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#1 of 13 Old 03-19-2011, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone else out there just getting by? I need a little hug and an "It's gonna be okay." 

 

Last year I decided to quit my part time job to be a stay at home mom full time. I knew we'd be tight but we'd make it. Two months later we made what could probably go down as the biggest (at least biggest financial) mistake of our adult lives. Having totalled our vehicle, we bought one we needed to make payments on and we've been just barely getting by since. I'm getting a part time babysitting job that starts in a week and a half. It's only about 6 hours a week, but it will help. We are OK for now (staying with parents while building our house) but when we move we will HAVE to get food stamps (I think we qualify but I'm not positive) to make it without me getting a job with more hours. I know this is just temporary until my daughter starts school in 2 years, but I just need some support. And I know I could easily get a part time job and we'd be fine. But it's hard not having a savings, let alone this emergency fund that everyone is supposed to have. We are paying all our bills, but almost all our money goes to overhead. It's a little scary, but I know that if my husband were to be laid off or something we could both get part time jobs on different shifts and cover his income. In fact, we might even make more that way. Anyway, that's it for now. 

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#2 of 13 Old 03-19-2011, 08:08 AM
 
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hugs.  We are currently just getting by as well.  DH is in school, he has 8 wks left on this semester, and then he has 3 classes in the fall semester and then he graduates.  I got pg 3 yrs ago with our 2nd dd, had some issues with work and didn't have a job to go back to after she was born (not FMLA elig.)  So I tried staying home, but financially we couldn't do it.  I tried babysitting at home, but had a really hard time getting kids on a steady basis.  So, a little over a year ago, I got a very part time job, then immediately found out I was pg with our 3rd (we had dealt with IF for 6 yrs so total surprise to get pg on our own.)  DH works full time and carries a full time school schedule this year, so the hours I am available to work are really limited.  With a 2 yr old and a 6 month old, the cost of daycare makes working full time not really a sensible option.  After paying for daycare I would net no more than I do right now working part time.  So our income potential is pretty limited for now.  I am trying to bring some more in with a work from home for myself photography thing, but it's slow going.  We are really in just getting by mode until DH is done with school.  This summer, with him not taking any classes, I might be able to work more.  But once he graduates, he should be able to get something that comes with a substantial increase in pay, we will have more breathing room.  In the mean time, we are just getting by in a holding pattern.  Really, it's been our tax returns with EIC that have held us through.

 

 

On your car issue, could you sell it, take a (smaller) loan for the difference and by a clunker to get you by?

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#3 of 13 Old 03-22-2011, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Regarding the car- I guess that scares me. We got it for about $12,000. We had $5,000 to put down on it so we started with a $7,000 loan. I think we owe about $6,000 on it right now. I could sell it for about $8k tops? I don't know how many people buy from a private seller for $8k though. Anyway, I don't know if I could feel comfortable taking the risk and getting a car that's worth less that I might have to fix for a lot of money. We have a warranty on the big stuff for a couple more years on this one and for the year, it has low miles so it probably has a lot of life left in it. It uses gas like crazy though (less than 16 mpg) so I'm trying to consider my options. I'm just not too car savvy so I'm afraid to make another big mistake and be out of a car completely. I'm also not sure we/my husband especially feel desperate enough- but of course, that could be a big mistake too. oi.

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#4 of 13 Old 03-22-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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We're in a tight spot too but we've been managing for the last year and a half on dh's income. We'll be scraping by for the forseeable future too since I've decided to go back to school. I have been watching one child for extra money, it's very part time but it helps.

 

We have a similar situation with a car. We bought a second car when I was still working for $11,000 and had our first ever car payment. We ended up with a higher payment then I wanted but dh convinced me because it had great gas mileage at 26-35 mpg (it's a hybrid). But when I quit working we considered selling it because of the car payment. However we weren't able to sell it for what we owed. I'm actually glad we've held onto it because it is a good car and we'll probably have it for some time. But with the gas mileage on yours.....have you considered a trade in? Would you be able to get a quality car that gets better miles by trading it in? You could also sell to a private individual. We bought ours from a private individual and just went to the bank for the car loan which then cuts the check once the loan is approved....no biggie. I would consider it if you are driving a lot, gas prices are going to keep increasing. So I guess it depends on how that plays into your budget.

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#5 of 13 Old 03-22-2011, 08:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HikeMama View Post

Regarding the car- I guess that scares me. We got it for about $12,000. We had $5,000 to put down on it so we started with a $7,000 loan. I think we owe about $6,000 on it right now. I could sell it for about $8k tops? I don't know how many people buy from a private seller for $8k though. Anyway, I don't know if I could feel comfortable taking the risk and getting a car that's worth less that I might have to fix for a lot of money. We have a warranty on the big stuff for a couple more years on this one and for the year, it has low miles so it probably has a lot of life left in it. It uses gas like crazy though (less than 16 mpg) so I'm trying to consider my options. I'm just not too car savvy so I'm afraid to make another big mistake and be out of a car completely. I'm also not sure we/my husband especially feel desperate enough- but of course, that could be a big mistake too. oi.


Oh, man.  With 5k, you probably could have gotten a pretty reliable used car, no loan necessary, probbly even with a used car warranty if you bought from a dealer.  If the car is really worth $8k, you could totally sell it to a private buyer for that.  If you can't sell it private sale for that much, then it's not really worth that much.

 

You only owe $6k on it though?  Could you try to sock away another $2k to $3k?  Then, if you can't get $8k, at least maybe get the $6k, so you are out of that debt, then just go buy something outright?

 

I think an important thing with used cars is to get to know a good and inexpensive mechanic.  And usually that's not the folks who run auto repair businesses.  It's usually the buddy at work who tinkers with cars on the side.  In my case, it's my dad but my dad OFTEN does work for guys he works with or friends of my mom or whatever.  And he does charge them, but substantially less than they would pay going to a shop.  That's not to say that used cars or automatically money pits...I have a $2300 15 year old van in my driveway that we have had for a year and hasn't needed a single repair yet-not even a tire replaced.  But also, when buying a used car, especially private sale, you want your trusted mechanic to look it over to see if any big repairs on on the horizon.

 

So perhaps, make it a goal to get rid of the car, but not necessarily right away...take some time to locate a good mechanic, hold some garage sales or something this summer to get some money together.  If you could get like $3k together, and you can sell it for $8k but you only owe $6k, then you would end up with your original $5k to go buy something outright with.  Honestly, between having the loan on it, and it only getting 16mpg, I don't know that keeping it is a good idea, especially with gas predicted to be $4 a gallon this summer.
 

 

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#6 of 13 Old 03-25-2011, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I totally know that we should've just gotten a $5k car when we had the $5k. That's the money we got for our totaled vehicle. It was so hard when we came to this decision. We were up 2 nights in a row with less than 3 hours sleep. I think we researched too much and scared ourselves too much. At the time, we thought we really needed a vehicle as large or larger than our other because we are building a house and thought that it would make more sense than renting the lowe's truck every weekend. Now I think I should've just sacrificed that to not have a loan. We were more afraid of getting a car that needed a bunch of repairs and having to put that on credit and just having to keep making repair after repair, than we were of the payment. But it really was a mistake. There's really not a way for me to save up enough money to do what you've said though. We liquidated most of our expendable assets over the last few years already. I will be saving the money that I make babysitting but I want to keep it in the bank because when we move we might need it for living expenses. I might be making more money come fall if I get to watch my nephew and maybe if I can save I can look at this all again later. I know that the gas prices are ridiculous, but I'm starting to think that I better stick with it for a while anyway. I have no idea how to sell it privately while the bank still has the title. I've been all over the internet about that. If I did, for $5k I can get, for example, a Toyota Echo with 110k miles on it. Good gas mileage, but way more miles on it. Toyotas last forever and I get that, but my car has a warranty for 2 more years on the big stuff, will be paid off in 3 years, and has 54k miles. We do minor car repairs ourselves but I think it'd be pretty tough for us to find an inexpensive mechanic on our own. I'm afraid to make another costly mistake. Right now we're looking at other options. We have a lot going on right now and I think that figuring out how to deal with the car might be too much to handle, especially for my husband, who is feeling awfully stressed. I originally thought that ditching our loan would ease the stress, but I feel like the process is more than he can handle and more than I can handle on my own. Did I mention this is our only vehicle? We're used to only having one but we had 2 for a while. We recently sold my husband's beater because we didn't want to/couldn't afford to make the necessary repairs for inspection. My husband is looking into getting a scooter to go to and from work. (3-4 miles away. He has his motorcycle license.) This would save tremendously on gas and I wouldn't have to drive the car everyday.

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#7 of 13 Old 03-25-2011, 09:03 PM
 
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{{{{hugs}}}}}

 

 

 

You say you are building a house... anyway you can do something from that end? Unless you are literally doing it yourself mortgage free? Most people don't tend to use, "I am building a house and I will need to get food stamps" in the same sentence.

 

Not trying to be witchy, as you might be doing something different.   winky.gif

 

 

How much longer do you think everything will be tight if everything stays the same? Is it going to be "over" soon and give breathing room? If it wont be much longer I would ride it out, but if its going to be a long time you might want to take some drastic measures to save your sanity! Good luck!

 

 


Resistance is futile Matey
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#8 of 13 Old 03-26-2011, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I should clarify that we are *renovating* our house. We got it in late '09 for a really good price- we do have a mortgage. It's small and it needed a lot of work. We gutted it. We are doing all the work ourselves and paying for the work as we go and are using the rest of our tax return to finish it. We should be in by the fall/winter. Finishing the house is top priority. It's our first house, but the plan (fwiw) is for it to be our forever house- the key to getting out of debt and retirement, etc. It's really not immediate cash that I'm worried about- I have it but it's "spent" on the house, and we don't have a big surplus of cash pay to pay. It's once we get in there and the utilities go up, etc. that I worry isn't terribly sustainable. Really, the situation is set to last 2 years. When my daughter starts full day kindergarten I can work and we can pay off some things. However, my sister in law has been telling me I might be able to watch my nephew a couple days a week in the fall when she goes back to work, so I might be able to bring in some income that way and then, you know, we'd still have the bills until I can actually work and make enough to pay them off (the plan is to go back to work for a few years, pay off the car, pay off one of the student loans, and then save a little so we can have another child that I can stay home with again) but we'll be able to breathe a little easier in the interim. The hard part is all the *if*s. I guess that's just one of the hard parts about being an adult though. *If* my husband gets a raise, *If* his work continues to stay afloat, *If* someone hires me to babysit, *If* our taxes don't go up, *If* gas doesn't get too much crazier, *If* no one gets sick.......

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#9 of 13 Old 03-26-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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I'm "just getting by" and it stinks. I'm so over it! I want to have no debt, I want to be able to spend 20.00 and not get an anxiety attack over it. It just stinks. Honestly,

if you have the option of working part time and money is stressing you, go back to work.   Money problems spread out into every aspect of your life. Go back to work until you get the car paid off and a bit in savings, then try staying home again if that's what you really want. :)  

 

 

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#10 of 13 Old 03-26-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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Yep the "ifs" are rough. Sadly the "ifs" come with near any income since anyone can lose it all for so many reasons.

 

 

{{{hugs}}}


Resistance is futile Matey
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#11 of 13 Old 03-27-2011, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I know everyone has ifs-it's nice to be reminded that I'm not special in that. And I think that I've got a lot less to worry about than a whole lot of people if any of my if's turn to when's. I am going to try to focus on what's REALLY important- that I have a family that is willing to help us out, that we have each other, we support each other, and that the money being tight hasn't ruined our marriage. That I can stay home right now and that we can enhance our daughter's life with activities that don't cost a lot. Tomorrow is my first paid babysitting day. Hopefully socking this $ away into savings, even though it will only be a hundred or so a month, will help, mentally I mean. I am going to try to live day to day and not plan so much right now. I know what the big picture is, but I don't have to worry about it every day. We're going to keep the car for now, and when we're done hauling stuff for the house, we'll take another look at trading it or selling it. I'm going to let my husband look for his scooter and not get into it too much until it happens, focus on finishing this house, and try to still go places but just closer places. Sometimes I think my goals work against me. Like, my sister in law has a bucket list, and I thought of making one, but when I have concrete goals I feel like they weigh me down. I really feel the pressure of my goals- my goal to eventually be debt free sometimes makes me feel like a failure because I'm not closer to it, and when I spend money on something I don't *need* I feel guilty. Maybe for a while it's okay to just make it. I have a lot of friends who are in a better place financially than we are and it's hard not to let that seep in. This is where WE are, and as long as we are together that should be enough. I have always battled anxiety and I over-analyze to a fault. Big decisions and change are my major triggers. And when money's tight, everything feels like a big decision. When it gets the best of me it's hard not to let it get into every aspect of life. I'm going to enjoy what we've got right now, and when the time comes for us to move, we'll take it day by day then too and act accordingly. I just have to have the right perspective, right?

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#12 of 13 Old 03-28-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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I was going to recommend a part time job working at a nursing home if family could watch the little one.They always need help,and you can sometimes do a double shift on weekends. But seeing your 16mpg on the car makes me think much would go for gas. Perhaps there is a neighbor who needs some help cooking or cleaning. It would be cheaper for them to hire someone on their own rather than pay an agency. My disabled friend gets about $10 an hour to clean for neighbors,and that means $20 a day for her for food or to pay a bill.

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#13 of 13 Old 03-28-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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You have probably cut out all bills that you can.We are canceling our home phone,internet,and cable next month. I would cancel the cells too,but dh says we have to keep those.

 

Also,on the car  look later into trading in for a better mileage one if there will be little difference in the monthly payment.What is your payment?

 

 I don't much like the prius dh got, but I love the 42mpg.

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