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4 Bumps

Suggestions on how to save more money?

DH has a daughter that he doesn't get the general visitation granted by the state for a child her age, and we have to drive 140 miles one way to visit with her. A tank of gas for our van is about $65-$70, and the weekends we go see her, we go through 2 tanks of gas between picking up SD#2 and driving to and from visiting SD #1.

We have a motion to file towards the end of the month to get visitation and child support modified, but the day we have set aside to file (our 2nd anniversary) is right after a Saturday we would spend with her.

Driving to go spend time with her is taking money away from our bills and debts. We have some money saved up to pay off our debts and a small($2K) emergency fund, and DH has taken out of the $ set aside to pay our debts(without my permission). We(He) has taken money out of our clother diaper savings and money saved up to pay my grandma back for the $ we borrowed the last time to try and buy a minivan. He hasn't touched the emergency fund.

I HATE that going to spend time with her is taking away money from our (that DH and I have together) children. Don't get me wrong, SD#1 is a sweetheart, but I hate the situation that it is putting us in just to spend time with her.

He pitched a fit when we spend $316 on groceries this month, because HE only budgets $200 for groceries. We CANNOT eat like he wants to for that little. Luckily, the electric bill for this month was only $93.13, but because we can't pay it when it is due because of when payday is, it will be almost $98. HE then has budgeted $300 for gas!

I REALLY hate that I may have to tell him he can't see his daughter like he wants to, but I don't know what else to do. I pinch every penny I can and use coupons as often as possible. It is impossible for me to find a job right now at almost 6 months, and being VERY obviously, pregnant. In order for me to go back to work after LO#3 is born, to keep getting the little bit of state help we do get, I would have to make $200 or less a month or more than $2800 to make up for what we do get.

Any suggestions?

Answer Question

Asked by trish2tew at 4:25 PM on May. 10, 2011 in Money & Work

Level 10 (427 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • Tell him to put the gas money for the van in the budget.
    I dont' think you can tell your DH he can't see his daughter. That is just wrong. Find a way for it to work.
    And tell DH the budget doesn't mean diddly-squat if you two can't agree on it.

    Answer by Candi1024 at 4:39 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • Want and need are two different things. He might want to eat a certain way, but he needs to see his daughter as often as possible.

    Pot of beans - 1.00. That should feed a family of four one meal. Get meat with bones, do not buy bread or cereal (it's really cheap to make bread and cereal is one of the most over priced things in the grocery store). Only buy produce that's on sale.

    You can also call some electric companies and have them look over your last year of bills, if you've lived in the same place. They'll find the average you pay per month and that will be your new bill. So no 50 bucks one month and 95 bucks another.

    Cut the cable. Consumers spend on average 40-100 bucks MORE a month than they actually use. It's ridiculous.

    No it's not the most fulfilling, but you can make it work while you're in the middle of doing things and handling issues.

    Answer by Razelda at 4:42 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • We have $300 budgeted every month for gas. We have tried to do a budget together, but can never agree on the whole budget.

    I have brought up the whole want/need thing, and it works for a while and then it just doesn't seem to matter to him. We don't buy bread/cereal, because we can get that with WIC, but if we need more bread we make our own. He can think of cheap good meals for him and I, but our girls(3 and 1) don't always like what we are eating and will make a ROYAL mess. I can't keep dealing with that.

    We have a fixed rate on our electric, and it is the lowest for our area each time I check.

    We haven't had cable or internet at home for more than a year. There are only a few places close by with free Wi-Fi, but it is hard to go to most of them when I have our kids with me.

    Comment by trish2tew (original poster) at 4:58 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • To cut your food budget, I recommend taking a look at this blog: The author of the blog is a member here on CM (michiganmom116) and she has awesome recipes. She feeds her family of 5+ for like $250/mo or less. Nutritious meals too!

    Take a look at your cell phone & car/home insurance plans and see if they can be lowered.

    Electric sugg.:
    (1) "Time of Use" plan. It has seriously cut our bill down. On peak hours cost $.15/kilowatt and off peak hours cost us $.06/kilowatt. Our summer hours are - OFF peak 10:30pm - 4:30pm so we do the bulk of things that take electricity during those hours (washing/drying clothes, dishwasher, cooking, etc).

    (2) LIHEAP. I noticed that you mentioned that you get a little help. This is a program for low-income families who need help paying their electric bill. You can usually find pick up an application at your local Human Svcs. Dept.

    Answer by 7blessings at 5:24 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • Other utilities might also offer budget billing.

    Have you suggested that his ex meet you half-way. Maybe you all can see them 3x per month vs. all weekends. Now w/school almost being out…maybe you could keep them for 2 weeks at a time and only have to make the trip 2x each month.

    We find the cheapest gas at Sam's Club; not sure if you are a member but it might help.

    I’m a Dave Ramsey fan. Take a peek at his website and his Steps. You will learn a lot about budgeting! Good luck.

    Answer by 7blessings at 5:25 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • I use a tracfone with free double minutes. I spend about $30 every 3-4 months to add more minutes. DH has a regular cell phone that he pays $25 a month for through my mom's cell plan. We just switched our insurance about 2 months ago, and that is saving us $25 a month. I try to do laundry and stuff in the early morning and late evening( before 9:30am and after 5pm). I also hang dry clothes when I can. We can get help on the electric bill as soon as I get reapproved for state insurance. I am calling in the morning to find out why I haven't heard back yet. As soon as that is taken care of, we can get a little off the electric bill.

    Comment by trish2tew (original poster) at 5:31 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • far as your girls go ~ they sound like they may be a bit on the picky side. I would nip that in the bud as soon as possible. I understand that the 1 year old cannot quite eat like her parents and sister, so that is a bit understandable...but the 3 year old should be eating what you or your hubby prepare for meals! Please don't get offended...just my opinion! =)

    Answer by 7blessings at 5:33 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • We live in an apartment, and the appliances are all electric. We don't pay water.

    We asked about meeting 1/2 way, and his ex said they can't afford it either. I doubt that, because they have fewer bills and more income than us. He only sees her on the 1rst,3rd, 5th Saturdays. More than that isn't in the current visitation order, and I don't think the ex would let him have SD that long.

    We don't have a membership at Sam's, but there are usually a few other stations close by that have the same/better prices.

    We use Dave too, and that's how I came up with a budget. It's how we have ANY money saved up.

    Comment by trish2tew (original poster) at 5:35 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • DD#1 will eat most of what we eat, but not things like chicken/tuna salad sandwich or with big chunks of tomato in it.

    Comment by trish2tew (original poster) at 5:36 PM on May. 10, 2011

  • Did you sign up with your elect. company for the "Time of Use" plan...b/c we had to actually SIGN up for it ~ not just observe the off-peak hours to get the savings. Plus, the off peak ours are usually during overnight and the bulk of the day. Evening is usually the on peak hours.

    You sound as if you have done a lot already in cutting down expenses - congrats on that. Not sure I have any other suggestions to help...I would need more specifics which you probably don't want to share online (income, all expenses, etc). There is a Dave Ramsey group on CM that I recommend:

    You can get ALL kinds of tips on lowering your budget in that group. They do suggest doing alternative things to bring in income as well such as yard sales, babysitting and that kind of thing.

    Answer by 7blessings at 5:40 PM on May. 10, 2011

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