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  1. #1
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    Paw Need person to person help with budgeting

    I need help! We are behind on our mortgage payments because of my bad budgeting habits. I would like to sit down with someone and work on a budget so we can get our bills paid on time. I have good intentions and I have tried budgeting sheets, computer programs and many other programs. I live in Pittsburgh PA(North Hills) if anyone out there knows someone who can help me please pass on the information.

    Thanks

    Evie

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  3. #2
    Budget101 Done Digging
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    Wish we could sit down and go over your income and your expences, my husband has done this for several people but it did them no good, because they didn't like the amount of money allotted for entertainment, beer, cigarettes, etc.
    You said you have tried budgeting sheets, computer programs and such and that you have good intentions.
    The problem is that good intentions do not produce results, only cutting out and cutting back will do that. If you will write down every penny you spend for a month and what you spend it on you will see the money you are probably waisting.
    Write down your income
    Write down expenses that have to be paid,cut them if you can,pay them first. then budget the remaining money (including saving some for emergencies)
    house payment, can you refinance at a lower interest rate?
    insurance-medical ins is important but can you take a cheaper policy with a higher deductable?
    car payment? do you have more than 1 car? can you sell one or drive an older model and do away with car payments as well as reduce your taxes and ins.
    utility--reduce your use of water and electricity
    Phone- take the cheapest plan possible, make no long distance calls and get rid of all the extras like call waiting, etc. get rid of the cell phones
    TV- get rid of cable and put up an antena -read more books, play board games, cards, etc. don't spend money on entertainment, look for free things to do
    Stop buying STUFF- most of it you don't need- if kids outgrow clothes etc. go to a yardsale or thrift store or post a request on freecycle.
    Stop buying gifts - make something instead - lots of ideas on this site - or give a promisary note to do something for that person that they can cash in whenever they want. example (child - one week of doing their chores, etc. husband - one free yard mowing, elderly - rides to wherever they need to go or housecleaning, etc.) you get the idea.
    No more eating out uness a very special occasion, that means no junk food (no not even a order of fries at Mc D) take lunches to work.
    Cut your grocery bill by changing your eating habits, pop corn (not the microwave kind either) instead of chips and dip. no more sodas = water or Kool aid instead.
    cook from scratch, crockpot recipes, avoid using your oven for just one item.
    STICKING TO A BUDGET IS JUST A MATTER OF DISCIPLINE
    you can put yourself into a better financial position but it will take willpower, the choice is yours. GOOD LUCK, I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!!
    Last edited by Niddi; 12-22-2008 at 12:39 PM. Reason: adding info-see What I do to save money by faxonfive posted same thread great info

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  5. #3
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    You know how much you have each pay check and you know what you have to pay. Cash the check and after paying the bills put the rest into envelopes. One for food, one for gas, ect. do not use checks, debit or credit cards! Make yourself stay within your budget. when the envelope is empty that's it until next pay day. It takes a lot to work out of the cycle you get yourself in. I didn't go into Wal-mart for over 8 month's. they change there store constantly so you are always looking and pick up things you don't need. Until I finally worked this out in my head I would give one of the kids the envelope and send them into the store for what ever I needed knowing they would only get exactly what I sent them for. It was freedom when I finally realized I could walk through the WalMart and only get what I had needed on my list! Don't give up! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

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  7. #4
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    The hardest part of sticking to a budget is realizing its the nickel/dime stuff that is a killer. Because you don't think it adds up ..

    Take a mini notebook (do not go out and buy one - if you don't have one use a piece of paper or larger notebook) and write everything down for a month, keep on in the car too.

    FOOD is traditionally the first place people cut and change the way they are doing things. Meal plan, it saves me TIME & MONEY. Start cleaning out the freezer, get out the stuff that has been sitting there, its money that is frozen. Use it up, even if its something you weren't crazy about, use it up and don't get again - try a different recipe, maybe this time you will like it. Cook ethnic, it uses less meat. My husband would eat a steak that covers his plate (if he shops and cooks thats exactly what he'll do too), I can make a meal out of ONE of his steaks and have left overs for lunches. Make lunches to bring to work for everyone including dh.

    You may be out and get thirsty and not think anything of grabbing a drink to go, but that's probably close to $2 and if you have kids (and you don't share drinks) then its more. Somewhere in the house are travel mugs, put those near the sink and use them.
    Think of it as putting that $2 on a bill.

    Hows your credit card debt? Which one do you owe the least on? Which has the highest interest? Call the high interest card and ask them to drop it (some will) .. If they won't can you swap to another card with lower interest (check if there is a charge and figure out if its worth the swap).

    I worked on paying off my lowest amount by increasing the payment (even that $2 is more towards the balance), once it was paid off I took that same amount I had been paying and added it to the NEXT lowest cards payment. Thats the reg amount and the payment I had been making (it moves much faster). Keep going - its not overnight.

    Check your various bills, is there a way to lower them? What about car & house insurance, have you checked around for pricing?

    What can you do to lower the house utility bills? I have dropped my heat to 66 (I'm in Maine), I use blanket liners for the curtains to hold in heat (and keep out heat in summer).

    Do you have one of those power strips? put the TV, computer etc on them and shut down the comp & TV when not in use - yes they pull juice even when you turn them off. Keep the printer off unless you are running it. Take that $2 and buy a swirly bulb and start replacing the reg bulbs. If you are older go with the 75 for the reading lights vs the 60.

    My water and sewer cost per gallon over the years has increased like crazy and I'm sure others have the same issue. You do NOT have to wear clothes once and wash. Get in the habit of having good/school clothes and play/junkers. Hang school/good clothes on hook, for later that week etc. Obviously if its shirts that stink its another issue. Teen boys (especially) need to have everything washed LOL. Replace the shower head with a low flow, I picked up one at HD, it was the plastic one w/o the button, it was a tad more than the other one. It works fine, in fact if you have a sun burn the pressure would hurt. I was able to pick up a low flow toilet and it works great. Make sure it has the LARGER exit, not reg size. I wash dishes ONCE a day, to be honest sometimes it every 2 days (*there are only 3 of us home and not much for dishes). Put a rubber spatula in the cup near sink and scrape stuff into the garbage before it dries. Supposedly the dishwasher uses less water, but if you don't have one or you hate them (me) make sure you aren't just running water to rinse one thing at a time.

    Make one pot of coffee or tea and put in a thermos, you'll have hot drink all day (and its easy to grab for trips to town).

    Ria

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  9. #5
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    There are some great resources out there, it just takes time to find them. In my city, there are classes offered by the community college about budgeting that are free. Also, there is a charity group that will work with you one-on-one.

    I found out about both of these by going to the local Human Resources office.

    I highly recommend using coupons. Your food budget is one of the most flexible areas. I went from paying full price at the beginning of the year to averaging 50-75% off of retail costs. It kept us off of food stamps this year, even though we qualified. If fact when I had to go in for assistance, the case worker was shocked at how little I spent on food.

    Books are a great way to familiarize yourself with budgeting terms and ideas. I recommend Suze Orman. I read her Young, Fabulous and Broke book and learned quite a bit from her.

    For frugal living, these forums are great. There is tons of information just waiting to be found. Also freecycle has been a godsend to us. I've stopped buying things "just because" and have turned to freecycle to keep me in books, clothes and craft/decor stuff. This enables me to focus more money into bills.

    Also, one of the great things to do is to talk to people. Most people are generally helpful. You can find out so much just from your neighbors. Let me give you an example of how this worked for me.

    We were homeless and living in a hotel-which is a very expensive way to live. We both had full time jobs that paid well, but because of an error on our credit reports we were unable to rent ANY apartment. None. No matter how much money we were bring home. We were told to find a private landlord. Unfortunally, most people who rent out home rent them through companys-which pull your credit.

    I had a conversation with a gentleman at my work one day about our predicament. He told us about a man he knew that rented and gave us his name and number. He got us the place that we are living in now.

    This landlord has been very accommodating with us. We are currently 1 month behind on rent, but he is not going to evict us. We pay when we can, and he accepts that. We wouldn't be here if I didn't talk to that man. You never know until you say something.

    It is not easy, but it can be done.

    Shannon

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  11. #6
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    You can also contact your local Cooperative Extension Service...I sound like a broken record here, but they offer a lot of resources and one on one service that are completely free to the community.

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  13. #7
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    Dave Ramsey helped me this last year to get my budget set and realize what I was doing wrong. You can listen to him free on line if you want to. No need to buy his books, you can borrow them free of charge at the library!

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