want to pay cancellation fees, she wants us to give her $100/mo for the phone service.  Do you think that's a good option?  Or should we sever all ties?  If we use these phones, we would be able to get a plan for $130/mo.  We could still sever the ties with MIL, and get a land line and one of those free cell phones you can get if you have gov't assistance (one per household)- but much of our communication is via text message and if I'm out at doctor's appts and he's at work, we both need cell phones.  His job's phones are always tied up so that's not an option.  I'm not sure what to do.  Input?

 

 

 

Zebra- the section 8 waiting list is currently closed.  As soon as I find a place I can get WIC and food stamps and the like.  I currently get the medical card.

 

I can't get WIC or food stamps right now but I think I can apply for WIC now because the chances of an inspector catching me in an illegal apt are slim since we'll be moving soon.  By the time they send someone, we'll be gone.  I actually think applying for WIC tomorrow am is a good idea.


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#71 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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Quote:
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Dont sell your only stroller.  Even if your kids dont ride in it you are going to want that thing if you are out walking everywhere.  Your baby is going to get tired, your 3 yr old is going to get tired and want to ride.  2 kids plus packages, bags, groceries etc is alot to carry.  You can use the stroller for the bags, the kids, just a place to puts thing when waiting for the bus/train. 


This is very true - especially as you will have to take the kids with you everywhere when your husband is not home as you will not have anyone to leave them with when you run out on an errand.

 

Probably a good idea to start looking on Freecycle for cookware as well, I am guessing that as you don't have a kitchen now, you probably don't have any.
 

 

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#72 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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"MILs rent was supposed to come from taxes.  Taxes went to cc bills. "

 

Housing needs to come before paying on debt.

 

 

Quote:
Since our contracts are not up, and his mother doesn't want to pay cancellation fees, she wants us to give her $100/mo for the phone service. 

 

Yes, since you went along with being put on her contract, you'd need to pay her whatever you're costing her or the cost of the termination fees.


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#73 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 05:19 PM
 
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Good start, but I think your budget still needs a little fleshing out. Will you have internet? What about clothes for the kids? How much are your cc/debt payments per month? Laundry fees? Car maintenance? Water?

Plus there are some startup costs that I'm not sure you mentioned (maybe you did upthread?) Any household items you will need? Pots & pans, dishes, furniture, etc? Do you have access to a truck for moving or will you need to rent one?

I would not sell your car if it is still running well & helps you avoid time issues that would require paying for childcare... or if you are absolutely positive you can find another well-running car for $500 or so, and pocket the $1000 profit. The other thing I want to say is you really need to set aside the credit card debt for now. That simply can't be so high on your priority list when you can barely pay rent and have no savings. You have absolutely no money to fall back on if, say, the car needs a repair or your kids need new shoes or ...

I would sever all ties with MIL if she truly is as toxic as you say. For cell phones, there are way cheaper plans out there. Depending how much time you spend on the phone, pay-as-you-go phones are one option. We have a regular family plan (2 lines) with AT&T and it's $70/mo after taxes (we do not do texting, which surely is a little inconvenient, but not as inconvenient as forgoing a phone altogether!! And we got our phones off freecycle, but you can also get basic phones online or in the store for free or $9.99). If you can get a cell through gov't assistance (I never even heard of that!) then that would be an even better route, and get a pay-as-you-go for your DH, and limit talking/texting to only essential communications.

I think you are off to a great start with really detailing out your plan here. And what you are considering does seem doable so far. I am so happy you are taking these steps to a good life for yourself & your kids!!!


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#74 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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You didn't include your debt payments in your budget. While I agree that the credit cards should be a lower priority, you DO NOT have $510 a month leftover. You need to include the minimum payments in your budget. Also, you don't have money for entertainment, gifts, or anything like that. Even if you're super-frugal, you still need some of those things sometimes. 

 

If you do cancel the current cell phone, you need to pay the cancellation fee to your MIL. Don't leave her with more to pay. If you cannot do that, then give her the phones and buy your own.

 

I second zebra's suggestion about contacting a social services hotline. I used to staff one, and we were able to connect women with all types of services that weren't as well-publicized as public assistance. We also put out requests on our mailing list for dire need of items. 

 

What percentage of your groceries are you buying right now? IIRC, your dd, at least, is gluten-free. I'm just curious about the $50/wk for groceries because since you've said elsewhere that you buy organic and that you're GF, that seems *really* low to me. I'm wondering if you eat with your MIL more than you realize or if your eating habits will change once you have regular, stress-free access to a kitchen.

 

I would budget more for electricity. My current utility company has the lowest electric rates in the nation (coal country here), and that $50/month seems really low even to me. I know that we have some super-conscientious friends who get theirs down to $30 or so a month. Still I'd consider the electric budget to be more than $50/month.

 

Have you shopped around for car insurance? My DH has an older car, and we pay $25/month for car insurance. We're older than you guys, but I don't think that would make the rates quadruple. I know that we paid about $50/mo for his car when we lived in a major metro area. Unless he has a horrible driving record, I would shop around for a better rate. 

 

Oh, are water/trash pick-up/sewer fees included? I think every apartment I've had has included trash & sewer, but I've had to pay water bills in about half of the rentals I've had.

 

ETA: Look into childcare subsidies. In our state, home caregivers qualify in many circumstances even if they're not registered home daycare providers. Here's the link for IL: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=30355


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#75 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you guys again for the input!  I'm trying not to rely on this forum entirely but I really have no IRL outsiders as a support system.. my stepfather was a good sounding board but his phone got shut off yesterday...

 

Pots and pans- I'm going to check the thrift store.  They always have a lot of stuff there for like a dollar.  Plates, cups everything of that nature, we're covered.  Furniture- once we've moved I'm going to check craigslist for cheap/free couches and dressers (though those aren't priority right now).  We only own one dresser and one is MILs (had no room for it in her appt so she told us to use it and keep it here) and the couches here are FILs couches that were part of his "lounge" before we moved down here.  I'll  need to check for a kitchen table and chairs too.. but again, so far I've been finding a lot of stuff free/very cheap on CL.

 

Good idea about the car.  You're right, CCs should be minimum only.  Together, the minimums are around $120.

 

We don't pay water.

 

Car maintenance will come from whatever we have left over and put into savings.

 

Laundry fees- we used to use the laundromat when our washer was broken and spent about $40/mo ($10/wk) by going on days where there was free wash/50% off.  And we had more laundry then.  I plan to wash cloth diapers at home- I did this when our washer was broken and still do every so often- it's very doable.

 

Also, the stroller I'm selling is one that my 14mo hardly fits in, has zero basket space, and my 3yo hates.  I have a larger one perfect for walking (would sell it but it is so useful to me when going grocery shopping etc) and it holds a ton of groceries.  I also have an umbrella stroller which is my "bus" stroller. (no basket space but baby goes on my back, 3yo in the stroller, and we're set).  

 

 

Anyways, here's the budget adding the things considered above:

 

 

Rent: $750

Electric: $50 (asked around & did research)

Cooking Gas: $30 (again, research)

Heat: Included in rent

Groceries: Checked DHS website and we'll get between $300-$400 in SNAP benefits (food stamps) plus WIC.  We currently spend $50/wk in groceries.

Car Insurance: $100/month placed into savings paid semiannually

Car gas: $60/mo if even 

Laundry: $50/mo (adding in the cost of soap)

CC Min payment: $120

 

Left over thus far: $340

Once I get a job: ~$740

 

We're likely going to hold off on internet until I get a job.  It's not a necessity and if I truly need it I can go to the library or something (laptop).  

 

I didn't add phones to that list because I still need to dig up the prices.. but that gives a good ballpark estimate.


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#76 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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childcare ???

non food item grocery ???

savings for car repairs ???

other incidental spendings ???

 

you really dont have ANY money left over.

 

that is why you will find mamas here who are just able to pay bills but even that bar of chocolate is too much for them or a even an icecream let alone anything else like a coffee sometimes. 

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#77 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Visionary- Thanks! I updated the budget at the same time you posted

 

Food- We haven't been doing organic since we've switched grocery stores- they don't have that option.  We eat a lot of rice, beans, cheap meat, soups, etc.  

 

Electricity- I'll see.. I know some people who pay about $50-60 and run the TV all day long and the computers.  I guess it's a matter of finding out once I move into a place.  There's a little room in the budget just in case though.

 

Water/trash/etc- included

 

Car insurance- DH is shopping around for that actually- I'll let him know. We're cutting our current insurance as he's on his mom's plan (so he's covered on all vehicles also).  I really don't know what goes on there, I guess I'll have him explain that to me!  I do know that he's in the process of searching though.  His rate got lowered once we had our 2nd daughter and once we got married.

 

Thank you for the child-care link!

 

Actually, in a few months, once everything calms down, I might be able to provide child care.  Maybe.  It's a lot to take on- I have a few friends with babies who are going to be going back to work.  They don't live/work far from the area in which I'm finding most of the apartments.  Who knows though- that's something for me to think about in the future.

 

 


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#78 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post

childcare ???

non food item grocery ???

savings for car repairs ???

other incidental spendings ???

 

you really dont have ANY money left over.

 

that is why you will find mamas here who are just able to pay bills but even that bar of chocolate is too much for them or a even an icecream let alone anything else like a coffee sometimes. 

 

Once I start working we'll be able to put small amounts into savings in case something comes up (car repairs).  My DH does car repairs (used to do it for a living before they pushed him to dedicated sales associate) and has done everything under the sun.  He also gets great prices on auto parts (muchhh cheaper, and he does it himself so there's no labor).  I'm not extremely worried about that, but am taking it into consideration.

 

Incidental spendings- well these obviously need to be kept at a minimum (if at all).  

 

Non food item grocery- Toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. right?  I need to add that to the budget.

 

Childcare- hoping to not rely on it.
 

 


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#79 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 06:46 PM
 
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I think you're getting closer to a full budget, but it's actually tough to nail down for the first little while. 


Have you had a chance to call about electric yet? The deposit requirements vary a good bit, ime, so definitely try to find out now.

 

WRT your earlier question about the car, I would keep it. I know it's tempting to sell it and pocket the money, but I personally would be skittish about not having a car at all. I grew up in a "car required" kind of place, so that informs my view, I'm sure. It just seems that you have this car, and it's running. Stick with it rather than getting the money but having the potential for major problems without the car.


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#80 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post



 

Once I start working we'll be able to put small amounts into savings in case something comes up (car repairs).  My DH does car repairs (used to do it for a living before they pushed him to dedicated sales associate) and has done everything under the sun.  He also gets great prices on auto parts (muchhh cheaper, and he does it himself so there's no labor).  I'm not extremely worried about that, but am taking it into consideration.

 

Incidental spendings- well these obviously need to be kept at a minimum (if at all).  

 

Non food item grocery- Toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. right?  I need to add that to the budget.

 

Childcare- hoping to not rely on it.
 

 


 

"in case something comes up" -- The thing to remember, in budgeting, is that you can't pretend that "maybe" something will come up, when it comes to cars (or houses, or computers, or appliances).  Those expenses are not true "emergencies," and if you treat them like random occurrences you may never ever be able to build savings or avoid debt.

 

Something WILL come up.  Something ALWAYS comes up.  It's the nature of these things.  You need to be ready.   Many of the things that come up are completely predictable -- tires wear out at a relatively regular rate, oil needs changing, things tend to start breaking at certain spots on the odometer or certain numbers of years old.  

 

Take tires, for instance.  THey wear out, and they need to be replaced.    Price out the new tires you'll need next -- $200?  $300?  When will you need them? 9 months?  12 months?  Divide that $300 by 12 months and you need to be putting $25 away EVERY month for the new tires you KNOW you'll be needing!

That's one reason that it's easy to stay in the hole even after you make a budget that you think adds up -- people think of all those things as "surprise!  I had NO IDEA that expense was coming!!  Wow!!"  when really, those expenses are an integral part of car ownership.

 

(If, for some reason, you think the tire example is irrelevant, fill in "brake job" or any number of other things).  

(If you're a homeowner, you have to do this on a much larger scale, because you need to look at how old your appliances are, how old your furnace and water heater are, how old your roof is, how often your septic tank/field needs major maintenance, etc, and add all THOSE up, divide by how much time before you'll have to do the jobs, and save all that!)

 

 

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#81 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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In addition to all the great advice here, I also strongly suggest tracking you & your husband's spending to see where the money is going, and to see & remember those little expenses here and there that don't always immediately come to mind when creating a budget. Create a journal or a spreadsheet or whatever works best for you where both you AND your husband write down every. penny. spent. so you can see what areas could use a good trimming before you are out on your own. It can be very simple with columns for date, payee, amount & a brief description of what it’s for. Then write down everything -- Checks you write, Credit card transactions (especially since you say you plan to use them for daily living expenses like groceries), Cash transactions ($5 for a coffee, $10.00 for lunch, $2 for the bus, $5 for a birthday gift, $1 for gum, etc adds up!) Automatic withdrawals from your bank account.

 

It will take some getting used to, but include every time you spend any amount of money, because so often the littles add up to a surprise of "Whoa, that's where our money is going! We can control that and save $$." They also remind us of the expenses we incur regularly, but not on the same date every month -- like doctor visits, car registration/taxes, car insurance, doctor co-pays, clothes, prescriptions/medications/herbals, special dietary needs, birthday/holiday gifts, etc etc etc.

 

Once you have a very realistic budget plan in front of you, you can make all the changes you have been needing to make for awhile now, one at a time. You have to get on a better financial path. You have to stand on your own two feet. You have to move out. You have to start making at least small payments to your inlaws to show you are making a 'good faith' attempt. And not just to show them, but to show yourselves that you can DO it, and for that 'just in case they decide to sue you' Think about it - people go to court for less. Start protecting yourselves!! Not paying rent but paying a large sum to a credit card would be viewed very, very badly in court. So pay something. YK?

 

You absolutely can do this, and you are taking great steps already. hug.gif

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#82 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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Also..

Phones.  DH and I currently have phones from US Cellular.  His is a smart phone, mine is a regular phone.  Since our contracts are not up, and his mother doesn't want to pay cancellation fees, she wants us to give her $100/mo for the phone service.  Do you think that's a good option?  Or should we sever all ties?  If we use these phones, we would be able to get a plan for $130/mo.  We could still sever the ties with MIL, and get a land line and one of those free cell phones you can get if you have gov't assistance (one per household)- but much of our communication is via text message and if I'm out at doctor's appts and he's at work, we both need cell phones.  His job's phones are always tied up so that's not an option.  I'm not sure what to do.  Input?

 

 



Personally, I would rethink the phone thing. How much is the cancellation cost? Because you would definitely have to pay that, but $100/month seems like a lot to me. I don't know about Chicago, but I pay less than $30/month for a landline. Of course there are installation fees, but they will often stagger those out over 12 months. Why do you have to have two cell phones and have to be able to text? I guess I just don't get that. Dh and I have each have a crappy pay-as-you-go cell phone for emergencies. They cost $20 each and we are required to add $20 in minutes every 90 days. It's through Virgin Mobile. I personally think $100/month is a lot to pay just to have the luxury of texting or calling whenever you want.  

 

Good luck.

 

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#83 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 07:05 PM
 
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$340 Your overage

 

$80 bus pass (each, will DH need a bus pass too?)

$50 kids stuff  (clothes, OTC meds, toys, art supplies)

$20 'fast food'  Mcdonalds, ice cream, snacks while out

$75  DD gym class - unless you plan on dropping this?

$100 DH stuff (lunch, 'man stuff', guy time etc cuz he WILL need to go out)

$25 shampoo/deoderant/TP/cleaners etc

$25 car repair fund (tires/brakes/exaust)

$25 car plates/tags/exhaust test fund

$25 renters insurance

$50 bare bones cell phones

TOTAL  $475

 

$135 shortage

*I didnt figure in parking costs.

 

Also when you get a job don't forget to add in the working expenses.  Clothes, even if you are a cashier at walmart you need Khaki pants and a blue polo (standard uniform out here).  You will need to replace shoes sooner, maybe you will need a warmer coat or a coat to wear on the job?  I find it hard to believe that you dont have any friends.  What about the moms at the kiddie gym class?  Id start talking to them.  Talk to the people at DD's OT office, other parents in the waiting room, people at the bus stop, the market etc.  Lots of parents go to story time.  These people dont have to have 100% the same view and belief as you.  They just need to be generally nice, kind people.

 

Also dont plan on your kids not going to daycare.  My son's been in daycare with all kinds of little ones.  Some kids go to OT/PT, some have SN, SPD, etc.  You probably quailify for subsidized daycare, allowing you to work 40 hours a week and greatly increasing your household income. 

 


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#84 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 07:07 PM
 
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You don't need cell phones.  Up until what? 10-15 years ago no one had one.  People were fine.  In your financial situation I'd have a pay as you go cheapie one or land line only.


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#85 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 07:09 PM
 
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Personally, I would rethink the phone thing. How much is the cancellation cost? Because you would definitely have to pay that, but $100/month seems like a lot to me. I don't know about Chicago, but I pay less than $30/month for a landline. Of course there are installation fees, but they will often stagger those out over 12 months. Why do you have to have two cell phones and have to be able to text? I guess I just don't get that. Dh and I have each have a crappy pay-as-you-go cell phone for emergencies. They cost $20 each and we are required to add $20 in minutes every 90 days. It's through Virgin Mobile. I personally think $100/month is a lot to pay just to have the luxury of texting or calling whenever you want.  

 

Good luck.

 


My phone company (NY state) offers a low-income no-long-distance phone line for a very low price.  

 

And yeah to the texting -- I know that everyone supposedly does it now, and we all think we "need" it because we "need" to be in constant contact with people -- but until the last 10 (less than 10!) years ago?  People juggled kids and jobs and trading off childcare and schedules without texting!   

 

Doing it well requires more communication between spouses and more planning ahead, but that's  not such a bad thing, sometimes (I actually notice that DH and I experienced a rough patch in our marriage during the months we had two cars, and I finally realized it was because when we did not have to communicate and act like partners over who had the car when and for what, we didn't communicate nearly as well about anything.   And when I noticed that, I realized that we had a similar issue when we finally got cell phones in 2005 or so).  

 


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#86 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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I have a cheapie AT&T Go Phone that I got for $6 for emergencies and their rate plans are low, too.

 

I agree with Hoopin' Mama. Right now, a monthly cell phone plan, and especially one for $130/month is an 'extra'. Go bare minimum on these things and save a good chunk of money every month. You can ALWAYS upgrade to a better phone, but once you stick yourself on one of those plans, you can't get off without yet another expense you absolutely cannot afford. Sorry. :( That's just the hard truth of it for you, WindyCityMom. Fun phones + texting + talking all the time are a 'want' not a 'need' right now. :(

 

I know it is hard to make so many lifestyle changes at once, but the bright side to temper that is by making them, you will have your own place!! Finally! YAY orngbiggrin.gif


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#87 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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I agree with the other posters, there are so many extra expenses that we never really think about until they happen.  Like the other poster said, something will always come up.  My mother taught me that and it has always proved to be true.

 

You have gotten such great advice here, I am in awe of how awesome and helpful these Mamas are!  I love the suggestion of dividing up your costs and setting aside a little each month for things like the tires.  Great idea, and you are already doing that with the car insurance, so it will be easy for you to do that.

 

I would check in to any and all services you qualify for.

 

I would also reconsider working full time.  Would you be interested in working at a daycare?  Sometimes they are able to offer deep discounts for their employee's children, and you would be in the same building with your kids.  That could work out for you, and would allow you to work full time.

 

Good luck to you.  I think that you will look back on this time in your life and realize that you learned so much.


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#88 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 07:22 PM
 
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"$340 Your overage

 

$80 bus pass (each, will DH need a bus pass too?)

$50 kids stuff  (clothes, OTC meds, toys, art supplies)

$20 'fast food'  Mcdonalds, ice cream, snacks while out

$75  DD gym class - unless you plan on dropping this?

$100 DH stuff (lunch, 'man stuff', guy time etc cuz he WILL need to go out)

$25 shampoo/deoderant/TP/cleaners etc

$25 car repair fund (tires/brakes/exaust)

$25 car plates/tags/exhaust test fund

$25 renters insurance

$50 bare bones cell phones

TOTAL  $475

 

$135 shortage

*I didnt figure in parking costs." """"

 

 

Oh please! The bolded is just ridiculous. Why on earth should her husband get 100.00 a month when they can't afford anything?? He can take dinner leftovers or sandwiches for lunch. He doesn't need any "man stuff." And he certainly does NOT need to go out. What a crazy double standard! Where is HER money to just blow?

 

My husband and I went through a very rough spot financially that involved losing a home to foreclosure, and we're still not out of the woods yet. But you know what he did not do? He didn't NEED to go out, and he didn't buy man stuff, and he didn't spend money on lunch every day at work. I didn't NEED to go out, and I didn't need to buy girl stuff, and I didn't need to spend money at lunch.

 

I don't think I can voice how absurd I think your 100.00 to the man because he's a mayun is IMO lol

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#89 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 08:56 PM
 
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Regarding cell phones: https://www.safelinkwireless.com provides free cell phones and minutes every month to low income families in Illinois and elsewhere. 


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#90 of 195 Old 03-03-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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Personally, I pay less than $30/month for a landline. 

 

Just got a landline here.  It is $5 per month.
 

 


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