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!
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:
$50 fast food
$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!!
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.
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.
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...
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
guestsroommates. 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.
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.
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.