Money a Huge Problem

Updated on May 28, 2007
M.P. asks from Dallas, TX
32 answers

Hi ladies,
well my husband and i make enough money monthly to cover our bills and more. But we are so terrible at budgeting that we just scape by at the end of the month. Alot of our mony goes to eating out everyday. We dont have credit cards so thats not a proble it the going out and dinning and spoiling our kids. Does anyone have any useful advice

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B.

answers from Dallas on

Big fan of dream dinners! Saves time, saves energy, and now I am not at the grocery store every day, where I would buy more than I needed. Now I am only in for a big trip 2x a month, and then once a week for milk, fruit, etc. Huge money saver for us.

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W.D.

answers from Dallas on

Read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. He is also on KLIF 570am from 1-4 and the www.daveramsey.com

WOW! Just saw all the responses to you about Dave Ramsey. We have the Total Money Makeover budgeting software that he has on www.myTMMO.com It costs 8.95 a month and worth it to me. You can try it for 7 days for free. Go get the book! :)

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A.B.

answers from Dallas on

Cooking at home will save you a TON of money. Just make a weekly menu and go grocery shopping. Even if you just buy frozen Lasagna's and other frozen things that are really simple, it will save you a lot of money.

Good luck!

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

What I did was just get a savings account at ING ( www.ing.com ). They pay you about 5% on the money you save in there. They also do a direct withdrawal 2x a month on mine so I don't even see the money. You can also get a checking account with them and earn 4% on the money in there. They have free bill pay and when you overdraw, they don't charge you a fee, they look at it as if you took a "loan" out for that amount and charge you an interest rate on it. I don't know what that would be, but it seems like they have the right idea. I also have a checking account at washington mutual, where they pay YOU 3 cents on debit purchases up to $250. I realized I just liked to spend money or put it to good use so I needed a way to make my money work for me. You figure if you put 1k in an ing savings account, that's $50 you made that month. Pretty sweet deal I say. As for eating out every day, that's a sensitive spot for me because I work in the health field and I hope that you know how unhealthy it is to eat out all the time. Please reconsider the trips to the restraunts.If not to save the money, for your health.

1 mom found this helpful
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T.R.

answers from Dallas on

M.,
Have you tried Homemade Gourmet? I am a rep. and I just love it. I do not necessarily like to cook or plan meals, but HG has made it so easy. I prepare most meals in advance and put in my freezer. My kids and husband love it. HG meals are quick and easy and most of all delicious. I am hosting parties where we prepare 4 meals in just 4 minutes.
It is a lot of fun, and most of all it saves money!
if you would like more info, please let me know.
###-###-####

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J.J.

answers from Dallas on

We went to a program at our church called Financial Peace University. A lot of churches have the class. You can go on line to find out what church in your area or what location is having the class at daveramsey.com. At our church the cost was $50, but well worth the money. At Christ Church in Plano, it was a 6 week course. We met every Saturday from 9-1 and there was free childcare. The program is by Dave Ramsey, who is on the radio daily. He is very straight forward and funny. My husband wasn't looking forward to going, but after the first class, we couldn't wait to go back the next Saturday. Dave Ramsey isn't actually teaching the class, it is a DVD that you watch, but there is a facilitator.

We learned a lot and met some couples that we still have dinner with. We have become good friends. Go to his web site and check it out. My husband got laid off in January, the day after we decided to take the class. It was a godsend. We are able to keep all our bills up to date and even feed us!

I am a SAHM, have a wonderful husband of 24 years this May, 2 seniors and one Marine. You aren't that old, and you probably remember the cost of graduation, prom etc.!!!! Believe me this is an awesome program and even funny. If you have any questions you can email me at [email protected]____.com.

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

I don't know who Dave Ramsey is...but here are a few things that really helped out my husband and I because we had the same problem.

1. We write out a menu for the whole week and use that for grocery shopping. It saves you from buying stuff you don't need and also saves you from having to think of what to have for dinner every day. If you know you are going to be on a time crunch one day choose something quick like hot dogs or something you had in the slow cooker.

2. www.grocerygame.com This has saved me so much money. Read the the "game rules" It does all the work for you as far as putting coupons together with sales and saving a lot of money. Since I have joined I have saved $30-50 every time I have gone grocery shopping.

3. We have a dry erase board that we write down all of our bills on...how much they are, when they are due, etc. We write them down as soon as we receive them so they are on the top of our mind and we don't spend the money on other stuff before we paid these. Plus, we hand it somewhere that we will easily see it (take it down if you have company of course)

4. Finally, we set up our checking account to automatically take $50 a month and put it into our savings account. This way we don't even have to think about doing it.

Hope this helps. Good Luck.

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A.S.

answers from Dallas on

I completely inderstand your problem!!!! My hubby and I would be sick with worry about money each day, it seemed. Someone told us about the Dave Ramsey books (Financial Peace and Dumping Debt.) It really has freed us up financially and given us hope, goals, and true peace. I would definitely recommend his advice!

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B.O.

answers from Dallas on

I have had the same problem in my household. I started by printing out the psat three months bank statements since we used to use our debit card for everything. I really analyzed where all of my money was going. After that, I made some adjustments on things I could cut back on, like our cell phone plan and our grocery bill. We don't eat out as much as we eat at home.

As for spoiling your kids, it can be hard not to because most parents want their children to have a better life than what they had. I just try to think about how many toys my daughter has that she doesn't even touch. I try to remember to teach her that how many things she has isn't a measure of my love for her.

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

Ditto - Dave Ramsey - go to the library and check out the Total Money Makeover. It's just the best. To get an idea of what he's like, he's on talk radio (I think 570)from 1-4 everyday.

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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

M.,

I almost have the opposite problem, but here is what I do every month.
Just make up a simple spread sheet in excel. List out what your bills are, then list out the amount they are each month (I know Elec is different each month so just budget an average but remember it is higher in the summer and winter). Then below that list groceries, gas, eating out, and misc (for toiletreese and other things). Then list a monthly amount you would like to spend.

You just have to get it into your head that we have to pack our lunches if you don't want to eat out as much, and for the spending money on the kids; if they have enough of everything they need they try saving the money for a summer family vacation or for a big outting y'all can do as a family.

I hope this helps,
J.

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G.W.

answers from Dallas on

--buy in bulk (Sam's/Cosco)
--enroll in Keep The Change at Bank of America so that you can save without really thinking about it
--save eating out for certain days (ex. Fridays because everyone is too tired to cook & Sundays because it's just a good family day to eat out
--clip coupons and use them to buy groceries for meals (instead of eating out)
--cook dishes that take very little time to prepare/cook large quantities,freeze the left overs, and have them again a few days later

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L.T.

answers from Dallas on

We did the same thing in Calif. and what I did was to make several meals on Sat or Sun and freeze them and then just heat them up thru out the week. I ran a daycare and was exhausted at the end of the day serving all the time and just wanted to collapse. That worked for me. It saved us tons of money. Another idea is to have a couple friends and do a dinner exchange where you make dinner for them and your family and rotate nights, you don't eat together just gives you a night or two off.
Good Luck L. T

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R.

answers from Dallas on

You stated the problem...eating out.
If that does not stop...it gets hard to tell them you can
not afford to do it...they will want allowance for going
out to eat for lunches...and will expect money to eat out
when they may be able to eat school lunch and be fine.
Time to think about who likes to cook and start out
with 2 or 3 meals a week at home...find something simple
and yummy. Bbq chicken in the oven, with mashed potatoes,
and a side salad ...time needed...about 1 hour 10 minutes
prep and bake time...depending on thickness of chicken
pieces...and the mashed potatoes...there are instants
that are flavored *butter and herb is yummy* that only
need you to boil water/turn off and stir in potatoes. If not
a potato fan...boil in the bag rice is fast to.
Invest in a crockpot...you can do simmers in it that are
good. To mention one: bbq sauce with pork ribs.
The time in the crockpot makes them fall off the bones...
can either have rice in the meat and just need a vegetable.
*wishes I could find my crockpot now*.

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J.B.

answers from Dallas on

Hello M.,

My husband is a financial advisor and so needless to say, we talk finances, budgets, investments all the time. He is also a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider. If you havent heard of Dave Ramsey, I would highly recommend him! So, if you want some professional experience, he will be happy to help.

But a practical method that helped me get more experience and enjoyment out of my kitchen was to start up my own cooking school (which is really a couple of my girlfriends that get together once a week and try out new recipes). Building up my cooking confidence really helped us from eating out so much...plus we found that the meals I made were often better than what we were eating at restaurants.

If you want to contact my husband his contact info is listed down below...
Kris Beaulieu
Clarity Financial Group
###-###-####

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R.S.

answers from Dallas on

Dear M.,
I had to respond to you because I have come to the same conclusion as you about expensive eating out! There are many creative things you can do. If you work pull out your crockpot. Go online and "google" crockpot recipes. Have dinner ready when you get home. Also there are many "Super Supper" or similar places popping up all over where you can get dinner for about half the price of eating out and put together quick. There are also some great one dish meals in the freezer section of the grocery store. You just have to sample some and find out what your family likes. Don't do it every night, but once or twice a week works fine. Then I just read a story of a family picking a couple hours a week to cook together for the whole week. Just take it out of the freezer as you eat it......Hope this may inspire you with some ideas that will work for your family! Good Luck!

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J.G.

answers from Dallas on

Get the Dave Ramsey book called, The Total Money Makeover. It will inspire you, and get you excited about controlling your own money and life, not letting it control you. Go to Daveramsey.com for more information. You are lucky you are way ahead of the game if you don't have credit card debt. You should really enjoy the book. It's a fun, interesting read about real people.

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J.M.

answers from Dallas on

not to be a copy cat but...dave ramsey, dave ramsey, dave ramsey!!!! We are going through it now and it is wonderful. The course is so appropriately named financial peace. Thats what I feel now...peace and calm. And amazingly it is so easy to apply and follow...so common sense!! I love dave ramsey!!! Good luck to you!!

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J.H.

answers from Myrtle Beach on

I also recommend the Dave Ramsey books/system. We have just started doing this and my friends are as well and they are saving tons of money!

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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

I agree about writing out a list of all your fixed expenses on a monthly basis. It's a good idea to see where your money is going in general. Sometimes you can cut a few dollars on your basic items.

With eating out, I know it's tough to cut cold turkey (pardon the expression.) Maybe instead of eating out every day, only eat out 1-2x a week. Also, when you are eating out, see where you can cut out some costs. Order water as a beverage, don't order the most expensive meal, split the meal to use for the next day as leftovers, etc.

Regarding the spoiling kids issue, just remember the precedence you start now (especially since they're so young) will magnify as they get older and they will expect to get something everywhere they go. Then you have an organizing/storage problem at the house in addition to a smaller budget!

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A.P.

answers from Dallas on

Another Dave Ramsey fan! We just recently saved our emergency fund and are now working toward paying off our debt. You are already on the right track since you don't use credit cards. You would not believe the money you can save by not eating out all of the time... even if you just limit eating out to weekends only.

Get easy things to eat during the week... Stouffer's frozen lasagne, one step skillet meals, crock pot meals, etc. These things dirty only one dish and don't take much effort and are all less than $20 per meal! It may be hard to adjust at first but when you start seeing the money you're saving it will be motivation to keep it up. Good luck!

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A.D.

answers from Dallas on

About 3 years ago we found ourselves unemployed and with child number 2 on the way. Talk about being forced to figure out where to cut the cost. Everything that has already been said is so helpful and true. You biggest money guzzler right not is eating out. The way that my husband and I got that under control aside from the fact that we did not have any money was by planning our meals for the month. Face it that right there is the hardest thing to do. When you plan for the month you kind of know what items are on you grocery list so you can get somethings on sale. Since you have already planned the meals it is easier to dine in instead of out. When you do eat out sharing meals is the best way to do it because face it resturant portions are triple the serving size you need! No wonder so many Americans are overweight. This plan really helped us, in fact we still do it and my husband has a great job where I can continue to stay at home.

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T.O.

answers from Dallas on

M.,
Start off with the easiest method first and work your way up to real budgeting and financial planning.

Take money out each paycheck and put it into a savings that you cannot reach easily. Like the poster with the ING account suggested. Just start. It'll be easier once you do. Try $50 each paycheck (from both of your paychecks).

You could also try cutting back 1 dinner out each week. And replace it with "Dinner Nite" where you all cook something fun together.

You are young, and if I could do it over I would save BIG time in my 20's. If you get a financial plan going now, you could really be financially independent much soon than me. There are fee based and free planners out there.

A free one that is a friend of mine is named Anne and her number is ###-###-####. You might try her.

But first SAVE!

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N.K.

answers from Dallas on

My first suggestion is to stop eating out. #1 It is a bad diet for growing kids. #2 You have no idea whats in it or how it's prepared. #3 You will appreciate it more when you do go out to eat. There is something to be said for a good home cooked meal. My family dislikes eating out. WE=hen I ask what they want for dinner 9 out of 10 times they request one of my recipies. If cooking is not your thing or you don't know how, I have tons of awesome kid friendly recipies I will be glad to share. Your kids will be healthier and so will you.

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D.H.

answers from Dallas on

Hey M.,

I think all of us Mom's have been where you are or maybe even there right now. "Pay Yourself FIRST!" Get a savings account. Put in just $20.00 a month. That is around one family dinner of fast food. Eat at home, drink your coffee at home remember to utilize coupons and sales ads. Etc .. The biggest thing that I do that makes a difference is when purchasing something I ask myself “Is this a need or a want?” That will curb a lot of your spending if you take it to heart. Sit down with your partner and see where he is coming from. You must have an open and honest conversation about your finances… Then go on a spending diet!

Spoiling your children… I think this is the biggest problem my generation faces today. I am 34 years old. We must remember that we are raising women and men of tomorrow. If we continue on this path our children will grow up and feel a sense of entitlement. At the young ages your children are the only thing they need is love, to feel safe, clean diapers, and a full belly. The other things are just that…THINGS. You can spoil them with love and play time. Then they are not overwhelmed by materialist items. I say this with confidence. My girls are happy to get a note pad from their Daddy’s over night business trip.

Good Luck with your Budget.

Dene’ H

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C.W.

answers from Dallas on

Routine Routin Routine...You need a routine for your daily lives. If you get in the habit of making dinnereverynite, even if it is just chili dogs you'll be less likely to spend money eating out. Save th eating out for a date nite for you and your husband! When your child wants something it is okay to give in sometimes, but not all the time. Try to consider all the goods things they already have and how often they play with the stuff they already have. 10 minutes of fun shouldnt be used on a 30 dollar toy. Well hope this helps as well. I am the budget queen...if you need anymore advice msg me!

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N.H.

answers from Dallas on

Hey M.! I would recommend Dave Ramsey's book,"Total Money makeover". He offers great advice and it is really inspiring. He also has a daily radio program on AM 570 from 1-4. Tune in sometime if you can. He offers some great advice. Sounds to me like you just need a "plan". Good for you for not having cc debt-you are onto a great start. Good luck!

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S.H.

answers from Dallas on

Racheal Ray has good 30 minute meal solutions...might help cut out "going out".

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C.A.

answers from Dallas on

Hi M.,

I'm another big Dave Ramsey fan. He has a program called Financial Peace University to help people in situations just like yours. I'm going through it now and it really helps with strategies and how to save, not be in debt, and really make your money work for you. There are lots of programs available in all areas. You can look it up on his website. www.daveramsey.com

Good luck!

C.

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K.K.

answers from Dallas on

Dave ramsey....all the way.

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M.R.

answers from Dallas on

Yep, Dave Ramsey for sure. Also, check out these websites: Crown Financial and Flylady.net. Flylady helps keep you organized and streamlined so you don't waste your money on clutter. I'm a single mom and work three part time jobs we always have what we need.

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