Try to Figure Out How to Get Ahead!

Updated on May 09, 2008
T.M. asks from Gilbert, AZ
19 answers

Hey Everyone!
Since we have moved to Az my hubby has been laid off 2x due to set backs with the slowed housing market and each time he has taken a month off trying to seek a postion which always has us playing catch up! He just started a new position this week and they have so much work lined up he is working till 6 or 7 at night (he leaves at 6am) and making decent money so I am desperite to try and finally get ahead! We dont have to play catch up this time around being that our tax refund got us thru the last month. We have a lot going on this summer and I need to start putting money away....SO I wrote down all our bills and what income we have coming in and we should have a few hundred xtra every month to put aside but it seems like every time I have done this in the past the money disapears and I have NO idea where it goes and we end up falling short on a bill every month!!! Which makes us get behind the next month since we are now paying a bill for 2 months. I really need help with coming up with away that my hubby (terrible with money)and I can work together and get ahead! So far I have tried balancing the check book but then my hubby doesnt tell me when he spends money and I have tried getting a tack board and posting all the bill that are due on it but we got lazy. I am the type of person that once the bill is set down and out of my sight I forget about it. Any help would be GREAT! We would like to get out of debt and buy a house next year! Thanks in advance!

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A.H.

answers from Phoenix on

One option for reducing grocery bills is using the Bountiful Baskets Co-op for fruits and veggies. Every other week you pick up a medium-sized laundry basket filled with fresh fruits and veggies. I have a large family so I get two. I can usually stretch it to last the full two weeks. There's usually enough veggies that I can put two or three gallon zip-lock baggies into my freezer to use later. It's really good food. www.bountifulbaskets.org

(I do not work for them in any way, just a satisfied customer)

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B.W.

answers from Phoenix on

I've been struggling with that same issue for 10 years now! The only thing that worked for me was taking away my husbands debit card and giving him a weekly allowance. I pay all the bills and handle all the money. It is stressfull on me though, and I hate that I can't share the responsibility.

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C.B.

answers from Phoenix on

It took us a few years for my hubby and me to get on the same page. I grew up with a clear knowledge of finances but my hubby struggle a bit in that dept. My father always taught me to save 20% of my income every month (If possible). Get a Seperate Savings account, at a defferent bank if necessary. Maybe put ALL of your daycare money into this account and see what it is like to just live off of your husbands income. This has worked for us. Now that my husband sees the savings account growing, he gets excited about that like I do. It helps. We have 4 children... colleges to plan for and who knows what else..."Financial Security" is key and if you can master this in your 20's more power to you. Remember you do not have to have everything right now. "Don't give up what you want most, For what you want Now." Only use ONE credit card when necessary, Drive used cars to minimize car payments, Limit eating out, ask your friends with older children to pass their hand-me-downs down to you. I can afford to buy clothes for my kids but with the amount of nice things we get handed down to us, we rarely even have to buy stuff. THis allows us to buy those few expensive things that we do need or want. Make appropriate lists for when you go to the store and stick to the list. Set a goal of How Much you want to save by a certain date and enjoy the blessings that come from accomplishing the goals you set!

Financial Security is Freedom! Be wise and dont ever feel like you have to impress others with "Things"...

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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K.S.

answers from Phoenix on

T.,
Have you tried the envelope system? You write down all your bills, expenses (even money to blow) until every dollar is used up on paper (every dollar has a name). Then you cash it out and put it in the envelope. When the bill is due--you pay out of that envelope. You should have one for savings, giving, bills and fun money. Go to DaveRamsey.com adn it will spell everything out for you. Also, if you are in AZ--you can hear him on the radio every day from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. on 1310 AM. It is an awesome way to be debt free. I've been where you are--but when you get motivated...it's awesome. Dave's theme is "If you will live like no one else..then you can live like no one else." Meaning--if you will be very disciplined with your money NOW--in retirement you will have so much you won't be able to spend it all. Nice, huh?
Good luck! There is hope!
K.

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S.G.

answers from Phoenix on

Good luck! I hope to get to that point sometime soon myself, but for now we are just on survival mode. A couple of things that I have run across while looking for solutions are a company called Primera (owned by Citibank). When you work with someone from they start by helping you do a free analysis of what you have and what you spend and help devise a plan to get you where you want to be. I really wanted to do it, but my husband is a very private person and I couldn't convince him. The analysis is a small bound book and they go over all of it with you. To find a representative I guess you could look on line. If not, I think I have the card of the guy that we started working with. He was very nice and explained this well. The other option (that we WILL be doing) is a debt management plan. You have to be little careful and choose one that is non-profit and accredited. We have not started the process yet but we do have an email of all the forms we have to fill out to get started. You pay them each month instead of your individual debts and they then pay your credit cards. They have agreements with the credit card companies and are often able to lower your interest more than you wuold be able to negotiate on your own. If nothing else, you know exactly how much you have to pay each month and when you will be officially out of debt. They also offer budgeting services. Good luck and kudos to you for doing it so young!

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R.A.

answers from Phoenix on

I know where you are coming from about the hubby's spending. I had to put my husband on a weekly cash only allowance (so to speak). He does not have access to the ATM card or to the credit card. I told him once he spends his cash he is out of luck for the rest of the week. He was never taugh about financial responibly as a child so now I have to do. Things have gotten since I took full control over our money.

I hope that helps you a little

Also, my home business helps us out alot, if you would like information on that please email me at [email protected]____.com

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W.E.

answers from Phoenix on

You sound like me!
I am anxious to see some of your answers as well.
I know one thing though and that is there has got to be a way to for the one hand to know what the other one is doing. Maybe you could make a spending allowance for your husband and yourself as well for the little things. Budget those expences in.

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L.A.

answers from Phoenix on

We went to a cash only system. We get monthly allowances and there is an envelope for gas and an envelope for groceries. If you don't have the cash, you don't get what you want. this has helped greatly because we are overspenders....good luck!

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E.N.

answers from Phoenix on

Try to sit down with your husband and decide on how you both spend on your budget as it will help you get ahead also communication is the most important. My husband and I have been living here in AZ for almost three years and we're still working on our budgets as well. We came from Bakersfield, CA and we loved living here in AZ.

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H.H.

answers from Phoenix on

Advice from someone who is close to retirement age, doesn't own a home, has several children, no savings, no insurance, and plenty of debt.....Get some professional help if you possible, sit down together with a financial councelor and have her help you set-up a plan. What is also good about having someone else help you is that then it isn't just YOU trying to explain things to your husband, it is better for your husband to hear it from a 3rd party. Make sure you set up a savings, nothing can do for your money what time can. Do this now and train him well while you are young....I wish I had :(

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N.R.

answers from Phoenix on

I think I can help you. I am an accountant and would be willing to sit down with you to help you set up something to help you track you expenses.

I do not want to add to your struggle and if you want my help I can give you FREE advice and get you going. NO OBLIGATION... really!

I just started my own company Accounting 101 and believe that the best way to build a business is word of mouth. My normal rate is $50.00 and hour which is lower then most but I have no over head.

If your interested in a free consultation and some free advice let me know. If you have a home computer it would make it much easier for me to set you up.

N. Rose
accounting101cox.net

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A.A.

answers from Phoenix on

My husband and I have been going through similar money issues lately. We have been trying for years to get out of debt, but were never really committed the way we needed to be. Communication about daily purchases was part of the problem. A few months ago my mother-in-law gave us a book called "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. It has changed our lives. We are finally not dipping into savings, or over drafting. We are more disciplined and have started budgeting and been motivated to really tackle our debt. Dave Ramsey is also on the radio here in the Phoenix area on AM 1310 from 1pm-4pm. He gives financial advice to people who call in with their problems. He is an inspiration himself, as he basically was bankrupt once in his life and totally turned himself around and became money smart. He gives amazing advice. You should give him a try! Good luck! Your goals are worthy and the housing market here should still be good next year when you are going to be buying a house!

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T.N.

answers from Phoenix on

First off, I'm so proud of you for deciding to eliminate your debt. It will bring you such great peace of mind, which is much more valuable than any material things. Dave Ramsey is a financial guru who has devoted his life to helping people get out of debt, so I recommend checking out www.daveramsey.com

More than anything, it just takes great discipline. When my husband and I were in college the first year we were married we made only $13,000 taxable income combined, and so we were well within the poverty level. We just cut our expenses as much as possible so we could live within our means. We just learned to do without. It was extremely difficult, but definitely possible with discipline. And guess what, we were very happy even with our limited means. Things don't bring happiness. And we weren't stressed out financially because we always knew the bills would be paid due to our careful planning. It's really not about how much money you make, but how you manage it.

The little things do add up. Track your spending and expenses for a couple months and you'll most likely be surprised how much money is wasted (I was!) and you will see where you can cut back to save more. I know it takes time and effort to do so, but the resulting financial peace makes it all worth it. Making a budget and sticking with it was the only way my husband and I were able to make our money stretch to go where it needed to. Pay the crucial things first.

Well, I wish you luck! I know you can do it! It's up to you!

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S.V.

answers from Phoenix on

Hello! Hope all is well with you and your family! I bought a Day-Timer Life Bill Organizer that has 12 slots for bills, one for every month! I keep it in a place where I can see it easily to help remind me of my bills and when they need to be paid! I put the envelopes in sideways and put the due date on the outside where you can see the due date! I then put them in order in the slot according to the due date! I find this is really a big help! You can buy them through mail order catalogs or probably Staples or Officemax where they have day-timer planners! Or, maybe other places that sell day-timer planners! Also, if you write checks you could order duplicate copies so when you and him write out your checks, there is a copy you can refer to if you if you don't remember when it was written or who it was written to! Hope this helps! Good Luck! Sincerely, Suzette

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S.P.

answers from Phoenix on

We finally got out of debt minus the mortgage a little over a year ago and it was the cash only system that saved us! My hubby would forget to tell me money was spent BTDT and I would be the one scrambling. It was crazy, but it worked to use money orders. Check our bank statements and isolate any unrecognized deductions (we had some identity theft we didn't know about). Finally we had to open a new account and call all our legitimate lenders and set up old school mailing of bills. It took more time, but saved my marriage for sure! Money fights are the worst! We just bought 2 vans for cash, and I am seeing the benefits of tracking and trimming. I loved the book "The Four laws of Debt free prosperity". There are a lot of similar books out there that could help. Best of luck!

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K.P.

answers from Phoenix on

Give you hubby & yourself a little cash every month that is your spending money set a limit for you both. Also quickens is really helpful you can down load all you checking/savings accounts plus credit cards & loans. you can type in what bills need paid & when they are due it will send you a reminder. Also every night or when ever you want you can download the transactions from your bank to see what has cleared or hasn't. Helps with the whole lost receipt. What i like about it is i can code each expense then at the end of the month it shows you a graph of where your money is being spent. This could be a real eye opener for you hubby. Mine didn't realize how much he was spending a day on cig. & junk food till we did this he quite smoking & takes snakes from home for the most part. This also helps with the lost money issue you can see exactly where you've spent what. I also do online bill pay I get a message in my email then pay the bill You pick what day you want the money taking out so you can still pay them weeks in advance & forget.

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H.F.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi T.. This is a subject that I am very passionate about!! I have a working budget system with our finances (based on Crown Financial Ministries) that works well for us. There are probably several ways to go about taking control of your finances, in the end, but almost every author I have read says that you need to start with knowing where your money goes each month. That means that you need to keep track of EVERY expenditure for at least a month to see where it goes! I am not a professional financial counselor but I would be very willing to help you figure out how to at least start this whole process. I also have the name of a financial counselor whom I trust GREATLY, so if you want to meet with him, I can give you his info as well. You can email me if you want to talk or meet or want more details. I would love to help if I can.

H.
[email protected]____.com

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J.R.

answers from Phoenix on

I use a Personal Budget template that I found online. I redid it to make sense for us. I print it out once I type in all our expenses and fill in each bill when I get it. I'd be happy to share it with you if interested. It's simple and just a piece of paper.

Also, at Target, they have a bill reminder thing. It's a wooden box with slots for each date of the month. When you get a bill, you put it in the slot for the date it's due. Simple!

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A.L.

answers from Phoenix on

My husband and I are in a very similiar position. I am working very hard to change it also.

What I have done creating two checking accounts at the same bank. He gets and account and the bills and I get the other account. By getting them at the same bank you can check them easier at online banking. My other suggestion is to use online bill pay. For me, it puts our financial status in more of a reality state. If you do this, be sure to enter every single bill on there. That way you can see what still needs to be paid that month. With his account, set a predetermined amount in it every week/month etc. My husband gets money put in his account on the first and he has to make it last all month. Hopefully this helps out a little.

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