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Tiggerlovinggrandma
05-23-2010, 12:28 AM
So DH has made some seriously not smart money decisions :scared1: and has gotten us into quite a mess. I thought WE were doing OK until I recently find out DH had fallen so far behind in payments and resorted to stealing from peter to pay paul and well, we all know how that ends up. I wish he had come to me sooner. He said he didn't want to worry me with all I am going through health-wise. We've had a large amount of medical bills in the past few years which has not helped us any. And of course we helped our daughter out this past year as she is going through a divorce, etc. She has fortunately moved back out on her own and is fully aware her Dad and I can no longer afford to help her in that way anymore.

DH and I have went from pretty much living budget-free to needing to tighten our belt significantly. We need to cut way back on everything until we can climb ourselves back out of this hole. DH is in process of job hunting. He retried 10 years agao and lives on a trust. I have not worked for the last 12 years as I am disabled. I have never asked for disability as we thought didn't need it. Now I may have to but have no idea how to go about getting it? I am also open to working at home doing something if this is a legitiment option???

At the moment we need to figure out where and how much we can cut back as well as how to do just that? We refinanced the morgage so far which will save us $100 a month. Not much but better than nothing. DH has also signed with a debt resolution company which will hopefully help us pay off our Credit card debt over the next 5 years.

We need to find as many ways possible that we can cut back and still live some sort of basic life? To say we will never again purchase a gift, a card, have Christmas, go out to dinner, take the DGS to Chuck E Cheese, have guest visit, go see a movie, etc would I feel, be expecting the impossible. So there must be ways others have found to live smartly money wise. I need to learn how to restructure our finances from the ground up and live as frugally as possible. HELP!!

Anyone who can share with me any tips, advice, whatever would be of great help. I'm sure in these hard economic times I am not the only one who would benefit from any suggestions anyone may have. So PLEASE suggest away!!

Areas I am looking to cut back on: Need ways to cut down on each.

Groceries
Prescriptions
Medical
Insurance (car, medical and life)
Utilities (land line, cell, cable, electric, gas, water, garbage)
Household repairs
Car Insurance
Clothing
Personal Care such as Haircuts, Hair color
Birthdays, Anniversaries, Etc
Christmas. Other holidays
Entertainment (movies, special activities, meals out)

Vacation (We have one coming up. Its to our nephew's wedding/ family reunion held at WDW 5 days in October) Need cost cutting tips for this too

usnuzuloose
05-23-2010, 03:41 AM
I just sent you a pm. Many hugs to you. I understand. :grouphug: Jo

XYSRUS
05-23-2010, 07:47 AM
We went through something similar recently and believe it or not it was the eating out, Chuck E Cheese visits, misc. snack purchases, misc small dollar purchases, that hurt us. We did not give up/reduce cable, insurance, eds etc...stuff you really need to live. Cut out the little stuff. I guarantee you'll be amazed with how much money you save. We were. Good luck

hsmamato2
05-23-2010, 08:18 AM
well, my best advice is to stay away from department stores,unless you go rarely and WITH A LIST YOU STICK TO:thumbsup2
Sounds like you're a great wife, trying to make the best out of your situation- no more eating out, go to your local town services office and find out what you're eligible to receive- such as s.s. etc-

leebee
05-23-2010, 08:41 AM
Several years ago I lost my job as a research scientist (no more grant money) and after being unemployed for 6 months took a position as an ed tech at one-fifth of my "regular" salary. Thinks have not gotten better in our area and I am still working as an ed tech. IT was hard at first, but we decided what, as a family, was really important to us and what we could do without, or at least work on. I think what you can "cut" all depends on what you are willing to do and how you are willing to live. Some things we do:
Wash the laundry in cold water. It made a difference on our oil bill- really!

Hang the clothes out to dry, or in the basement. Saves on the electric bill.

I usually "cut" all household soaps (laundry, dish, shampoo, etc) in half with water. Yes, you get clean! Yes, we could use half as much each time, but DD and DH are not good at that, so I split the bottles into saved bottles and refill with water. I also use only half a dryer sheet- teensy savings, but still...

IF you are not happy cutting your own hair or DH's hair, go to salon for a really decent cut every six months and trim it yourself in between. Also color at home- yes, it works, and it's a big money saver- I am timing my color right now as I am typing!

Suck it up and get rid of either the cell or the land line. You can do this. It's silly to spend this kind of money on duplicate services. We have a land line that costs $60/month with local, long distance, and wireless internet service, and we each have tracfones for emergencies only. Even DD15 knows to text only and not use up her minutes. She gets 500 minutes (about $42) every three months and if she runs out, too bad. It amazes me on how overly-dependent this country has become on its cell phones. Yes, they are convenient, but I would WAY rather have my debt paid off than be able to chat on the phone whenever.

Water-savers: This doesn't work for all families, as some are more...touchy?.. than others, but we have started doubling up on toilet flushes for liquid waste (iykwim- TMI? This works best upstairs in DD's bathroom, or the master bedroom bath.) Also have started taking shallow baths and then just using the shower for a final, clean-water rinse. We also have taken to washing hair in the kitchen sink, making sure to turn off the water when not actually using it. This doesn't work for me as I have bad vertigo and cannot lean over the sink without becoming ill, but DD and DH are doing OK with it. We also hand-wash dishes, never leaving the water running. I know there is debate as to which takes less water, hand or machine washing, but we looked at the amount of water we used to rinse the dishes before stacking the washer and it was almost as much as just washing by hand- and there was still a dishwasher to run! Our water bill has gone down by about 50%. Remember that anything that saves on HOT water also cuts the oil/electric bill, depending on how you heat your water.

We rarely buy new clothes. When we need something, we look first at the secondhand shops and thrift stores, then to the chain department stores, like target or walmart. (OK, underwear we buy new, even I draw the line somewhere!) DD just had a gorgeous deep purple taffeta, full length ball gown for prom! It was simply amazing on her, and I paid $20. It was a designer label that, when new, cost about $300. SCORE at the local thrift store! AMericans own so many clothes!!! It amazes me how many people buy new wardrobes with the change in season, or will buy something unnecessary because they like it and it was on sale.

We cut down our restaurant spending by 50%, first thing. We have a hectic life, with two parents working full-time and a DD who has 4 hours of dance training after high school every day. We rarely are home before 8:15pm each night, and I am tired at that hour. It's SO much easier to do take out, but we stopped. THAT was the biggest savings of all! Now we go out, or do take out, about 3 times a month, and we NEVER spend more than $50 when we go to a restaurant. That's the rule we decide on. It's tricky, for three sometimes, but we don't buy beverages (either soft or adult), skip the appetizers and dessert, etc. Fortunately DD is a vegetarian so she usually chooses pasta meals, which certainly helps. OUr other eat-out rule, for fast-food, is to purchase from the dollar menu ONLY. Still no drinks... they are just too expensive! We decided we'd rather do this than carry a credit card balance each month.

BTW, we use my Disney VISA for everything we possibly can and then pay if off every month. It's not hard- we just don't buy any extras, shop at any sales unless it's a planned purchase, etc. Even trips to McDonald's (dollar menu only!!!) go on the VISA. I have $900 in Disney reward money that helped pay for our WDW vacation during free dining in August. DD and I will be at POP for 9 nights for $400 out-of-pocket. WE didn't upgrade to TS meals, and don't have hopper passes. I know we will pay OOP for Boma and Kona (first using rewards money we will earn between now and then). Yes, it's not a luxury Disney vacation, but we will be there for 10 days and LOVING IT!!

OK, time to go wash the home hair-coloring ($2.50 per application) out of my head and be rejuvenated for another 6 weeks!

tnd
05-23-2010, 08:48 AM
It really depends on how large your budget shortfall is as to how drastically you need to cut your standard of living. I was laid off back in 2002 in the last recession and my unemployment was less than 50% of my prior pay and my husband could not work because he was in med school at the time. We cut very drastically, as in no meals out, no new clothes, no additional spending in any way. We ate rice and beans. It totally sucked, but we knew it was temporary. And in retrospect it made us significantly more aware of our money and how to save it, which has been hugely helpful.

If you are facing significant cuts to your monthly income and can't earn more money, you are going to have cut drastically. And yes, it may mean no meals out and things like that. Since you haven't (and really don't need to) provide details on how much you need to save, I will assume it is urgent and you need to save a lot of money each month. Here are some of the things we did:

-Almost no brand name groceries, generic only, unless the brand was on sale and I had a coupon such that it was cheaper than the generic, or it was one of very few brands we have to have. If it's a brand name we must have, we would get it at Costco.

-No prepared or prepackaged foods. I would only shop the perimeter of the grocery store, produce, meat, dairy and bread. No chips, cookies, soda, juice, etc. If we wanted a treat, I made it from scratch.

-Meatless meals. Lots of bean and rice burritos, black bean soup, lentils and rice, etc. You can save a lot of money eliminating or reducing meat.

-Leftovers. If you don't love them now, learn to. Use up all the extras. Reducing wasted food will save tons of money.

-Entertainment. Our library had DVDs, books, CDs, etc. which were all free and we took advantage of that. Depending on your budget, you might look at dropping cable if you currently have it and getting the cheapest Netflix subscription because you can stream tons of stuff to your computer (or TV with the right equipment) for free.

As far as insurance, if you have the cash, you should look into increasing your deductibles on your house and car. We saved 19% on our premium by going to a $2000 deductible on our house. Only do this if you have that cash in a relatively safe and easily accessible place. You could also look into dropping comprehensive and/or collision coverage on your older cars if you have any.

You really have to avoid unnecessary spending. So if you don't need clothes, don't look, even if there is a great sale. Same goes for housewares, etc.

And finally, I have two non-money saving ideas, based on what you posted. One, you need to look into applying for social security disability benefits. You may need to speak with an attorney because of how long you have waited, though I have no idea if that matters or not. But start with the Social Security Office.

Another idea I have is regarding the trust you say your husband lives off of. I assume he receives income from the trust monthly or something, but is there any way he can access a portion of the principal of the trust to pay off some debt on a one-time basis? You would probably have to talk to an estate lawyer about this, but you should look into the terms of the trust.

Good luck with everything!

carj
05-23-2010, 09:28 AM
I think that the absolute first thing that you must do is write a written budget. Be realistic about what things actually cost and what you need to spend. Then, the hard part, stick to it! Dont write down that you are going to give up eating out and have a grocery budget of $50 a week, it just won't happen.

If you don't know where your money is going, you won't know how to stop the leaks.

I completely understand that you need to be able to have fun and spend a little on your grandson but you need a budget item for that. What does it cost to go to Chuck E Cheese? How often do you go? If you go once a week to CEC or someplace similar, you probably spend $25 each time or $100 a month. If you replaced 2 visits per month with a free activity like a trip to the park, you have saved yourself $50 a month or $600 a year.

It sounds like you really need to look at the things in your life like that, it is probably not your fixed costs, mortgage, utilities etc... that got you into that hole. I would guess it is the "other" stuff. Trips, eating out, shopping. helping out your daughter, etc...

Also, don't beat yourself or your husband up about this. (Not that you are doing this but it is so easy to blame each other.) You both need to stay focused and dedicated as a team to beat this debt. You can't go back so work together to move forward as a team.

From reading your posts about your daughter, I can tell you are a giver. This may be really hard for you but you are going to have to find ways to give that don't impact your finances for a while.

Best wishes and you can do it!:goodvibes

minnie1928
05-23-2010, 09:33 AM
Groceries
Prescriptions
Medical
Insurance (car, medical and life)
Utilities (land line, cell, cable, electric, gas, water, garbage)
Household repairs
Car Insurance
Clothing
Personal Care such as Haircuts, Hair color
Birthdays, Anniversaries, Etc
Christmas. Other holidays
Entertainment (movies, special activities, meals out)

Vacation (We have one coming up. Its to our nephew's wedding/ family reunion held at WDW 5 days in October) Need cost cutting tips for this too

My parents ended up in a similar situation a few years ago. Dad paid the bills, but mom spent the money and neither one really talked to the other one about what they were doing (not saying they were like you, just telling you how they were). Long story short...they ran out of money and had lots of creditors and dad's Parkinson's disease was affecting his mental/physical state and making it impossible for him to continue working. At this point, mom & dad opened up to me and I jumped in to help them get things straightened out. One of the 1st things we did create a budget. We called all the creditors (many were local businesses thankfully) and worked out plans. I took mom to CCCS for help with the national creditors (credit cards) and they negotiated lower rates.

So, at this point mom knew how much she had coming in and exactly how much she was required to pay. At that point she saw that things were REALLY tight. I showed her how to shop for freebies at CVS to cut her expenses, she started cooking healthier, stopped smoking (couldn't afford it).

After several months, we decided to sell the house because it was requiring too much work and neither one was able to physically keep it up. Then a few months after that, my dad's neurologist encouraged us to apply for disability benefits for him. That took several months, but he was approved on his first request...and they backdated the payments 18 months!! That money allowed us to take dad to adult day care while mom worked and enabled them to trade in their dying vehicle for a used Saturn SUV that was easier for dad to get in/out of.

Fast forward several years and my dad is now in a nursing home, while mom lives in a nearby apartment. Many of the budget lessons she learned during this time continue to benefit her today. Here's what we did:

Groceries - worked the sales & coupons like crazy. Printed coupons, sunday paper coupons, calling the manufacturer, requesting samples, hitting CVS for free toothpaste/shampoo/bodywash/deodorant.

Prescriptions - As much as possible, we had her prescriptions changed to the $5 generics at Walgreens/Walmart. When that wasn't possible, she transferred her prescriptions from one place to the other using coupons for $20 gift cards with transferred prescription.

Medical - ask your doctor for samples of meds if possible. Or, pay for the visit with cash if they offer a discount. Or, use services like the CVS minuteclinic for simpler diagnosis (cold/flu).

Insurance - call and ask to have it re-priced. I do this every year for mom and it works every time.

Utilities - I could go crazy on this one...unplug things that aren't in use (or use power strips to shut them off, like the tv). Use a drying rack instead of the dryer, CFL bulbs, use shower water to flush the toilet/water flowers, etc.

Household repairs - use mypoints.com to earn points toward Lowes/Home Depot gift cards. No money required.

Clothing - use consignment shops or shop the clearance racks ( I actually do better on the clearance racks at Kohls)

Personal Care - 3 letters...CVS! I get tons of stuff for free or nearly free, including hair color.

Birthdays/anniversaries - again, mypoints.com for gift cards.

Entertainment - Netflix is cheap and great. Restaurant.com for meals out can really cut a bill. I ate last night at a local restaurant, bill + tip was close to $60, but I only paid $32 for 4 people to eat + dessert.

You can certainly make it out of your current situation:hug:

englishteacha
05-23-2010, 09:37 AM
Dave Ramsey has a lot of good advice, especially his Baby Steps to getting out of debt. I suggest you get one of his books from the library (Free!) or google his ideas. It really helped us when we were newlyweds with college loans and some stupid spending.

Cheryllynn74
05-23-2010, 03:18 PM
I'll just try to mention a few things - previous posters had a lot of great tips.

Medical - if you still have huge medical bills, you may be able to pay them off at a greatly reduced rate. My friend recently owed over $3,000 to the hospital for her daughters surgery and they told her if she could pay $500 now they would consider the debt paid. She ended up doing this with a few other bills she had there too. I think its crazy they do that, but it probably works out better for them to get some money than no money.

Gifts - Learn where the clearance sections are in the stores you frequent, and shop year round. Target is my favorite place. I know where all the clearance sections are in mine and I hit them each week. I always have a gift on hand that I got for a great deal well before Christmas and everyone's birthdays roll around. Shopping the last minute before a birthday, wedding, etc will leave you spending much more money than you need or want to.

Car Insurance - examine each item you are paying for. Call your rep, explain you need to cut expenses, and usually they will help. Raise your deductible, remove the towing or car rental reimbursement (especially if you have coverage of that separately through AAA or something similar).

Entertainment - I wait for everything to come out on DVD. I never go to the movies anymore. Redbox is great - only $1. Even better, the library is free. Find the attractions you like in your town (zoo, aquarium, museum, etc.) and see if they have yearly passes. If you go often enough, you could save a lot. They may have free or reduced price days as well. Have a potluck dinner with friends and then play cards instead of going out.

Personal Items - learn to shop Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid for their deals. Do a google search of blogs and you will learn. I haven't paid but pennies for toothpaste, shampoo, deoderant, etc. for the past two years. And I have such a huge stockpile that I've sold extras at a yard sale for much more than I originally spent.

Good luck to you. As others said, work on it together (no fighting). What's done is done and you can only move forward. My DH gets such a kick out of my frugal ways now. It's almost a game when we go shopping to see who can find the best deal.

sameyeyam
05-23-2010, 05:17 PM
Areas I am looking to cut back on: Need ways to cut down on each.

[B][I]Groceries - coupons, grocery clearance stores, Aldi's, clearance bins, shops ads

Prescriptions - find out the mfg. of each of your prescriptions & then go online and see if that drug co. offers discounts. You'd be surprised how many of them do. Also, when you see the doctor ask if they have any free samples. Another thing I do is take a list of Walmart, Target, etc. $4 prescriptions, if the doctor says I need an antibiotic I whip out the list and say "will any of these work"?

Medical - ask if they will offer a discount for paying cash up front. Then you can bill your own insurance company. If you have a PPO plan, always make sure to use PPO doctors.

Insurance (car, medical and life) - shop around! Go to Dave Ramsey & Clark Howard websites and see who they recommend.

Utilities (land line, cell, cable, electric, gas, water, garbage) - get rid of the land line if you have cell service, cable is not mandatory, conserve water - electric & gas, call garbage company and ask if they have a smaller size can.

Household repairs - do it yourself & shop clearance bins (think ahead to what might need to be done & buy it before you need it.)

Car Insurance - ask what discounts are available...good student, homeowner's insurance discount, drive less than 20 miles each day, etc...make sure your agent isn't missing an available discount.

Clothing - garage sales.

Personal Care such as Haircuts, Hair color - do it yourself.

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Etc - make your own cakes. Box cake made at home $2 vs. $10 store bought cake.

Christmas. Other holidays - Make a yearly budget and put money aside all year. Most banks & credit unions will let you open a Christmas club account.

Entertainment (movies, special activities, meals out) - Red Box for $1 movies, bring out the free & already paid for deck of cards & board games and don't eat out.

Vacation (We have one coming up. Its to our nephew's wedding/ family reunion held at WDW 5 days in October) Need cost cutting tips for this too. - Nobody says you have to stay onsite or even go to the parks. Find a cheaper, offsite hotel, eat at restaurants as little as possible, if you do go to parks and eat - do only counter service, split meals and order kids meals.


I also want to warn you about some consumer credit companies, many of them are scams. Listen to Dave Ramsey or Clark Howard and make sure that you don't get taken by one of them.

crisi
05-23-2010, 05:18 PM
To say we will never again purchase a gift, a card, have Christmas, go out to dinner, take the DGS to Chuck E Cheese, have guest visit, go see a movie, etc would I feel, be expecting the impossible. So there must be ways others have found to live smartly money wise. I need to learn how to restructure our finances from the ground up and live as frugally as possible. HELP!!
....
[B][I]Groceries
Prescriptions
Medical
Insurance (car, medical and life)
Utilities (land line, cell, cable, electric, gas, water, garbage)
Household repairs
Car Insurance
Clothing
Personal Care such as Haircuts, Hair color
Birthdays, Anniversaries, Etc
Christmas. Other holidays
Entertainment (movies, special activities, meals out)



All of the first set of things can probably still be done, but they need to be done cheaply.

We got rid of cable TV. We really weren't watching it for much. We have a Netflix subscription and see most of our movies on instant play. But its $21 a month instead of $60.

Do you need a landline and a cell phone? One cell phone is probably sufficient. A lot of my friends no longer maintain a landline.

Christmas has been a "reasonable" thing in our house for years. We don't buy much.

My air is set to 80 in the summer, My heat is set to 65 in the winter. My husband HATES it. (In fact, I'm sure my air is on colder than that right now - welcome to the thermostat war...I'll sneak it up degree by degree and he won't notice.)

Haircolor I do myself. Cuts I have my mother do. Do you have a friend who cuts/used to cut hair? Same with home repairs. Ask friends for help, barter services.

Getting together with friends often is spaghetti or homemade pizza at our house (or theirs) instead of restaurants.

Clothes shopping is from Marshall's or TJ Maxx.

(And my husband and I are both well employed - I'm just frugal - and trying to prepay private college for two).

mrsklamc
05-23-2010, 05:33 PM
See if your library has 'The Complete Tightwad Gazette' by Amy Dacyzyn. Full of cost cutting tips.

LizEN
05-24-2010, 07:16 AM
A word about Social Security Disability--talk to several people there. Some are much more helpful than others and no does not always mean no to the next person you talk to. If you can, get a referral to a specific person who has been helpful in the past. Some can make great suggestions on how you can re-organize your income to allow you to qualify for benefits.

There are also many organizations that offer free legal advice. Before you pay an estate lawyer or disability lawyer, see if you can get a consultation to see if it's worth proceeding with a lawyer you would need to pay.

Also, don't be afraid to be honest with your family and friends, they can be the greatest support to you. Everyone gets into difficult situations and once you get out of this, you will be able to offer support to loved ones who find themselves in a tight spot.

Best of luck to you.

nunzia
05-24-2010, 07:49 AM
These are all great bits of advice. Yes, I think your DH should look for a job and not be proud about it (not that he is, but just so many people will wrinkle their nose at certain jobs and as long as it's a honest job people should have pride in it) Home Improvement stores, pizza delivery, etc can all bring in needed extra funds that combined with cutting expenses can be helpful. You said you may be able to do some sort of home work? There seems to be some legitimate choices there..I think the website is workathome.com? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know if it's available where you are, but our 1800flowers.com call center closed, but they hire people to work from home to do the same jobs, so it may be worth looking into. Can you muck out some stuff and put it on Ebay, Craig's List, have a big yard sale? Do you create stuff that can be sold on etsy or local craft fairs? Hang tough and be good to each other and work together and this will all be in the past soon.

damren
05-24-2010, 08:23 AM
For cable/phone/internet try a bundle, we save alot this way.

For cell phones there are some really good providers that are all inclusive and
depending on where you work you you can get a discount

Garbage can be cut down alot by what you buy. We buy nothing prepackaged or processed. Once you get in the habit you can plan your meals ahead. For example people don't need to cook with cream soups, cream cheese's ect. Buy 1 chicken and you could make fajita's or quesdillas one night, you could add some to pasta, real parm (tastes better and last alot longer because you need less than that junk in the can) and half n half (if you drink coffe you may already have that) to make an alfredo, any leftovers throw in a crockpit with some BBQ and you could have some "pulled chicken" sandwiches.

The last thing we are doing now is a cash only policy. DH pays the bills with our online billing every 2 weeks. then we take out cash for each of us, I get a little more than him because I do the groceries. we are alot more aware of what we spend and we would pool our money if we had to, but so far it has worked great! My DH came home and said wow, I go through alot of money...I KNOW!:lmao:

Good Luck, don't feel alone, alot of us are going through this:hug::hug:

mommytobug
05-24-2010, 02:41 PM
I would cancel the October trip you had planned. YOu should get a deposit from that and you could put towards your getting bills caught up.

I think to really cut back you have to be realisitic in what you can afford. If you cant afford Chuckie Cheese, etc. then you cant afford it. DH and i have been doing the bills together for the last few months and we have cut back so much and really dont feel it. We have $$ left in the account where I used to be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Good luck!

deerhart
05-24-2010, 04:01 PM
disability will be hard to get with you being out for 12 years. Your date last insured as already past (that is the date by which you had to have shown you were disabled by) AND it will be very difficult to gather medical records to show the disability (most places only have to hold records for 5-10 years after you have left active care).

In addition to some of the other suggestions here are a few:

put a brink in each toilet tank. The density of the brick will raise the level of the water and thus when you flush it will use less water because the tank will hold less water.

meal plan: plan your meals for each week. It will help cut down the grocery bill because you will only buy what you need instead of trying to buy stuff to throw together a meal. Also figure out what is/isn't in your pantry and use what IS there each week to build your meal plan.

Buy meat in bulk: usually stores will give discounts for buying your meat in bulk. Do this and then break it up into smaller portions in freezer paper at home.

Keep your lights off, especially those florescent kitchen lights as much as possible. It will not only help keep the house cooler in the summer but also save you on your electric bill.

Hair cuts - we use places like great clips and pay $10-$15 for a hair cut. My boys need them all the time.

Clothing: sales sales sales! I shop chadwicks and victoria secret clearance all the time or wait until I have a good % off coupon and then shop. Last year had a 40% off a single item and bought several items (one at a time so I had to pay shipping on each, but since they were rather expensive items, the savings more then outweighed the separate shipping). I also frequently get $10 off a $10 purchase at kohls and I go pick up something that is on sale.

As for things like gifts, for MOST people just send them a card. I can understand needing to supply a present for grandkids, but put a limit on the amount. Also for chuckie cheese, there are always coupons in the paper and online for them AND you can just go in and get tokens to play versus also getting the food.

Restaurants, especially chains, frequently have coupons for you to use either in the paper, a weekly/monthly flyer in the mail, or online. Further you can use restaurants.com to purchase gift certificates really cheap that can save you money.

We also have the entertainment book, so lots of coupons for movie tickets and other activities.

With garbage, it is probably impossible to lower your bill. Most places it is just a set amount you have to pay (same as sewer)

Haven't had a land line in over 3 years and barely used the land line I had before that for over 3 years.. hence we went cell phone only.

Buzzsgramma
05-24-2010, 09:29 PM
Did you have to pay a fee to sign with these debt consolidaters. I have heard thats not a wise thing to do...any others have an opinion on this?

badblackpug
05-24-2010, 11:16 PM
So DH has made some seriously not smart money decisions :scared1: and has gotten us into quite a mess. I thought WE were doing OK until I recently find out DH had fallen so far behind in payments and resorted to stealing from peter to pay paul and well, we all know how that ends up. I wish he had come to me sooner. He said he didn't want to worry me with all I am going through health-wise. We've had a large amount of medical bills in the past few years which has not helped us any. And of course we helped our daughter out this past year as she is going through a divorce, etc. She has fortunately moved back out on her own and is fully aware her Dad and I can no longer afford to help her in that way anymore.

DH and I have went from pretty much living budget-free to needing to tighten our belt significantly. We need to cut way back on everything until we can climb ourselves back out of this hole. DH is in process of job hunting. He retried 10 years agao and lives on a trust. I have not worked for the last 12 years as I am disabled. I have never asked for disability as we thought didn't need it. Now I may have to but have no idea how to go about getting it? I am also open to working at home doing something if this is a legitiment option???

At the moment we need to figure out where and how much we can cut back as well as how to do just that? We refinanced the morgage so far which will save us $100 a month. Not much but better than nothing. DH has also signed with a debt resolution company which will hopefully help us pay off our Credit card debt over the next 5 years.

We need to find as many ways possible that we can cut back and still live some sort of basic life? To say we will never again purchase a gift, a card, have Christmas, go out to dinner, take the DGS to Chuck E Cheese, have guest visit, go see a movie, etc would I feel, be expecting the impossible. So there must be ways others have found to live smartly money wise. I need to learn how to restructure our finances from the ground up and live as frugally as possible. HELP!!

Anyone who can share with me any tips, advice, whatever would be of great help. I'm sure in these hard economic times I am not the only one who would benefit from any suggestions anyone may have. So PLEASE suggest away!!

Areas I am looking to cut back on: Need ways to cut down on each.

Groceries coupons, sales, farmers markets, look into discount places like Aldi, and check out www.angelfoodministries.com
Prescriptions contact the companies that make your particular medications they often have programs for people who cannot afford their prescriptions
Medical
Insurance (car, medical and life) shop around
Utilities (land line, cell, cable, electric, gas, water, garbage) get rid of the landline, get rid of the cable, turn off/unplug appliances when not in use, faster showers, don't run the dishwasher/clothes washer until you have a full load, don't water the lawn
Household repairs DIY
Car Insurance shop around
Clothing outlets, Marshalls, Ross, TJ Maxx Goodwill
Personal Care such as Haircuts, Hair color DIY or go to your local cosmetology school
Birthdays, Anniversaries, Etc Make sure the adults in your life are aware of your financial situation, then give only a nice card, severely budget what you spend on the kids
Christmas. Other holidays same
Entertainment (movies, special activities, meals out) skip them. Have movie night at home.

Vacation (We have one coming up. Its to our nephew's wedding/ family reunion held at WDW 5 days in October) Need cost cutting tips for this too Sorry, but cancel it.

minnie1928
05-25-2010, 06:50 AM
Did you have to pay a fee to sign with these debt consolidaters. I have heard thats not a wise thing to do...any others have an opinion on this?

Do not use a debt consolidation company, it could make a bad situation much worse. If you feel you need someone to help, use Consumer Credit Counseling Service. They are the most respected credit counseling organization out there. Most (if not all) the personal finance authors do not recommend credit counseling, but if you have to go down that route then they recommend CCCS. Their services are free, but they will ask you for a monthly donation (which is entirely up to you). The service my mom received was wonderful, we couldn't have been happier with them. They treated mom with respect and decency every time we contacted them.