Money and Budget Help Needed!

Updated on September 22, 2008
K.S. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
5 answers

OK, I have a hard time asking for advice from perfect strangers about something that is very personal to me, but I need help. My husband and I made a decision together about where he would attend university, and I really feel he has the great job he does because of where he went to school. We went into it knowing there would be a lot of student loans and debt when he was done, but I guess the reality is a bit harder than we really thought it would be, now that the student loans are coming due. We just can't make it on his income alone; I really don't want to go back to work full-time, but I am ok with part-time depending on what we can work out for child care. Right now the plan is for me to substitute teach 2 or 3 days a week while a friend of mine watches the kids (she said she will do this for free); I just don't know if that will make all the payments though. We are stuck in a high-rent apartment until next May, when we want to buy a house. I do NOT want to keep renting, even though some say it is cheaper. It is not, at least not when you need at least 3 bedrooms and we plan to grow more. So the question is, do any of you know of good family-friendly workplaces in the Salt Lake area where I could work part-time (preferably evenings and weekends) that pay decent? Or what are suggestions you have for cutting back on the budget? We are checking out the Dave Ramsey thing too. PLEASE let me know what works for you, I am desperate for any answers and help I can get!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great responses, my husband and I will definitely sit down and go over our existing budget again, see where we can cut back (hm, eating out maybe?). I am signed up as a substitute teacher for 2 local school districts, so we will see how that works out to supplement our income and make ends meet a little more smoothly. We are looking closely into the Dave Ramsey method and may end up postponing buying a house. We will for sure get out of our high-rent mediocre apartment situation next year when the lease is up, but may look into renting a house rather than buying, while we try to save up and get more out of debt. Please keep the responses coming, I would love to know what works for others.

More Answers

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L.K.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Money is always a hard topic. I work for IHC, and they have various kinds of jobs that need to be filled 24 hours a day, including receptionist type jobs, clerks, etc that only require on the job-training. You can check out their website at www.ihc.com If you like kids and could handle it you could also watch kids in your own home for others who have to work. Hope this helps and good luck. Your friend says she will do this for free but how long will that last? It is not easy watching others' children.

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S.C.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I can't offer any good advice Kim! But I feel for you. Make your husband work two jobs. :) I know he will love that right! John and I have sat down and made a budget based on what we HAVE to pay and the fill in the rest. For instance our food budget is based on what we have left over after all the utilities and cc's are paid off. Also look into a forbearance on the student loans. If you can put those on hold for a year you could get into the house and then start paying on them. You can come by and visit anytime you need to talk too!

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E.W.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Totally do the Dave Ramsey "thing". My husband and I started in February and it has made a huge difference. First make sure you have $1000 in an emergency fund. I would recommend hubby possibly getting a second job as well as you working the part-time. The more you can knock out now, the better life will be in the long run. My husband is currently working two jobs (1 is an internship) and I also work full-time (no kids yet). We started in February trying to pay down my car ($12k) while still going to school and working this year. I'm pleased to say that it should be paid off by Christmas. Not bad when a good chunk of our income goes to tuition and books.

I would personally recommend not buying a house just yet. Dave Ramsey suggests paying cash for as much as you can and is a huge advocate for putting down as much as you can on a house to reduce your mortgage payment. I would recommend waiting until you have at least 1/4 of the payment saved up. That's in addition to the 2-6 months of income saved up.

Have you made a budget? Are you tracking expenses? There could be places that you could cut back on that you didn't realize were draining the income. My husband and I found the vending machine to be the biggest culprit, and the checkout line, and late night snacks. Maybe you could cut some of the grocery bill by cooking inexpensive meals...beans and rice, rice and beans. Every little bit helps.

Good luck and remember if you live like no one else then later you can live like no one else.

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J.N.

answers from Salt Lake City on

It's hard to help a lot without knowing more details about your finances, and I know you don't want to give more on-line.

But in generals here is my adivce: write out a complete budget - rent, utilities, food & such, debts, car expenses, and so on. Include the 'luxuries' you usually do - movies, eating out, etc. Add everything up and compare it to how much your husband makes. Evaluate the difference and then see where you can cut back. Small cutbacks in several categories may be easier than totally gettig rid of one thing. Maybe you can consolodate a few bills into one (like credit cards) but be VERY careful you don't get into worse trouble. Other ways to cut back - use generic instead of brand names (usually there's not a lot of difference), plan your menu for the week & go shopping only once a week (fewer impulse buys). If your husband travels a lot, look into public transportation - it may be cheaper than gas, and save wear and tear on your car, shop around for car insurance, rent a video instead of going to the movies, reevaluate your phone plans (mobile & home) to make sure that you're getting the best price for what you need. There are lots of ways to cut back and save, and it may be just enough. Create a new budget based on this then STICK TO IT!!

Really, once you figure in travel time and expenses, clothes for the job, meals at the job, and what "uncle sam" takes out, a part time job really isn't worth it. If you must go back to work, find ways to minimize the cost, but I would really take a close look at your budget first and you may get to still stay home!

One last note - if you want to buy start saving for a down payment. You can get better rates & lower payments if you have a down payment (and avoid those 2-1 buydowns and balloon interest rates that seem so attractive but aren't, too)! Ideally you want about 20% down for your house. So save as much as you can now to buy a house later (even if it takes you an extra year or two!)

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S.O.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Have you considered somewhere like jet blue where you can work from home on the evenings or weekends? Before my son was born I worked for Stampin' UP! and loved it. They are a very family friendly company. I am not sure if they are currently hiring however when they do we always have lots of PT moms working the night shift 3-7 in the call center. It's a fun place to work while getting paid a pretty decent amount. You get paid to talk to usually friendly women about stamps/scrapbooking. Whether it's placing orders, giving advice, sharing product knowledge whatever it's a lot of fun. I enjoyed that I could read or stamp or do handwork between calls. As a SAHM of twins it would be like a vacation for you each day. =) good luck!