I am in DRASTIC need of help. I have a LARGE amount of debt. I have 6 kids and we are a single income family. We BLEEEEED money and I just don't know how to fix any of it. We filed bankruptcy probably 10 years ago and are in the position where I am really close to thinking about doing it again. I don't know that we will ever have good enough credit to buy a home, and the thought of getting 6 kids through college makes me queasy. I work full time as a nurse, try to get overtime as I can, but we never end up with money at the end of one pay cycle to put away for any savings. I no joke have $0 in savings. We live pay check to pay check and I need to learn how to fix this problem. We went down to 1 car over a year ago hoping that would help, and still I just cannot get a handle on it. PLEASE....any suggestions will help me.
You say that by the end of the pay cycle you are left with no extra money. I might suggest allocating a specific amount of money to savings at the beginning of the pay cycle, putting it away and not touching it unless absolutely necessary. Even it it is a small amount, say $20/paycheck, you'd at least have something put away.
I'm guessing that if you're bleeding money there is extra going to waste. But if you 'pay yourself first' into savings, you'd be sure to increase your savings (and then use that to pay down debt) [the key here is that you likely have extra money, but you're using it to buy unnecessary things. If you set it aside first you won't be able to spend it during the month]
Taking a month and recording where every penny is spent will help you find where your money is bleeding off to and you'll be able to use those numbers to create a budget that you can stick to.
These first steps can be daunting, but even just looking at one month's detailed spending can give you amazing information about your spending habits. Good luck!
Mama to two girls: 5/06 and 3/09
I agree with writing down every single thing. Don't count on statements etc. write it down.
Knowing where you money is going is a huge part of fixing this.
Consider financial counseling. Not one that will consolidate debts for a fee, but that will teach you skills and hold you hand.
I would also consider a cash envelopes system. Divide up the money at pay time, set aside some for groceries, housing, saving for irregular bills, fun... You can spend the money in the envelop on what it is for and when it is gone, it is gone. It may kick you a** at first, but you learn. Consider doing this from your regular paycheck and putting the overtime to long term goals. Pay off debt or save it where you can not touch it with out serious inconvience.
Have an emergency fund. Even a small one will cushion the blow of all the unexpected necessary expenses (NEEDs, not wants, ie get the car running, hole in the roof, fridge working). This is the key to not living pay check to pay check and not getting knocked over everytime something goes wrong
Kids can borrow for college and get financial aid. Get you own feet under you and teach them well before worrying about that.
Mama to Monkey (Jan '09), Bee (May '11), and Cat (August, '13)
|Finances , Frugality|