How do you SAHM's stick to your budget???? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-02-2004, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am having a hell of a time trying to stick with our budget. Our saved up money is dwindeling FAST and our monthy bills are really high over $2300 !! We don't even have credit cards!!!! I am getting really nervous that I will have to go back to work. I would love to hear any tips or money saving tricks that you ladies might have!!
Thanks,
Amy

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Old 09-02-2004, 12:56 PM
 
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nak,
there are some good frugal living websites,
have you heard of the tightwad gazette?
can't type one-handed very well...i'm interested in what others have to say.

Keri, wife to Tony, mom to five DDs: M ('96), S('01), E('04), A('07) and J('10);
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Old 09-02-2004, 01:39 PM
 
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My dh and I were having trouble, too, but then we sat down and wrote out all of our expenses. After we had the max total (including groceries, gas for the car, etc., but not including entertainment...that comes in later), we had a little left over. We split that difference and we each spend our half however we want. It seems like we stick to the budget better when we know we have a little "mad money" of our own that we can use.
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Old 09-02-2004, 02:01 PM
 
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Wow. That's a lot of bills.
Here's a few suggestions:
If you have cars that you're paying on, sell them and get something more affordable w/out payments.
Comparison shop your grocery stores. You can do a lot on the internet these days by going to their websites. I save $ this way all the time.
List all your bills and talk about each and every single one. What can you cut out for a few months? Try giving up cable or a cell phone for awhile. If you really miss it, you can always sign up again.
Hope that helps a bit. What are your major expenses?
I'm trying to cut spending myself. DH just lost his job so we're tightening our belts. I thought that we were being pretty frugal but now I see lots of ways to cut, cut, cut.
You can do it!!
And even if you end up working, maybe you can find a part-time job so you still have time with the kiddies.
Good luck!

Spiral Chrissy, loving my life treehugger.gifread.gifhippie.gif, Mama to DS bouncy.gif (8/6/03), wife to DH guitar.gif, and hoping for another little bean dust.gifnamaste.gif
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Old 09-02-2004, 02:41 PM
 
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We don't really think too much about it...

my car is paid for, if you are making car payments, sell those cars and buy one outright cash. Yeah, so what if it's 20 years old? You can find one with low mileage if you look hard enough and stay out of dealerships that will try to talk you into spending more money than you should.

DH rides his motorcycle to work if it isn't raining. this saves tons on gas money.

We don't eat steaks or pre-packaged food very often. It's amazing how much you can save on groceries if you're careful what you buy and how much you spend. If something non-perishable that we always use is on sale (toilet paper, coffee, whatever), I buy it whether we need it right then or not. Frozen dinners cost at least four times as much as the ingredients it would take to make the same meal. Dried beans are real real cheap and easy to make if you plan your meals ahead of time. If you eat meat, even the cheapest cuts are pretty tasty after stewing in the crockpot all day.

I quit smoking, that in itself was like a payraise! DH drinks store-brand soda instead of Coke now. little things really add up fast. Take a good look at what you are spending your money on. You should be able to see exactly where you can cut back.

there are the obvious ones, get rid of non-essential expenses. Every time I've called to cancel our satellite TV service, they have given me three months free. Call your creditors (I know you said you don't have credit card debt - you're already ahead!) and see if you can get lower interest rates. And, it sounds counter-productive, but pay as much extra on your debt as you possibly can each month, and make sure the extra goes to the principal. In just a year or two, you would be amazed at how much less you are paying in interest.

ETA - switching to cloth diapers saved us over $1000/year!
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Old 09-02-2004, 04:10 PM
 
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Is the "sticking to the budget" a problem because your budget is unreasonably low (i.e. there's really not enough set aside for food, utilities, etc.), because unexpected expenses keep coming up (like car repairs or medical bills), or because you aren't disciplining yourselves? Defining exactly what the problem is will help pinpoint the best answers.
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Old 09-02-2004, 04:19 PM
 
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I understand the suggestion to sell cars that have car payments and pay cash for a used one, but for most people I know, that isn't a reasonable thing to do. Most people I know owe more on their car than it's worth, so to sell it still leaves you with a car payment, but no car. If you can pay it off and keep it, that is usually a better option. Unless you paid a huge down payment, you're upside down in a car loan the minute you drive off the lot.

One thing that helped us was to live on cash. I would mark paydays on the calendar and split our bills every month btw the 2 paydays (we're paid every other week). On payday, I would pay the bills. If I didn't have the actual bill yet, I would write the check and hold it until the bill came, then mail it right away. After the bills were paid, I would write a check for cash for the balance, leaving just a bit for gas (I always pay at the pump so I don't have to bring the kids in). Then dh and I keep a stash of cash (it's never a huge amt, so I'm comfortable keeping it in the house) and we take things as we need. It's much easier knowing exactly how much you have and how much you're spending. It also makes it much easier to balance the checkbook without a ton of little debits here and there.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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