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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We don't make a lot of money. Pair that with living in Southern California and you get the picture.

Any budget tips for those who have to hold on for dear life to every last penny?
 

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I started a similar thread. We're lucky we live in a low COL area, but even then we are just squeaking by.

Something that occurred to me would be using an envelope system for cash purchases, and trying to make a game of it to see how little I can spend.
 

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I think its easier for people to help you if you ask more specific questions, or post your budget. Can you start with a specific area of your budget? This way, you won't get a thread with things you already do. It's not so helpful to have a bunch of ppl saying, "drop your cable TV" or "don't eat out" when you're already doing those things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by HappyLamb View Post
I think its easier for people to help you if you ask more specific questions, or post your budget. Can you start with a specific area of your budget? This way, you won't get a thread with things you already do. It's not so helpful to have a bunch of ppl saying, "drop your cable TV" or "don't eat out" when you're already doing those things.

Well the problem with that is that we really don't do extras. My Dh works for the cable company so our cable, internet, and phone are $20 altogether and I use internet for my own work. Other than that everything is a necessity- gas, car, electricity, rent, etc.

I am just asking how people who have little money budget not necessarily what it looks like. What have you found that works for you budgeting wise?

Scullery- thanks for the envelope suggestion! DH and I were just talking about that and how it might work for us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
Can you figure out ways to earn more money?
In Southern California in this economy?
I normally have more work than I have had lately but I am sick with this pregnancy so have had to lighten my workload even though it is just a computer job and a few clients have been lost so my boss is really trying to stretch the remaining work. Dh works all day as a collection tech for the cable company and use to make a nice amount in commissions for the collection of cable boxes and such but more and more these days he is shutting of foreclosed homes and there are no boxes left over and no one home. Some extra work oppurtunities we have both had in the past didn't happen this year for obvious reasons.

All in all we can't really complain. We have food in our mouths, clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads. We have had it much much worse so we're counting our blessings! Just wondering how others who make little money have budgested it with sucess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Originally Posted by Staceyy View Post
I would say save your change, stockpile food, if you have a 401k, have automatic deductions taken out, and pay your bills ahead whenever you have any extra money.
Save your change- this is good! We usually don't use cash but that has been problematic so we are going to try out the cash/envelopment system for a while.
 

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Try reading Dave Ramsey's website for information - a lot of people like his plan and it's clear and simply laid out.

Check out his book from the library maybe?
 

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Cash systems are great, I definitely second (fourth!) them. I found a price book worked wonders with our grocery bills because it made us both aware of what was a good price. Food plan, in fact, general planning. We're more organised so we don't do quick solutions which are usually more expensive.
 

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I've lived in So Cal and been completely destitute, so while some of my ideas may seem odd to others, they really did work for me at the time.

I don't know if they demand is still high, but when I was living there a few years ago, aluminum went for a very pretty penny. Like two dollars a pound, which adds up fast. So recycle a ton, and make a note to look and collect discards. I used to carry a plastic bag in my purse and pick them out of trashcans, off the street, etc. Also, if you have a truck or access to one, maybe you could haul things away for people and recycle the aluminum that way as well. People will often give away non working appliances for scrap.

May be for the squeamish but learn to dumpster dive and learn what dumpsters are really good. If you're in an urban area the dumpsters can be great.

Do you qualify for any aid? If you're on food stamps, learn to clean with all natural products and also to use them in health and beauty (if you don't already of course). It keeps your funds in your pocket for other bills.

My area was pretty good about community services so call 211 and generally look around to see what's available. There were lots of food banks in my area, as well as places to get free health care and even free clothes, etc. Also, check out your local salvation army, the office/center not the thrift store (you can go to the thrift store to find out where yours is). They usually offer bread tithes as they call it once a week with a big basket of food once a month. The weekly baskets give out mostly bread but also other non perishables. The one that was where I lived also had a free store only available to people on their help lists, and would give out food baskets and toys during the holidays.

Really take advantage of your solar power. Line dry if you can, but also make a solar oven, and paint some milk jugs black to use for water heating.

I know a lot of this sounds off the wall, maybe, but these things really helped me when I had nothing, literally, to my name. I didn't have my dd at the time so I did have a bit more time on my hands, but they were life savers in addition to things like keeping change and learning prices, etc.

Another tip for anyone, not just from so cal. would be to stock up and pay ahead whenever you get a windfall. I know that a lot of people say it's best to save, but I find it often got petered away one way or another...even if it wasn't spent irresponsibly. Ie, if you know that you cannot afford rent for a while, just pay it up so you won't be tempted to make a car repair, etc. While you think the car repair is necessary it's not AS necessary as the roof over your head, kwim? Of course you could have a lot more willpower and financial intelligence than me, so that tip wouldn't be a necessary one.

Hope some of these tips help you!
 
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