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#1 of 17 Old 12-28-2012, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was trying to work on a budget for this upcoming month (January), and it seems like no matter how I work it, I can't. I see a lot of you ladies have really great ideas about how to work miracles sometimes with budgets, so I thought I would let y'all look and see if there's anything I can do different.

 

DF's income is going to be ~1350 for the month.

 

Then, in bills we have

 

Rent- 600

Electricity- ~200

Gas- 100

Gasoline- 200

Loan Payment- 100

DF's dental payment- ~50

Groceries- ???

 

The only assistance we get is Medicaid and WIC, no foodstamps or anything like that. I'm feeling fairly discouraged. Any ideas would be great. Thanks in advance!


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#2 of 17 Old 12-29-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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You have $100 left over for groceries plus WIC so I think you'll be ok! Here's a couple links for recipes using only WIC foods:

 

http://motherlovergoddess.blogspot.com/2010/04/healthy-recipes-using-your-wic.html

 

http://community.babycenter.com/post/a22985953/recipes_using_wic_ingredients_only


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#3 of 17 Old 12-29-2012, 06:40 AM
 
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Do you have Bountiful Baskets in your area (http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/)?  If so, that can be a good way to get a large quantity of fruit/veggies for fairly cheap.

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#4 of 17 Old 12-29-2012, 08:52 AM
 
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Your electricity bill seems a little high, is there anything you can do to cut that down? Turn off/unplug things? Apply for an energy discount? I am looking into discounted electric in our area & it seems there are a few options, maybe there is something in your area too. If you can cut that in half, you'd have an extra $100 for groceries.

And what kind of loan payment do you have? Could you get it deferred or something? And renegotiate on the dental payment, maybe only pay ~$20 for a while?

The only other place I see with wiggle room is gas... is that commuting costs or is it for family outings etc.? If you can cut back on non-essential driving it might free up a bit more... and look into whether public transportation might save you too.

Is anything missing from your budget? What about water, garbage removal, car insurance, phone, internet, etc?

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#5 of 17 Old 12-29-2012, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Your electricity bill seems a little high, is there anything you can do to cut that down? Turn off/unplug things? Apply for an energy discount? I am looking into discounted electric in our area & it seems there are a few options, maybe there is something in your area too. If you can cut that in half, you'd have an extra $100 for groceries.
And what kind of loan payment do you have? Could you get it deferred or something? And renegotiate on the dental payment, maybe only pay ~$20 for a while?
The only other place I see with wiggle room is gas... is that commuting costs or is it for family outings etc.? If you can cut back on non-essential driving it might free up a bit more... and look into whether public transportation might save you too.
Is anything missing from your budget? What about water, garbage removal, car insurance, phone, internet, etc?
Big hugs, I can't seem to make our budget work either, it's very discouraging! hug.gif

 

The electricity is behind, which is why it is so high. Otherwise, it is usually under 100. The loan payment, we can't get it deferred, they're calling us every day because they say we are behind. (Even though up until last month, we were making what they were asking for the monthly payment every week). I tried talking to them to make any different arrangements, and they won't. The dental payment, because he has dental insurance, we have to pay what the insurance won't pay all at one time, unless it's over 500, then they can do 1/2 at time of service, and equal payments for a year, but because we don't have at least 250 to pay on it right now, we have to pay each visit in full. Gas is 99% just to and from work. I usually try and get groceries and stuff on my way from dropping him off to work, or on my way to pick him up, as stores are right on the way. Water is included in either gas or electricity (can't remember), we don't have garbage service right now (We need to, but haven't gotten it started yet. We've been putting our trash with my mom's). We don't have car insurance (we're going to try and budget and get a whole year come tax time, if we can't get it before), and we use my mom's wireless from our house (we live next door).

 

I knew there was something I was forgetting from the budget, and that was phones. greensad.gif We just have prepaid cell phones, it's 70/month for both of them.


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#6 of 17 Old 12-29-2012, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everybody!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by rnra View Post

Do you have Bountiful Baskets in your area (http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/)?  If so, that can be a good way to get a large quantity of fruit/veggies for fairly cheap.

 

I looked, and we don't have that in our state. Really neat program, though. :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

You have $100 left over for groceries plus WIC so I think you'll be ok! Here's a couple links for recipes using only WIC foods:

 

http://motherlovergoddess.blogspot.com/2010/04/healthy-recipes-using-your-wic.html

 

http://community.babycenter.com/post/a22985953/recipes_using_wic_ingredients_only

 

I looked at those, as well as googled "wic recipes". There are some good recipes there! We have a few things already (flour, a bit of sugar, some rice, 5 or 6 boxes of pasta, some beans), so I'm going to try and figure out recipes from those, as well as the stuff that we get from WIC. Thankfully, the kids like pancakes and cereal with milk on it for any meal. redface.gif I'm kind of embarrassed, I feel like I should be able better to budget, and to provide for my family, especially since I lost my job. greensad.gif


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#7 of 17 Old 01-01-2013, 07:07 AM
 
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hug2.gif

 

Please don't feel embaressed. People are losing their jobs left, right and center.. No one is safe, really.

 

Ok, onto your budget..

 

Regarding gas, is there any way of dh riding a bike to and from work? I'm not sure how far work is from home, so please forgive me if my suggestion is out of line.

 

Groceries - Beans and lentils. When it gets tough for us, those are my go to meals. Nutritious and cheap. Chilli beans, cold beans with garlic and lemon, bean salad, bean casserole, lentil soup with rice, dahl..

 

I don't know what food is included with WIC, but if it's at all possible, I would try to eat off that as much as I could and put any money that was in the grocery category towards the loan or dental pay so that I could rid of it all together as quickly as possible. That would free up some money for groceries or savings in the future.

 

I would strongly consider cancelling one cell phone and finding alternatives to the cell (such as free calls over the internet since you can use your mom's wifi)

 

Is your DH able to hitch a ride with someone to and from work and go halves on the gasoline?

 

Can you call around for a better rate on your electricity? I'm not in the states so I'm not sure if you have offers like this, but we recently took up an offer of % rate cut in electricity prices if we signed with a certain company.. I would look into something like that asap.. Can you go through an independent finance/debt company and get them to re-work your payment agreement with the electricity company?

 

Any chance of getting small jobs on the side? Delivering newspapers/catalogues, sewing/mending/ironing clothes, cleaning homes, tutoring, proof reading..? When times were a little tough I once got a job delivering catalogues.. It was tiring physically and the pay was a little crappy but it was just enough to get things going.

 

hug2.gifhug2.gif I hope things get better for you soon.


 

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#8 of 17 Old 01-01-2013, 07:33 PM
 
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Local churches - even if you aren't that denomination, or religious at all will often help out with some pantry items. We had to do that from time to time when I was growing up.
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#9 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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This is why I couldn't be a SAHM, my ex made 1600/mth and we lived in 2bdrm apartment (varied between 800-900 over the 3 years we lived there) and electric is CRAZY high in texas because they don't insulate for crap. it would hit 300+ during 3/4m of summer.

ex still had car payment of 300/mth

and he came into relationship with a couple thou in CC debt

and he had student loans still

 

Even if we'd moved in with his family or mine, got rid of car, I still couldn't make things balace for us, esp when expecting #2...and our home was CHEAPER (500/mth plus 3K a year in taxes) than apartment....plus he made like 50 bucks a month too much for government assist.

 

however, daycare was 1300/mth for both kids and between what ex made and gas to get him to/from work, I was actually SPENDING money for him to work.

still better option than letting him sit home with kids tho...ugh.

 

I agree, talk to electric company about paying off balance slowly or even assistance. Some electric companies will help with hardship.

Look into food pantries for the month...

 

What can you do to earn money?

if you have someone who can watch children, can you apply at a temp agency?

I did that for a bit many many years ago. I got a few jobs that were just a few days of data entry. paid like 10/hr (this would have been in ehh...2002?) and earned us an extra 200-300 bucks working just a few days.

 

at the same time, babysitting?

I still pay err.... 700/mth for daycare for my kiddos. just 3pm-530. sad isn't it?

it's 80/wk for after school per kid, and I was paying at one point 210/wk for infant, and around 180-160/wk for the toddler ages (they discount every birthday until school basically)

 

my sis came to visit over the summer and I pulled my kids out for extended period of time because my ex had them a big chunk during summer, so I payed my sis to watch them for like 2 weeks while she was staying with us. I think I ended up giving her 500 bucks (200/wk, plus a little extra) because she was hurting for cash being uneployed and drove down from chicago which tends to run around 300 in gas. She was going to visit anyway....but atleast she ended up on the positive side of things :)

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#10 of 17 Old 01-02-2013, 09:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bmcneal View Post

Gas is 99% just to and from work. I usually try and get groceries and stuff on my way from dropping him off to work, or on my way to pick him up,

if you are dropping him off, and picking him up that means you are driving 2x as much as you need to.

let him take the car as much as possible - even if it's just 3 or 4 days a week, it's still nearly half the gas.

 

there is no reason you NEED a car every day, i know its hard but people did it all the time before cars became more reasonable!

my maternal grandmother died in her early 40s in the late 60s never having had a license, my great grandmother (my grandpa's mom, not her mother) picked her up and took her grocery shopping and to drs appts and so forth for the kids. and she had 8 kids in 10 years!  (irish catholic much? lol)

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#11 of 17 Old 01-04-2013, 02:26 PM
 
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Why is it that you don't qualify for food stamps? From a quick search I found that the income for a family of four is $2498 per month. Why are dental visits being paid 'in full' (or in installments) when he has insurance? If he's paying for insurance plus paying in full for the appointments then there is no reason to pay for insurance.

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#12 of 17 Old 01-04-2013, 04:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Basylica View Post

if you are dropping him off, and picking him up that means you are driving 2x as much as you need to.

let him take the car as much as possible - even if it's just 3 or 4 days a week, it's still nearly half the gas.

 

there is no reason you NEED a car every day, i know its hard but people did it all the time before cars became more reasonable!

my maternal grandmother died in her early 40s in the late 60s never having had a license, my great grandmother (my grandpa's mom, not her mother) picked her up and took her grocery shopping and to drs appts and so forth for the kids. and she had 8 kids in 10 years!  (irish catholic much? lol)

That was my first thought as well. Maybe only keep the car if you have appointments, but let him take the car otherwise.

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#13 of 17 Old 01-11-2013, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DF can't drive, which is why I take him. If/when he can drive again, he will take the car. I don't go anywhere while he's at work, unless it's to grocery, but that's not very often.

 

We are going to go apply for food stamps when we get the money (it's an hour drive, one way), but we didn't qualify before because I was working up until ~14th/15th of December, so our income was *way* more than it is now.

 

His insurance only pays 80%, and that's only up to $1500/year, so the other 20%, we have to pay out of pocket, at the time the work is done. They don't do payments, unless the work costs over $500, and then you have to pay 50% at the time the work is done, and they will divide the other 50% up into 12 equal payments over a one-year period.

 

I am looking for part-time work, but there isn't much around here. I'm not terribly crafty/artsy, so I can't do much that way, but I have been looking into selling some of the things I'm/we're getting rid of anyway, so that will help a little.

 

There is only one gas company that services here, as well as electric, so we can't switch providers. I'm going to talk to DF about going down to one cell phone, that would cut our bill in half for that.

 

I just checked to see how feasible it would be to walk/ride a bike, and it would take ~6 hours to walk, or 2 to ride his bike each way, so that wouldn't work. From what I understand, there isn't anyone that works with him that lives near enough us to share a ride without them going out of their way, but I might could ask him about riding with someone, and sharing gas costs anyway.


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#14 of 17 Old 01-11-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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I just checked to see how feasible it would be to walk/ride a bike, and it would take ~6 hours to walk, or 2 to ride his bike each way, so that wouldn't work. From what I understand, there isn't anyone that works with him that lives near enough us to share a ride without them going out of their way, but I might could ask him about riding with someone, and sharing gas costs anyway.

 

If you can find someone he works with whose home is not too far away, what about a carpool situation where you drop off/pick up DH from that person's house? That lessens the burden on the co-worker (driving out of their way to pick up DH), but would still save you time and gas money. 


 

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#15 of 17 Old 01-11-2013, 11:23 AM
 
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Check this list to see if you are in one of the states that allows you to apply for food stamps online: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/apply.htm And if you aren't in one of those states, at least call the human services dept. first before driving up there. Explain your situation (that you can't afford to drive there to apply) and ask if there is anything they can do -- perhaps they can mail you an application or a taxi voucher or something, or they may have a closer location to apply. If your family income is going to be at that level long-term, it would definitely be worth applying, even if you have to borrow gas money or hitch a ride from a friend, because it sounds like you are below the federal poverty level & would almost be guaranteed to get some help.

Did you lose your job or quit? Sorry if that's too personal, just wanted to suggest applying for unemployment if you were laid off... or for short-term disability if you medically couldn't work (and if your state has temp. disability -- some states have short-term disability/assistance for low-income even if they don't have universal TDI).

I would definitely see if one of DH's coworkers would be willing to go a bit out of their way (and I like the PP's idea to drop him off at a co-worker's too). I don't remember if you said whether public transportation is available, but check into that if you haven't already.

If you are thinking of going to just one cell phone, and you stay home a lot, what about a land line instead? I have no idea how much they cost nowadays but for some reason I'm thinking it's around $10-25 a month, which would definitely be cheaper than a cell phone.

Also look into community action programs & local family assistance in your area. If you are willing to share your city/state, someone might know (or find through google) what programs are in your area. I thought the only option was state aid but I've found in my area that there are local/regional programs that help with everything from heating costs to energy bills, prescriptions, food, etc., plus even things like weatherization of your home, free energy efficient upgrades, home repair grants, lead remediation, etc. Another thing that I discovered is that low-income residents in my state are eligible for discounted electric service. And if utilities have been deregulated in your state, you can also look into purchasing electric through a supplier (even though there may be only one distributor for electricity, you can get discounts by selecting a private supplier and your electric is still delivered by the one company available. Sounds weird, I only half understand it myself, but I'm looking into it more).

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#16 of 17 Old 01-11-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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There can be a lot of creative solutions to the transportation issue.  

 

I have two co-workers who worked out a nice exchange--Pam and Jill (not their real names).  Pam rides her bike to a bus stop that is somewhat near her home, and then takes the bus from there to a location that is somewhat near our office.  However, it would still be a brisk 30+ minute walk to get from the stop to our office.  So, Jill picks up Pam at the bus stop and drives her the rest of the way.  Pam "pays" Jill with two gallon-sized bags of washed, cut-up fruit and veggies every week.  So, Pam gets a ride to work and then Jill gets healthy food to snack on and add to her lunches.

 

In another case, a friend of mine gives rides to a co-worker every day.  In exchange, the co-worker babysits my friend's children one night a week so that my friend and her husband can go on dates and spend time together.

 

Good luck!

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#17 of 17 Old 01-11-2013, 12:57 PM
 
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I noticed one of your posts in another forum, it looks like you might be in Indiana? If so, you can apply for food stamps and other benefits online.

 

http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2999.htm


 

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