Geez how did we get like this and how can it get better? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just adding up or entire bills for the month...get this its $4,069.82 on $5000 a month!
This includes:
Groceries
Car Insurance
Dance class for two kids
Truck payment
Mortgage
Water
lights
Blockbuster online
Worldvision-we sponsor two kids
Karate
Credit cards- paying minimum payments ( I know I need to pay more!)
Gasoline
Charter
Cingular
Dish Network
Trash
King's gym
Sportsclub- yes its a gym
Timeshare
Tivo

Wow! We just bought the truck last month. It does have a big interest rate but we plan to refinance in December hopefully. We have two gym memberships. We signed a contract with both and they'll let us off ouor contract if we pay the rest we owe which is like $300-400.:
Charter is cable and dish is satellite. I know we need to give on of them up. I have charter in my room and in my son's room. We have dish because it had the channels for the Dh's soccer!
Other than that what else do I need to do? We'd really like to pare it down and pay more on our credit.

Stephanie + Dh= Super blessed parents to 1 ds, and 4 dds!
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#2 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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Well I would be getting rid of

TIVO
the gym memberships as soon as possible
time share
charter
dish
block buster
either karate or dance for the kids not both

How much do you spend on groceries. You can probably trim there. How about driving less so less money on gas

trash do you recycle most of wht you have? are you using the smallest garbage can the trash company offers? or better yet recycle everything and then only occassionally have the gargage picked up.

Heidi
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#3 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 03:34 PM
 
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A timeshare? Ugh!

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#4 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're almost paid on the timeshare. If I were to get rid of both gyms it would be probably close to $1000 to get rid of. What would we do if we didn't have charter,dish,tivo, gym,karate ,etc? We pay for the trash every three months..its one big trash can.

Stephanie + Dh= Super blessed parents to 1 ds, and 4 dds!
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#5 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LilMamiBella View Post
What would we do if we didn't have charter,dish,tivo, gym,karate ,etc?
Is this a serious question?

...Work on school work, play games, go outside and swing, play, rake leaves, trim bushes, clean/organize your house, read books, go for walks, lay in the grass on a blanket and talk about the clouds, sit down and color in some coloring books, fingerpaint, do playdough, write on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, watch old home videos of your kids when they were little, try new recipes, go to the pet store and just look at the animals...

ALL of these things can be done with the kids and would strengthen your bond as a family.
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#6 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=Jenelle;9248681]Is this a serious question?

We're homeschooling and we stay in the house Mon- Fri. We look forward to going out on Sat-Sun bowling, movies , restaurants ,etc.

Stephanie + Dh= Super blessed parents to 1 ds, and 4 dds!
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#7 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 03:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LilMamiBella View Post
We're almost paid on the timeshare.
Yes, but will there be a monthly maintenance fee? Can you afford right now to actually USE it, if you have to travel to get to where your timeshare is or if your 'points' don't cover anything? Timeshares are terrible, terrible bad deals... on the other hand, they're also terrible, terrible investments because you can't sell them for anything close to what you have in them. I'd really look at whether this is worth it to your family, or if you should cut your losses and get rid of it. I'd also take it as an object lesson in doing your research before making purchases.

Quote:
What would we do if we didn't have charter,dish,tivo, gym,karate ,etc?
I don't mean to be mean, but please tell me you're not asking this question seriously. Because the vast majority of the entire human race does manage to entertain themselves perfectly well without any of those things!

We have none of those amenities -- we occasionally rent a movie or take one out from the library, but otherwise don't spend much time in front of the TV. We go to the library a couple of times a week, and read a lot of books. We play outside a lot -- go to the lake in the summer time, or to the park, or splash in the baby pool and run around in the back yard. We visit friends and chat while our kids play together. We take walks. We go out in the country and pick our own apples. We visit the zoo (we're lucky, it's free here) or the children's museum. We go to events in our community. We have picnics. We go sledding. We cut down our own Christmas trees. We build snowforts. We have a fire and roast marshmellows in the fireplace. We work out and swim in our local municipal pool and only pay when we go rather than a monthly fee. We bake cookies. We hang out on the internet. We make forts. Worst case scenario, we clean the house.

Seriously, there are a TON of things to do in the world that don't involve paid activities or plugging into the TV. You'll find plenty of things to entertain yourselves, I promise.
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#8 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LilMamiBella View Post
We're homeschooling and we stay in the house Mon- Fri. We look forward to going out on Sat-Sun bowling, movies , restaurants ,etc.
If you want to do those things, you're going to have to cut back elsewhere. There are lots of free/low-cost activities - you just have to find them. Going out for breakfast is cheaper than lunch/dinner.

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#9 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:04 PM
 
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[QUOTE=LilMamiBella;9248693]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenelle View Post
Is this a serious question?

We're homeschooling and we stay in the house Mon- Fri. We look forward to going out on Sat-Sun bowling, movies , restaurants ,etc.
My dh works from home and at the moment I am home as well since I am back to freelancing and working as an adjunct and we keep our spending to a minimum. I totally understand wanting to leave the house but we go to the park, the library and today we had a small lunch at a local deli. So half a day's worth of activities for $20.

What about a family membership to the YMCA so everyone can work out/play and take advantage of the classes there instead of paying for extra classes. If the classes are things you feel strongly about then get rid of the Tivo and the satellite.. do movies via blackbuster and supplement with your library.

Frankly and I am hardly the epitome of frugality but you got a lot you could cut and still have some fun. I say this as someone who loves eating out but nixed traditional phone service and the movie stations to make that happen. In my case, I hate talking on the phone and reality I really don't watch HBO and all that stuff.

Shay

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#10 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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I think you can look at that list and see what you can get rid of, but I'd get rid of: tivo, charter cable, dish - you can increase your blockbuster membership in place of television, or get rid of blockbuster as well and use the library for DVDs

gym memberships - USE THEM until you can pay them off, then walk around the neighborhood, rent workout videos from the library, etc.

gas - drive less often! If you're going into town for groceries, park at the grocery store that's closest to all the other stuff you have to do and walk to the other stuff - post office, bank, etc. Do as much online as you can - billpay, usps pickup arrangement for sending packages, etc. Take public transportation, carpool, and figure out ways to get what you need without going to the source (the internet isn't just for pr0n anymore!).

timeshare - do you actually USE it? Would it be cheaper to stay in a bed & breakfast or hotel while on vacation? Could you pool with another family or two and get a cabin instead? Vacation in your own town - do all the stuff tourists do - the zoo, the aquarium, etc. and go home to your own wonderful bed.

electricity - shut off all lights & unplug anything that isn't being used (chargers take a LOT of power, even when nothing's plugged into them) to reduce your energy intake. turn your water heater down, wash as much on cold as possible, turn the heat dry setting on the dishwasher off, etc.

water - if your kids are still young enough, have them take baths together or shower with you/your husband. If they're not, put a timer on for their showers and yours. No more than 10 minutes. Don't run the water while you brush your teeth, don't flush the toilet at night, etc. When dealing with a full load of dishes, a newer dishwasher uses the same amount of water as handwashing, so ONLY run the dishwasher if it's a full load, otherwise do them by hand, and don't leave the water running while you do it. Fill the sink with soapy water, let them soak, and then rinse them.

extracurriculars - I think dance & karate are both really important, for self-discipline and balance and coordination and a bunch of other reasons. See if you can volunteer at the dojo, cleaning or doing paperwork filing or whatever, to offset some of the cost. See if your local community center or YMCA/YWCA offer dance for less than what you're paying now. You likely won't qualify for a scholarship, but you might be able to offset some of the cost if you teach a class yourself - bread baking or pottery or knitting or driver's ed or something else that you know how to do and could share with the community. Also talk to the teachers and see if there's some sort of barter you could work out - a few hours per week of childcare, housecleaning, etc. in exchange for a partial discount.

groceries - don't get prepackaged food. EVER. shop the perimeter, make a menu, get what's in season (use frozen veggies and fruit in the wintertime), bake your own bread and desserts, drink water from the tap if it's safe, don't get soda (goes with prepackaged food, IMO), only get juice as a treat and then the not from concentrate 100% juice kind, etc. We're eating very VERY well on $165 in food stamps and supplementing with WIC. I've budgeted well enough that we have $66 in food stamps to last until Oct. 6, and we would have more if I weren't dedicated to getting certain foods organic no matter what.

To make this even longer, since I've read the responses that have come in since I started (I'm chasing a toddler, posts take a while )
What will you do without expanded television packages? Go to the library, take walks around the neighborhood, explore parks (try to go to every park in your town in the next year), take more classes at the community center, go to dollar discount movie night, experiment in the kitchen, have playdates with the neighbors, work in a community garden plot, volunteer at the animal shelter and the battered women's center, do craft projects, take photographs every day (project 365 is an awesome concept), go to museums on free or discount days, go to gallery openings at look at art, read read and read some more, learn to knit (and teach your kids, too!), go to concerts and plays at the local university, there are TONS of things to do. No, not every community HAS all those things, but if you live in a city of any decent size you'll have many of them.
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#11 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LilMamiBella View Post
bowling, movies , restaurants ,etc.
These are "entertainment" costs that are a different issue than what I commented on a few minutes ago -- which was all of your TV costs and gym memberships, etc.

There are a LOT of things to look forward to on the weekends that cost little or no money. Going to the park and having a homemade picnic with our children, and feeding the ducks in the river, has proven to be WAY more enjoyable for us than trying to have a sit-down meal in a restaurant with 3 kids EVER was.

If you want to make serious changes to your budget, then there has to be a serious change in thinking. You may be surprised at the things you can live without, and at how your quality of life can actually improve because of it.
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#12 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:13 PM
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I've colored everything you need to stop buying, IMHO (since you are asking).


Quote:
Originally Posted by LilMamiBella View Post
I was just adding up or entire bills for the month...get this its $4,069.82 on $5000 a month!
This includes:
Groceries
Car Insurance
Dance class for two kids
Truck payment
Mortgage
Water
lights
Blockbuster online
Worldvision-we sponsor two kids
Karate
Credit cards- paying minimum payments ( I know I need to pay more!)
Gasoline
Charter
Cingular
Dish Network
Trash
King's gym
Sportsclub- yes its a gym
Timeshare
Tivo


Wow! We just bought the truck last month. It does have a big interest rate but we plan to refinance in December hopefully. We have two gym memberships. We signed a contract with both and they'll let us off ouor contract if we pay the rest we owe which is like $300-400.:
Charter is cable and dish is satellite. I know we need to give on of them up. I have charter in my room and in my son's room. We have dish because it had the channels for the Dh's soccer!
Other than that what else do I need to do? We'd really like to pare it down and pay more on our credit.
Bottom line, you're living like you have about 50% more income than you do. Consider selling the car or the truck -- you probably don't "need" it as much as you think you do.
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#13 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by LilMamiBella View Post
We're almost paid on the timeshare. If I were to get rid of both gyms it would be probably close to $1000 to get rid of. What would we do if we didn't have charter,dish,tivo, gym,karate ,etc? We pay for the trash every three months..its one big trash can.
For one thing, if you didn't have charter, dish, and tivo, you could spend more time together with your children as a family. You could have conversations, do crafts, work in the garden, go to the park, go on a hike, visit a museum, READ.
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#14 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Jenelle View Post
Is this a serious question?

...Work on school work, play games, go outside and swing, play, rake leaves, trim bushes, clean/organize your house, read books, go for walks, lay in the grass on a blanket and talk about the clouds, sit down and color in some coloring books, fingerpaint, do playdough, write on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, watch old home videos of your kids when they were little, try new recipes, go to the pet store and just look at the animals...

ALL of these things can be done with the kids and would strengthen your bond as a family.
Whew. Just saw this. Sorry to be repetitive, but I am glad I'm not the only one who thinks this way.
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#15 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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First of all, I would start thinking about why you spent in the first place. Why 2 gyms? Why 2 TV packages? Couldn't you and your son have switched to Dish if your husband "had" to have it? You need to think about why you are spending so much in order to be able to commit. My problem for years was buying things, services, lessons, etc. because all my friends were doing it, and it was only $x/month. I $x/monthed myself right in to the poorhouse. I understand being bored, looking for experiences out of the house, etc. but you CAN find alternatives. Start cooking from scratch and take a picnic to a fun spot when Dad gets home on Friday night. When my kids were younger, we did a family project around the house on Saturdays, and then had homemade pizza and milkshakes for dinner. They loved it!

Can you rent your weeks at the timeshare to someone else and have them make the payment? We sublet a friend's timeshare every couple of years, and are happy to have a place on the beach for $500/week. He is happy to let us because it makes his timeshare payment.
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#16 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was totally being serious when I asked what we'd do. I've just never been without cable/satellite! I feel like karate and dance is important. I have a homeschooler's discount for the karate ( we pay $60 less) and we pay half price for our son for dance. We don't have any community centers that I know of. We live outside of Greenville,Sc.

Stephanie + Dh= Super blessed parents to 1 ds, and 4 dds!
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#17 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=enkmom;9248896]First of all, I would start thinking about why you spent in the first place. Why 2 gyms? Why 2 TV packages? Couldn't you and your son have switched to Dish if your husband "had" to have it? You need to think about why you are spending so much in order to be able to commit. My problem for years was buying things, services, lessons, etc. because all my friends were doing it, and it was only $x/month. I $x/monthed myself right in to the poorhouse. I understand being bored, looking for experiences out of the house, etc. but you CAN find alternatives. Start cooking from scratch and take a picnic to a fun spot when Dad gets home on Friday night. When my kids were younger, we did a family project around the house on Saturdays, and then had homemade pizza and milkshakes for dinner. They loved it!

Well, lets see....dish would've cost an extra $$$ for each room that needs satellite so we thought it would be cheaper to go to charter since they don't charge extra. I signed up with one gym because it had all kinds of classes, pool , tennis, racquetball,etc and the other gym is rather plain but is closer to where we live. They both cost the same.

Stephanie + Dh= Super blessed parents to 1 ds, and 4 dds!
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#18 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:41 PM
 
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why do you need tvs in each room?
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#19 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, Dh would watch soccer all day everyday iof you let him. I wanted to watch Lost, desperate housewives,etc.

Stephanie + Dh= Super blessed parents to 1 ds, and 4 dds!
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#20 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 04:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilMamiBella
Well, lets see....dish would've cost an extra $$$ for each room that needs satellite so we thought it would be cheaper to go to charter since they don't charge extra. I signed up with one gym because it had all kinds of classes, pool , tennis, racquetball,etc and the other gym is rather plain but is closer to where we live. They both cost the same.
It's "cheaper," but it still winds up costing you money. You can still go broke if you only shop when things are on sale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilMamiBella
Well, Dh would watch soccer all day everyday if you let him. I wanted to watch Lost, desperate housewives,etc.
So it's time to stop "letting" him. If any of his friends have dish, he needs to go over there with a 6-pack and a lasagne and have a guy's night. Or he can take $5 for drinks and go to a sports bar once a week. Would still be cheaper than paying for satellite. Those shows are all available on DVD, and a few are available online for free through the network website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilMamiBella
I was totally being serious when I asked what we'd do. I've just never been without cable/satellite! I feel like karate and dance is important. I have a homeschooler's discount for the karate ( we pay $60 less) and we pay half price for our son for dance. We don't have any community centers that I know of. We live outside of Greenville,Sc.
Greenville events calendar
Greenville Community Centers
Greenville County Recreation District

One thing that helps me is to think "How was this done before XYZ was invented? Would my life be easier/less complicated/would I spend less money doing it that way?" How did people spend time before they had televisions in every room? They spent time together - you're homeschooling, spend more time at the library, at the community centers I just found for you, at the park, at the gym that you're paying for anyway. Go on nature walks, take Amtrak to a new town and spend the day exploring. Use the power of Google to find new & exciting things to do in your city and the cities around you. Volunteer at homeless shelters and soup kitchens and animal clinics. Make meals for meals on wheels. Find an assisted living home & "adopt" a grandparent, spend time playing checkers or chess or learning to knit, or just listening to stories they have to tell.
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#21 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 05:03 PM
 
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http://www.ymcagreenville.org/

Looks like it is about $60 a month for a family membership
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#22 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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It's been so long since we had cable or anything I don't miss it at all. We have such fun just hanging out around the house, gardening, chatting, coloring, cooking, walking, wandering, etc. Our family is never bored.

Your original question is how can it get better? Well, it's hard to do, but infinitely doable. Just pare down a bit. Cut out all the unnecessary stuff--all the entertainment, all the gyms, timeshare, eating out, etc. Just do it for a month, and see what happens. You'll have tons of extra money for some of those things, it looks like to me. Especially the fun stuff like bowling, eating out, etc.

It's hard to stare things like this in the face!
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#23 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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Lander University Fine Arts Department performances (free and open to the public)
Greenwood-Lander Performing Arts 2007-2008 season calendar
Furman University musical performance calendar
Furman University athletics calendar, including soccer matches
University of South Carolina (Greenville Campus) athletics calendar - they, too, have soccer

all of the following are from www.greenville.com
animal shelters
stuff for kids
arts & culture
recreation guide
volunteer opportunities
more stuff for kids
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#24 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by LilMamiBella View Post
I was totally being serious when I asked what we'd do. I've just never been without cable/satellite! I feel like karate and dance is important. I have a homeschooler's discount for the karate ( we pay $60 less) and we pay half price for our son for dance. We don't have any community centers that I know of. We live outside of Greenville,Sc.
Honestly, and I'm trying to say this with no snark, but you really are going to have to adjust your way of thinking.

You cannot afford your life.

Literally.

As it is, you're one accident or one lost job away from bankruptcy and possibly worse, since I don't see how you could possibly be saving any money. The credit card debt you have indicates that you're not only not saving, you're actually spending more money than you actually have every month.

Cable, karate, and dance are all luxuries.

You can barely afford necessities.

Again, I am not trying to be mean. I am trying to be blunt. I honestly hope you can change your paradigm here -- and fast.
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#25 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 05:33 PM
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Well, Dh would watch soccer all day everyday iof you let him. I wanted to watch Lost, desperate housewives,etc.
Well, hey -- if you get rid of the cable, you now have several hours more a week that you can spend with your family. How about reading? The library is free.
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#26 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 05:36 PM
 
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Honestly, and I'm trying to say this with no snark, but you really are going to have to adjust your way of thinking.

You cannot afford your life.

Literally.

As it is, you're one accident or one lost job away from bankruptcy and possibly worse, since I don't see how you could possibly be saving any money. The credit card debt you have indicates that you're not only not saving, you're actually spending more money than you actually have every month.

Cable, karate, and dance are all luxuries.

You can barely afford necessities.

Again, I am not trying to be mean. I am trying to be blunt. I honestly hope you can change your paradigm here -- and fast.
I don't understand this. Didn't she say their bills are around $4000 a month and they bring home $5000 a month? How is that not affording necessities? Did I read wrong?
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#27 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies. I think I will try to sell some things to help pay off our cc's. We could get rid of dish and our home phone and go to a more basic charter plan. I'll contact the two gyms and see what I can do to cancel. I know one gym will let you pay $10 a month instead of the regular price. It doesn't make much since cause I'd be taking longer to pay it off. I'd give up blockbuster to keep cable though. But blockbuster online would be cheaper than going to the movies. I'll talk to Dh about this.

Stephanie + Dh= Super blessed parents to 1 ds, and 4 dds!
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#28 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 06:54 PM
 
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I saw some good advice here - I might post where I live and see what you guys can pull up!

LilMamiBella - I agree with a lot that was posted. It is up to you to make choices - what is important. I, personally, say keeps the kids dance or karate. It is important that they get out. I would find a good homeschool coop (if you haven't already!) and get involved. That will get you and the kids involved.

Volunteer. Take the kids to the "old folks home" or soup kitchen - that is a rewarding way to get out of the house. google "your town name" "free things to do". When a holiday is coming up, google "your town name" "holiday(like I just found a free Oktoberfest activity in my town!)".

Get rid of cable. You can probably find some sports stations online. Get rid of the gym memberships as soon as you can.

Apply for scholarships and grants - you homeschool - see if you can get some extra money.

And for what to do - crafts are always fun. Pick up knitting, crocheting, needlefelting. Swap here on MDC. Learn to sew. Paint. learn to paint with pastels (an easier to clean up activity!)

Learn to cook. I make 2-3 HUGE loafs of bread at a time. That way I only have to make it once or twice a month.

And last off, have fun. It's fun to be frugal. Enjoy it.

good luck!

~ Kim

mama to E (01-2007) and wife to C

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#29 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boysrus View Post
I don't understand this. Didn't she say their bills are around $4000 a month and they bring home $5000 a month? How is that not affording necessities? Did I read wrong?
I agree with this. I honestly am not seeing what the big problem is. I WISH we had almost a $1000 extra each month. Well some of the things do seem excessive, I just don't see the WHY you feel that your budget too crunched. If you cut back even $500/mo, you could apply that to your debt and I'm sure with all your extras it wouldn't be too hard. Have you been saving the extra money each month?

I guess, I just don't see the big problem, other than an excessive lifestyle, but you make more than you spend, so that's good. Especially if you can put that extra $1000 each month to savings to debt repayment.
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#30 of 143 Old 09-22-2007, 07:34 PM
 
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I don't understand this. Didn't she say their bills are around $4000 a month and they bring home $5000 a month? How is that not affording necessities? Did I read wrong?

I am sitting her scratching my head too.

Somebody isn't reading something correctly, or something is terribly off in the OP. If her expenses are listed at just under $4100/mo, she says they are bringing in $5000/mo, that's $900 'leftover'.

Are there things that could be cut from her list? Absolutely.

I don't, however, understand the replies stating they are living beyond their means, must be putting lots of stuff on credit cards, can't possibly be saving anything, can't afford that lifestyle, etc.

Has there been some substantial editing of the OP, an extra 0 or something added to the income, what? Cause I don't get the replies at all.
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