M.R. asks from Ukiah, CA on October 06, 2008
Money Saving Ideas?????
Hi there ladies,
I came here because you always seem to have great ideas, ideas that other overwhelmed moms can't think of because of everything else going on in life. Anyway,I am needing money saving ideas. My husband had a brain aneurysm and stroke just over a year ago, and brain surgery 6 months ago. He is 37 years old. He got SDI for a year and was cut off of that a few months back because you can only be on it for 52 weeks. They failed to mention that we should have filed for SSI at the same time, and now the wait for that could be up to three years. We are down $2400 a month and are living off of my meager salary. Losing that much money each month has been devastating. We are trying to get my youngest into a state run preschool so that we don't have the added cost of daycare, and hubby could watch him the rest of the time...although he can't drive and I will have to pick him up and take him to school, which is difficult in my line of work. I'm not the greatest cook and have no idea how to plan meals in advance or how to take the ingredients from one meal and make a new meal the next day. We live in a rural area and the rains are coming so I can't save on gas by riding a bike. The bus isn't an option because I am a crisis worker and go back and forth to schools all day. I try to buy things like paper products in bulk and go to Food Max rather than the local grocery stores. I have a cell phone and a land line and I am thinking of just cancelling the land line. We don't have any TV hookup so that isn't an issue. I am more and more stressed every time I go to the store to get something. I have to explain to the kids how we can't afford "extra" stuff right now and to be honest I have no idea what the next step is. He might get SSI he might not. He is now stressing too (which isn't good for his health) and feels he needs to just go out and get a job. His doctor hasn't cleared him yet, although he will if he feels he is ready to go back to work. With the budget crisis there is also no guarantee that he can get re-trained or sent back to school, which was our hope. Anyway, I am just feeling lost and stressed. I would love some simple suggestions for ways that we could save on money and still have fun as a family. The advantage is that we have more time together as a family and I love to play with my kids. I know that this is way more important than some fancy trip or buying them things! I finished school almost two years ago and haven't graduated yet (I have an incomplete). Once I graduate and get my intern number I could be making a little more money (but the school is almost 3 hours away and the whole process feels so daunting right now). Sigh, thanks in advance to any moms who respond. I know that I have't asked for anything real concrete, but any ideas for saving money would be greatly appreciated.
4 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
I feel so very blessed to have received all of these amazing responses from you all! I feel validated for the hard times we are going through and your thoughts and prayers have been felt deeply. I printed out the whole list of responses and have been highlighting the ones that seem like I can handle at the moment. I have already started on some of them!!!! What has been so helpful is the variety of responses and the fact that I don't think any of us can come up with this many suggestions and/or options on our own. This community ROCKS!!!! Thank you for taking the time to respond with your advice and stories. I realized after I sent this that someone had asked about a similar issue a few days before. I figured I would get few responses because of that...boy was I wrong! Thank you, thank you, thank you! And my family thanks you too!
J.H. answers from Sacramento on October 06, 2008
Look back to 10/02/08 "ways to save money." There were lots and lots of wonderful ideas. Your situation may be a little different because of your husband. I would certainly check your local area to see if you have a food closet. The one in my area supplies food once a month.
Also, do you have any close friends or family nearby? If so, don't hesitate to rely on them. When my husband and I were living off his very small wages about 12 years ago while putting me through college (before kids), we invited ourselves to both sets of parents for dinner fairly regularly. We also spent time having game nights with friends, trading back and forth on who served dinner.
Relative to meal planning, create a table on word to represent a month. Pick one meal that is inexpensive that your whole family likes and cook it once a week, for our family it is tacos on Tuesday. I make enough that my husband can take a couple to work on Wednesday. After one day is filled in, I start filling in the rest with similar meals. Pot roast one Sunday, roasted chicken the next and pork roast on yet another. With these three main dishes, I take the left-over meat, shred it and make all sorts of tasty dishes (carnitas, enchiladas, meat w/gravy & mashed potatoes, soups & stews, etc) For my small family, I can make Sunday's meat choice stretch for three days. Your family is larger, so I imagine you could stretch it over two days. I fill in the remaining days with things with less meat and more beans, rice or pasta, for example chili beans, bean soup, spaghetti, tuna casarole, etc. Before you know it you'll have the month's meals planned and you can make a grocery list.
I really do hope that you have friends and family nearby that you can rely on. If not, you might consider moving so that you are.
Best of luck to you.
1 mom found this helpful
C.F. answers from San Francisco on October 07, 2008
First, I am so sorry, this sounds like a VERY difficult time. I have used www.freecycle.org to let go of or receive items. You can post WANTED: boy clothes in size ? and someone will likely respond, and everything must be free. Also, I'd try Craigslist.org for the same things. I've even seen people ask for food on freecycle.org. Family game night is always fun, and of course free. As far as cooking, I use allrecipes.com a lot (am on I the internet enough?). You can search by ingredient to find recipes that use what you have on hand. Good luck and feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.
M.W. answers from Fresno on October 07, 2008
My husband compliments me on my cooking and claims that I am the "Queen of Leftovers." Perhaps I can help you. You say, "I'm not the greatest cook and have no idea how to plan meals in advance or how to take the ingredients from one meal and make a new meal the next day."
If you will give me an idea of what you are cooking now, I may be able to give you some ideas. Are there certain foods your family really dislikes? What foods do they "love?"
Using last week as an example, tell me what you fixed for your evening meals Monday through this past Sunday.
Much love to you. And remember, "This, too, shall pass.
Merylyn (aka Mommie Salami)
J.L. answers from San Francisco on October 07, 2008
My heart goes out to you and your family and I hope & pray that better times are ahead of you. You've gotten some excellent advice. I would just second the advice to be brave and ask for help. It really makes people feel good to be able to extend themselves (I know from having been on both sides of it) so you'll be doing others a favor too! Since you live in a rural area, work as an itinerant and have young kids, I would not get rid of the cell phone--you need that. If you have cable tv, get rid of that instead, and when you go shopping at thrift stores for clothes pick up some board games and books for evening time. Take the kids with you and let them pick out stuff. If the kids don't already help you cook and clean, get them involved in that--maybe they can help you plan meals and even help you look online to find some easy and affordable meals (there are millions of recipes on the internet) and learn about cooking together. Making your own meals as much as possible is going to really save $. Is there any way you can carpool to save some gas costs? Remember that all around the planet there are families raising beautiful healthy happy kids on far less $ and with far less material stuff than we have in this country, so be brave, give the kids a chance to step up to the challenge, and don't forget to give yourself little treats, like a soak in the tub at the end of the day, or 5 minutes sitting in the sun whenever it comes out. You're doing great and your family is so lucky to have you!
J.R. answers from San Francisco on October 07, 2008
I want to say sorry about your husband. I could only imagine what you guys are going through. I know a couple people who are in similar situations. I always tell them, not to stress too much because this only for now, everything will get better. First you need to find out where all your money is going to. Make a list on how much you spend on food, groceries, gas, house/rent, etc. Then you can see where everything is going. From there, you can start to slim down on stuff you feel like you are spending too much on and put the remaining on stuff you need. Budgeting is the key to make anything work. I know it is hard work especially to sick to it, but that's the only way you are going to get through it is to create a budget. If you need any help at all, I'd be more than happy to help you out with that. I know it is tough. Just hang in there, things will get better. This not forever. I wish you the best.
L.M. answers from San Francisco on October 07, 2008
First of all, God bless you, you have a lot on your plate. One little thing that we do as a family that we all LOVE that is completely free is hiking. We do this every weekend if we can, and the everybody loves it. We also sing. Anything you can think of, make it up if you have to. When you are down, nothing helps like singing. Best to you.
J.M. answers from Fresno on October 07, 2008
I read the responses and I don't think I saw these two suggestions for cheap/healthy food:
1) along with the beans and rice suggestion, I would add potatoes. You can buy a big bag fairly cheap, they last a long time, and you can make a million easy things that fill up the tummy (fried potatoes, hash browns, mash, french fries, boiled with butter and salt, etc.)
2) when you are buying veggies, buy in season. It's cheaper and the veggies are usually better. If you are not sure what is in season, ask the produce person, it's what they are there for! Soon we will be in butternut and spag squash time. Most stores sell this squash with a little recipe stuck on the side to get you started. Don't be afraid to try new cheap/healthy foods :-)
Good luck with your situation~ my thoughts are with you.
S.M. answers from Fresno on October 07, 2008
Wow, what a storm your family is going through right now. I sent up a prayer for you and your family!! I've read the responses, and there are some great ideas, thrift stores, craigslist, freecycle etc. Do you belong to a church? I know that our church is always helping other members out when they are in need, that is what the church is there for. Don't be too proud to ask for help from the church, family, friends etc. I pray that your family is strengthened by this trial you are facing and that many blessings will come to you despite this difficult time.