2016 Low Income Support Thread - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 05:33 AM
 
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@happyhermit - You aren't doing well if you're spending so much more than you're making that you end up drowning in debt.


I understand the idea that it's silly to save when you're paying off debts. I do. I understand the idea that you can't be doing too bad because XYZ. I understand living with poor health and thinking if you just buy X thing, it'll fix things and so it's an investment and worth it. But this isn't working.


The first thing you need to do is go over all your expenses. ESPECIALLY the little ones. I've often ended a month with hundreds on my credit card, no idea how that happened, and when I reviewed the expenses- it was all little less than $30 expenses that I thought didn't matter. And the emergencies are part of that. You're spending $500/month on emergencies. Start there.

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#62 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 06:39 AM
 
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That's exactly what it feels like... hemorrhaging money... On one hand we are doing "well" in that we own a home (or at least we're making mortgage payments on a home and not wasting it on rent), we own a car, we own a great little business, we always pay our monthly bills on time... but then there's this CC debt hanging over my head. We can never seem to get that paid off or any savings put away. I always prioritize paying off debt over savings because it doesn't make sense to me to have money in a savings account when interest on debt is accumulating faster than interest is being made on savings. But then we don't have savings, so we end up using the CC again when we have something we need... like dental or car repairs/maintenance... My dad says this is the north american way, but geez! I hate debt so much...

I've locked the cc's in the safe before and could do that again (my version of freezing it as it's a nuisance to get them out and takes time to do). I guess in 4-5 years when the LOC and consolidated loans are paid off that will free up that money (about $400/month) for savings, unless we keep racking up debt at this rate, because then we'll just be having to pay it all off again... It's a vicious cycle! In the meantime how do I deal with the inevitable life expenses that come up and have to be dealt with in a timely manner? It's not as simple as just making more money as I've explained... For instance... In order to save money now should I just skip getting the crown on my tooth and opt for the much cheaper permanent filling, and hope I don't break it further?
It seems like you do have some money if the bills are paid and I assume food and other necessities too? Any money left should then go into savings and paying off dept. You will need both otherwise you will keep using credit for emergencies. Perhaps a lower payment for debt until you have enough for a small emergency is money better spent for you? Everything that does not increase the dept by purchases would be better as you have not broken your cycle. You also need to work on priorities (I am guessing). A car repair can be a necessary thing, but are all car repairs necessary? No, some can wait until you have the money in cash. Do I need to buy a new xyz? Sometimes yes, most times no. Do I really need to buy this item of clothing? Yes? Can I get it for less money or can I find another item that costs less? Am I willing to compromise?

It is true that small purchases can add up a lot if you are not careful so try to keep track of them. I am not a budget fanatic and for me it doesn't work to write everything down but one needs to work on buying.
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#63 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 09:58 AM
 
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You do need to find what works for you. I'm not a big fan of budgets, but having an envelope of money that is ALL you can spend for the month is better than a credit card that's endless. Sometimes this means going without. If you realize you only have $50 to last a week, you'll find you can get really creative with how to stretch it.

What works can also change. Credit cards used to work for us. But we got in the habit of paying off everything a month later based on the assumption of X income, then I lost a job and that halved and now we're in trouble. So we're switching to the envelope system.

I also do suggest budgeting in an allowance for everyone- especially adults. We stopped doing this because we "couldn't afford it", but then we'd both want to spend and ask the other for permission and wound up spending way more! I think this is the hardest thing to budget in. It feels like a waste of money, but unless you have willpower of steel this is the place you're most likely to fail. We keep not doing it and then splurging. Even this month that was super tight, we spent over $100 on frivolity. If we'd agreed to the $25 each allowance, we would've spent half that.
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#64 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 12:51 PM
 
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Hi ladies. Havent been on a while. Things have been pretty much the same.

Weve started doing weekly grocery shops rather than a big monthly trip. Our budget has stayed the same but we arent able to get to costco and the discount grocery store because we dont have the larger upfront sum. Those places helped us build a little stockpile and really saved us money in the long run. So Im hoping to fit it back in somehow.

Once we get tax refund we can change a few things and that will free up our budget a little more.

We got a family scholarship to the local ymca. Yay! We will be utilizing it a ton. I do need some workout clothes and headphones tho. Should be able to get those items cheaply though.

Ive been really trying to relax more this year. Been finding time to read (yay for the library) and been loooving adult coloring books. Found some coupons for joannes and micheals so I can get more supplies lol.
Also been crafting with the kids.
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#65 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 12:57 PM
 
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2016 Low Income Support Thread

I've read everyone's replies and suggestions a few times and would first like to say a big thank you for the thoughtful answers.

I am a highly anal organized person when it comes to our budget. Everything is in neat spreadsheets - except the "little stuff" and unexpected emergency/urgent costs. That's what goes on the cc... A coffee here, an app there, a kindle book here, a lunch out... Basically all the little indulgences and non essential items, and then the bigger stuff like fixing my cracked tooth or replacing bald tires... Which is why I'm here!! I know if I lock up the cc's I'll be in much better shape, so I'm locking them up today. If I don't have it, I can't spend it. Fingers crossed that no big urgent things come up...

Any extra money we have is all going into the cc's. I think that's why I justify using them... I'm saving money on interest and using it as an emergency fund... I need to shift the way I approach that... I need to decide exactly how to deal with emergencies and spending money...


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#66 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 01:13 PM
 
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I've read everyone's replies and suggestions a few times and would first like to say a big thank you for the thoughtful answers.

I am a highly anal organized person when it comes to our budget. Everything is in neat spreadsheets - except the "little stuff" and unexpected emergency/urgent costs. That's what goes on the cc... A coffee here, an app there, a kindle book here, a lunch out... Basically all the little indulgences and non essential items, and then the bigger stuff like fixing my cracked tooth or replacing bald tires... Which is why I'm here!! I know if I lock up the cc's I'll be in much better shape, so I'm locking them up today. If I don't have it, I can't spend it. Fingers crossed that no big urgent things come up...

Any extra money we have is all going into the cc's. I think that's why I justify using them... I'm saving money on interest and using it as an emergency fund... I need to shift the way I approach that... I need to decide exactly how to deal with emergencies and spending money...


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From what you have written I think that allowing a very limited amount for the purchases that you want is probably good for you. For that money there is no justification, you can buy whatever stupid thing you want but if you run out you are done. I have a sum for coffee. I can resist most things but I do love expensive unnecessary coffee and I decided that this is my fun and I am allowed to have that fun in a controlled manner. I can get a cup of expensive coffee every week and savor it.
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#67 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 03:35 PM
 
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2016 Low Income Support Thread

I'm doing a cc analysis of 2015 today, I'm about half done now. I'll use those numbers to set more realistic amounts for groceries, spending, medical/dental and urgent expenses... I'm about half way through and realizing my grocery budget has been WAY too low for what we actually spend... I kind of knew that but it's helpful to see it in black and white... Or is it red and white? Depressing, but an important exercise to effectively stop the hemorrhaging though...


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#68 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 04:16 PM
 
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You can find ways to cut grocery costs if you need to. It is frustrating to go through. We've had some really rough wake-up calls. One time we put $1k on our credit card without realizing it.

It sounds like you've got a lot of little places that you're losing money that feels like it's "just an app", but those add up faster than you realize.

It's not fun to have to be strict with money.
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#69 of 430 Old 01-26-2016, 06:21 PM
 
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Very interesting results... The biggest expense we went over on were business expenses... We had budgeted $300 every other month for inventory but averaged $500/month... Oy! Sat down with my business partner (the hubs) tonight and we've worked out a strategy to better stick to our budget. There were a few reasons we were that much over, which I'm not going to get into on public forum, but I'm really glad I did this analysis.

As for groceries and household expenses... I had budgeted $240/week and we consistently spent $300/week all last year so I've bumped my budget up to $300. We've also committed to a weekly treat night instead of stopping at the convenience store multiple times a week...

I've adjusted my monthly payments on my debt to make room for more grocery/household expenses without using the credit cards... Wish me luck in sticking to my plan...

Oh, and the hubs is on board with us locking up the cc's so that's done too. Joining this thread really helped me sort through this... Thanks!! ❤️❤️


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#70 of 430 Old 01-27-2016, 03:37 AM
 
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Just a quick pop in before work to say hi and hoping everyone is staying warm...

Life is life....I am putting one foot in front of the other...
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#71 of 430 Old 01-27-2016, 11:50 AM
 
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Does anyone have experience with tax stuff? I made about $5k last year working for small businesses that didn't put anything towards tax/deduct anything from my paycheck. I was usually an employee but I don't know how this'll impact my taxes. I don't expect to get W2s or anything from them.

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#72 of 430 Old 01-27-2016, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone have experience with tax stuff? I made about $5k last year working for small businesses that didn't put anything towards tax/deduct anything from my paycheck. I was usually an employee but I don't know how this'll impact my taxes. I don't expect to get W2s or anything from them.
I use an online tax thing 1040express.com ive been very happy with how it works for 12 years now. you can run the numbers before you pay the whopping $13 for filing.
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#73 of 430 Old 01-29-2016, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Got my IRS refund deposited today. woohoo!
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#74 of 430 Old 01-29-2016, 11:48 AM
 
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Got my IRS refund deposited today. woohoo!
Wow!!!!! That was fast!!!! I am still waiting on one more tax form..

This past few weeks have been awful in every way possible! And it just continues to get worse...I want to crawl in a hole and just not come out..Life pretty much sucks right now 😢
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#75 of 430 Old 01-29-2016, 11:59 AM
 
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@Mylie so sorry to hear things are rough... Sending virtual hugs and warm thoughts.


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#76 of 430 Old 01-29-2016, 01:29 PM
 
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filed our taxes earlier this week so should be getting our returns in about 3 weeks but we are saving most of it for a house so it will just go into savings.

I went up to the ymca and signed us up for a family membership. We got 20% discount with the financial scholarship but half the reason i wanted it was the 50% off kids sports and such. We have 4 kiddos so that will be a huge discount especially since my ex pays half of the sports for my 2 kiddos so it will be like 10$ for swim lessons =) and I get to actually work out! I have had a gym membership before, i do better as a gym goer than working out on my own at home, i need to GO somewhere or i won't work out, ever. House stuff will always, always distract me. I have thought about signing up for 3 years, i finally decided it was time. We also plan to get a sumer pool pass. It is only 152$ for the whole family for the summer which is cheap! We will be usuing a little bit of the income tax for the pool pass but everything else is going to savings.
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#77 of 430 Old 01-29-2016, 05:48 PM
 
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Hugs, Mylie. You are in my thoughts.

Weve been utilizing the y a lot too. I need some workout clothes so I can do more (only pants I have are jeans lol). We will still probably ger a pool pass too since its just down the street, but we might get a punch card to one next town over instead. Its a debate.

Did taxes today. Mostly going to debt and paying ahead on bills. We may have a little for other needs...hopefully.
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#78 of 430 Old 02-02-2016, 12:33 PM
 
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our irs is pending to hit too, must be a hold, it took 6 days =)

So excited, going to get our deposit back from the house we tried to buy so we almost have about what i wanted to have in savings for the house after that and once state taxes hit.

But there are still no houses to buy! I know i can handle having the money in savings and will not spend it unless we are dieing lol.

Got the car all fixed up and it is back with us now. We ended up coming outta of the accident with an extra 175$, it definitely helps dh works at a shop, he got all the parts at cost and brought them to a body shop they do business with so we didn't even have to pay a penny out of pocket after insurance. I was also able to get a check for a replacement carseat as well.

I had to buy ds some new shoes and some jeans, all his are so small. I was squeezing him in to clothes much to small for him for months but now that christmas is over i went ahead and splurged. I got a few pairs at the thrift shop and some shoes at a discount store. I did spend about 100$ on him this week but he needed it. He is getting so big! The girls feet hardly grow and they can wear the same pants 2 years in a row but not him. He is in mens size 11 shoes now and 5'3" at 9.5 years. I got him 16 Husky jeans I hope they fit him. He was wearing 14 Husky for about 6 months and the last 6 months or so they were a little small but still managable. I am scared to see what it will be like in a few more years as far as his shoe size, wondering if he may be wearing 14's down the road because he hasn't even hit his teen years when the growth spurts get really big. He is off the charts both height and weight and has been essentially since he was a toddler. Not sure how saving money in the big and tall section works but i will deal with that when the time comes...

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#79 of 430 Old 02-02-2016, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Crunchy- looking forward for your kiddo- Kohls has a big/tall section and they run regular sales and kohls cash. Plus you can order online and get the same sales etc.

Your kiddo is bigger than my 15 yr old. Gulp.

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#80 of 430 Old 02-02-2016, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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we are having some quiet days around here. lazy, hanging out on the sofa type days. My mental health isnt getting better and i really need 'quiet and calm' to be functional at all.
couch, blankets, kindle. thats about my day.

hope everyone else is doing ok for now

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#81 of 430 Old 02-03-2016, 01:19 PM
 
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I could really use some positive vibes right now. I have a job interview Friday afternoon for a job that I really really really want. I hope I can impress them because my friend who left this position for a promotion is really talking me up. She's been extremely supportive. So I'm hoping that the hiring staff agrees with her that I'll be perfect for this job. It would be a nice financial increase but it will also leave me concerned for getting my younger girls on the bus.


Gratefuls:

-I currently fit into my teenager's jeans which is AWESOME because I didn't have any that fit. I just increased my wardrobe!

-coffee. Oh dear god COFFEE!

-There was this great deal on yoga classes at my local studio for new students so I signed up. It was incredible.

-A supportive friend who is trying like heck to get me the job of my dreams.

-Two more friends who have been absolute life preservers in this crazy ocean of crap I've dealt with for 5 weeks. I couldn't have made it this far without them.
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#82 of 430 Old 02-04-2016, 11:00 AM
 
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You know I got you, justmama.

Gettng to do a true grocery shop this weekend. Feels like winning the lotto lol. Also, hubby has some overtime and we have sketched out plans for our tax return.
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#83 of 430 Old 02-04-2016, 06:19 PM
 
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Sending good job vibes, justmama!!!!

I just got a call for a hospital job that I applied (and interviewed) for almost two weeks ago. I thought they have it to someone else but nope! They decided I was the one I'm so excited except that it's working nights. Oh well.
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#84 of 430 Old 02-04-2016, 11:35 PM
 
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Good luck with the job, @justmama !
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#85 of 430 Old 02-06-2016, 06:25 AM
 
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Grateful fors:

New credit card arrived in time to save the day at the end of Jan. I know, not something to be proud of, but I needed a third in place to prepare for applying for a mortgage later this year, and the timing was perfect, and it's 0% until Sept. Saved my butt.

The picky eater is away for 3 weeks; the other 3 kids are more accepting of frugal foods.

Two kids will be with their dad for a week this month, which means a mental break and a grocery break (only one kid will be here).

Warm winter so far! Not using much fuel.

16yo has a temp job that will help pay for a class he needs to take.

Our house is great. We are so lucky to live in a strong house.

Pantry is getting thin, but I can go shopping today. Wish me luck for plenty cheap.

- homeschooling mom to four teens
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#86 of 430 Old 02-06-2016, 08:06 AM
 
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hope the interview went well justmama!

So I am just chomping at the bit to get out of this rental, I swear I have never lived in a such a place with so many problems. The toilet flooded last night, caused quite the ceiling damage. It has flooded before but nothing like this. I just am at my wits end. We are getting closer to the end of the lease that it is likely that we will just leave at the end of the lease provided we find a home to buy. We really can't afford not to jump on a good house that come around but I am beginning to think they will never go up for sale. One new listed last week and they want 240K for it! Ugh. The absolute most we would go it is 200K and that is about 20K more than we would like. Very frustrating. We are also going to need to come with more the deposit if we go higher. Right now we have to have 3.5% for fha loan. We have about 4500$ and need about 2000 or so more which we are having quite the time saving for. And to top things off dh owes back taxes so our state is likely going to force us to pay his old state off so we won't be getting 900$ back from state only 300$ Not happy about that and we started on a payment plan this past month so I thought we would be okay but now I am thinking not. I have to get that sorted out this week.

I got a bill from the state medicaid. For some reason we have to pay 20$ premium for one dsd but not the other. I do not understand how that is figured but whatever, we will do what that want so they can have insurance through the state.

I babysat for my sister on thursday. She pays me 20$, I was supposed to do it once a week but I just can't find the time to do it more than once or twice a month. The extra money helps out and I used it for take out for me and dh last night for our date night. Nice little way to splurge without it coming for the bank account.

Gratefuls: Income tax came from fed very fast
Ex paid for dd's gymnastics (half) already
No big holidays or bdays until Easter, LOL
Car is fixed and back home!

SAHM to DS 10, DSD 8, DD 5 and DSD 5 and waiting for 10/26
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#87 of 430 Old 02-06-2016, 09:34 AM
 
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Is anyone else in a position where their entire tax refund is withheld every year by the IRS or state? XH neglected to file taxes for multiple years while self-employed, and the penalty is steep, so all of my EIC gets taken towards it. :-( I'm happy for everyone who is looking forward to a refund -- but every year at this time I get bummed thinking about what I would do with it if they let me have it.

- homeschooling mom to four teens
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#88 of 430 Old 02-06-2016, 09:35 AM
 
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@worthy my refund gets held because someone stole my identity. I still have never received the return from last year. I hope that I'll get both this year, but I'm not too optimistic.

Lots of Love
-Mcfly


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#89 of 430 Old 02-06-2016, 09:49 AM
 
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That's awful. I heard that that's becoming increasingly more common. Because hte IRS wants to get the refunds out fast, they don't check to make sure they're on the level until after it's too late!

Waiting very nervously on our refund... I love and hate electronic deposit. It's convenient, and I trust it more than mailing a check, but I get so paranoid I put the numbers in wrong- no matter how many times I check them!

Two proud daddies and our little monster
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#90 of 430 Old 02-06-2016, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heyxxmcfly View Post
@worthy my refund gets held because someone stole my identity. I still have never received the return from last year. I hope that I'll get both this year, but I'm not too optimistic.
Oh, I am so sorry! They should return it to you WITH interest for keeping it so long. I wonder if there's any legal help you can get for that kind of situation?

My experiences with the IRS were time-consuming and unpleasant. I should have filed Innocent Spouse, but I didn't full understand it and I also didn't want to have any more contact with my XH than I was already having. So here we are. It's complicated. But I believe he is not paying anything toward the debt and the only payments are from my returns. Bleah.

Anyway...usually I try not to think about it.
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- homeschooling mom to four teens
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