What Would You do?

So first question before I dive in, do people ever show their real numbers and situation and ask for opinions/help on best strategies on debt paydown, where to put what money where, etc??

I have been using YNAB 'for real' (as in no fresh start every few days because I'm not keeping up with it 😄) about 3 weeks now? And I just feel like there are a few (or a lot) of things I could be doing better!

Thank you!!

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  • Plenty of people have done this. It depends on how comfortable you are sharing real numbers and how well you can take honest opinions. 🙂

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    • Superbone awesome, I can take some honest hits, sometimes without crying 😂. Where does one do that??

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 6 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Green Filly Why not right here? You've got a good thread title. You're good to go.

      There are lots of great minds here that can help take you to the next level. I know when I started I wasn't doing everything optimally.

      Like 1
  • No special place :) share as much as the are comfortable with.

    You'll get lots of support and ideas!

    But definitely block out things like names and account numbers if you put those in!

    Like 2
  • Ok, thank yall!

    Income weekly by my husband and I = $1,357.09

    Family of 6 (four little girls aged 1, 4, 6 and 9). We also have my husbands family living with us after their house got torn down by a tornado. So that is an extra 2 adults and 3 adult children that have been with us for 3 weeks or so. Yes, I said adult children. 😶 Which is putting a strain on the grocery budget, not to mention utilities. No idea when that will end. 🥴

    I added two screenshots of our bills and expenses.

    I love that I have an emergency fund for the first time EVER (thanks to Pres Trumps stimulus) but I hate we are living paycheck to paycheck still with no extra to put down for next weeks bills. I also would like to add we are BEHIND on every bill we have. As in, if I don't pay my bill that's due on the 8th BEFORE the 8th we will be marked 30 days over. And I am in this rut of paying everything the day before, that's just when I have money for it now. 

    What would you do to start catching up and get out of the paycheck cycle.

    We occasionally have money coming in from our Etsy busines which is usually an extra $100 each transaction. But it's variable. When I get that though I immediately put it on anything that has been overspent or towards a big bill coming up next week. 

    So when I budget each week I put money in whatever bills are due before the next paycheck and then in no particular order:

    $200 groceries

    $160 tithe

    $50 fast food 

    $80 fuel

    $200 child care

    $40 every other week for horse feed

    Then I try to put $50 in to paying my dad back (who has bailed us out many times, I owe him about 2k now) and then $50 into savings.

    What other info do  yall need?? Would love any thoughts or advice for going into the future with a better money situation. YNAB has helped so much already but I know I can use it better!!

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 6 days ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Green Filly I'll be honest. You need to ask your house guests for money if they are not helping with the groceries and utilities. It sucks their home was destroyed by tornado, but their homeowners insurance should be covering the costs of them being displaced.

      And it's probably be a good idea to cut the tithing until you get your bills caught up.

      Like 5
    • nolesrule  I completely agree. It's going to have to be dealt with soon. As for the insurance they were renting the house and did not have renters insurance and they have never have had much money whatsoever. Don't even get me into it all lol but I'm doing the best I can right now.  

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 6 days ago
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      Green Filly Didn't realize they were renters. That does make a difference. In the meantime consider that you are already contributing to charitable causes by taking them in and absorbing the increased expenses.

      Like 5
      • anderso9
      • anderso9
      • 6 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Green Filly I would definitely start by asking for some help from those staying with you. Thats 5 adults. Presuming they are all working, they have income and should help.

      I would cut the tithing for sure. Now I am not the type to have a tithe, I prefer to do my charity work in my own way, but that sum seems pretty high. That's over 600 a month and ove 8K a year. To me the point is to support the church, as I understand it, but not to put yourself in peril at the same time

       

      My suggestion, cut the tithing and put that money against your debts. Clear those out and you'll have lots of room to work with! You dont have to cancel the tithe entirely, but I personally would greatly reduce it. 

      Like 1
  • This is quite a different idea and really depends on the situation so don't hesitate to ignore if it's not practical at all. You say there are now 7 adults at the house. Do you all work full time? If not, do you still need the childcare? Or is it something you can't cancel as you won't be able to get it back once the "extra" family leaves? 

    As I said, I don't know enough about what everyone is doing but I thought, if they can't help financially maybe they could help with their time...

    +1 on stopping the tithing to get you out of debt. Even if it's a long time.

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    • Ceeses I get help from my boss (dad) with child care so I actually only pay $50 of that out of my own money a week. But I JUST hired my sister in law (who is living with us) to watch the kids at home for me literally the day before the tornado. Anyway, it's not the full $200, I forgot to mention that!

      Like
  • Green Filly said:
    As in, if I don't pay my bill that's due on the 8th BEFORE the 8th we will be marked 30 days over.

    As an example, the cell/internet bill of $273. If you are behind, your billed amount is probably twice that amount. If you want to catch up, you need to pay more, and therefore you need to budget more. That means less available for other things, so you're going to have to evaluate priorities on what gets reduced.

    Perhaps pick one bill to focus on getting "current". If that's the cell bill, you might not be able to budget the entire $546 on one month, but perhaps you can budget an extra $50 or $100. Repeat until that category is caught up. Once that's done, then start putting that $50 or $100 toward the next bill. Etc.

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  • One last thought: cutting expenses or increasing income always helps. For example, that cell/internet bill seems awfully high, but I suppose it depends on region. (Ours is about $150/month for 3 cell lines each with 2 GB mobile data and 90 Mbps internet, plenty enough to stream Netflix at home and read email/texts and get directions while out.)

    I know it might be hard to hear, but paying almost $80 for streaming tv when you're a month behind on various bills may not be the best way to prioritize your spending. Netflix is $12 per month. Think about it.

    Wishing you the best of luck whatever you decide...

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  • Speaking of the $273 cell/internet bill, that seems high to me. Anyway to switch plans or negotiate that lower? Here's a recent thread on less expensive phone plans:

    https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/p8hy4wc/cheap-but-decent-phone-plans

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  • Thank you everyone so far who has commented!

    I'm going to seriously consider reducing our tithe amount. 

    As for the cell it will go down a bit after I pay off my phone. It has 2 phones and a Hotspot device on it, all unlimited since we have no satellite and just stream our tv. Plus I've got some YouTube loving kids lol. I will def check out the post about diff carriers though ty!

    Dakinemaui, thank you for the bill catch up idea!

    Like 1
  • Another question, would you all take some money out of the emergency fund to fill some of my categories/catch up on bills? Or leave the money there. 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Filly I would reallocate from an EF if I had access to credit for emergency use. I would argue one reason you are behind is because you chose to hold onto that cash instead of paying your bill.

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    • dakinemaui Well the getting almost a month behind has been us spending money we didn't have (in the past) and then being oh crap, I don't have money to pay my bill! The emergency fund money came from our stimulus check.

      I do have one credit card, the limit is 1k.

      Like
    • Green Filly There's a school of thought that states debt (excluding mortgage) is an emergency and should be treated as such. Therefore, your emergency fund could be used precisely for that purpose: to help pay down your outstanding bills and debt. 

      But I'm also a fan of keeping a little something in the emergency fund at all times (and slowly building it up from there) because there are other types of possible emergencies (hospital visits, unplanned sudden home/car repair). You wouldn't want one of those to suddenly throw you into further debt. 

      So one thing you could try is taking a little money from your emergency fund, and taking a little out of other categories at the same time (tithe, groceries) and combining those together to pay down your bills. It's up to you how much and where it comes from; you might have to get a little creative for a few months!

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 days ago
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      Green Filly said:
      oh crap, I don't have money to pay my bill

      Fair enough, but now you do. 🙂 

      Like 1
      • Green Filly
      • Green_Filly.3
      • 5 days ago
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      Purple Panther this has been what I'm thinking too, leave enough for real emergencies and use a bit to get current! Thanks!

      Like 1
  • I just wanted to add that it is obvious that you are in a very tough and tight situation at the moment. The additional family is not making things any easier. I hope there is an exit plan for you and your family's sake. Hang in there! I admire you for taking the bull by the horns. All you can do is the best you can do. This too will pass and will get better in time.

    Like 6
  • First of all, you are in a very stressful situation at a very stressful time. The fact that you have your head above water is amazing. You are doing great with just surviving.

    With that said, I hear that you want to thrive instead of just survive. I think there have been a lot of good suggestions. So here are some of mine that build on what is already here.

    I have been in places in my life where I have stopped tithing or giving. I have my own theology around it that may not be in line with yours, but that would be the first place I would start. Getting your family current is a priority. When you get some stability, you can then give again. And, when you get financial independence you can give generously. With that said, I would also consider the fact of taking on an entire family as my tithe. But, again, my own theology at work here.

    Perhaps the family members could go to food banks? This option is available for people who are in need. Technically they are homeless. They are in need.

    I'm very conservative when it comes to having a safety net. If you are going to use that EF for catching up on bills, first consider how secure you and your husband are in your jobs. Even people who think they are secure could be affected in the coming months as the high unemployment rate begins to affect other jobs.

    Like 4
      • Green Filly
      • Green_Filly.3
      • 4 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Guitar Thank you! All of yall's kind words have meant so much. And I agree about the EF, I'm going to take very little of it if I do, I love the security it gives me. I can plug away at the late bills other ways I think.

      Like 1
  • I just wanted to say, I admire your bravery and openness and I think there are a lot of good suggestions here.  You seem like a very caring and kind person and possibly far too giving.  I second the point that the people staying with you should be contributing.  If they don't have jobs or a home can they apply for food stamps or welfare or something?  If they can't pay, they can watch kids, cook, clean, something to contribute.  This is coming from someone who has often let people walk all over me and only recently learned about setting boundaries, so I'm saying this because it's what I would need to hear if I were you.  And also, you should definitely be cutting anything that isn't a need right now is necessary until you can get current on your bills.

    Like 5
      • Green Filly
      • Green_Filly.3
      • 4 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      PhysicsGal Thank you! I appreciate that. You all have been awesome for sure with great suggestions. 

      My house guests are really very helpful. They do my laundry, dishes, clean up. They try hard! But 5 extra people in a 1300 sq ft house does start to take a toll. 

      Like 1
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 4 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Green Filly Oh wow, yeah, I can imagine!  Good to know they are helping, I just know I tend to get taken advantage of and I don't want it to happen to any one else. 

      On the other hand, we are kinda spoiled now bc that is tiny for that many people today, but 100 years ago it was probably a ton of space.

      Like 1
  • Hi, Green Filly  .  ((((hugs))))  You've gotten some good ideas, and you've likely already guessed that this is going to be a work in progress. Plugging it all into YNAB will help by keeping it all in one place, so you have a better sense of what is happening and what is  a priority.

    A couple of things that occurred to me:

    A regular tithe in your expense list suggests to me that you are a committed member of a faith community. I think that it's time to ask that community for help.  Call the pastor/rectory/etc and let them know what you're up against.

    Please make sure your own insurance coverage is in place and currently paid up.  This is a basic priority (as is evidenced by your in-law's neglect on this point).

    Don't feel in the least bit guilty about treating them like non-paying roommates instead of as house guests. Start cutting out all luxury/discretionary costs for these guests roommates. If they dare complain that the soap isn't perfumed, that they prefer a brand name of something, or that a dinner of beans is getting too repetitive, gently remind them that the Good Ship Green Filly was only rated seaworthy for a family of 6, and as a result of pulling in 5 additional adults is now taking on water and needs everyone to bail energetically, then ask that person which of two household chores (to be named by you) that they will take on from that point forward.

    Like 3
      • Green Filly
      • Green_Filly.3
      • 4 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Thank you! I agree, YNAB has helped me feel IN CONTROL, and I love it. Friday is even more fun now when I get to 'play' with my money and put it in my categories. I am a member of a great Baptist church who have helped my in laws a lot. They ARE looking for other places to stay but have been unable to find anything so far. 

      And YES, we always have insurance. I just wish they would have :(

      I love your ship analogy, I'm definitely going to keep that in mind!! Thank you!

      Like 1
  • If you don't feel like emptying your emergency fund, then you should at least stop contributing to it. If you stop contributing $100 per month and move that to get current on your phone bill (for example), you could get current in a bit more than 2 months! So getting current on your bills isn't necessary that far away.

    You don't necessarily need a Debt Snowball category. If you want to "force" yourself to pay more on your debt or bills, just decide which debt/bill you are going to attack and how much per month. Then add this amount to the amount you've put in the name of the category. 

    Like 1
    • Ceeses You're right, I'm going to stop my $50 a week and put that towards the bill catch up. This is why I wanted to share with yall, you have all looked at this from a different perspective and helped me see what can be made better!

      Thanks again!

      Like
  • Hi there. It looks like a lot going on with you! Kudos to you to continue trying and not just throwing your hands up in frustration (which I am sure all of us have felt like doing at some point when it seems so overwhelming!)

    One thing I noticed is that you have a category in monthly expenses for fast food and then in fun money you have an expense for restaurants. Having them in separate areas can give you a fragmented view of how much money you are actually spending eating out because you don't see them together. You might want to either put them together in one of the categories or just create one category. For our house, we have a "Just for Fun" category group which has Alcohol, Eating Out and Fun Money. Alcohol is liquor store purchase for home as well as when we go out for drinks only (after work). Eating out is fast food, sit-down restaurant and delivery. Fun money is money you get that you don't have to account for (which we don't really use anymore so it may go away). It allows us to see how much is going there and get a better handle on it.

    Also, it might be a category to reduce expenses and apply that towards your other bills. 

    Like 4
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 4 days ago
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      Green Filly

      I agree with Navy Blue Pegasus  .....unless, of course, the "restaurants" category is specifically for some kind of "date night" with your husband, just the two of you alone and away from the boisterous household.  Because, I'm thinking that even if you cut that spending back, having the option of getting out  to somewhere private and quiet, just the two of you , where you can also discuss strategic management of the evolving situation without interruption, is likely necessary for your sanity.

      Like 3
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 4 days ago
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      HappyDance We have Fast Food and Restaurants separate for that very reason. Restaurants is for special occasions, and we want to protect that from the day-to-day eating on the run.

      Like 4
    • dakinemaui HappyDance  Exactly.  I put my Convenience Meal category next to groceries, because eating out if I was unprepared to cook is a different thing than going to a restaurant to spend time with people or have a treat (I have a Dining Out category under a Relationships group).

      I know I would be very tempted to go the easy route for supper much more often if the money was all in one group.  I would subsequently miss the intentionally nice times at restaurants. Or backtrack on savings, mindlessly.

      I want to be able to make the priority evaluation at the time of the fast food decision, not the time of the social/date opportunity.  Then I'll know that getting a burrito because I don't want to do dishes means less money for whatever other category would take the hit. It's way easier to say no to the burrito (and open my freezer) than to decline a date/social/relaxing eating occasion.

      Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 4 days ago
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      Move Light Sound Life 

      I don't have a "restaurant" category, but I do separate fast-food from fine dining.  I have a Family Gifts & Events category for the fine dining stuff, and a pocket money category for gas station junk food and for when I occasionally relapse and give into an impulse for a drive-thru beverage/meal.

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life I agree with all three of you. The Restaurants and Fast Food I like to keep separate. Fast food is strictly us eating breakfast (mine is 3.59, hubby's is $5 something and then $7 something for lunch) I TRY to always bring my lunch. So it's just for our meals while at work. All dinners are generally from the grocery store.

      Restaurants I try not to even fund. But if we DO go, it's there to categorize what we have done. At this point it is only used for much needed hubby and I time like yall said! But we only do so maybe once a month. 

      So my new strategy for catching up on the bills is this! I took $150 from my EF and put $50 into my lowest three bills due. And will try and keep building them up until I have them knocked out! I'm excited. I'm still playing with my TBB money this week so I may fund them a bit more. 

      It made the most sense to me to make a separate category for them. 

      Like
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