Help me start getting control over our money - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-09-2005, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Right now neither DH or I take responsibility for our finances. I used to, and bills would get paid and our savings were growing but then after we had DS I couldn't handle the stress of it anymore so I asked DH to do it.

Well bills aren't getting paid on time, we are both spending too much on junk that we don't really need, neither knows how much we can spend in a month and we aren't saving anymore. Everything seems to go on VISA now.

We have a car and pay rent. DH's parents are 'financing' our car/ insurence and we haven't paid them for MONTHS. We have made budgets before but not with any sucess.

I am staying at home but I get a fair bit of parental leave pay and other benifets. DH works full time. WHERE DO I START??

Help me please, we want to eventually be able to buy a house but it seems like it will never happen. We make more than enough money to sustain ourselves but it all goes... AWAY...

TIA-

Heather
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Old 02-09-2005, 12:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikruca
WHERE DO I START??

I can only quickly comment because I have to work -- I highly recommend the book Your Money or Your Life, which is most certainly available at your local library. Basically he suggests that you need to begin with tracking where you are spending money -- not pass judgements like "we are buying too many xyz" but just keep track so you know where it goesl.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 02-09-2005, 01:34 PM
 
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I agree with pp, you need to track where everything is going. We were doing the same things and it wasn't I started tracking the money that things became under "control". The first thing I did was put a calendar together that was only for bills, when a bill would come in I would right away mark the due date on the calendar, this gave me a good idea what was coming in every month and what was going out. I keep a list of all of the amounts each month and then I took dh's income per month and put that next to the amount going out, what was left over I divided into grocery/gas/savings. My dh gets paid every two weeks so I take out the alloted grocery and gas money out for the two weeks and keep it in an envelope, when that money is gone, its gone. My main concern was to stop charging, if I don't have the cash, then it waits until next pay day. We now have a really good look at where our pennies go. And it frees up alot of money, not to be charging all the time.

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Old 02-09-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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Your Money or Your Life is a great place to start (seconding that). I aslo like the book "Smart Women Finish Rich." It has a worksheet in the back you can use to help get everything under control and he has a filing system for your financial papers and a checklist to see if you are missing a key element in your financial plan.

I resisted this type of thing for years and wish I had started long ago. Start today! Then ten years down the line you won't be wishing you had.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the book suggestions.. hopefully i can make it to the library soon.. oh no we owe the library money so I can't take books out

are there any good websites for this sort of thing? some sort of form where i can imput numbers and *poof* it figures everything out for me?
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:36 PM
 
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If you search debt here on MDC, you will find some links for that.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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Old 02-10-2005, 02:32 PM
 
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I agree with the other posters. First find out exactly where you are spending your money. So often when people do this they realize they are frittering away $50 or $200 or even $500 a month on something they could get along without, such as eating out or magazine subscriptions or lattes, etc! This is money that should be going into savings and/or paying off debt. Then get the lowest interest rate that you can on your credit cards. Keep checking them too because as you use the credit more responsibly after a period of time you may get a cheaper rate as you go along.

*poof*

Sorry, there is no "poof"! Hard work is usually necessary!
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Old 02-10-2005, 02:59 PM
 
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We got into a huge financial fiasco about three years ago. We sat down with the whole basket of bills and went through and organized it all, wrote down exactly who we owed to and how much ,and how past due it all was and prioritized what needed taken care of the soonest. then we got on the phone with everyone we owed money to and explained the situation, tried to get lower payments/lower interest/etc... some credit card companies will take off many of the over limit fees and late fees if they see you are trying. As for the money owed to family- I'd be very honest and let them know exactly what's going on.

Also what the other posters said- finding where you are spending moeny, how to cut waaayyy back, etc... I really liked the book "Get a Financial life- a guide to money in your 20'sand 30's". Also Suze Orman has some good books too. Oh and the library? Give them a few dollars and ask if they could possibly let you check out books because it's really really important! they might just help you out!

money problems suck. It takes awhile to climb out of them, but it's worth it!

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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Old 02-10-2005, 03:09 PM
 
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It's nothing official, but here's what worked for us. Dh gets paid every 2 weeks, so I figured which bills got paid from each check. I'd take 1/2 the mortgage from one check, the other 1/2 from the next, so we weren't ever *that* short of money. All the other bills, I divided up btw the 2 checks, so it was even. We had approx the same amount left over after each payday. I go to the bank and withdraw the entire paycheck (we have direct deposit) and get money orders to pay the bills and have cash to live on for the rest of the time until the following payday. When you see concretely how much you have, you're not losing a few bucks here or there on the debit card. If using money orders is too much, write checks for all the bills and withdraw the extra that is your spendign money. Everything comes from that money- groceries, gas, entertainment, etc. (Actually, if his check was say 1,063.47, I would only pull 1,000- that way I could pay for my gas with the debit card at the pump- too hard to pull the kids out of the car to pay inside.)

Dh and I would each get a bit and the rest was stashed in the house. (It was never that large of an amount, so I wasnt' worried about getting robbed or anythign.)

Good luck getting things under control. I started this over 2 years ago and have only bounced 1 check since then- that was a misunderstanding btw dh and I. I cashed a check he thought I deposited, so used the debit card when he shouldn't have.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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Old 02-10-2005, 04:31 PM
 
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I do basically the same as Shelbean, although my husband is only paid twice a month, so I can't pay the house payment in two installments like that or one would be late (unless I wanted to start using some of LAST month's check to pay THIS month's mortgage payment, but that's another topic entirely).

I also get out spending money for my husband and me and grocery money, and when that stuff is gone, no more spending for us.

Whatever is leftover from the check after I have paid the bills and gotten spending/grocery money goes straight into savings, the day DH gets paid. Occasionally we have to dig into savings for something unespected, but that's rare.

Namaste!
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Old 02-10-2005, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so so much everyone. I have taken all of your advice and buit a 'system'. I am really excited about it. First I made a budget using excel. these are the catigories I used:

Debts
Rent
Phone
TV
Groceries
house
gas
Dining Out
Entertainment
Cats
Brian's
Heather's
Car (payment including insurence)
Clothing
short term. Savings
Savings

And put a MAXIMUM we could spend for each (on a weekly basis with most things, monthly for bills. They are quite generous amounts and I think we will end up spending less than we could. SO what we save over our budget each month will be deposited 50% into debt payment, 25% into short term savings (which we will keep in the house), and 25% long term savings (we use ING direct for that).

I bought a 13 pocket expanding file organizer for the house and put each of the catigories that aren't bills or payments on one of the pockets and I will put the money for each month in the pocket. When we take out money we will put in a reciept when we are done. And when the money is gone.. well we can't buy anything else from that category.

I bought a 'home and shopping organizer' with 4 expandable pcokets so I can keep money and reciepts seperate when I go shopping and it also has a calender, to do and grocery list.

I think this will work beautifully for us, plus we each get a bit of our own money to spend freely without accounting for it.

Both DH and I really like that idea.

I will set our savings and some of our bills to be automatically paid from our new joint accont which both of our paycheques will be deposited into.

I have set aside 200 dollars for debt payment until we can get them paid off (which shouldn't be too long, we don't have as much debt as I thought thank godness), and 500 for payment to bri's parents (who are financing our car at a negative 33% interest rate (don't ask me.. he worked it out with them), once our debts are paid off we will split the extra 200 between savings and brian's parents. I used a calculator to tell me how to 'snowball' the debts, but I don't really get it yet.

How does it sound?
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:54 AM
 
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I think it sound great. Basically, as long as it works for you- it's perfect!! Good luck. Getting and staying on top of things is really liberating.

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