26 answers

Are You Making Adjustments?

I am looking for ways to save money once again. I have scaled back my impulse purchases a lot. But it seems that no matter how many adjustments I make, more and more of my daycare parents keep getting laid off. It's been hard on us all. They have had to take part-time jobs, work odd hours, bargain me down to less days so that grandparents can work and what I've been left with is a strange hodge podge of families and hours that makes me look like I should be busy and making money but it's worse now than it's been in years and years. To top off the fact that I am still open 24/7 and barely making ends meet, the cost of all my expenses are souring through the roof! I can't believe the cost of utilities these days.

I have not yet been willing to pull the plug on cable and internet. Internet is my biggest source of advertising and my ONLY way to reach out to the outside world and have sane conversations with other adults. My daycare moms are coming and going fast and way too stressed these days to provide that sort of friendship and support.

How is everyone else surviving these ridiculous times? Have you given up any hobbies you love? I keep asking myself if it's time to get rid of all my fish tanks and seahorses. But these seahorses are so cool and so dear to me and the daycare kids. Our gardening efforts have been nice and given us a lot of time in the sun and our grow room experiment has been ok... But mostly it's been expensive and after 2 years of trying to save money through gardening I think it's about to come to an end. At least indoors that is.

I need tips!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone :) These are some great ideas. I have another month I think before I'll be locked into another 15 month cable agreement. I know I could possibly find it cheaper. But we have the bundle and every time I compare there is always something I don't like about the other plans. We can't do without the land line because it would be against all regulations to have a daycare and not be directly tapped into the 911 system. We have 4 cell phones in the family and there's no way I'd get rid of them. I know we survived when we were kids without cell phones. BUT, in this day and age the way the world has gone terrorist, the cell phone might bring our families very last words to us in a terrible situation. THAT'S DARK I know. But I will do anything I have to in order to keep my family just a call away. The cable is another thing I won't get rid of, but not for me and not even for the kids. It's my mom. She's lived with me for 8 years and I can't afford to pay her for all she does in the daycare. The only thing she gets for all she does is the biggest bedroom and the cable/movies she loves so much. My husband try and give her money when we can. But then she spends that and more of her own on us. She only makes 800 per month and has to spend some of that on her medicare supplement insurance, copayments, doctor bills from the past, and she gives to the Christian's Children's Fund. She loves to read, but her eyes can't handle reading for long and she has dark spots on her eyes. She will see double in just about 20 minutes and then has to rest her eyes. So no, the cable stays no matter what. I'd get a night-time job and leave her with the couple of night kids I have before I'd get rid of that.

MEALS...that's something I can save on. Sadly, I love to cook and I can save. BUT... I have finally lost weight because I've cooked for the kids and family and then ate only pre-packaged, pre-portioned meals for myself. It's expensive but I've lost 31 pounds I wouldn't have lost otherwise. I still have 60 to go. However.. I am thinking about looking for slotted freezer dishes and making an investment in myself. I think that if I try I could make my own pre-packaged foods like they talk about in the once per month cooking books. I've not tried it. BUT... how hard can it be?

I totally agree about those stupid bulbs. If you read all the different packages.. Most require us to pay for shipping and many want us to save the packaging.

S.

Featured Answers

Hi S.,

Have you thought about multiple income streams from home? You said you love to be on the computer doing what sounds like social networking, you should get paid to do it! Their are a hand full of legimate ways to bring extra money in. I'd love to share what I've done for the past eight years as a work at home mom to help out finances. E-mail me if you want to chat. ____@____.com

S., I understand the need to cut back, we recently took a $700 a month cut in finances so I have had to be really creative with finances.
I make a meal plan each week and only buy what we need. I am seriously limiting impulse buys as well.
Looking forward to reading the responses as well = )
B.

S., several years ago a friend introduced me to Melaleuca. www.melaleuca.com is a website that I order all my "Walmart" shopping list items. I save hundreds a month. Their products are superior in quality and much cheaper. I buy all my home cleaning products, which by the way are all completely safe around children (great for daycare situation). I also buy all my laundry detergent, dish detergent, hand soap, etc. and my vitamins, and over the counter meds (tylenol, allergy meds, etc.). Anyway, all my supplies are delivered to my door, therefore, no impulse shopping! I have saved a ton of money! Anyway, I compare it to like Sam's club, you buy a "membership card" for I think $25.00 and then you shop at the discount price. Order once a month everything you need, that simple. Their website can be a bit confusing at first, but I would be happy to help you with it. Also, they do pay "referral" bonuses, so you could even get some money back by referring others. Email me if you would like all the details, I can share with you.

More Answers

S....if misery loves company then there are a LOT of people in the same boat that you and your family are in!!! Even if this horrible situation that we find our country in manages to turn itself around in the next year or so, it is going to be good for ALL of us to learn to cut corners, stretch our dollar and make do with less "fluff" in our lives.
A big place that a lot of us can save money is in the kitchen. It is much cheaper to make our food from scratch, instead of using all of the pre-packaged things that are so inviting and time saving at the grocery store. I only buy the ready made things when I have coupons and they are on sale, to make them more affordable. Make friends at the Farmers Market during the summer, fresh fruits and vegetables are SO much healthier than canned or frozen and when they are in-season you can normally get the locally grown things cheaper.
Plan your meals around the specials in the ads each week and don't forget to clip coupons!! We have a "coupon co-op" at work, all of us bring in the coupons that we dont need and all of us go through them to get what we can make use of. Offer to be the "organizer" for a coupon bin at church or the YWCA, or some other place that you frequent that has a lot of women that come through. You would be surprised at how much you can save when you start using coupons.
Are there rooms in your house that are basically un-used? Close the heat/ac vents and dont pay to heat and cool rooms that aren't being used. Common sense things like turning out the lights when you leave a room, opening and closing drapes/blinds to either make use of the sun to warm your house or keep the sun out to help keep your house cooler in the summer.
Get involved with an online Mothers Co-op in your area, they can help you find fun and FREE things to do with your children that can enrich your life and save money at the same time. Trips to the library where you can check out books and movies to entertain your little ones at no cost to you, information on parks and other free attractions in your area.
Make a game of saving money with your children, start teaching them now how to be thrifty and cost conscious, it will serve them well when they are grown and out on their own!!!
Let us know how things are going.
R. Ann

2 moms found this helpful

I have known lots of people who have saved a TON of money through the Grocery game. I think the website is www.grocerygame.com. Basically it is just watching the adds and clipping coupons but it really is amazing how much money they are saving. I haven't personally done it but that is mostly because my brain just can wrap around it. Check it out.

1 mom found this helpful

S., like you we are feeling it too. consider that (i heard somewhere) that the average american needs to get a raise of .50 per hour annually to keep up with the cost of living increases. mine has never topped .30! i was so depressed when i started thinking about that for too long. anyway, we got rid of the cable over christmas, and it has helped a bit. we kept our internet and phone (if you have a cell phone, the land line might have to go if it was me). having no cable sucks! but we have dvd's and my son is 2 so he loves the same five movies over and over again anyway...*sigh* it stinks but what are ya going to do. we're all in the same boat sister! (if that's any comfort! lol)

1 mom found this helpful

Good Morning S., I think we are all feeling the pinch, some a lot more then others. I swear the other day wal-mart stock went UP by 2.00 and I told Hubby IT wasn't me I didn't go to Wally World today!! :)
We've changed our light bulbs out in almost every place, once the old ones burn out the new energy savers goes in.

I haven't stopped a hobby but have scaled back some. Or maybe I have picked up a craft I had left behind a few years ago to finish, instead of trying something new.
My passion is reading lately and I used to buy 4-5 bks every time I walked into Wally world. Now I limit my trips and only get 1 or 2 bks.

We planted things in our garden we seldom bought at the produce department. This year we are going to do more smart planting. We've gone to Sam's every 2-3 months to stock up on the bulk items.

S. I really don't know how you do it, having people in and out 24/7 . I don't sleep much either but I need at least 4 hours and it doesn't sound like you would have even that.

I wouldn't give up your pets though, they bring so much joy and entertainment to everyone.

I guess the main thing is just use common sense AND that is one thing everyone does. We went to less expensive Cable switched to Dish Network. I still have cox Internet though.

I pray all of us can HOLD on tight to what we have left. Doing the best we can in a definitely serious situation.
Look for Coupons online. Sure helps the food bills. But if it's on sale and you don't really need it leave it until next time. So much of my personally spending is WANT it not needing it. Wrong Wrong Wrong...lol

God Bless you Suz
K. Nana of 5

1 mom found this helpful

S., I am also a day care provider. I haven't really cut back, but I am looking for cheaper lunches to serve to my kiddos. The Day Care Connection is usually a good resource for that. One of my favorites, and the kids favorite too, is scrambled eggs for lunch. Eggs are cheap and they eat them like crazy. I haven't lost anyone to lay offs, but I have lost a couple to move on to pre-school. I was not able to find a full-time client to fill that spot, so I'm now taking a couple part-time kiddos. Hang in there and watch the grocery adds!

M.

1 mom found this helpful

S., several years ago a friend introduced me to Melaleuca. www.melaleuca.com is a website that I order all my "Walmart" shopping list items. I save hundreds a month. Their products are superior in quality and much cheaper. I buy all my home cleaning products, which by the way are all completely safe around children (great for daycare situation). I also buy all my laundry detergent, dish detergent, hand soap, etc. and my vitamins, and over the counter meds (tylenol, allergy meds, etc.). Anyway, all my supplies are delivered to my door, therefore, no impulse shopping! I have saved a ton of money! Anyway, I compare it to like Sam's club, you buy a "membership card" for I think $25.00 and then you shop at the discount price. Order once a month everything you need, that simple. Their website can be a bit confusing at first, but I would be happy to help you with it. Also, they do pay "referral" bonuses, so you could even get some money back by referring others. Email me if you would like all the details, I can share with you.

I have been looking at Hulu as an alternate to cable/dish. Haven't tried it yet, but still shopping around. I do use Netflix...which has saved us a ton of $$. I have switched over to a resale bookstore, & rarely buy new books. I plan my weekly menu, allowing for usable leftovers & shop the ads. All of these are daily basics....a new way of life. I have been reading Dave Ramsey & other financial websites to help focus my $$.

On another thought, if you switched to just daytime daycare - wouldn't this make your ends meet closer & allow you the time to work a 2nd job? Or what about shutting down the daycare & working completely outside of the home? Are these options for you? & as for the cell phone vs. landline: in emergencies, cell phones are NOT reliable. Nothing beats a landline with a corded phone....our neighborhood has suffered 2 tornadoes in the last 5 years. All cell phones were OUT, as were cordless phones. We were the only house with a phone working! & think about the recent Presidential Inauguration...very few cell phones got through!

All of these thoughts are based on my own situation: I also provide childcare & have noticed that if I expand my hours, then not only does my profit level drop/expenses increase - but I also find that I feel a personal loss...of time, family, & personal space...all of which lead to an inability to focus/sleep. Good Luck & we'll all be thinking of you!

Hey S.! I have also been making adjustments for several years. My husband is in law enforcement and they have had their pay frozen since, well, I can't remember. Pretty much since 9/11. Anyway, last October I also took a 10% pay reduction. We were already bare bones (no land line, basic cable, etc.) so there wasn't really any more fat to trim. My friend introduced me to an online store that manufactures safer healthier products that are highly concentrated, so you purchase them less often which saves you money. The products are amazing, I absolutely love them. And I get a great sense of comfort knowing they are safe for me and my family, including our puppy! The company also pays me for anyone I refer so not only am I saving money on the products, I'm saving time and actually earning an income too! I haven't been doing it long, but I've already started making more than enough to cover what I spend each month! WalMart never paid me to shop there! LOL! The membership fee is only $29 (less than Sams or Costco) and it's refundable for 4 months. Also, the products are fundable for 60 days from the date you purchase them, even if the container is empty! Again, WalMart never gave me a refund if it was opened and used!

Also, they have studies that show that ADHD has been linked to reactions to toxins in household chemicals. If you are home all day, the indoor pollution in your home could be causing some of your focusing issues. Indoor pollution is one of the leading causes of cancer in stay at home moms!

I'd love to get all this information and more to you! Give me a call or email and I can help you out with your finances and your health! Thanks!

D. S.
###-###-####
____@____.com

I am a daycare provider too and lost 2 families due to moms gettng fired. BUT I got replacements the same week so ended up getting a little more money. We cut back on everything too as my husband is self employed and we have 2 daughters with special needs.

One place we can't cut is our landline as my 2 year old has a pacemaker and I have to have a landline for her pacer check each month. I do take that as a medical expense so it does help with taxes in the long run.

I will take a chance here and suggest that you also consider another excellent way to make an incredible income without changing what you are currently doing. Our buisness is exploding and anyone with a good work ethic can do it if they are willing to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. ONLY call me when you are serious, and i will bend over backwards to help you. So first check out the websites and do some homework when you aren't sleeping well... soon you will be healthier and happier and so much better off financially: www.nsevideos.com and www.NobleFortunes.com. I have been building this business 11 years and have never seen anything smarter... I have an MBA, but some of my mentors who make more $ than i do have far less education. BUT they are good people who care about others and have been willing to work hard. Go for it... why not you? E-mail me with any questions, and we'll see if this is the right time for you to benefit from this. :) V

I want to respond to the light bulb comment below and a tip I heard... I agree...If it comes to a point where we do not have a choice... Do the following: If the bulb is advertised to last so long, then it should. The way to keep the manufacturer's on their toes to provide us with a product that lasts like they say it is to, is to document the purchase date and 800 number for the company. They put the number on the package which we throw away, so they bank on us not using their guarantee. So what I did was got a permanent marker and on the white porcelian part of the bulb I wrote both of these things. Now I have the 800 number to call right at hand when the bulb goes out before the guarantee is up. Call the number, tell them you want a replacement and they should send it to you at no further charge. I think if we all stand up and keep doing this, they will realize what they have is no greater of a savings than what we already have.

I have found myself in the same situation. I babysit as well. I am also the janitor of the church where I attend services. We only have internet, no cable. We do not go out to eat or take the kids anywhere but to the park since things are so tight. None of this is helping as our insurance premiums and our house payments have gone up. Some days I think maybe I should just throw in the towel and find a job where I make more (I only charge $11 per day per child I babysit) however, when I add up what I'd be paying for my daughter to go to daycare or preschool it isn't really worth it. I don't really have any suggestions for you, but thought it might help to know of others in the same situation. I know it helps me get through better to know that I'm truely not the only one :o)

Yes I have been making an adjustment. I have a home base business that helps people turn their household expense into a residual income. 100% satisfaction. I would love to share with you even with your daycare to increase your income.

D.

www.livefamilydreams.com

Hey there, since you love to read, have you read Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey? It has a wonderful plan for getting on track and is very motivational too. Good luck,

Cut your cable! Keep the internet, but cut the cable. You can watch almost any show on the internet anyway.
We go to the library for almost all of our movies and books, which saves us a bundle.
One of my hobbies is knitting. I've discovered that I can post a "wanted" on craigslist for yarn and people practically throw it at me for free just to clear out their own houses.
We participate in seed-sharing and other informal programs to generate the materials we need for gardening-- our gardens cost about $15 a year and generate enough produce that we have to buy very little during the rest of the year. (Our yard is small so mostly we do the community gardens.)
We buy only underwear and socks new. Everything else we get at thrift stores or get through craigslist-- toys, clothes, kitchen items, and all. We try to limit trips to "box stores" like Target, Wal-Mart, and the like, just because the way those stores are structured is supposed to make you buy more things than you came in for. Shop local, shop small-- it will help you get what you went in for.
Good luck!
A.

Everyone has had to cut back. I am so sorry for your dilema. I would like to have your job though. It is my dream job. Enough about me. I think that if you talk to your parents, they might be able to help. One way is the gardening. If you have all the tools; you might ask that each family bring one packet of seeds. That way everyone will get a variety and you could name each row after the person who brought the seeds. ex: Jamie's peas. This way also you can grow some of the food that you give to the kids for meals and they might just eat the things they don't like.

I haven't had cable in years - that's a huge savings and immediate.

Looking at another response I wanted to add a comment.
I do the custodial work at my church. A member went and spent some money on those new bulbs. What a rip off. That is a conspiracy and just like this new tv garbage - SOMEONE is getting rich off of sticking it to us. The bulbs don't last as long and they cost 500% at least more. I have replaced all of those bulbs in the church already because they burnt out. How often do you think a church would have the lights on? I am stocking up on the old bulbs. Im hoping that my children and I will never have to buy the new bulbs. I think we should contact our Congress and Senators and complain about both of these issues.

And then theres the extra trouble trying to get rid of the new bulbs. You can't just throw them in your can. Your suppose to leave the room immediately if you break one because of the danger of the mercury in them. It is ridiculous. Green has gone to far.

God Bless,
L.

Hi S.,

This is B. and I may have a way for saving Money, Making some extra Money and just helping out in general. If you're interested e-mail me at ____@____.com and I'll send you the information. You can do this Morning, Noon or Night. Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme.

I'm a 67 yr old Retiree in Missouri.

Hi S.,

Have you thought about multiple income streams from home? You said you love to be on the computer doing what sounds like social networking, you should get paid to do it! Their are a hand full of legimate ways to bring extra money in. I'd love to share what I've done for the past eight years as a work at home mom to help out finances. E-mail me if you want to chat. ____@____.com

S., we've been cutting back as well... DH returned from Kosovo in July and had pay through September...we truly thought he would have new orders come October...well here it is March and still no orders and because of a computer screw up listing that he was still active duty through July of 2009 we haven't gotten unemployment either.

First of all, if you have satellite you don't have to reup your contract...yes, you can and may get some more channels, but chances are you will be paying more...you can keep going on your existing contract. You can also call them and tell them you want to temporarily suspend your contract...I believe they told me you could do this for up to 6 months. We did give up our satellite b/c we just couldn't pay the bills but we have enough stuff on DVD we've survived. We also rent (for free) DVDs through our local library (5 at a time for up to a week) and have rented from Redbox found at McDonald's and some Walmarts...it's only $1/day. If you're keeping the TV b/c of the kids tell the parents to send them with their favorite movies and tag them with their names...let them watch them and send them home... (BTW...most cartoons are also on the net).

We cut as many coupons as we can find. I also belong to Mypoints.com where just for visiting sites you can get points (both helpful and something to do when you have insomnia). Those points turn into free gift cards for over 70 vendors. I've gotten $100 gas cards, Walmart, Target, TJMaxx and restaurant cards from them. You can also purchase items from vendors through them and get XX points per dollar spent. It may take a few more clicks but it is well worth it. BTW- they also have a coupon program and you get points for each coupon you print and additional points for using them at the store!

We have had to eliminate our LAN line. The woman that mentioned this is a safety hazhard may be onto something..hadn't really given it much thought...but we couldn't afford LAN and cell and make the bills. As it was, cutting off the LAN line also helped eliminate all the pesky calls demanding money...we know they still want our money...we just also couldn't handle the stress of hearing from them multiple times a day. Eliminating a LAN line DOES NOT mean that you have to give up your DSL. We too are linked to the NET...sometimes the only way the military communicates is via e-mail so DSL was a MUST for us on the keepers. We called ATT and found out we could keep DSL for $20/mo. You might also be interested in knowing that you can go to the network websites and watch your favorite dramas/sitcoms for free on downloads or streaming. When we have time we've watched The Unit (current) and old episodes of Burn Notice. My husband also watches NCIS on a weekly basis...best part...no commercials!

You can also cut back on your car insurance by lowering your coverage to a minimum. That will save some $$ per month...check with your agent.

As for the utilities, have you called them and asked about budget billing? As long as you make the payments on time, they will average out your payments to the same amount per month. This is a godsend for us come winter when the gas prices soar...It's the difference between us spending $175 a month or finding out come Dec-Feb we're paying over $300/mo... it's just easier to budget when you know it's the same amount each month.

Finally, if you have stuff laying around your house that you aren't using, get your digital camera out and start taking pictures of them and list them on ebay. Costs you nothing to list it if it doesn't sell...and if it does, then the fees can come out of your Paypal account at the end of the month. You can also get a free debit card from Paypal or have them transfer the money to your local bank (although there is a delay in the process...i.e. it's not immediate). Just some thoughts...I'll certainly be watching your listing to see what other things people are suggesting.

S., I understand the need to cut back, we recently took a $700 a month cut in finances so I have had to be really creative with finances.
I make a meal plan each week and only buy what we need. I am seriously limiting impulse buys as well.
Looking forward to reading the responses as well = )
B.

I have cut my budget drastically in the past few weeks...and I can't wait to share the savings with everyone! I am in the process of becoming certified to teach the techniques I am using to save HALF on my budget each month! This has been featured on the news both locally and nationally. I am excited about saving money in this difficult economic time (anytime, really) and helping others cut their budget. (I went to Walgreen's Saturday and walked out with over $140 worth of necessities for UNDER $1! That's 99% savings!) Anyone can email me and I would LOVE to help them and their family and friends enjoy the savings of $400/month or more (average savings for a family of 4 with 2 pets).

Note: This is NOT a sales pitch to get you to join a members-only online store or try to get you to buy from anywhere in particular in order for me to 'enjoy residual income' from the items you buy now or in the future. What I offer is information and a life skill consolidated from months of research and backed up with plenty of stories of SAHMs that save their families real money every month shopping at places they have for years.

I get free light bulbs all the time b/c they don't last! I save the info & call/write them. I get free coupons for them.

I just found this site yesterday... www.survivingthestores.com

We only cook foods from scratch, beans & rice are cheap, nutritious, & make a complete protein... no need for meat at every meal!

The library is great & FREE. They have movies there too. We rented Super Size me... I had no idea they had that there.

I work from home... http://www.jessicagrimm.com

We have ATT - DSL, land line, dish. We were paying $50 a month for the dish in the bundle package. That was too much, so I called & said unless they have something cheaper, like $20, then we were going to cancel. Well, guess what? I got something for $15!!! LESS channels (no big deal), but we still have our DVR which is all we really wanted. You don't know unless you ask!

Everyone else's advice was great. Keep it coming.
J.

My Dad gave me the best money advice I've ever received, which is, "When couples, or church committees, or families, argue about money, they're never really arguing about money; they're arguing about values." I've really tried to keep that framework in mind when making difficult budget decisions. We went through some lean times a few years ago, and I sat down with my cousin, who helped me trim my budget. Having the outside feedback really helped. I didn't take all of his advice, but he gave me the simple math, and then I had to decide what was most important. Good luck!
T.

First I will respond to your last sentences. Have you talked to your doctor about Attention Deficit Disorder. Many adults are diagnosed but it could also be your lack of sleep causing you not to be focused. I feel foggy a lot and I am now sleeping better with a CPAP machine.
Secondly, I have worked with several people to get them totally out of debt. The first thing is to write down everything you spend. You will find many things you can cut out. Try to shop at Aldi's if close by as you can get groceries much cheaper there. Don't go out to eat, don't buy new clothing etc unless you absolutely have to. Pay your debts off as quickly as you can first pay off the smallest balances and largest interest rates and go from there. Do not add any further debt to what you already may have.
Hope these suggestions help.

I think everyone feels your pain right now. I am a full time student with two more years. My husband had to quit the job he loved as a self-employed personal trainer because he lost all of his clients due to thier layoffs. He now works full time for the boats but has gone back to school full time. Plus, we have three kids, one with a disability. We make things work by not buying anything new. We buy the kids clothes off of Craig's List and sell anything we don't use. I use the free section often but also give many things away instead of taking them to the thrift store. I would suggest selling the the estras that you are growing. Many folks are looking to save money but how do you save money if your grocery bill is at the bare minimum? By buying home grown. Plus, with my daughter, I need to stay away from any chemicals in her food but that is expensive at the grocery store. I know alot of daycare providers are getting hooked up with the government funding as more parents are needing government assistance to pay for daycare. But I know that can cost money to begin.

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