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littlered
06-21-2011, 09:03 PM
I feel like we are struggling right now. My DH has been unemployed for about 27 months and he is looking but we live in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates. We can not sell b/c were upside down like everyone.

I am fortunate I have a job with benefits that cover us but it is like every month we barley make it. The thread about could you find 2,000$ on another board was totally me. DH's unemployment has drained everything and while I work we have taken pay cuts the last 2 years.

We have 2 kids so a job has to pay somewhat decent to make it worth it. I try to tell myself that doing things with my kids(both under 5) is important and we do a lot of cheap things like bake a cake, go to the park and splash park and library all free.

I don't know what I am asking, maybe just commiseration that it doesn't last forever. I am paying debt down(student loan and medical for the most part) as I can and am looking into Dave Ramsey..it just seems like how can you pay down debt when you barley can pay day to day expenses.

And before I get flamed, I have not been to WDW since 2005, my honeymoon, so no trips planned. Vacations are driving to the inlaws in another state..

Juliet25
06-21-2011, 09:38 PM
No flames from me. :)

I have three kids under 8. We've tried doing DR and I just had to throw in the towel. There's just too many expenses with kids (most recently, a $600 dental bill :scared1:). Food alone is killing us. I can't get over how much my kids eat, and one of them still nurses. I can't imagine our food bill when they're teenagers. (and yes, I coupon, shop at Aldi, meal plan, etc.)

Kids are expensive, no doubt about it.

descovy
06-21-2011, 09:50 PM
Yes, but for us it was back in 2004 when EVERYONE was living large & money was free-flowing :rotfl2:

We had just had our 3rd child... so a newborn, 2yo, 4yo. My dh panicked at the thought of a 3rd child (surprise!) and quit his steady, lower-paid gov't job to make more money at an engineering firm.

It didn't work out. They were going to fire him, and he quit. BIG mistake as it meant no unemployment. And I was a SAHM to 3 under the age of 5 :scared1:

I immediately got a job at my church's preschool. The 3 kids came with and the director let them attend for free. I was an assistant in the 2's classroom early in the day, and worked in the afterschool program until 6pm in the afternoons. I nursed the baby during my breaks.

I made $8 but it was full-time and childcare was covered. (For 3 small kids not in school, that was HUGE!)

The funny thing was we lived in a small 2br house (all 3 girls shared a bedroom!) and while we had hoped to sell and get a bigger place before the baby was born, we were lucky we hadn't. Again, this was in 2004 when you could be approved for a loan just by breathing.

But what a relief we only had a $500/mo mortgage that year.

We were resilent and willing to do whatever it took. We cut EVERYTHING. No cell, no cable, no eating out, cheap food for dinner. No whinibg that we "deserve" a night out, etc... Just focused on surviving. And we did.

It did get better. Dh has a good job now, I work p/t just because the kids are all school aged and I need to do something with my time (what a switch!) We have since moved, and are breathing easier, but the lessons we learned back then still remain with us!

You'll get through...:grouphug:

laurafergie
06-21-2011, 09:52 PM
Been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. :hug::hug::hug And still do it sometimes as my DH is in construction and we have been self employed forever. It's very stressful not being able to budget.

We worked ourselves to death for 20 years, talking 60-80 hr work weeks, 7 days a week. We missed so much of the older kids growing up and we'll never get it back.

Without boring everyone to tears with all the details, we lost most of everything in 2006 - then the absolute rest the next year. I was literally selling the contents of the house for food.

But, it was a real - reality check, we completely realigned our priorities, and while we are still self-employed and do not make near the money we did before - we make time for vacations, and things to do as a family, and one on one time with the kids, and time for each other.

OP - you are doing the right things - spending time with your children, and it will get better - financially - but, more importantly, it will get even better as your mental outlook improves.

I know life is stressful, but it always will be, even if you had all the money in the world. So focus on the most important things in your life. Your marriage and your children and take your joy from them. Good luck to you. :hug:

divabydisney
06-21-2011, 10:03 PM
Yes, I can relate. I have 2 boys and was unemployed for a year. I am the only parent so I DRAINED my savings to stay afloat. I tried listing my house but had not one person come look at it. Even now, NOTHING is moving in my neighborhood. The day before I missed a payment, I got a job. I went on 17 interviews, countless phone interviews, was told I was overqualified a hand full of times, you name it, I was flat out MISERABLE. Shamefully, I did take a lot out on my kids/family. I was extremely depressed and felt inadequate. We often did the free things but my kids missed some of the "fun" stuff we did. I explained it to my older one and while he understood, understandably he could't fully grasp all of it. I often cried througout the day and when I was just about to fully give up everything I owned, I got a job out of the blue. They called said I had interviewed with them in the past and that they didn't need another interview, just wanted to offer me the job. I've been there almost 2 yrs. Please have faith and know you aren't alone. It's tough, but doable. Keep talking and know that it can and will get better!:hug:

mom2pandc
06-21-2011, 10:04 PM
I know it is rough now, but it will get better. You don't have a money crisis as much as you have an income crisis that is causing a money crisis. If you were both working, your whole world would be a lot different.
Being unemployed is awful in more ways than just financial. It affects your whole family's psyche, and mental wellbeing. It's difficult to move past that, but perhaps you can try to figure out what your DH is good at, what skills, or knowledge he has that he can market and make some money as his own business. Starting a business is scary, we did it 4 years ago, but we are thriving now and each year gets less scary.
I've heard recently that it's kind of the trend right now, when there aren't any jobs out there, people are making themselves a job.
I know Dave Ramsey suggests the book 48 days to the work you love. It sounds like perhaps it could be a step in the right direction? At least in finding some hope in such a rough time.
In the long run, you will be better for it. You will remember what it's like to struggle and that's a life lesson that is hard to swallow, but it's also hard to learn without actually living through it.
The free and inexpensive things you do, those are the things that I do too, and I'm not having much financial strain now. Your kids aren't going to remember all the toys you buy, they are going to remember the things you DO. Those are the memories that mean the most to me growing up and for much of my very young years, my parent's struggled to make ends meet and my dad was laid off multiple times.
Keep your chin up, and good luck!

collegejunkie
06-21-2011, 10:05 PM
if your DH has been out of work that long, it may be time to look into another field. i would actually say go back to school, nursing or dental hygiene, as those pay fairly well right out of school. good luck!

Beckypooh1972
06-21-2011, 10:23 PM
I know it's hard not to take the Disney trips you used to. We haven't been able to go since our kids turned 3 and we had to start paying for their park admission. :headache: Now it just takes longer to save for a trip.

The most encouraging words I can give you is love doesn't cost a thing... keep baking those cakes, going on picnics, using the free sources of entertainment like the library and playing in the parks; we do this too. Even though it may feel like a sacrifice to you, chances are your kids don't feel slighted. In the long run, you will be:

1.)living within your means
2.)teaching your children important values. I have friends that spend huge amounts of money on gifts and STUFF for their kids and it's never enough - their kids have come to expect bigger and better. Guess what? Their relationship with their kids is no better than my relationship with my kids.

You are doing the right thing by your kids. :hug:

marko
06-21-2011, 10:29 PM
It seems that each year as my children get older expenses increase, but at the same time I feel like I look back each year and ask myself "How did we manage it"?, but we somehow do. I suppose it's in the same way that I tell my children as they are studying for finals while playing in those last final games and working (taken from nike) "Just Do It". You do the extra time, work.... that needs to get done to accomplish things (or make ends meet), It might not be easy, but you make things work and get by. Good luck and good vibes.

shaylyn
06-21-2011, 10:55 PM
Yes, absolutely, we struggled in the early years.

Dh was unemployeed for the first time ever last fall. It took him only a few months to find another job. He took one with a 25% pay cut and a HUGE reduction in health care benefits, but he is working!

It's easy to fall into the "unemployment is high....nobody is finding a job" trap. Depression sets in, people stop looking for a job, or they look minimally (sending out a resume here or there) and that results in nothing.

Here's my suggestion. Your Dh should be spending at least 6 hours a day networking (sites like Linkedin) and working on resumes. Have him rewrite each and every resume to match the job requirements. Now is NOT the time to go back to school--he needs to focus on working, even if it is for McDonalds! He may need to start at the bottom, but that is what has to be done!

Sell everything and anything that is worth value that you don't really need. In our very early years I sold a stroller just to get enough money for food for the week. We had nothing at all and two hungry little ones to feed.

Keep your chin up, it will get better! :hug:

arthur06
06-21-2011, 11:02 PM
I know it can be extremely tough right now. We have 3 boys, and can they eat! We don't have tons of money by any means, but we get by. I totally understand what you mean about children being young and struggling.

What does your DH like to do? Is he into sports at all? I have found an awesome PT job around our area... I got an Umpiring Certificate for local amateur sports. It pays about $30 to $50 per game and most games are under 2 hours. There are many tournaments here on the weekends that you can do about 5 games on Sat and 3 games on Sunday and easily make over $200 (in cash). Our state doesn't tax the income unless you make over $600 at one school or tournament. If he is into sports at all, it is worth looking into. There is a huge shortage of officials here, so if time would allow you could easily do 20 games a week during baseball/softball season...

MomToOne
06-22-2011, 12:46 AM
My parents raised 5 kids on one income. We had a solid middle class life, but they struggled at times. That meant we ate out in restaurants only once or twice a year, we wore hand-me-downs, our birthday parties were a homemade cake after dinner with the immediate family, and we only got new toys at Christmas. We would take 1 day trip to the zoo each year, and usually 1 trip to a museum. Otherwise, we were expected to "entertain ourselves" on weekends and during the summer.

And, looking back, I wouldn't have changed ANY of it. It wasn't perfect - having three brothers is a nightmare in and of itself :rotfl: - but it was good.

Today, I am raising my daughter on my own. Only money coming in is my salary. And I have to pinch pennies like crazy to pull off the things I've decided are important. Sometimes I just want to say to heck with it, and pull out the credit cards and start spending - usually on things for my daughter, to "make her life better". But then I stop and think about my childhood. And how it was good. Without any of the bells and whistles everyone seems to think are required these days. I remind myself stuff like fancy clothes and fabulous trips aren't what makes a child - or a parent - happy in the long run. It's having a family that is tuned in, that you know will always be there, even if you screw up.

So - stick to making cakes, running through the sprinkler in the back yard, and having picnics in the park. Kids don't need expensive activities, they just need your time - no matter how much they complain otherwise :laughing: I have faith that slowly things will get better if I keep at it and for now I just do the best I can. I celebrate what I have accomplished financially - however small - and try not to focus on comparing my "stuff" to other people's. And I try to remember that I have SO much more than many people in this world.

disykat
06-22-2011, 02:24 AM
I was fortunate in that I didn't feel like we "struggled." However, many of the things you described - free entertainment and only traveling to see relatives - were simply a way of life for us when the we were in that phase of our lives. We owned a home, but it was a "fixer." This was the norm amoung young families we knew.

You have obviously made some really good choices to be able to survive a long period of unemployment. (It would have been pretty rough for us if dh wasn't working and I was.) You should be proud of yourselves! It sounds like your DH is functioning as a SAHD right now? Maybe he can look for some part-time SAHM kind of income opportunities?

As for the simple things, like another poster my favorite memories are really simple things - talking mom into mowing in certain patterns so we could pretend the lawn was a swimming pool, playing "fishing" off the tailgate of our station wagon in our driveway, etc. We specifically TRIED to replicate that kind of childhood for our kids.

Bungle
06-22-2011, 04:28 AM
Oh man we have hit some rough patches in the past financially. I mean brutal. I did learn some important lessons about needs vs. wants at that time, but I never want to be in that spot again. No advice really just a lot of :hug: and know that it will pass. How old are your kids? Do they still need daycare if both parents are working?

AnnieEMT
06-22-2011, 06:16 AM
I can completely relate & believe me, this too shall pass - most of the years that my kids were small we were on one income. There was no such thing as a vacation - we did maybe a weekend away once a year. At the time it felt like a never-ending struggle & it was hard not to be disheartened, knowing all the "extra" stuff I would have liked to have given my kids. The only piece of advice I have is not to focus in a negative way on finances - don't let it eat you up. Not saying be irresponsible, but don't give it more power than it needs to have in your life. Do what you can, enjoy your children & family - and eventually, things really will turn around :wizard:

indimom
06-22-2011, 06:27 AM
I feel like we are struggling right now. My DH has been unemployed for about 27 months and he is looking but we live in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates. We can not sell b/c were upside down like everyone.

I am fortunate I have a job with benefits that cover us but it is like every month we barley make it. The thread about could you find 2,000$ on another board was totally me. DH's unemployment has drained everything and while I work we have taken pay cuts the last 2 years.

We have 2 kids so a job has to pay somewhat decent to make it worth it. I try to tell myself that doing things with my kids(both under 5) is important and we do a lot of cheap things like bake a cake, go to the park and splash park and library all free.

I don't know what I am asking, maybe just commiseration that it doesn't last forever. I am paying debt down(student loan and medical for the most part) as I can and am looking into Dave Ramsey..it just seems like how can you pay down debt when you barley can pay day to day expenses.

And before I get flamed, I have not been to WDW since 2005, my honeymoon, so no trips planned. Vacations are driving to the inlaws in another state..

It will get better. Just keep chugging along. We have had some rough patches along the way also. Back in 2001, we were living in a tiny two bedroom, one bath house for our family of four, had one car, worked 50-80 hours a week, no cellphones, no internet, no cable. The kids wore 100% hand-me-downs (Thank God for cousins). Times were tough and we were both working!
But, it does get better. And the lessons you are learning right now will stay with you through the decades to come. We've never forgotten and have worked (and continue to work) to insulate our family against financial set backs. It came in very handy when the economy tanked and our jobs took a hit. Two years of decreased income followed by car breakdowns, car replacement, and medical bills, but we're still hanging in thanks to the lessons we learned 10 years ago.
We're never going to be rich, but our family is happy and healthy and we value that. Don't let $$ get you down, listen to your children's laughter and know that you already have everything you need. :hug:

beansmom
06-22-2011, 06:46 AM
oh, honey, yes! I didn't work so I could stay home and raise our boys myself. We drove an old beater and there were times when we were so broke I had to wash diapers by hand. (We had no w/d.) Some nights all we had to eat were beans and mustard..(which, oddly, wasn't bad). Kids always seem to need SUMTHIN--shoes, new clothes, posterboard for projects...it's just always something. And, of course, expenses are more...food, clothes..toilet paper...when you have more in a household.

Now I live in a huge house, we travel and I have just about everything I want. Of course, i 'married up' this last time. :P

I think struggling financially when you're young is mostly a part of life and life....at every stage...has its own challenges.

Good luck to you...things will get better. Kids do grow up and go away and you will get to eat 2 oreos from the package by yourself someday. :woohoo: :lmao:

ancestry
06-22-2011, 06:50 AM
I have struggled at different points in my life. Once was when my older two were little. I recovered stabilized then I went through a divorce and struggled all over again. Then I got remarried, stabilized, and then DH and I both lost our jobs and it was back to struggling. We have now recovered but any major life change could change that all over again.

It comes and goes in my experience. You learn to be resurceful and go with the flow.

Rekenna
06-22-2011, 07:30 AM
To the OP-thanks for posting this-I have been going down this same "will it ever end" spiral myself. Fortunately, both DH and I have good jobs-some of our $ problems stem from when I didn't work for a year when pregnant with #2 (long story). Also, I stupidly got an MBA that I have never used and have quite a high student loan payment to make, we have 2 little ones in day care and DS3 has autism which adds to the pot b/c of $, time, stress and extra worry.

I have older friends who have been through the same thing and as others have said on this thread-it will get better.

We do go on vacation, but as cheaply as possible, it's our one thing and we plan and save for it all year. And, honestly, I don't think I could make it through the year without something to look forward to-when I am really down, and I mean way down, it's about the only thing that can dig me out-fantasizing about our family on vacation and being happy and relaxed. :earsboy:

I just wanted you to know, I hear you, I empathize-it will get better. Although, I tell myself this evey morning-I did just have a panic attack on Saturday at 3am-dreaming about money and woke up in the middle of the night and totally freaked out.

All we can do is just keep plugging on, we will get there. I'm trying really hard to not miss out my kids and DH and how awesome they are b/c I either am worrying or stressing about $.

Chin up!

I also wanted to add-I remember when DH and I would take a can of corn and a can of peas and mix them together and call that dinner-gross! Also, where we are from we have Cincinnati style chili and coneys, I would buy a pack of hotdogs, a pack of buns, 1 can of off brand chili and shredded cheese and we ate coneys every night-not the healthiest thing in the world, but it kept our tummies full and I only spent a total of $20 a week of groceries, wow.

Have you ever watched the show "The Middle"? There was an episode where Frankie accidently bought a $200 jar of eye cream. Her DH was so angry and his reason for being angry? After all their time together $200 was the difference between them making/not making their bills for the month. Frankie then pointed out that when they first got married $10 was the make or break point. I liked this episode, b/c while it may feel like we aren't getting anywhere-we really are. Deep breaths.

Wishing your family all the best and hoping your DH finds something that pays well and that he enjoys.

Schmoodle
06-22-2011, 07:39 AM
I can completely relate. I remember rolling coins at the end of the month for groceries when DH and I were both in school. We'd gather up our cans and bottles to return for the deposit and our change and scrape up $10 for food to get us through that last week. Then DD came along and vacations were going to my parents time share at the beach or camping. The first time DD went to Disney World, she was 4 and we drove, again stayed at a time share, and boy did I scrimp and save to pay for those tickets.

What made the difference for us is that all those years we were on a tight budget, we were both getting an education and then getting established in our careers. We intentionally picked careers that would pay a good wage and not be so dependent on economy (after we got past our "what do I want to do with my life" phase). I do not love my job every day, but I love the life it allows us. We are comfortable now and I can take my (now 3) kids to WDW and stay anywhere I want to (although I still look for the deals!). So yes, this too can pass, but you may have to make some calculated moves to get yourselves in a more secure position.

And I think there's some value in struggling at the beginning. I tell my DD that, who is now struggling to get herself established. It definitely makes you appreciate what you have and work for.

ETA - I hope things start looking up for you soon. I know it is difficult and stressful. But your kids will still have wonderful memories of doing things together. We never took expensive vacations when I was a kid but I have great memories of camping trips and family times.

Rekenna
06-22-2011, 08:22 AM
Again, to the OP-sorry, but I just totally feel your pain and am praying for you and you are on my mind...

I know this is not DR approved but, have you thought about seeing if you can get a forebearance on your student loans? What this does is suspend your student loan payments for an amount of time, the interest continues to be charged to your account and capitalizes to the principal-so adding to the total amount to be paid off. But, this might buy you some breathing room until you are reasonably able to start making student loan payments again.

Also, you said you have medical bills. Have you contacted the billing office to see if you can have lower monthly payments? I have had to do this in the past and typically they are pretty good about it as long as you make the payment on time consistently.

Just a thought. It could help you with the day to day stuff and to create an emergency savings possibly (what I am trying to do now).

Again, best wishes!

nunzia
06-22-2011, 08:45 AM
YEP!! For YEARS! and it taught us alot and our kids never remember that we were poor. (dinner once a week was the 'fancy' cereal we could get with a coupon that was too good for breakfast, and made even more special with bananas on top..ooohhh :)other dinners: can of bean soup with pack of ramen mixed in or box of macaroni with can of pork and beans mixed in)... and this was while DH had a solid job with the city..I stayed at home and did part time things and clay sculptures that eventually sold wholesale throughout the southwest. Then DH got fired (after 13 years with no write ups..hmm..odd how only the union folks got laid off...just super) and he cashed out his retirement to move to Alpine Texas to get his Vet tech degree, leaving me home with the 3 kids and no income except for extras from the retirement and the 5 part time jobs I held..he came home once a month..it was tough. We do great now..still no higher than average income but we sure know how to live cheap and none the worse for wear.
I hope things get better for you and the best way for that to happen is to change your thought porcesses..if DH has been out of a job for 27 months I don't think that job is coming back. School is great and so much can be done online..also there are ways for him to make money while you are home so you don't have childcare..pizza delivery, paper routes, any thing that brings in any amount of money is helpful in your budget. Even an extra $50 week selling stuff on Ebay or something can ease the pressure. Sometimes you just have to turn away from the norm and get creative..I agree maybe he could find an interest of his and turn it into a business..so many options that don't include just trudging to work in a traditional way.

threecrazykids
06-22-2011, 09:35 AM
Oh trust me...I feel your pain. My husband has been unemployed since November and it's been very VERY tough only on my income. We have called every credit card, mortgage, etc and basically gave the ultimatum just a couple of months ago "work with us or we file BK". And believe me, after me getting very hard headed with them it finally worked. I basically said "you take your pick...either work with us and don't give me the run-around or we file". I was done playing games and I wasn't kidding about filing. They are working with us and I have closed all but 1 card and are paying them all off and will be DONE with the stupid cards.

It was NOT what I ever thought we would be saying, but it was the cold hard truth. We juuuuuust make it every month, and yes some months we come up short, but we're doing what we can. I do NOT want to file BK so we are doing everything possible not to...but some months I feel like we are just delaying the inevitable. I'm praying DH can find a job soon. He's been refinishing furniture and selling it, which has helped.

I understand where you're at, as many others are right there with ya. It can be very frustrating sometimes when people talk about how to get ahead. You have to have even minimal extra cash to get ahead. When you are literally coming up short or just breaking even there is no end in sight. But it will happen...blessings will come and it will get better. :hug:

mom2princesss
06-22-2011, 09:46 AM
It does get better! There are months where we just barely make it. It's hard but with 3 under 8 and one being in infant in daipers it just is how it is.

I totally agree about contacting your student loan company and talk about suspending your payments. Also, if you have several separate loans, consolidte them so you have one lower payment. I did that when DH graduated and it made a huge difference in the amount we had going out every month. Medical bills can be negociated as well.

I'd also make a spread sheet and keep track daily of every penny you spend. That will really help you see where your money is going. Cut back anywhere you can - cable, cell phone plans, eating out, etc.

It will get better! I used to feel like we were drowning every month but finally feel like while it is tight, our heads are at least above water.

torinsmom
06-22-2011, 09:59 AM
Been there, done that. When I was married and my son was young, we lived month to month. My ex worked two low paying jobs, and I babysat in our apartment during the day and did a paper route at night. We really struggled. I think together our income was around $20K in 1997. Then, my ex got tired of being married and left. So, then I was a single mom babysitting during the day, and taking my son(3 at the time)with me at night to deliver papers, because I couldn't pay for a babysitter. My ex did not pay child support for 6 months, until the state took him to court. I refused to go on welfare and busted my butt to pay the bills. I finally got a job as an assistant teacher($16K/yr) and put my son in that preschool. I went back to school a few classes at a time online and in the evenings to become a teacher. That was 10 years ago, and my income has more than tripled since then. I think the struggle made me appreciate what I have now. The truth is, many people would look at my income and how we live now and say we are still struggling. I still babysit in the afternoon after my teaching job, and have to scrimp and save to afford our budget trips. But...I can pay all my bills, all of what we need and many things that we want, I am buying a house instead of renting, I have some money in savings as well as in a retirement account, and we are happy.

StitchBuddy
06-22-2011, 10:11 AM
Yes, it will get better. But, it can get worse again too. I decided to stay home after my DD was born. Money was very tight, we went down to the last penny every month. I remember going to garage sales for her clothing and toys. We only ate out once a month. Boy did we enjoy it. My husband is in an industry that goes up and down. He has been laid-off 3 times. But we have survived and you will too! One nice thing about young children is you can entertain them just by taking them to the park or turning on the sprinkler. It is your time they want. We use to have game night quite often. My DD who is 14 now still talks about how she loved game night.

Marionnette
06-22-2011, 10:15 AM
I feel like we are struggling right now. My DH has been unemployed for about 27 months and he is looking but we live in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates. We can not sell b/c were upside down like everyone.

I am fortunate I have a job with benefits that cover us but it is like every month we barley make it. The thread about could you find 2,000$ on another board was totally me. DH's unemployment has drained everything and while I work we have taken pay cuts the last 2 years.

We have 2 kids so a job has to pay somewhat decent to make it worth it. I try to tell myself that doing things with my kids(both under 5) is important and we do a lot of cheap things like bake a cake, go to the park and splash park and library all free.

I don't know what I am asking, maybe just commiseration that it doesn't last forever. I am paying debt down(student loan and medical for the most part) as I can and am looking into Dave Ramsey..it just seems like how can you pay down debt when you barley can pay day to day expenses.

And before I get flamed, I have not been to WDW since 2005, my honeymoon, so no trips planned. Vacations are driving to the inlaws in another state..
We never struggled when the kids were little but maybe that's because we delayed having children until after we owned a house and were well established in our careers. We were also fortunate to begin our childraising in the '90s when the economy was booming.

Money became much tighter as the kids entered their upper teen years (bigger appetites, car insurance, college tuition, etc.) and the economy declined. We're not struggling but we are feeling the pinch.

I know that many of you with younger kids would like to think that it gets better. I don't think that it does. It just gets different.

southern_redhead
06-22-2011, 10:19 AM
:hug: It will get better. I remember, in the not so distant past, when all three of our kids were young (I had 3 kids in 4 years :scared1:) and DH's older son was still in Elem school. Oh, my, how we struggled. We were barely making it as it was and then DH left his job and moved us all to our hometown because my stepson was having issues. Our town is tiny and the job market is non existant. DH's years of special training in technology was useless, the only job available was in a furniture factory. I try hard not to resent those years but it's hard, there were days where I wanted to walk away from it all.

BUT DH finally wised up and realized he had to go back on the road to work. He's making more now than he ever has, the kids and I travel to many of the places he goes to work so my kids are seeing so much, and I have really learned how to budget so many things that seemed impossible.

I remember wondering which bills to pay, and I remember living without a phone and without cable (actually, that helped us save more than anything else - the kids watched videos and saw NO commercials so they had NO "gimmies" LOL), If I could go back, the one thing I would do would be to start family vacations earlier. It never seemed we could afford them but, I think, if we'd juggled a little differently we could have. Those vacations have made us much closer, it gives us something to look forward to instead of plodding day to day and then wondering where the year went. I went back to work when my youngest was 8 months but it only lasted about 18 months. I ended up in the ER in a full blown panic attack. I was working long hours and, still, some months had to "borrow" from DH's check to pay the childcare on two of the kids. It was ridiculous. But, I wanted them to have somewhere to go and play with other kids since no one does playgroups here like they did where we moved from, and (sad but true) I knew it helped them to be away from me. I was really struggling with sadness and anger at the situation we were in.

The good thing is, though, that once the youngest was old enough for full time school I went back to work. I didn't double our income but I get a nice little chunk that I have designated the "kid" fund. I buy most of their clothing and christmas/birthday, I cover our family health insurance (I get it at 1/3 of what DH would have to pay and the coverage is waaay better), and I put a lot of it up this year for a "whiz bang" vacation to Disney. It's "budget" I'm sure to some on the board but, for us, it's more extravagant than the beach vacations we've gotten used to.

It does get better, in the mean time I would encourage you to keep doing inexpensive and free things with your kids. Look for other moms that might be in a similar bind - could you form a playgroup swap so the kids could play at one house one week and another the next? It would give you a "free day" to concentrate on you, sometimes taking care of yourself gets pushed so far back it's off the stove but it is SO important. Encourage your DH to stop looking for his old job and start looking for ANY job. Even weekends at a fast food place or retail store would bring in some money. As someone else said, if he knows sports "umping" can pay pretty well. I think it gets $60 or $75 a game here for PEE WEE because these people take their sports seriously LOL One bit of advice I've heard from Dave Ramsey (we aren't really followers but I've caught his show a time or two) is to look around your home and see what REALLY gets used. If it's just sitting there, it has no value to you at all (as in, it wasn't something you inherited or something given to you that holds a strong sentimental attachment) SELL IT. I actually did this last fall and made about $400 just by getting rid of pieces of old furniture we had sitting in our basement. I knew we weren't going to use them again so I had DH haul them to the carport, cleaned them up, took pictures and posted them to craigslist. Bunk beds the kids had outgrown - gone, old entertainment center that we had no room for anymore - gone, toys that the kids no longer played with but weren't important enough to save for "when they have their own kids" - GONE! So, it did two things. First I got $400 of "found" money that I tossed into the Christmas fund and, second, I reclaimed a chunk of space in our house. Everytime I go to the basement and don't see a pile of junk in the corner, I feel better :)

Rekenna
06-22-2011, 10:37 AM
I know that many of you with younger kids would like to think that it gets better. I don't think that it does. It just gets different.

Not having to pay daycare would make all the difference in the world. :)

Marionnette
06-22-2011, 10:39 AM
Not having to pay daycare would make all the difference in the world. :)
I'll trade college tuition for daycare costs any time you want!

disneychic2
06-22-2011, 10:45 AM
OP, I think almost everyone goes through what you are going through. It was true even when the economy was better. That's sort of the nature of the beast. My Dad said something to the effect that when they really needed the money (when we kids were little) they didn't have it to spare. Now he enjoys taking our families out to eat or to do something special b/c now they can afford it. Enjoy these years as best you can, they will fly by and your kids will be all grown up. Continue to make those memories that are free. Most kids will tell you (when they get older) your time is the most precious thing you can give them. Keep up the good work!

momx2
06-22-2011, 01:18 PM
We never struggled when the kids were little but maybe that's because we delayed having children until after we owned a house and were well established in our careers. We were also fortunate to begin our childraising in the '90s when the economy was booming.

Money became much tighter as the kids entered their upper teen years (bigger appetites, car insurance, college tuition, etc.) and the economy declined. We're not struggling but we are feeling the pinch.

I know that many of you with younger kids would like to think that it gets better. I don't think that it does. It just gets different.

Thank you, ITA!!:thumbsup2 I have been trying to explain this to my friend/co-worker and he just doesn't get it.

I'll trade college tuition for daycare costs any time you want!

Exactly, kind of....I don't have tuition yet, but I know exactly what you mean. I thought when my 2 got out of daycare, it would feel like I hit the lottery. Then it happened and it didn't feel much different. Actually, I feel we are struggling now as they get older and have more unplanned and planned activities.

I have been trying to explain this to my friend and he just keeps saying, "not paying X amount in daycare each month has got to make a difference." I thought the same thing until they reached school age. I guess it got a bit better for a few years, nothing drastic, but now uuuugggggg.....

The cost of everything is going up and my paycheck has gotten smaller and they need/want more. And sometimes the expenses just happen and you can't say no. Example, my DD 13 was selected for an honors Leadership class. Got a letter one Monday saying they need $260 by Friday for the expense of the class. I couldn't say "No honey, that wasn't in the budget." I guess I could of, but wasn't going to unless it meant not eating. It is more of a struggle now than when they were younger and I was paying daycare.:scared1:

Declan2
06-22-2011, 01:41 PM
Some excellent support from previous posters. We have a good midle class life and are going to Disney this summer but I grew up with very little. I have worked since I was 12 and held two jobs to pay back student loans after university. I and my husband want to really instill a value system in our kids. They get very little in the way of "stuff" one nice gift for birthdays (50 -100 dollars) same at xmas. We do as many free things as possible library, biking, park, kite flying, skating, sledding. Money doesn't make it always fun. We go to the movies once or twice a year and eat out about the same. I could spend but chose not to. we have education funds for the kids so they don't struggle as badly as I did. I do not feel guilty that they receive so little because they get so much in the ways that count. Your attitude to the situation will set the course for change in your life. Believe in yourself.

GinnyEmma
06-22-2011, 01:51 PM
Dealing with long term job loss is a struggle for anyone, and young children are expensive. It does get easier, IMO. You learn to plan and watch out for the hidden expenses like soccer or college, lol.

You might try simplifying, and costsaving programs. Don't get pulled into the crazy clothes, and vacation competitions. Little ones are amazingly easy to satisfy. :) my advice. Ymmv.

Eta: we did struggle. We had great jobs, were older, etc. But I was all about having and doing with he first!! He went to ca several times in his first year alone just so my dad could see him!! Luckily u settled down!!!

zurgswife
06-22-2011, 02:04 PM
Wasn't bad when the kids were young....Now that there older our life is a mess. DH was layed off 14 months ago. I was a nursing student for the last 2 yrs. We have only had unemployment income for the last 12 months. Living basically on student loans. I hope to pass the NCLEX in July and then try to find a job. Yet, nursing jobs in our area are difficult to find....so I may need to have a long commute for a while.

I do feel that things willl work them out and things will be better in 5yrs so currently that is my mental goal. Getting the current debt from unemployement and high medical bills paid off in the next 5 yrs.

DH has started a master's program in a different field that will hopefully give him a fresh start in the next 12mos while he job hunts. 2 incomes in the next 12-24 m would really turn our lives around.

GinnyEmma
06-22-2011, 02:16 PM
Zurgswife, I hope you are able to find a local job. Unemployment is crazy on the heart and budget.

Jerseymomof2
06-22-2011, 02:39 PM
I have the same problem here. I have been unemployed for 20 months. My benefits are about to run out and my saving will be gone soon after that too. I keep going for job but all I keep hearing is that I am overqualified. Well there is no job like what I used to do in my area and if I have to travel too far it's not worth it with the cost of commuting these days. SO things are going to get really tight around here very quick. I hope that what everyone is saying is true and that things will get better because they are getting pretty dark around my house.
BTW the 2 vacation listed in my siggy are paid for by my parents. so they aren't costing me anything,

crjack
06-22-2011, 02:48 PM
I feel like we are struggling right now. My DH has been unemployed for about 27 months and he is looking but we live in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates. We can not sell b/c were upside down like everyone.

I am fortunate I have a job with benefits that cover us but it is like every month we barley make it. The thread about could you find 2,000$ on another board was totally me. DH's unemployment has drained everything and while I work we have taken pay cuts the last 2 years.

We have 2 kids so a job has to pay somewhat decent to make it worth it. I try to tell myself that doing things with my kids(both under 5) is important and we do a lot of cheap things like bake a cake, go to the park and splash park and library all free.

I don't know what I am asking, maybe just commiseration that it doesn't last forever. I am paying debt down(student loan and medical for the most part) as I can and am looking into Dave Ramsey..it just seems like how can you pay down debt when you barley can pay day to day expenses.

And before I get flamed, I have not been to WDW since 2005, my honeymoon, so no trips planned. Vacations are driving to the inlaws in another state..

We started off ok, like a typical newly married couple, but boy we struggled after our second child was born. Our two are only 18 months apart and the second childcare bill was huge. (Seems long ago as they are both teens now)

We were both working but daycare in our area is very high. We cut everything we could and still had a hard time making it every month. We were fortunate to have some savings to dip into but that wouldnt have lasted very long. We crossed our fingers and prayed that the car would last another month, etc.

It does get better. You have had it very hard, like so many families, dealing with job loss. Your children are young and what they will remember is being loved and enjoying time together.

Once you have two incomes again, stick with the budget habits you have developed and you will be in good shape down the road.

Best of luck.

Colleen27
06-22-2011, 03:17 PM
Absolutely. I left my job to stay home with the kids in '99 and in the following years DH lost one job to a layoff, two due to the companies folding, and ultimately took a retail position at a significant pay cut because it was at a steady paycheck and close to home. We have always been very careful with money/debt and that allowed us to keep our heads above water but our kids were 4 & 7 before we really had any breathing room in the budget much less the ability to take them on vacations that weren't to visit (and stay with) family.

Just hang in there, and remember the most unlikely things can lead to improvement. My DH took that crappy retail job in 2002 and it ended up being the turning point for us. The job itself was basically dead-end but that's where he made the contacts that eventually led to becoming a licensed builder and starting his own business.

And if I had to choose "lean" years those were the best - our kids were young and never felt "poor", entertaining them was as easy as an afternoon at the park or a walk to the beach or decorating cookies in the kitchen, and winter outings to the McDonalds play-place were the ultimate in "luxury" in their minds. Now that they're older and the sports, camp, activity fees come one after another, the grocery bill is ever-expanding, and everything they need costs more it would be a lot harder to squeeze the pennies and make it work.

Kitzka
06-22-2011, 03:53 PM
DD 13 was the best accident ever. DH and I were engaged but i was still in college. i was finishing up the 2nd semester of my senior year when i found out i was pregnant. We did not get married right away, but when DD was first born i was not working, DH was working but making $7.50 an hour and was begging for shifts so he could continue to qualify for benefits (if he had more than 2 weeks of going below 30 hours he no longer qualified for benefits and it was paramount that he and DD have benefits)

I did start working part time and made $6 an hour. we made just enough to pay our bills. we would ahve about $20 left over a week to feed and clothe all 3 of us. (also the kicker? DD never took to breast feeding). We did not go on welfare, though in hindsight we probably shopuld ahve.

We did rack up a good sized chunk of credit card debt. but once we wised up we stopped using them and worked on paying it down. it took 8 years but we now make a very decent living, paid off everything except my student loans (10 more payments!) and our morrtgage.

we had ruined credit ratings and a lot of debt but we scrimped and scraped and did it.

it will get better. one thing that did help was to put my loans in forbearance for a month or two at a time. we didn't do it all the time but when we could.

i will also tell you that your children will remember the family times. not what toy they didn't get. DD is 13 now and when she was about 4 and wanted to go to the movies or whatever. we couldn't afford it so we started having "Family fun nights" it was always friday and we each got a turn deciding what to do. at 4 we sometimes colored for hours (not DH's favorite), played games, watched a movie from the library or blockbuster, etc. we always had a ton of fun.

now that she is 13 every friday is still family fun night. we have been doing it for 9 years and have only missed a handful due to illness, school events etc. this week we are having a picnic in the living room. we turn off the tv, move the furniture and are going to sit on the floor and eat (a big treat since i am big on eating in the dining room with utencils). it really built a family bond and i don't even know if DD knows if we have money now or not.

good luck

Lara

Mickeyluver37
06-22-2011, 03:55 PM
Thank you, ITA!!:thumbsup2 I have been trying to explain this to my friend/co-worker and he just doesn't get it.



Exactly, kind of....I don't have tuition yet, but I know exactly what you mean. I thought when my 2 got out of daycare, it would feel like I hit the lottery. Then it happened and it didn't feel much different. Actually, I feel we are struggling now as they get older and have more unplanned and planned activities.

I have been trying to explain this to my friend and he just keeps saying, "not paying X amount in daycare each month has got to make a difference." I thought the same thing until they reached school age. I guess it got a bit better for a few years, nothing drastic, but now uuuugggggg.....

The cost of everything is going up and my paycheck has gotten smaller and they need/want more. And sometimes the expenses just happen and you can't say no. Example, my DD 13 was selected for an honors Leadership class. Got a letter one Monday saying they need $260 by Friday for the expense of the class. I couldn't say "No honey, that wasn't in the budget." I guess I could of, but wasn't going to unless it meant not eating. It is more of a struggle now than when they were younger and I was paying daycare.:scared1:

I have to agree with this. When I just had two small kids and was a SAHM, dh was in the military. We were pretty much still "kids" ourselves. We had one car, pretty set bills every month, and spend about $100/week at the commissary. There wasn't too terribly much left over, but that was ok- everything worked out, and we were able to live on a budget.

NOW...Sure, having the 3rd child adds to the craziness, but just in the last MONTH....2 out of town tournaments for DS11's baseball. Both weekends necessitated in us going down at different times, so 2X the gas, plus hotels. One of those was at the beach, so prime rates for that hotel. Swim team fees, plus new bathing suits- right at $200 per kid. And it's already time for football registration- have to pay that by this month or there is a late fee- that was $210. Thank goodness school is over because I don't even want to think about what I spend in field trip fees for DD's 8th grade year- 1 of which was out of state, the other out of the country. Even a trip to Philadelphia was $75/person. Birthday parties come up regularly for all 3, and no one seems to give anything under $25 anymore. Like you said, yeah you can say no to some of it, but you'd feel really bad if you have to- it's not like we live extravagantly- just typical of everyone else around here. I don't even know how I would be able to accurately budget for all of this stuff. We'd need a sizable "kid/misc" in our budget.

Our health care costs out of pocket since the early years have increased dramatically each year too. And that's before you even look at orthodontia- as of Friday I'll have TWO in braces. That's equivalent to a car payment in their mouths each month.

I don't even want to think about car insurance and college right now. DH and I are still paying our own loans, and will be when the older 2 are in college.

So, I wouldn't say it's harder...because we're not struggling. Thank goodness we both worked our butts off in college so that our income increased steadily. But don't expect the cost of the kids to go down! :rotfl:

bethy
06-22-2011, 05:34 PM
Hugs to the OP. Here's another perspective if it helps at all. We are very fortunate in that my DH makes a wonderful living. He's worked very hard for many years to get to where he is, including putting himself through grad school, and working countless overtime. And yes, in some ways it is really wonderful not to have to live paycheck to paycheck.

But you know, life is so short and money only gets you so far. You can't take it with you. Plus, we have other stressors in our lives - some of which are related to DH's career and some which are not.

I guess I'm saying we're all stressed and challenged in some way at any time in our lives. It's just different stress.

And as a sidenote - we struggle often to not fall into the trap of feeling like we never have quite as much income as we would like. It's easy to keep thinking, with the next raise or bonus we'll have the perfect amount of money. If a person is not careful it's very easy to fritter away extra money. It's also always a temptation to try and keep up at least a little with the Jones's. We are usually able to resist but the temptation is always lingering there.

I grew up with very, very little and it's really helped me negotiate this world of "plenty" and keep in mind what's really important.

OP, I can tell you are a great mom. Your kids will remember the love and the time you spent with them. :hug:

MrsPete
06-22-2011, 05:56 PM
Yes, things were hard financially when our kids were small. We were earning a great deal less and day care was expensive. Once they started school, things were easier financially, and now that they're teens our salaries are higher so it isn't difficult to pay the things they need.

It'll get better. Just work on living frugally and avoiding debt. As long as you're "paying off" yesterday's spending, things can never get better.

Aisling
06-22-2011, 06:27 PM
I hope to pass the NCLEX in July and then try to find a job. Yet, nursing jobs in our area are difficult to find....so I may need to have a long commute for a while.


I admire your strength to have a 5-year goal. 5 years sounds so long and it's discouraging for me. It sucks to work hard in college to better our situation only to have a hell of a time finding a job. :(


Adding my hugs to the OP and to everyone struggling.

Colleen27
06-22-2011, 06:35 PM
I have to agree with this. When I just had two small kids and was a SAHM, dh was in the military. We were pretty much still "kids" ourselves. We had one car, pretty set bills every month, and spend about $100/week at the commissary. There wasn't too terribly much left over, but that was ok- everything worked out, and we were able to live on a budget.

NOW...Sure, having the 3rd child adds to the craziness, but just in the last MONTH....2 out of town tournaments for DS11's baseball. Both weekends necessitated in us going down at different times, so 2X the gas, plus hotels. One of those was at the beach, so prime rates for that hotel. Swim team fees, plus new bathing suits- right at $200 per kid. And it's already time for football registration- have to pay that by this month or there is a late fee- that was $210. Thank goodness school is over because I don't even want to think about what I spend in field trip fees for DD's 8th grade year- 1 of which was out of state, the other out of the country. Even a trip to Philadelphia was $75/person. Birthday parties come up regularly for all 3, and no one seems to give anything under $25 anymore. Like you said, yeah you can say no to some of it, but you'd feel really bad if you have to- it's not like we live extravagantly- just typical of everyone else around here. I don't even know how I would be able to accurately budget for all of this stuff. We'd need a sizable "kid/misc" in our budget.

It is a bit different when you start out with a SAH parent, though. My son is a teen and a musician & athlete so I know how the fees add up. From our perspective the kids don't get cheaper... but we're not coming from a place of having paid for full time childcare. I left my job when DS was barely 1yo, but up to that point we were paying just shy of $200/week for childcare for one child. His expenses didn't get to anywhere near that bad again until middle school and getting serious about a sport. Kids don't stay cheap, that's for sure, but if you're paying for full time daycare I do think that the elem years offer a reprieve between the end of the daycare bill and the start of the bigger school and activity expenses.

shortbun
06-22-2011, 07:03 PM
Yep, we made our nickels scream at one time and the habits die hard. I still shop at thrift shops for some things and we cook at home mostly. My parents gave me two mottos for life and I have to say that other than cable and internet...I buy very little and we take good care of what we have.
"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" and "If your outgo exceeds your income then your upkeep will be your downfall."
Good luck. Those cakes from scratch and library trips will make good memories. My son still gets many books from the library and so do I for that matter. Instead of joining the pool, my son and his friends ran through the sprinkler and had squirt gun battles. We, Mom and Dad, often played along. Lights get turned out, we had dance in the dark night every week. Pizza was homemade-we got really good at making the dough, yum. We gardened, canned, froze and dried things from our garden. My grandmother taught me how to mend when I was little so socks got darned and holes mended until clothes were really worn out. None of my friends even knew what darning was so I taught them how to mend socks. Video games were often traded or borrowed instead of purchased and We just got air conditioning, for the first time, last year when we bought our current home. Good luck. Make memories. Buy in bulk and buy local.

littlered
06-22-2011, 09:01 PM
OP Here:

Thanks so much for the encouragement and insight! MY DH does have a very small part time job mowing lawns and landscaping peoples houses. Its his own little business. He does lawns in the evening when I get home. I hope he can get a few more houses as it would be a blessing.

He was a retail store manager for a big box chain that let go 2700 people at one time. He is good at what he does but it seems the wage has fallen from about 16$/hr to around 8.50 around here b/c they can hire teenagers, etc and also b/c supply way out numbers demand. I know at my work about 500 people applied for one open position.

I have a retirement plan at work and they force me to put in 11.25% a month, i really wish for a few years they would let me take home that money. I'm not even 30. Its hard to pay for tomorrow when I am paying for yesterday:) They do fully match so I realize its a good deal but its one of the things I feel could make a difference.

Thank you again. It helps to know there are others out there! Now to come up with more cheap memory makers!

Happy Mom2
06-22-2011, 09:46 PM
You are not alone. DH has been unemployed for almost a year, so I know it's not easy. Hang in there. Things will get better.

MinnieForMe
06-23-2011, 07:09 AM
Hi:
We struggled the first five years of our marriage and looking back I'm glad we did. It taught us to budget, how to live off one income (even though I was working two jobs) and how to save to get what we wanted. I truly believe it was that original struggle that taught us how to get through the three years of unemployment that came later without any debt. Now, life is comfortable, we can travel and appreciate all we have!

thegilchrists
06-23-2011, 10:13 AM
We struggled EVERY day when our kids were younger.......paycheck to paycheck......eating "hotdish" casseroles, bologna and cheese, mac & cheese-you name it........we were a blended family and my DH paid child support for his DD. Money was tight! Our kids our now 28,23, & 22.
And now we are raising our 2 grandsons (3 1/2 and 20 months).......it is not easy but we coupon religiously and carefully plan how we are going to spend our $$$$. Not eating out....shopping the clearance racks, etc. Old habits die hard I guess.......
It will get easier and there are several ways to make extra money....I sew and do home embroidery as well as work a full time job.And that is mainly so we do have the extra $$ to take our Disney excursions. And we do not do the full blown Disney extraganza-stay at a value resort, free dining if available, budget for souvenirs. You get the picture.....
Just keep plugging along and keep the faith!

Sherri

TammyAlphabet
06-23-2011, 10:45 AM
Oh my YES!! I can remember, three years of no cable, having to watch every penny at the grocery store. I remember trying to figure out how to afford a new winter coat for my son. Driving junk vehicles with no air conditioning. It is hard, but it will get better IF you make it happen. Which is what I did.

Things are much different now, my DH passed away, and just when my career started to take off and we started having extra money to live a little nicer. I don't have the problems I did then with money, but I look back on those lean years and how we struggled, and all I can see is the WE. He was with me then.

Concentrate on your blessings is my advice. I know it is hard financially but try to look past it and look around at all the love in your life. JMHO. Hugs to you.

LovableGluttons
06-23-2011, 01:00 PM
Hi:
We struggled the first five years of our marriage and looking back I'm glad we did. It taught us to budget, how to live off one income (even though I was working two jobs) and how to save to get what we wanted. I truly believe it was that original struggle that taught us how to get through the three years of unemployment that came later without any debt. Now, life is comfortable, we can travel and appreciate all we have!

My parents did not have much when I was growing up. My children have not known poverty, but I was very financially strapped when I was in college. I rented a room, worked three jobs, and sometimes had to choose to pay for tuition over food.

I can remember several classes I couldn't afford the textbooks for, so I winged it. LOL

My son is in scouts and my daughter often accompanies him for the holiday share baskets they assemble and distribute.

During the recent economic turmoil, they have both had close friends move away due to finanical difficulties and I think it was sobering for my kids to see that loss pretty close to home.

mwatson011
06-23-2011, 04:58 PM
We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel since having our DD almost 6 years ago. And it seems all goes good at once. Prior to having kiddos, we were DINKS both with good salaries. We listened to NOONE when they told us to save for a rainy day. We bought lots of stuff.

Anyway, had DD in 2005, then other DD in 2006 (planned, since I wanted to be a SAHM when they were babies, thought it would be best to just have 2 in a row, still happy with the decision). Then it started raining buckets. DH lost his job TWICE along the way, I had surgery that left me unable to work for a good 2 years. Almost lost the house to foreclosure TWICE.

In the end, I am working PT and DH has a wonderful job (counting those blessings bigtime!). Although we did not make the same choices that others would make, and we could have done things differently, I would not give back one minute I got to spend with my girls. The only thing I WOULD do differently, is to go back to when we were younger and listen to someone, anyone, and SAVE $.

Looking ahead, once both girls are in school full-time, we will be saving $600 per month on the cost of preschool (cheapest alternative to daycare while I am working PT), and our car will be paid off, all at the same time. So, sunny days are ahead, and we have been able to put away a little $, and going forward it will be a lot more. It seems like when you are down you are WAY down. Congrats to you for holding it together (mentally!), it is really a challenge some days, I know.

momejay
06-23-2011, 06:19 PM
My children are all teens now. It doesn't get any easier. They tend to eat more as they get bigger. A pound of pasta used to feed us a dinner and lunch for 2-3 days. Now, I am lucky if I only have to cook a pound for dinner. The bargin store sneakers or jeans become totally uncool. You just need to get creative. Instead of taking a group of teens to the movies, which costs gas, tickets and refreshments. I find a free Redbox code and pop some popcorn at home. Friends show up in lounge pants and we do nail painting or hair syling with our movie night. My son's friends are happy as long as there is food. This is where coupon skills come in handy.

Good Luck!

SeansMom
06-23-2011, 08:22 PM
(I feel like my parents, but...) when our oldest was young, we had to scrape together the .99 cents needed to rent a VHS tape.

If not for Grandma, we never would have had snack type food (she always mailed things like chips, candy bars, etc, don't know why but it our only junk food for the month).

We never went to movies, shopped just to shop, or even went to DL. We just didn't have the money, and were paying off bills left by the "ex". Things were hand to mouth, but we still went to the zoo on free days, the library, the park, and got together with neighbors. We went camping and visited with family. I don't look back and regret any of it. A roof and your health are more valuable than possessions and expensive vacations. And hopefully, like all things, this too shall pass.

*Seanaci*
06-23-2011, 08:22 PM
I feel like we are struggling right now. My DH has been unemployed for about 27 months and he is looking but we live in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates. We can not sell b/c were upside down like everyone.

I am fortunate I have a job with benefits that cover us but it is like every month we barley make it. The thread about could you find 2,000$ on another board was totally me. DH's unemployment has drained everything and while I work we have taken pay cuts the last 2 years.

We have 2 kids so a job has to pay somewhat decent to make it worth it. I try to tell myself that doing things with my kids(both under 5) is important and we do a lot of cheap things like bake a cake, go to the park and splash park and library all free.

I don't know what I am asking, maybe just commiseration that it doesn't last forever. I am paying debt down(student loan and medical for the most part) as I can and am looking into Dave Ramsey..it just seems like how can you pay down debt when you barley can pay day to day expenses.

And before I get flamed, I have not been to WDW since 2005, my honeymoon, so no trips planned. Vacations are driving to the inlaws in another state..

First of all *hugs*. Being without a job is so hard. And I couldn't imagine going through what you guys are going through.

It is tough right now. BUT I think you are making the best of it by at least doing free activities with the kids. When they're little, it's not about how much money you spend on the activity, it's about spending time with mom and dad doing something fun. <3

Just keep your chin up...and know that it will get better. Things always get better. *hugs* :hug:

DawnM
06-23-2011, 08:44 PM
We actually were better off financially when my kids were little because I worked full time. I now stay home.

Dawn

njmom47
06-24-2011, 09:10 AM
momejay: My children are all teens now. It doesn't get any easier. They tend to eat more as they get bigger. A pound of pasta used to feed us a dinner and lunch for 2-3 days. Now, I am lucky if I only have to cook a pound for dinner. The bargin store sneakers or jeans become totally uncool.

Thank goodness I have only one ds who eats like that! But to feed 5 adults, it isn't cheap. Factor in cars and car insurance and repairs...proms and school-related things, especially Senior year!...not to mention sports (cheering, baseball, etc). Yes, my kids have/had jobs and savings accounts but my thoughts are if you need it, I will pay; if you want it, you will pay. My dds have discovered consignment shops (yay!) and bargain hunting.

ETA Dh found a job 1 year ago after being on partial unemployment for over a year (and working pt). I was on unemployment for a year in 1999. I was a single mom with 2 small dds (before we met current dh). Yes, we struggled at many points in our life!

Diegosmom
06-24-2011, 09:25 AM
I have a count down going till DS4 goes to kinder...we have spent $9,000 a year in daycare for the last 4 years...all said and done it will be almost 50,000 I could have my house almost paid for lol...I know I will have other things like summer camps and after school programs and school lunch but I think I can keep it under 9,000 lol...

I feel like we are just starting to see the light...we had a few rough years...DH was out of the country a lot (and not working) and we were just getting by. Now (praise the lord) thinks are getting better and we are paying off debt...God willing we will be paid off in April (including a trip to Disney in Jan)...then we will start paying down on the house...would love to be totally debt free...