Living on Less Than $28,000 A Year: How our family of six survives (and even thrives) on an income that is less than half the national median income, and what the government calls “below the poverty line” (less than $29,990 annually) for our family size. [Read other posts in this series here.]
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So far in this series we have talked about:
- Finding a money management system that works
- Trusting God with your finances
and we’ve even taken a look at our weekly paycheck break down.
All this planning and information is great, but what if life doesn’t work out the way you expect?
This week was just like that at our house.
On Monday I had a CRAZY day with one problem after another. At the end of the day I just wanted the comfort and convenience of ordering pizza, so I did. (I know, it seems a little hypocritical after reading my post about necessity food vs. entertainment food.)
On Tuesday, after another long and busy day, my husband and I had our weekly date night. Something expensive on the menu caught my eye and I ordered it, rationalizing that we had a coupon so it was okay to spend a “little” more. As a result, instead of spending the planned $10, we spent $20.
On Wednesday, we had another long and busy day (see a pattern here?). Everyone was in a bad mood, my schedule didn’t go as planned (again!) and I still had to go to Walmart for the rest of my groceries at 8:00 p.m. after I picked up my children from youth group. Everyone was hungry, so I bought them $1.29 tacos to tide them over so I could get the shopping done.
While none of these issues are catastrophic in and of themselves, the cumulative effect was that I had to take $40 from our second checking account (savings to pay bills) to cover the over spending. $40 may not seem like much, but it makes a dent in our second account and matters when our budget is so tight. I can come up with an excuse for everyone of these “unplanned” expenditures, but the bottom line is that they are all my fault.
So where do we go from here?
Give Some Grace
I can spend time and emotional energy feeling guilty and beating myself up for my “misbehavior” or I can forgive myself and move on. I’m voting for the second option, because life is just too short.
Having said that, I do want to learn from my mistakes. I remembered that in the past I have had back-up quick food that we can fix in situations like we had on Monday. I also kept snacks in the car for hungry children so that I didn’t stop for fast food. Time to restart the backup plans.
Take the Consequences
It would be easy to just pretend like that $40 doesn’t matter, but the fact is that the money came from categories for bills that have to be paid. That means that any “extra” money that might have been spent for date night next week (and maybe for a couple of weeks), can’t be.
We won’t be charging anything to a credit card when there is no money in the account (because we don’t have credit cards). We will be “sucking it up” and doing without some fun so that we can pay those bills. Harsh reality, but I prefer to suffer a little “pain” now rather than a lot of pain later by going into credit card debt or pretending it doesn’t matter.
So what about you? Have you had any unexpected events at your house lately? How did you handle them? Share in the comments. 🙂
next post: How Do We Start Changing Our Finances?
I notice that you keep mentioning you don’t have a credit card, which makes me wonder, how do you order things online? I’ve found I can save some money by ordering bulk supplies (like tinfoil) on Amazon and a few other sites (who don’t always offer a non-credit card way to pay). What do you do in this situation? Also, have you had trouble building credit without a card?
Kimberlee Stokes says
Hi Cady – great question! We use our debit card to order items online. We have two accounts, one with money for future bills and one for the needs for this week. We use the card for the weekly account that has less money so if there is a problem it is not catastrophic. Also, we are not worried about having a credit score because we are never going to have a credit card or borrow money.
Grace T says
I’m not say that you have to have a credit card, but there are advantages, if its used as debit card, you get cash back and things, its a great way to earn money back. And credit is really important, even if you never borrow money, if your kids apply for student loans your lack of credit information hurts them, also good credit can mean the difference between getting a higher paying job or not,
The Peaceful Mom says
Those are valid points Grace. It depends on your philosophy about money. We don’t want to be in debt and we spend more when we have credit cards. Our kids will not be applying for student loans but will work their way through school and use scholarships. I am not sure that getting a higher paying job depends on your credit score but I am sure that you can explain to a potential employer that you have no score because you have no debt. Having a debt-free employee is definitely an asset to the company and in the military higher security clearances are denied for those that have debt because it is viewed as a risk. You should definitely do what works best for you but for our family we are choosing to skip the credit cards.
I can sympathize so much with you. I had been doing so great. Not ordering food (pizza, subs), making healthy, nutritional meals. Not purchasing things I don’t truly need. Then, 3 months ago, my daughter and AMAZING grandson moved back in. Six months before that, my sister and her adult daughter (who doesn’t work) were being evicted from their home and also moved in…with their 10 year old dog. So now we have 4 dogs, my adult, hard working son, my daughter, my grandson, my sister and my niece living in a 3 bedroom, one bath, 1200 sq foot home. Did I hear you say crowded? Since then I have been running from one crisis to the next (car needing over $800 in repairs) and my well planned out menus don’t seem to suit everyone. Even with my daughter and my sister contributing to food and increased utility costs, it just doesn’t seem enough. And I seem to have forgotten how much time and cost and mess a 2 1/2 year old takes! So I am trying to resurrect the thriftiness of when I was raising 4 children on my own without help and only making $22,000 a year. (more than I currently make now) So your blog has been discovered just in time!
Wow Charlene! Sounds like you have a lot going on. Good for you for trying to get back on track.
*sigh* 16.yr. old sister in law will be moving in with us, she has been here 4 days now, and we are unsure what will be done about “rent”. Her mother says she want’s to pay us, but she is so unreliable with things like that, and very bad with money, like almost 50 and not a dime in savings kind of bad, and nothing to show for all the money she has spent. Her dad will give he money, lot’s of money, but he won’t tell her it is for us, and therefore she will blow it, and he will tell us she was supposed to give it to us, but not care. We have a 6 month old son, I’m on maternity leave, at 60% pay, and he has an hour drive to work and back every day, and gas is NOT going down. We need a new car, some plumbing work done and to fix a leak in the chimney. Well, he is going to attempt the plumbing work with a friend from work, and they are also supposed to take 2 weekends to paint a house for a few hundred dollars each, which is HUGE! And, another friend is going to try to get him a job at the factory he’s at that is WAY closer to home, and at least 4$ more an hour, to start! When I go back to work, I am either going to go for management, or look for something higher paying(I have benefits for the family, so I can’t look until he gets full time somewhere with benefits.) I realized, yeah he loves his job, and it’s hard to ask him to, but if it’s for his family, he will do the right thing, and I also realized, there is options out there to make more money, and spend less! I love your website, and I thank you for your helpful hints!
Hi Erin! Sounds like you have a lot going on. Hang in there! I am glad that I could encourage you a little.
Thank you for this entire series. I just found it and read the whole thing. It gave me great ideas and it encouraged me in the choices that my husband and I have made in raising our kids. I of course repinned this great series here: http://pinterest.com/organicbecki/going-green/
I locked myself out of my apartment on accident (this has NEVER happened to me before) and we had to use $300 for a locksmith to get us back in. I make $30,000/year before taxes, and live in NYC. You can imagine how much this really, really hurt me. I’m actually having a very difficult time coping with such devastation and have no idea how to overcome. I am trying to sell some of my stuff to make up for it, but not much luck so far. I know we’re not supposed to berate ourselves, but I find myself sinking deeper into depression and pulling away from my husband. $300 to get myself back into my apartment? I had to use nearly my ENTIRE paycheck for the week to cover it.
I really just don’t know what to do. I almost want to set up a “Save-Me” donation campaign, because $300 is completely life-crippling. I don’t know how I’m going to make this week’s groceries, let alone next month’s rent. And I’m an expectant mother, which is where I think my “baby brain” came in and I forgot my keys.
Hi Kylie! I am so sorry that this happened. You do have a very tight budget and I know that it must be even more difficult since you are pregnant. My emotions were always crazy when I was expecting, but don’t beat yourself up.
Is it possible to borrow some money from a friend or family member just until you can get things back in order? Another option may be to go to a local church or food bank to get some assistance for food this week. I pray that you will have peace and that God will provide for you!
This was a great post Kimberlee. I think you seeing that $40 as a “big deal” is just fine. I am finding that, even though our income is higher and we have no children our medical debt and consumer debt has us living on less than !/2 our income right now (hopefully only through 2014) So, $40 bucks IS a lot1 I loved several of the comments. I do keep some “fun food” in the freezer for just this type of occasion. And always a snack in my purse (since, like a kid i also have hunger”meltdowns” !!) Well, Time with my husband for the last 9 months have been doing things that cost zero $$’s We fish, I ride with him when he golfs (he golfs for free) we walk and talk. He wanted to take me for ice cream, I said! Yikes! a cone cost over $4 bucks! no way! We compromised, bought a pint of fancy ice cream ON SALE , made a Sunday at home and had ice cream a few times! heheh! Sometimes Being cheap is fun! Thanks for reminding me stuff happens and to be purposeful! PS loved the post on laundry, I am going to give it a try.. drying on a rack that is! good stuff!!
Good for you for enjoying a cheaper alternative to an ice cream date! Cheap can be fun.
My problem… when life goes wrong is usually because of medical bills and medicine that we need to purchase. I live in Peru where life really is not that expensive but to get good medical care we do need to pay a little more, if not we get stuck in the system which is NOT good. My youngest child gets sick a lot and I am now expecting my 3rd child, which means I have to spend on medicine, vitamins and many visits to the doctor. The doctor’s we go to know us well by now and are nice enough to let us pay later if we really can’t do it at the moment but the cost of medicine here is crazy! I try to include our medical expenses in our budget even when everything is going well, but then there are months when we really go over…. by a lot! it is a struggle, and we are trying to work on it.
I have friends who live out of the country as well and the challenges are always interesting to say the least. I pray that your child will stay healthy. 🙂
not happy says
try living on 17,000 a year for a family of 6. That’s what I have to do.
This is encouraging. I recently lost a job as a live in nanny because, quoting the family, even though I did everything so well and ran the home as the wife would, they wanted someone older and spanish speaking. I moved across the country for this and now I am staying with a friend of a friend. I recently got a job as a children’s pastor but its for a start up church so it will not be paid for the first month or two. My question, is when your down to your last couple hundred dollars and need to supplment income what are some solutions? I’m currently looking for another part time live in job and trying t get any extra work possible. I am also looking into websites that allow you to fundraise for a cause, school, invention, missions, donations etc. If you have any suggestions for me please let me hear them!
Wow Nat, you are in a difficult situation. My first thought is to go to a local church and explain your situation to see if they have any temporary emergency help for situations like yours. The pastor of your current job should be the first to know and then maybe he can refer you to another church with a larger ministry. Do you have any family who could help you out temporarily?
The second thought I have is to apply for every possible job you can find including fast food restaurants. You have to get some income coming in and while the children’s pastor job sounds good, you are not in a financial position to wait to be paid for two months. You may have to decline the position or let them know that you have to work around a full time job or two part time jobs.
As a last resort, you could check into government assistance just to get through the next couple of months. Hope this helps.
Well…sort of a long explanation, it turns out the payment was for June and July. When I set up the new policy in May I apparently missed the deadline to get the autopay taken out for June by one day. They had taken a payment out in June, but it was for my old policy with the same company but for a different state that was cancelled (so it looked the same in my bank statement). They had issued me a refund check for that a few weeks ago but I thought it was for MAY (I moved mid-May). So really I am not paying extra for anything or out any more money than I would normally be overall, but I just wish they had notified me when I was setting up the new policies that I had missed the deadline so they would take out both payments in July, so I could have planned better for it! Sometimes I think about getting rid of all my autopays and just going back to the old way of writing checks and mailing them, feels like I have more control that way.
I know Julie–I hate autopay even though it’s more to keep up with on my end, I don’t have money withdrawn that I don’t know about.
I found your blog on Pinterest and I really enjoy reading it. I make more than your family but I’m working on paying off some significant debt, so I’ve found a lot of helpful tips on here like having the 2nd bank account, and couponmom.com (love that site!). I came on it today to try and find something inspirational… I re-read this post because I just got hit with a (small) financial setback. My paycheck this week was short because I took 3 days off to go to a music festival that my boyfriend’s family paid for. I had spent some money before we went on some clothes to wear to the festival (I didn’t own any shorts and we were going to be camping in 90+ heat). But, even with the smaller paycheck I had it worked out so it would be OK, albeit very tight, but I was even able to still do my monthly Costco trip to stock up on my meats for the month this past weekend, and was able to put in my entire budgeted amount for savings (All of my stuff is in storage out of state, and I’m saving up to move it here). Well today, I looked at my bank account and my health insurance payment came out twice. I called them and long story short, I can’t get the money back. I’ve been sitting here beating myself up over spending money on the clothes and food at the festival and Costco, and even signing us up for a Sunday newspaper subscription this past weekend, since now I’m going to have to move money back out of savings to cover the rest of my expenses til my next check…. which then puts me behind on my goal to get my stuff moved here. But re-reading this (and other) posts is helping me to just get over it, and move forward. No sense in dwelling on the past, just figure out how to fix and try to plan for it for the future. Thanks again!
Sorry about that Julie, but it sounds like you have the right attitude, and won’t you’re health insurance be paid for next month, so you will get the money back? I hope so!
I’m so glad that you felt encouraged reading the blog. 🙂
i seriously wish my unexpected things were only $40. my oldest dd has to have hand surgery which we have to pay a HUGE chunk of (i am wondering what we have insurance for at this point) and ds#2 has to have oral surgery and braces soon. i have no idea how to come up with the thousands of dollars we will have to pay. we have credit cards, but we are struggling to pay them off. UGH! i know we can do this, it just sucks eggs.
I’m so sorry Heather. There is a huge difference between $40 and thousands of dollars. I pray that God will provide for you and enable you to meet your children’s needs without going into more debt.
Heather, sometimes you can negotiate the amount you owe to the hospital down to a more reasonable amount. In 2009 I tripped and fell down a flight of stairs which resulted in needing surgery to fix a broken upper arm. My insurance wasn’t very good, only a step or two above “major medical”. I owed the hospital alone $2600 (not counting what I owed the anesthesiologist, my own doctor, the ER, etc). The hospital had a “charity care” program where you could submit a letter of hardship and some financial records if you didn’t think you could pay the whole amount, and they review it and will decide if they want to lower your bill. I got mine lowered to $900, and they let me set my own payment amount, interest free. I set it at $20/mo since I knew I could cover that. I paid more than that most months (I was in commissioned sales at the time so some months were better than others), but it sure lifted a huge burden to not to have to worry about coming up with $2600 out of pocket or pay a large payment every month. My doctor’s office also let me do a similar set-up to pay that off also, interest free. Perhaps the hospital where your daughter is having the surgery offers something similar. This was a catholic hospital versus a corporate one, so maybe that had something to do with it too.
Thank you for this post! This is the big killer around our house. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with this occasional problem.
We finally decided to stash away a few dollars into an account just for this… the frustration fund. Truly, it is nearly as important as the emergency fund. Sometimes we just get down and out, and having that bailout money can keep us from getting in a bind.
We put away $2 a week (wow!) plus a little bonus money here and there, and we had almost $70 in the account before I needed to use it.
I like that idea Paula. 🙂
I want to personally thank you for writing this blog. I found it because a dear friend pinned it on Pinterest. My husband & I have struggled financially off & on for 12 years. We always seem to land on our feet, but get ourselves back into another mess. This time the mess is pretty big. Your blog has help ease my mind with simple solutions. Thank you & I hope God blesses you & your family for all the hope you have given so many!
I am so glad you feel encouraged Amy!
I found your blog on pinterest as well. We bought a home about 3 months ago and I have never really budgeted. I had no idea where all the money goes! But soon I realized with the home purchase, we barely make ends meet now, I want to get out of debt and save money where ever and whenever I can! I’ve been budgeting and couponing and sacrifing! But I find myself in this situation ALL the time. Recently, my husband got a $200 dollar speeding ticket, our second car is in need of repair, tuition is due for hubby’s school…and on and on, these I can handle. But I find myself struggling with getting invited with friends and family to eat out, or see a movie, etc. For instance this Sunday family was in town from another state and wanted to get together at a resturant. I hate saying no, especially to family, but lately our budget just doesn’t allow room for extras such as these. How do you handle unexpected invites that cost money?
That is a difficult one Melissa. If it is someone we haven’t seen in a while and we would really like to visit with them, we might go but eat beforehand and then just order water and an appetizer to split while they are eating. We would have to cut something else out of the budget for that week (for example, eating cheaper meals so we cut the grocery bill that week), but if it was a priority, we would make it happen. Some other options are asking them to meet for coffee instead of a meal or to come to your house. I have also explained to people that we can’t afford to go out to eat, but you will have to guage how you feel about that option.
I am sorry you are in a difficult financial position, but things will get better as you start paying attention and taking more control. You can do it! 🙂
Found you through Pintrest – you are such an encouragement! Please keep writing!!!
Thanks Amanda. 🙂
My daughter (who has a couponing blog) shared your site with me. We both love it. I am going to try to implement your “freedom account” page in my personal finances. I write a little blog about fitness and health, and I just wanted to tell you that I am going to mention you and your link on my next post.
I also blog on She Budgets.com where I mostly write about fitness and healthy foods, but I did write an article about working out on a budget. http://www.shebudgets.com/health/working-out-on-a-tight-budget/
I just thought it might go with the topic.
Thank you so much for your wonderful thoughtful words and ideas.
Your site will be on my reading list for good.
Welcome Jonni! I’ll check out your site. 🙂
I’m thankful for finding your blog on Pinterest. There are so many of us out there that are trying to make those ends meet and every once in a while you are going to slip. It just happens. Just dust yourself off and move on to the next day. Have a Freedom Account. We did that years ago and that has helped us a great deal. 2 years ago today, I was diagnosed with an illness that will eventually put me in a wheelchair. The doctor’s bills are staggering. I have 5 specialists. We were doing pretty good financially up until this point. We have a system where we pay ourselves first and I have an “envelope” where I put money for doctor appointments and my medicine. It helps a lot. So far this year, we have hit some financial snags too. About $6500 worth. Back to square one~oh well. Keep posting. It helps knowing that there are others out there that are struggling too. As for me, everyone now and then, I’m going to buy that pizza and bring it home 🙂
I am so sorry to hear about your illness Beth, but I am glad that you are able to put money aside for some of your medical bills. Thanks so much for your encouragement!
I always keep granola bars in my purse so that if anyone gets hungry between meals while were out we don’t have to spend money on convenience foods.
Good idea Rebecca–thanks!
Jessica @ The Abundant Wife says
In January my sister announced she was getting married…in June! So we spent over $1200 getting our family of 4 across the country for the wedding. I was a bridesmaid, my daughter was a flower girl, and my husband was a groomsman in his best friend’s wedding the same weekend. We had to do some substitute teaching and use some savings, but we really value those relationships. That time and those shared memories cannot be bought back. 🙂
I also thank you for your honesty and transparency in this article. I have frequent bad days and give up easily. Eating better (gluten free for me) has decreased the number of them and so giving up and making the choice to “order in” is no longer an option, but unfortunately going out still can be.
I am trying to phase-in gluten free for my daughter, so I find myself stuck as I refuse to buy the wheat-cookies, etc. at the store for back-up snacks to have on hand. Then I am stuck with a hungry, acting-out 4-year-old while I am out and I break down and buy the very thing I don’t want in my pantry for her (in a single serving size no less). I need to find an in-between solution for easy-to-carry snacks that don’t sap my energy to make, don’t break the bank or make me cringe at the nutrition label.
What about trail mix, dried fruit (like banana chips) or other fruit snacks? Most of the regular brands of fruit snacks are gluten free. The Welch’s brand was just on sale at our local Publix. Keep an eye out for sales in your area and stock up when the prices are low.
Gluten-free is difficult. My little sis is allergic to wheat, so similar issue. One of her favorite quick snacks as a kid was flavored rice cakes. They were good-tasting enough that the rest of us kids would try to steal them. 🙂 Also, the cocoa or cinnamon flavored almonds are pretty awesome. They go on a buy-one-get-one sale every few weeks at Publix. Hope this helps, good luck!
Have you tried making your own granola bars? I found a great recipe and made them, and the recipe made about 12 bars which is about 2 boxes that I’d buy at the store. It was really easy, the recipe is:
1.5 cups quick cooking oats
1.5 cups Bisquick-type baking mix
1.5 cupx brown sugar (packed) – I used only 1 cup and it was great
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup dried fruit, baking chips, nuts, whatever you like (I used white chocolate chips and marshmallows for my husbands’ batch, and dried cherries, chopped walnuts and chocolate chips for my and my son’s batch).
Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 for 15-17 mins. If you add more than 1/3 cup mix-ins (as I did in the second batch, I used 1/3 cup cherries, 1/3 cup walnuts and 1/3 cup chocolate chips), then you’ll need to add about 1/2 cup of water to the mix , or one more egg. I used water so they would be fluffier but you could use egg if you want firmer bars.
Hope this helps! I made the two batches, and froze most of them in baggies and now have about 30 frozen bars and I left 10 in the fridge so we can eat them this week. It only takes a few mins to make it and it’s well worth it, that many granola bars at the grocery store costs about $20 and I think I made them for under $5.
Thanks so much Kaylen. We’ll have to try it.
Thanks for this series. It has been very inspiring now that I am no longer working (just the last 1 1/2 months) and we (5 including 2 teens) are living on my husband’s small income. I have had a similar week this week. My hubby has been gone for the last week and half and won’t be back for another week. In addition to doing all the regular stuff on my own, I have been working on a big project around the house to surprise him (I know I do it to myself!). I have been so tired and realizing that I need some simple things to have on hand and snacks for the in between times. Thanks for all the inspiration!
Mary Smith says
Thanks for posting this- it was really encouraging because it shows that real life and mistakes DO happen, and what to do about them! I just started following your blog and have gleaned some great tips from you! But we are still having “chaotic days” that lead to random fast food stops, etc. and so it’s great to see that I’m not alone and have some good tips to rectify them!
What do you all do when life throws you BIG expenses…we have had unplanned medical costs of $1,000, car repairs of $600, and then we had to replace a vehicle $11,000 (bought from a family member).
Those all really added up!
Hi Jacqueline! The best way to handle those big unexpected expenses is to do everything you can to save a little money in an emergency account or use the Freedom Account (explained here: https://thepeacefulmom.com/2012/02/21/living-on-less-than-28000-a-year-managing-the-money/). I will be posting later today about how to get started if you have no savings.
Debbie Fisher says
Jacqueline, I don’t know if you will see this or not, and maybe this only works in small towns like where we live, but we had medical expenses galore and I just called the hospital and all the other medical places that we owed and told them the truth. That there was no way I could pay them in full, but would they let me pay them a little each month until it was paid in full.
I had already figured what I could pay total each month and divided it among the 5 medical companies and then as the least amount was paid off, divided that amount by 4 and added to the 4 left and so on. None of them charged us interest as long as I promised not to miss paying them each month. The largest bill (the hospital) took 2 years to pay. It was such a wonderful feeling.
The money was cut from our food and misc and it was VERY hard and we ate alot of rice and beans, but we did it.
Just so you know, we are a family of 4 and live on about 20,000 a year. We farm and it is still tough, but it CAN be done.
We’ve had to do the same thing. Our hospital and other medical collection agencies have been excellent about helping us with payment plans, first for my husband’s appendicitis and then for my son’s birth. It’s much less stressful, simple to budget, and a sense of accomplishment to see the number decrease month by month. And not dealing with interest takes the pressure off so we can use extra monthly money to either pay a little more or use it for something else we need.
Yup, me too recently as in last week. We all came down with the flu/ colds/ strep throat and except for the night my mom was able to come to the rescue and cook we ate out. That actually lasted until last night. Horrible, thank Jesus for his provision of some overtime on my hubby’s paycheck this week it didn’t end up putting us behind. Thankfully, we are all feeling much better. I say LIFE GOES ON! Thank GOD for GRACE!
Glad you are feeling better. 🙂
I can relate to you and your situations so much and I’m so glad that I subscribed to your blog!! Our income was slashed in half last year due to an injury at work for me and a “lay-off” for my husband. So living on 28,000 a year is now our reality! This week we thought we’d be ahead just a tad and that excited me since it was my son’s spring break. But just when you think you have the extra money here it came, we had to pay back my brother-in-law cause now they needed help with a bill so of course you can’t say no to that!! So cutting back, yes. Spring Break has been spent doing the free things in our town and you know what my son has had just as good a time as if I’d spent money for a vacation! I did over spend at the movies yesterday so that means no buying extra goodies when I go grocery shopping this week. Life is about making adjustments and that’s just a fact of our life now.
Dianna @ practicing frugal says
This happened to us a few times in the last few weeks. You are right, you have to go on, forgive yourself and learn from it. I’m learning by having some “quick” meal options in the house or something to just pop in the oven.
My goodness did I need to hear this today! I am normally very responsible with money. Pay bills on time, save, plan, prepare etc. Well a bill must have slipped by me and ended up in collections. This was a medical bill not a usual bill and it wasnt even for a large amount! There was no reason for this to happen other than pure negligence on my part. I called immediately and paid it without any repercussions on my credit, however I did get to pay a nice $15 convenience charge to guarantee it didn’t hit my credit. $15 flushed down the toilet. I have been beating myself up about this since yesterday. And your post helped me to see that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Thanks!
At least yours was only $15 and it’s taken care of now. Grace. 🙂
Alice @ EarningMyTwoCents says
I support my husband while he lives out of state and finishes his undergraduate degree. We recently had to pay $250 for his housing deposit for next semester. Unfortunately, he had the money in cash (as that’s what the school preferred) and then his wallet fell out of his bag. He found his wallet but the money was gone. So we only had a few days to scramble to come up with the money. Well, thank god we had just got a reimbursement from our flexible health saving account, I had just gotten paid from some mystery shops I had completed last month, and I had over budgeted our last cable bill (I moved in with my folks to save money while he’s at school). We managed to scrape together those bits here and there to make up the $250 again. I really didn’t think it was possible but those little amounts really add up!
Who do you do mystery shops for? I am interested in that to earn a little extra money until i find a fulltime job (we just moved to a new state) but havent found a good company.
This has been my past two weeks since my husband lost his job. We’ve been trying hard to find replacements work.. nothing seems to be going right, but we keep trying
I’ve recently realized how much I’d been letting myself spend an extra $10 here and there for convenience – mostly because I’m expecting and running after a toddler and use exhaustion as my excuse. What’s helped for me was adjusting my weekly meal plan so it matches up more realistically to my current energy level. Also, cutting down my store runs to specific days of the week so I’m not running into a store at the last minute and paying too much for things.
The backup plans you mentioned are wonderful ideas that I need to put into use at our house and I LOVE the breakdown: grace, learn, consequences!!
Jennifer Rooney says
Oh my gosh are you sure I didn’t write this! Our homeschool bowling is in an hour and I don’t have anything in the house for lunch and was going to buy them bowling alley lunch…not very cheap!! We bowl every Thursday and every other week looks like this because we get paid every other Friday. I need to be better prepared!!! I am going to get snacks to keep in the car as well…good idea.
PS Before sending this reply I managed to find 2 bags of frozen cavatelli for lunch and take out something for dinner!! Your post saved me a lot of lazy money spent!!!
Good job for finding some food Jennifer! 🙂
K- Thank you so much for being so transparent and writing this series, we are a new family of 5, i say new, we have been married for almost 4 years, I have two (full-time) step-daughters (13,8) and I just had a baby in November so I have been struggling to keep budget in check when it comes to groceries, I have been reading and studying your blog and am hoping to impletment some things into my planning (notebook shopping this weekend, and writing down all prices of what I buy, so simple yet will be very helpful!) our salary is more then what you are living on, but we don’t seem to be very good budgeters and now with having to pay an extra $400 a month for daycare for the baby things are tighter then ever. I usually only have about $300/month to alot to groceries and houshold items, (including formula) so I am needing to come up with cheaper, yet filling meals and your blog has been so helpful, already made one of your recipes (Grilled turkey sandwhich, was a hit :)) In saying all this, I appriciate this post as it make you sound human, lol. I know you are not superwoman (although aren’t we all!) and that you splurge on eating out and pizza sometimes too.. we do it too often which is another one of our budget pitfalls, If I don’t feel like cooking (or we don’t have time!) my husband is too nice to tell me no even if we may not be able to aford it, which I know. So, realizing its my job as the mom of house to make sure I cook and have a balanced, hopefully healthy meal on the table each night. Thank you for helping me with this! look forward to continue reading this series.
I can completely relate to you! Some nights are just hard and it is easy to just order out! At the time it seems like the best solution or idea, but in the long run you pay for it some where!
By the way this is an awesome series!! I love it!
Janet, you are in a difficult time in life, but good for you for taking control and making things work. Keep up the good work! 🙂
I try to set aside one day a month to do nothing but cook cheap, easy meals that can be frozen: chili, spaghetti sauce, 15 bean soup, stir fry, chicken pot pie, etc…when I don’t feel like cooking and am tempted to eat out, I can go into the freezer and heat something up. My 3 boys were always happy to have chili dogs or use spaghetti sauce to make their own pizzas, and because everything has meat and veggies, I knew they weren’t eating crap. Now that they’re grown and out of the house, I do the same thing, just freeze in individual containers so I have a variety of ready-made meals to choose from if it’s been one of THOSE days and I don’t feel like cooking or if I need to grab something for lunch so that I don’t spend more money eating out!
Great idea, thanks Renae!
Sometimes when I know it’s a day is gonna explode – cause sometimes you just know, I plan in a panic dinner. Like when we travel – I budget into our travel cost pizza the night before cause packing stresses me out for some reason and then there is less mess to deal with as we are ready to go.
Those other times when we hit a lovely bump in the road and we need to make up for it later I remember that roller coasters are only fun because of the bumps, enjoy my pizza or taco and hold on for the next “climbing up again” part of the ride. Good luck.
We have all been there! I try to keep a frozen pizza or two on hand for those nights when I really want to cave in and order pizza. The trick is to keep it buried in the freezer so it doesn’t get eaten whenever the kids get hungry.
My unexpected expense is coming this weekend. We have an out of town gymnastics meet Saturday night. The meet starts at 8, awards at 11 or so, probably leaving the gym at midnight on St Patricks day for a 2+ hour drive home. I had it all set up to carpool with another family and just suffer and make the drive. Well the other family backed out. I don’t feel safe making that drive alone so I am sharing a hotel room with another friend. This will add $60 to my budget that I wasn’t counting on. BUT better to be safe than sorry.
Jennifer, I think you are wise to realize your limitations and you will probably make that $60 back somewhere soon. Have fun at the meet. 🙂
Wow, have you been peeking in my windows? This happens a little too often at our house. I’ve been seriously ill with a severe mineral deficiency and most days I just don’t feel like cooking. This post was an eye-opener and I need to do a better job of tracking our spending. Gotta get that Freedom Account Started TODAY!
Yes, I can relate…but try not to be so hard on yourself! Some weeks go smoothly, and others are like this (more are like this for me than I would care to admit). I just tell myself that I’ll try to do better tomorrow. I don’t always do better, but some nights ordering that pizza is easier than trying to pull a meal together when there’s too much stress.
Thanks Shannon. I just have to make sure we don’t have too many of these or we’ll be in big trouble-haha! 🙂