Money Trouble, Buying Food, Etc. I Dont Know What to Do Please Help Us.

Updated on August 25, 2011
A.F. asks from Lees Summit, MO
46 answers

We have been having major money troubles, to the point where we literally have no food in our house. i dont have one single can of vegetables to offer my kids right now. Our pantry consists of lots of noodles, 1 hamburger helper, crackers, muffilns. and all i have for cans are kidney beans, tuna, and stewed tomatoes, peanutbutter.. i have no fresh fruits or veggies, and a few packages of hamburger.. no cheese, hardly any milk.. i can't feed my daughter, let alone myself or my husband. We have no extra money left over after our checks. not even for food and we don't qualify for food stamps because my husband makes too much. He makes 15/per and i make 7/hour.. however we have so many bills. our house payment, two car payments, full coverage insurance on both cars because they are both loans, cell phone bill, trash pickup, electricity bill, and gas. we spend a lot of money in gas because my husband has to drive 30 miles to and from work every day. his car gets decent gas mileage. but its still a lot. he also smokes which i can't get him to stop no matter how hard i try. so thats an extra 4 dollars out of our money every other day and it adds up. our bills are so high that we are completely broke and food stamps won't take those bills into consideration. i also go to school full time aside from working part time. what are we supposed to do. none of these bills are things we can give up. we dont have a choice but to have two cars. Im about to go crazy having to ask family if we can eat with them so my daughter can have a real meal. so she can eat healthy, we used to qualify for foodstamps until my husband got this new job and had to get a new car, therefore we always had plennty of food. i'm on the verge of a have no idea how it is to be a mother not being able to feed her kids and no where to go. please help.

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answers from Chicago on

Well looks like you still have internet and that costs us 30$ a month. There's money to be found but it looks like well you don't want to find it and are looking for a handout.

Sorry if my answer is mean but my husband has 1 full time job and 1 part time job and is looking at getting another, so I don't have to work.

So it seems like he doesn't really care if he is willing to throw that money around.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Get rice and a bag of dry pinto beans. you can cook them in a crock pot all day, they're cheap and their is a zillion things you can do with them...

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answers from Los Angeles on

When I first read your post, I had to get up and leave the computer and watch TV for a while. It really made me very angry that your husband would spend $2 per day so he could put smoldering weeds up to his lips and be a butt sucker. To me, no adult can smoke and have their children go hungry and still be called a man or a woman.

Tell your parents and his parents and ask for help. Families are supposed to help each other out, no matter how embarressing it may be to tell them.

Read Sharon Z's post. Sounds like she's been poor too. On $2 per day, you can all eat. Don't buy hamburger helper, or rice a roni, or any prepared foods. (During one of the poorest times in my life, I ate one hotdog and four small potatoes per day. You aren't there yet.)

Its hard to know where to start. The first thing is to cut expenses.
Call your insurance comapny and ask how much your car insurance would be with a $500 or $1000 deductable. You can look up insurance companies on the internet. Then call the other insurance companies and ask how much their insurance is. Go with the lowest bid. You have a computer or you wouldn't be on mamapedia. Cancel any cable you may have. Cancel netflix. Cancel any magazine subscriptions.

Turn all the lights off in the house all the time. If you leave a room, turn the light off, even if it is for 60 seconds. If you have any room lights that have two or more lights in them, unscrew all the bulbs but one. Turn your waterheater down to the lowest setting, but not the "vacation" setting.

Turn your a/c off when you aren't at home. Turn your thermostat up to 80 degrees. The a/c will take the humidity out of the air and make 80 degrees more comfortable.

Your husband should be driving the car that gets the best fuel economy. Air the tires up to the maximum rated pressure. Its printed on the sides of each tire. He should be driving no faster than 55 mph even if the speed limit is 65 mph. I used to do fuel milage tests. I won a bet because I got 40 mpg out of a small chevy pickup. You do it by driving slow (45 mph) with fully aired up tires and you feather foot the accellerator and coast up to signal lights and catch them on green when ever possible. You do the same in your vehicle. I consistantly get 20% better fuel economy than my wife even though we drive the same speeds.

On your going to school. Go to your school's employment office and see if you can get a better job. If you are this hard up for money, you should drop out of school and use the gas you save to feed your child first and you and your husband second. You can go back to school when you get your budget in order. Start a garden. You have just enough time before the first frost to grow some squash for winter meals and maybe some pumpkins to grow and sell for Halloween. You can grow some swiss chard for greens and it will produce until the first hard frost. Spinach, carrots, cabbage, broccoli and peas are also good cold weather crops

Food wise, NO more bottled water or beer or soda, or wine. Water from the tap and milk for your child. Buy a 5 lb bag of rice or a 10 lb bag of potatoes, which ever is cheaper. Buy a pound or so of hot dogs or chicken leg 1/4's or a whole chicken, which ever is cheaper, price per pound. Boil the a part of the chicken or hot dogs with the potatoes or rice for flavor. After your child has eaten, then you and your husband can share the rest. Use two or three hot dogs per night or a chicken leg 1/4. That way you make it last You should be able to get 4, maybe 5 meals out of a 5 lb frying chicken if you are careful. Or three meals out of a package of hot dogs. You can cook an apple with a little sugar and cinnimon for desert.

Will it be difficult? Of course, but then you have an obligation to make your way in this world and make sure you child is taken care of. If your husband is hungry, have him give you his cigarette money so you can have a better meals.

If you will list your bills, I'll try and help you some more.

FOR MAM-PEDIA MOMS reading this, she wrote me and I suggested ways she can actually save (put money aside) about $200+ each month and still feed her family.

Good luck to you and yours.

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

I'm sorry Alexis, but there is no END to the things I could make out of the ingredients you listed you have.

I mean, hamburger AND tuna?

I DO know what it's like to be piss poor babe, most of us have been there.

I hope you can hold it together and make FUN and cleverness with your daughter about what's for dinner.

You will get older, you WILL get through this. Times WILL get better. Don't let the sucky stuff make it impossible for you to see the GOOD stuff.


14 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

You can find some local pantries to help. But in the meantime I thought of several ways to use what you have. I've certainly had to take what I have and make something of it. You said you have noodles, tuna, and a can of tomatoes and beans. I'd put all that together. It may sound like a crazy mix, but it's healthy and I don't think it will taste bad at all.

As far as husband goes... If I were you I would break his smokes into a thousand pieces when he's not looking and tell him to either stop or get out. You will find a way to survive or you could go to a shelter. Cigarettes before your child's meals is not cool.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

First, let go of the idea of what you think life "should" be like. Most people I know, myself included, have gone through extended periods of time in which meals are mostly instant noodles or mac and cheese (made with powdered, not fresh milk.) "Variety" meant having the chicken flavor for lunch and the beef flavor for dinner. Is it ideal? No. Is it normal? Yes. Will your family be malnourished and unhappy if you don't have a picture perfect meal every day? No, unless it goes on for many years at a stretch AND you make a big deal about how "poor" you are.

I grew up in a time and place where having friends over for dinner was common, and might happen several nights a week. In our household, though, we had to check with my mom well in advance, because we could only have friends on spaghetti nights. When we had anything else, there was just enough for us. When we had meat, we would have only 1 burger, pork chop, hot dog or whatever else per family member, so we couldn't have friends over on those nights. The only leftovers we ever had were boiled potato quarters - I thought it was so odd when my friends complained about leftover nights, because we never had that much food. Yet I never, EVER worried about going hungry, because I knew my mom would have something on the table every night.

You may have to re-learn how to cook. Hamburger Helper and a can of fruit cocktail is a complete meal. Sandwiches, hot dogs, pork & beans and corn bread may not be anyone's idea of the perfect meals, but no one will starve eating them! I have some great casserole recipes that I originally used because they were cheap, but my family loves them, so we keep eating them even though we can afford something pricier.

Google recipes from the Great Depression - I have a great cake recipe that uses no eggs, butter or milk.

Are you signed up for Post a notice asking if anyone has extra produce from their garden.

Even in an apartment, you can plant pots of tomatoes, carrots, onions etc. In a yard, you can plant more. Even if you can't grow any this year, make sure you get seeds (and pots, if needed) for next year.

Many food banks will not ask about your income. Call around and find out what's available near you. Our community has Kids Cafe serving places (parks, schools) where anyone under 18 can get a free dinner, no questions asked. It might not be your idea of a great dinner - it's likely to be pasta or sandwiches - but it's food.

On the flip side, it's SO aggravating to food bank workers when people say, "I'm so desperate, we'll take anything" over the phone, then show up at the food bank and wrinkle their noses in disgust and say, "I only use name brands," or, "I wanted fresh food" (most food banks only have access to cans and boxes). I've seen it happen, and it's always made me want to say, "You can't be very desperate if you won't accept this. Please leave it for someone who really needs it."

Hang in there. People who've lived through hard times are more resouceful, compassionate, capable and helpful than those who haven't. Learning how to "make do" is a good life lesson. I know it feels like you're letting your kids down, but what you're really doing is giving them skills they'll need as adults.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

###-###-#### Hope Center of Pike County (food bank/soup kitchen)

Salvation Army
200 S 9th St, Hannibal, MO 63401
###-###-#### Your children under the age of 6 should be illegible for WIC.

((Side note: Liked the suggestion of sitting down and looking at child care + insurance + car payment = enough to justify being at work.

Also, we often have items of worth sitting in our home collecting dust. Record collections, rare books, nice clothes, pricey furniture, antique furniture...I know it's hard to part with but those things can bring in enough to eek by.

Also, buying the "right" kind of food (food that will stretch) is helpful. Use the scraps to make stock. I like to buy whole chickens. 1st night will be sweet potato, potato, mushroom, celery, carrot, roast. 2nd night I drop the chicken carcass and left of celery/carrot/mushroom/onion/other veggie "scraps" into a big pot of water and boil stock. Viola, chicken broth. Chicken noodle soup for dinner! Left overs for lunch. Just an example. I like power-punch veggies like broccoli and spinach. More bang for your buck. Combine with starch and a small amount of a protein. Tasty cheap meals! They exist...takes practice, and I'm still learning.

Be persistent! Don't give up! Get on the phone and keep calling and asking for resources. Explain the situation and ask if the person on the other end can direct you to a place that will have what you need.

Scale dooooooooown (if possible). Keep the heat lower, the lights off, the AC lower. Cut 2nd lines, cut car, move into a smaller space...

Take as few trips into town as possible (I go into town 2x a week because it's expensive and a pain in the rumpus - but I also stay at home with the kids so that is possible)

Ask for help. Like you're doing. No shame in that! Lot's of folks are experiencing financial hardship...we've got to help each other out ;-)

Good, good, good luck!))

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I am a vegetarian but even my mom liked this when she visited... It sounds a little weird but its really good and something you have on hand ...Beans/Pasta/Stewed Tomatoes (I actually use cut up whole tomoatoes but stewed is close to the same thing). Beans are an excellent source of protein and will fill you up. Also, my mom used to make us cold tuna mac when we were you have a couple teaspoons of mayo? With your noodles and tuna there is another meal. Good luck.

Edited to Add...this is not a bash against smokers at all..but I seriously do not see how he is willing to spend at min $60 a month on them instead of food for his daughter. He needs to get his priorities in order. I even smoked several years before getting pregnant so I do understand the additction but choosing a cig instead of your daughter eating is a bit ridiculous.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Start with this website. There are hundreds of post on this website about ways to save money.

I think you really need to take stock of the things you have and the things you need. It's obviously you are living well beyond your means.

You have food in the house you just need to be creative. Ask for family for some food. They probably give food to the local food bank or food drives, I'm sure they would rather help you. Eat a few meals a week at a soup kitchen, Get some food from the food pantry. Grow your own veggies.

What are using to access the internet? You do not need internet access. Cell phone??? Do you have a land line? You only need one.

Two car payments? Are you kidding? Sell one of the cars and buy one you can afford.

Look into ways to bring more income into the household.

I'm sorry for not being more compassionate, but to me this reads as "poor me, somebody please solve my problems". No, I don't know what it's like not to be able to feed my kids because I've never allowed myself to be in that position. When necessary I can be very frugle. You can do the same, just be creative.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

First of all why do you have two cars? My god if I had to choose between two cars and feeding my kids that would be an easy choice. I am not really sure how buying a car that needed a loan was ever a good choice considering your incomes. As far as these being bills you cannot give up, yes you can. You do not need two cars, it isn't easy but it can be done. One of you has to drive the other.

I am sorry, I don't know if you were fishing for handouts or advice so sorry if advice was not what you were looking for.

Get rid of one of the cars, find a food pantry.

I just want to throw this out there and I am not saying I made the best choices but made it though in one piece. I made it for four years as a single mom of four kids, school full time, work full time and a house that I could not afford. All of this on $15 an hour, actually that was after finding a new job halfway through, before that I made $9. Didn't have two cars because I didn't have a husband. So I see no reason why they cannot put food on their table with $3,300 a month coming in!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Google food banks in your town. They always have emergency food, for people who have nothing. Call churches!! Many to most churches here have food pantry's. You do not have to attend to use the pantry. The Salvation Army in your area will have food banks. They can also help you with food resources, in the future. Also, google soup kitchens. They generally have pantry's as well as the kitchen. Good luck, sorry you are struggling.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

After all your bills, and the cigarettes, is there ANY money left over? If so, is it solely spent on food?

For long term solutions...
Is your daughter going to daycare while you work or does she go to school while you work? Thought being, you might want to see if the cost of childcare is more than what you're making. You might potentially have more money if you stop working/paying for childcare and stay home with her (not sure how old she is).

If you did stay home, you could then try doing something from home to make money...even watching other kids. If you charge $30-35 per child per day (I think that's a pretty appealing rate!), you could make more per hour than your making if you watched two kids. Plus, you'd be saving on gas. I know it's not the most appealing idea, but depending on how many kids you decide to watch, you could bring in a considerable amount of money. My neighbor had to do this when her hubby was hardly bringing anything in. I don't know if you could do this, but if you ended up staying home, you could get rid of the second less car payment and insurance cost. We did that at one point. It did make us stuck at home, but we saved money.

Also, make sure you create a budget if you haven't already. Track your money really closely. The cigarettes are frustrating because that's literally taking money from your family for food.

Other comments have had great ideas in them... Hope things look better soon.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

I went to Dave Ramseys class and he stressed very importantly that car payments are whats eating families alive, you might consider getting rid of those high car payments and drive an old car or something rather than go hungry. I really feel your pain, because we have been in this situation before even without any debt, just not enough income.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with those that said get rid of a car payment. Trade in the car for a cheaper car with a smaller payment or one you own outright. We just did this and it saves us over $600 a month between the payment and gas since our newer vehicle is more efficient on gas mileage.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Contact churches in your community or city resource centers, and tell them your situation, they may be able to help or refer you to someone who can. There may be monthly programs available where you can get some assistance on a regular basis. If your daughter is under 5 she may qualify for WIC,

Learn to make meals from scratch to save money, check out recipes for frugal meals: (LOVE this site!) (Good for anyone, not just college students)

I don't know your specific situation, but you NEED to cut corners, and anyone can. Do what you have to do to make it through, just like so many others during this tough economy. I've been doing it for years as a single parent who has fibromyalgia and cannot work.

If you need to vent PM me ~ God bless✿

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Are you paying for daycare? I would think that with only making $7/hour you quitting and staying home with your daughter would solve part of the problem. You could get rid of the second car, lower your insurance, probably qualify for foodstamps, turn off a cell phone (cause you will be home) and lower your gas bill.

Is there a Salvation Army near you? They usually have food relief programs where you can go and get food. I am so sorry that you are in this situation. It is tough. I would really weigh all of the options as far as quitting my job. I wish I had some better advice, but that is all I can think of. So sorry. Hang in there, things will get better!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Is it even worth it for you to work between the cost of your car, gas, and insurance?
Go to your local food pantry, look at angel food someone else gave the website, do you have to pay for trash pick up or can you opt to go to the dump? Hell would have to freeze over before I allowed butts over food. Do you have a garden do one next year you can freeze and can whatever you don't eat, can you car pool with a friend to cut down on the cost of gas? You don't need two cell phones. Do you qualify for wic? Your on the Internet do you pay for that or are you at someone's house? From the sounds of it (house, 2 cars, etc) you are living above your means for your income.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Actually, you just listed a whole list of food that you can eat so you hardly "literally have no food in our house". It may not be your "ideal" meal but you will not starve or go hungry. I think if you HONESTLY looked at what you are spending you could cut out A LOT. I'm an insurance agent in AZ so find a local independent agent and shop around your home/auto. I can save people usually at LEAST $100 per month. Stop eating out, buying clothes, going to the movies, things you really don't "need". Its not forever, its only until you can get caught up. Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Have you tried applying for WIC? It's different than food stamps, but it will give you money for fresh fruits & veggies, milk, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, and cereal. It's for working families. Here's the income guideline so you can see if you qualify:

Also, plant a garden of your favorite veggies. I planted some tomatoes and zucchini this year and I have tons of them. And I think I paid maybe $1 per plant. Seeds are even cheaper too.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

It sounds like you need immediate help. Have you called your city food pantry? I do not know what qualifications they require, but that is where I would check first. Next, I would check with either your church leader or check with the local LDS church bishop. The LDS church will ALWAYS help you with food if you need it. Even if you are not a member. Third, right now many people in your area might have a bumper crop of veggies and fruits they might let you have for free out of their garden. I know last year I was able to get 4 bushels of peaches from a friend's tree just because he could not pick them fast enough. I would imagine there are lots of people who have too many tomatoes, zucchini and squash on their hands and would be happy to give them to someone who can use them.

If you reach out to your friends and family, can they help you in the short term? My friend just posted on facebook yesterday that she was making her kids clothes for school this year and asked if she could borrow someone's sewing machine...she had several people offer to lend their machines, a neighbor offered to buy some school clothes and I picked up undies and school supplies because at this point it sounds like they are unable to meet rent let along buy school stuff.

Once you meet your short term needs, please start looking at options for long term- you might need to sell a car and get something cheaper, or carpool or take the bus or even ride your bike to work. If you haven't already, cancel cable and internet. Have a yard sale. Get a 2nd job or possibly babysit on the side, whatever you can do to get back on top. Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Food pantries.
Your church.
ASK your family, for God's sake, they don;t want to see you or your kid starve.

Sell something.
Get rid of a car.
Find a 2nd shift job so you can use the car after your husband gets home.
Have husband get a 2nd job in the evenings.
Have a yard/garage sale.
If you have credit card bills, but food FIRST before paying those bills.
Cancel cable.
Cancel cell phones OR home phone.
Cancel internet service.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

No way would I allow smokes before food.

Would you be better off if you quit your job, you could be on foodstamps for a while until you or your husband found a better paying job. One or both of you can go to school and get some student loans and pell grants to help, but also an education that will help you get a better paying job.

I do agree, call local food pantries, they are all over. When you are able to plan ahead, angel food ministries is a great food option. You do have to pay, but it's very cheap and lots of groceries.

I'm LDS (Mormon) and they can likely offer food assistance. They can even offer free career counseling and help you find a job. Find a center near you:

From what you do have, you can make chill one night, with the stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, hamburger, water and any seasonings you have, maybe even enough for some leftovers for lunch the next day.

Then, you can have tuna and serve them on crackers. If you have pickles or salt or mayo, you can flavor the tuna even. You can eat peanut butter on crackers. Muffins for breakfast.

Make some hamburger helper. Then another night use noodles again and make little meatballs out of another hamburger.

I agree, you can lower your insurance, shop around. Trade in the cars from something less expensive, then you won't need full coverage.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I would consider selling your home and finding a smaller place to rent. How much is your cell phone? There are prepaid plans for very cheap, and you could further save by going pay as you go and only using it when you really need to. Do whatever you can to cut down on electric and heating costs by wearing cloths and using towels more than once, and by turning the heat down (ours is at 65 in the winter, we just put on a sweater if we are cold). Your husband has to give up the smokes, he is just being plan selfish if he is wasting that kind of money when the kids need food. See if either one of you can car pool to work, or if there is a bus you can use so you can sell on of the cars.

How old are your kids? If one is under 5 you might be able to get wic. Also, check with your local food pantry and see if they can help.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I would call the local Catholic churches (actually all the churches near me) and ask if they have a food pantry (and explain my situation).

I would also ask to eat with a relative over the next day or two (as hard as that must be). If you were my relative I'd be happy to have you over.

I'm so sorry you're going through this. :(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I am so sorry you are going through this, i know how it feels...... my husband is selfemployed we have $10 left and his next paycheck is in November, we've been eating sandwiches(whole grain, natural penut butter/honey) with some apples and carrots here and there for the last 3 weeks, we drink water , we too do not qualify for food stamps. Our kids are ages 10 months , 4 and 6. Yes it's not much viriety, but my kids are not starving, they are getting enough. I would get rid of car payments.....last year we bought a 1997 ford expedition for $1200 on Craigslist, in GREAT condition . You can find something small on craigslist for cheap.
We are believers and we put our trust in God, he is our PROVIDER....we are trusting Him to get us through this, He always does. I will be praying for u:)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Do a Google Search for your city, for "food pantries."
Or, go to a local Church... see if they do donations for needy families.

Do you have family or friends? Ask them.

How old is your child???
Does she have food/lunch at school????
If she goes to school, there is a national food and breakfast program.
For homeless or needy families of school age children.
If you qualify, your child can eat at school, for free.
Schools, at the beginning of the school year, sends home the forms, for all students.
Here is the link for it:

Or apply for food stamps.

Here are some links:

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

It sounds like you have gotten a lot of great advice. I just want to encourage you to not give up. Take a deep breath. You can do this. We were in a similar situation recently. I remember crying because my 2 year old daughter ended up constipated because we had to eat tuna, beans and rice for two weeks straight. :/ We didn't starve, but oh we were tired of those three things. ;)

Look in your phone book. Call the food pantries. Go to all of them. Check out Angel Food. We have ordered from them. ( I don't always like everything that comes in the box, but it is a GREAT deal. Go to the WIC office. See if you qualify for WIC. The milk, eggs, cereal, cheese, etc. really help out! Plus the voucher you get for fruit and veggies now is really nice.

Do not feel ashamed or embarrassed. Many of us have been there. Some of us still are. It won't last forever. I have had to ask my parents for money for diapers or formula from time to time. I hate to ask, but some months there are more bills than money.

Are you locked into a contract with your cell phones? My husband and I each have a cell phone through Straight Talk with unlimited minutes, texts, and internet. We pay $90 a month with no contract. My friends who use other cell phone companies tell me this is a great deal.

Do you qualify for any grants or scholarships at the college? ie the pell grant? Can you get a direct subsidized student loan? Your school will review the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM) and determine the amount you can borrow. You are not charged interest while you’re in school at least half-time and during grace periods and deferment periods. We had to take one out last semester and another this semester to help make ends meet.

Is there any way of getting rid of one or both of your car payments and buying (a) used car(s) outright? We were driving a 30 year old utilities van with no a/c for a couple years and just used a student loan to buy a 2000 Volvo V40.

Try to get creative. Think outside the box. I wish I lived closer. I have milk that my family will probably never drink. :/ I would totally give it to ya!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Please do not fear any longer. Call the churches in your town, and ask them to refer you to local food pantries. I volunteered at several different churches that provid food and other help. There are places to go for help. Try a web search for local food pantries, too. I will keep you in my prayers. God bless you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Free childcare is a big bonus, definitely don't quit your job (not that you were considering it). Food pantries are great, but a short term solution. You need to find some to get you by for now, but in the mean time you need to get a budget going. Check your local library for books to help you out, I hear a lot of good things about Dave Ramsey, but have no personal experience with his methods. I would definitely say your most glaring over-expense (from what you listed) is the cars. You may need two cars, but you need two cheaper cars. Sell what you have and buy used that you can afford, you should be able to save money on insurance that way too. Our household income is more than 4x what yours is and we only have one modest car payment. I have been driving the same vehicle for almost 8 years and plan to keep driving it until I can't anymore. I have more important things I would rather put my money towards. I am not sure why your husband getting a new job meant he had to get a new car. Check around, there are guidelines out there for what percentage of your budget should go toward housing, transportation, food, etc.
Do you have cable and internet at your home, if so, get rid of them both. If you need internet for school you can use the library. Do you and your husband always pack your lunch/dinner? You should not eat out at all. I think once we live a certain way it is hard to see some things as luxuries (like cable and internet) but that is what they are. It may not be fun or convenient, but sometimes living within your means is not fun or convenient. It is very possible to live on what you make, but you have to be strict and honest about your priorities. Food is a necessity, a lot of the other stuff is not. And the cigarettes have GOT to go!

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answers from Beaumont on

We went through a similar time. Now we paid cash for 2 cars that we saved for. Now we both drive inexpensive cars that allow us not to have payments. I agree with the food pantry idea. You might need to stop school until you guys get on your feet again. I would also recommend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace seminar to help you learn how to budget and what to let go of. This helped us alot. Your most important bills are your house (I'd seriously consider downsizing) and FOOD, then utilities. All else is fluff if you think about it. I am so sorry you're going through this. Just hang in there. Just start making small changes, TODAY!! God bless....

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answers from Washington DC on

have you gone to a local food pantry?
That our try local churches. In our town we also have a victory garden. You work and get to harvest some of the vegetables.

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answers from Denver on

Take a look at my site- to learn how to cut your expenses and take charge of your situation. You may qualify for WIC which would help you get food for your child and has different guidelines than food stamps.

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answers from San Antonio on

This the time when you get creative with what you've got in terms of cooking. I remember when we were in the military. I was raising three kids on $18k a year. (Yep, that's what our military paid an E-3!) We lived off of noodle dishes. You'd be amazed what little meat you can put in with noodles, a can of soup of whatever and call it a meal!

Secondly, I haven't seen anyone else mention this...have you considered selling plasma? It's only like $30 or $40 extra a month, but for three of you, if you're using coupons you could live off that.

You've gotten some great suggestions. It'll be ok.

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answers from Dallas on

You have some wonderful advice already and I cant add much. You can (and will!) do it. :)

Get rid of your car, and ask family for a loan of @ $1000 to buy yourself an old car. You only need to have liability insurance on it. Even with paying your family back a little each month, you will still have a little extra.

You can do it! :)

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answers from San Antonio on

I haven't read all the responses but in case it hasn't been mentioned. A lot of churches (ours does) offers Angel Food Ministries for $35-$45 dollars you get a huge box of food, meat, veggies, fruits, even one dessert. Our church also has a food pantry that helps until the first shipment of Angel Food arrives.

So call around and find out who close to you offers Angel Food

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answers from Washington DC on

Call a church and see what programs they know about in the area. There are usually local food banks, both in churches and outside them. There's also a food program called Angel Tree where you get a lot for not a lot. That might not help today, but it might in the future. Google for them. Also, call the utilities and ask about payment plans and/or assistance. My SIL got assistance that way and also found out about programs that made her house more energy efficient, for free.

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answers from Dallas on

First step: Call local churches to see if they have food pantries for people in need. If they do not have one they can usually direct you to a church that does. Sometimes, if you tell them your situation they may be willing to give you a one-time donation to help you get some groceries. Call the mega churches that have more money to donate. Just a few weeks of getting help with groceries will make a HUGE difference. When I first married, we took food from a food pantry and it was such a blessing and a relief.

Or, call Salvation Army, Goodwill, and check into WIC.

Step Two: Start collecting coupons the internet, newspapers...see if coworkers will give you coupons, look for newspapers lying around work that no one is reading anymore and get coupons out of those, ask your neighbors for their coupons. Look on mommy blogs for ways to save with coupons they will tell you where to go and where to buy the items with the coupons. If you plan it right then you get free items. I have a friend with 7 children and she was struggling and she started couponing and now she is hooked. She is getting stuff for free or almost nothing and before she could not even afford to buy any kind of hygeine toothpaste, shampoo, etc.

Step three: Enter contests and sweepstakes. I am serious. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I have won. I have won free groceries and gift cards, etc. All kinds of things. if you do not enter then you cannot win!

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answers from Washington DC on

My mom was a single mom with two kids and I remember barely having food and just having bread and butter and crackers in the house. She worked three jobs and eventually joined the army to have a better life. It worked for us. Maybe try to find another mom was able to bring us. I would try to go to friends and family's houses for dinner. I would talk to maybe your or his mom or dad and ask if you or at least your kids can come for dinner a couple of nights a week and explain that things are tough right now. Also there are lots of food banks and even if you don't belong to a church - many churches will still help you. Maybe you can move in with a parent or other family member while you're going to school (which would be good if you can still do so you can get ahead). My mom moved in with her sisters and paid them some amount for rent/electricity. I assume it was less than what you'd pay in rent/gas/elect. Also, the other big thing is to get rid of one of the cars...... I hope you find some relief soon. Hug

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answers from Detroit on

A lot of people have choices, they just usually don't like the answers.

Like the smoking. You are talking $14/week which can roughly buy you a bag of potatoes, a head of lettuce, some grapes and apples, a loaf of bread some spaghetti sauce and noodles and a gallon of milk. (This is based on items I bought last week.)

And you actually have a lot of food for someone who claims to "literally have no food in our house." It may be slim pickings, but you can put together some meals with what you have on hand.

And I do know what it this is like. Things got easier the more creative I got. I started a garden with seeds taken from the foods we were eating and "fertilizer" that was kitchen scraps mixed into the dirt to decompose and feed the soil. I used cheap conditioners to shave my legs. Everything was bought off-season, except fruits and veggies which were only purchased at peak season. I visited mom-to-mom sales for my kids' clothes.

I would've stayed at home first and gotten rid of the car if my bills were that out of control. And I did stay home. A lot. Burning candles that I already had for extra warmth and light and trying to figure out what I could use around me. But I also took odd jobs when I could. And my husband did the same, bevause we did what we had to do. It will be hard. But you need to do what you have to and hopefully you will graduate soon and get a good job and put this behind you.

I'll be thinking of you and I apologize if I sound too harsh.

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answers from Austin on

Someone else mentioned Angel Food Ministries, and they are a great budget saver. You get probably $70 or more worth of food for $46 (savings depends on where you live and the cost of groceries in your area).

We've been buying Angel Food for 2 years, and they have really saved our budget!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Do you guys have cable? Consider cutting that. You'd save A TON of money! Also, look for a local farmers market, they have cheaper produce then the supermarket. Also Aldi has really great deals on groceries and produce. Stop buying processed food. Processed food is expensive and unhealthy. If you buy some rice and dry beans, you will have money left over to buy produce to make some healthy meals. Local butcher shops sometimes have cheaper prices then grocery stores as well for meat. Have you also considered using coupons when you grocery shop? They help you save money. Have you considered renting out your home and getting an apartment? It would get you some extra income.

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answers from Providence on

Most communities have local food banks.. like churches.. or there is probably a non-profit family agency... like a Community Action Program... where you can get assistance for utilities, food vouchers, rental/mortgage
assistance, prescription assistance, etc. These agencies should be able to help you even if you're working. They have income guidelines.

United Way has to assist people with these types of needs. Just dial 211 on your phone.

What about clipping coupons from the Sunday paper? There are a lot of websites, too. Coupons combined with sales in the grocery store can save a lot of $$$.

Please email me if needed!!

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answers from Washington DC on

Go to your local food bank. Get as much food as you can from them.
Go back to the WIC office and apply for WIC (Women, Infants Children)'
Go to your church and get help. Some churches clergy have a discretionary fund to help people in hard times - it's NOT a permanent fix or a set amount each month - it might be just enough to help you get groceries.

if you have any equity in your home - refinance it and pay the cars off as well as any other credit card you have...then cut up all the credit cards and do not use them again.

Get to the library and find Dave Ramsey's, Suze Orman's or someone else's financial management program...

Go through the house and have a HUGE garage sale - sell whatever you don't need. If you have collectibles - sell them on craigslist or ebay.

Call your local gas and electric company see if you can get put on the low income set plan to help out with the costs of your electric and gas bills.

Next you and your husband need to find better paying jobs. Ask for raise - something - but don't give up.


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answers from Nashville on

The car payments need to go. That will give you more wiggle room. Are you involved with a good church? They often have options to help people in need.

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answers from Joplin on

Salvation Army is a helpful organization, look into different churches that have food pantries. There is a food service you can look into I think it is called Angel Food Ministries that is low cost, healthy food. I would look into getting rid of one of the car payments and buying something out right, it may not be as nice as a newer car but at least one less car payment and lower insurance.



answers from Rapid City on

Have you tried going to your local food pantry or even getting wic? Sorry I be more help.


Have you tried going to your local food pantry or even getting wic? Sorry I be more help.

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