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I’m ashamed to be posting this, but ready to change, and hope that I can get some non-judgmental help. I had posted a few months back about getting a financial advisor and whether or not it was worth it, but so many people reached out and said this sub could help that I decided against it. So, here it is. I am a full-time teacher and own two special needs dogs. My husband owns our home with his father (who does not live here, but helped us acquire the home loan). My mother is a compulsive gambler and has declared bankruptcy 4 times. I really, really, really don’t want to end up there. We have no savings and with maxed-out credit cards, we are usually flat broke at the end of each month. It looks like we have about $500 leftover each month, and we probably spend most of that eating out. So my first goal is to completely cut out eating out. It’s a very bad habit that I’m ready to break. Two things I will not budge on are: costs for my dogs, and leaving my home. I am really open to any other ideas. I am working on getting a second job, so that would be helpful, but for now, here’s our income and expenses. My husband and I each take home (after taxes) $1200 bi-weekly. We are paid on the same week, so the funds seem to disappear rather quickly.

So our monthly, take-home pay is $4800/month

Monthly Expenses: Mortgage: $1690 Phone: $250 Groceries: $600 Dog food/care: $350-450 Utilities (heat, water, elec): ~$200 Internet: $90 (only provider in area) Car payment: $250 Car insurance: $120 Medications: $150 (I am a medical marijuana patient due to a pelvic floor disorder) Gas: $140 All credit card payments (minimum): $400

Outstanding Debt: $600 water bill $4,800 credit card #1 $500 credit card #2 $900 credit card #3 (no interest if paid off by March) $900 credit card #4 (his) $2800 credit card #5 (his) $300 store credit card $150 store credit card $7k owed on car

Again, I’m embarrassed and understand that I got myself into a really awful situation. I’m 27 and not ready to live the rest of my life like this. We want to get pregnant this year but I refuse to do so until I’m financially stable. Thanks in advance.

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92 comments
11 points · 8 months ago

Check out /r/EatCheapAndHealthy for great, tasteful options. Pro tip: start slow. If you go on a spending spree to acquire all the spices and bulk purchases they recommend it can be a big financial hit. Pick one or two recipes, learn how to handle those and acquire the ingredients and tools you need slowly. That will help you kick the restaurant habit and turn restaurant meals back into a special occasion for you.

If you are a teacher, you are very well positioned for tutoring, coaching, or after school work which can be remunerative. Additionally it is a better professional fit that working retail or other options - there's no embarrassment to be had in meeting a parent of one of your curent students when you're tutoring.

Third, check out https://unbury.me/ and enter your current debts. That will permit you to evaluate various payment strategies and schedules to see what can be doable for you. I'm concerned that you aren't listing the credit card interest rate - are you unaware of it? Stop using your credit cards immediately until you can pay them all down to zero. Credit cards should be used for convenience, purchase protection and points - not to finance a lifestyle.

Fourth, make a real budget. You mention you overspend on restaurants but don't list restaurant charges in your finances. Use a tool like mint.com, ynab.com , or a spreadsheet to account for every penny of income, expense, debt and assets.

As for your dogs' special needs and personal medical situation, re-evaluate what you're paying and shop around for different options. Often people find that you can maintain the same quality of care with different options. You're spending over $100/wk on your dogs, which is $5200 a year. I treat my dogs pretty special too and I would struggle to figure out how to spend that much on them. If, for example, you're paying for grooming try and figure out how to do your own grooming at home. Your dogs will appreciate the time with you and if they don't end up perfectly coiffed, they don't care and with practice you'll get better. (I once dyed my dog blue trying to whiten its fur. The dog did not notice. I got better at it.)

Additionally you are paying $340 for phone and internet. Wow. Start bargain hunting, check out /r/cordcutters , cheap phone providers like https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/utilities/cheap-cell-phone-plans/ , etc. Often people think they need smartphones or that it is a requirement of their job; you don't need a smartphone and if your job requires a phone they can pay for it.

You don't list out any retirement funds,emergency funds, health care savings... ? This is an issue.

Delaying pregnancy and childbirth until you've got your financial house in order is wise. Your child will benefit from being in a financially stable home, and you will be better able to afford a parental leave of absence from work and usual loss in salary that results.

Good luck, stick around for continued advice and I hope someday you will see you have improved your financial skills enough to help advise others!

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Original Poster5 points · 8 months ago

I should also note that I am tutoring, and didn’t factor that in. I’m making $120 a month cash from a local family. I also get side gigs resume writing and stuff. I’m in the second leg of the interviewing process with a company that would add nearly $500 take-home a week to my income. Cross your fingers and toes for me please.

Blaming is natural, but right now not helpful. You can do this. But you must concentrate on it.

Figure out which bill you can delay paying with least harm, and use that money for groceries. Be mindful that you're still digging yourself deeper -- but starvation isn't going to help.

Rice is a great, cheap, staple. It keeps for long periods if you put it in plastic or glass or metal containers (rather than the plastic bag it comes in). Rice and beans gives you protein and carbohydrates.

Rice and a little cinnamon and sugar gives you a nice dessert.

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Original Poster2 points · 8 months ago

Thank you. I have more than enough in my cabinets. It’s just the over-spender in me wanting to stock them up with even more shit. I’m actually excited to go through my pantry tomorrow and meal plan based on what I have.

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Disclaimer: longtime lurker, need some advice.

My work offers a 403(b) program. I am a teacher so my retirement savings is at 11%, but I just learned of the other retirement plan (403b) that they offer through an outside company. First things first - is that a good investment? I’m starting small, with $30 a week, but will eventually add more weekly as I can afford it.

Secondly, the retirement guy offers financial advising for $100 a month. He basically micromanages all of my money (I have a lot of credit card debt - ~$8,000 and student loans about to kick in) and helps me find areas of trouble and build a savings. We want to have a kid in the next year or two, and I refuse to do so until I am financially stable. Is this a good idea? His contract states that I can opt out any time, and he will refund all fees I have paid, whether it was 1 month or 12 months. It seems pretty risk-free, but I’m still uneasy about it.

Thanks!!

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8 comments
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Today I found out that my high school psychologist died. He was mowing his lawn when a garbage truck lost control and killed him. This man is irreplaceable. We've talked regularly since I graduated in 2008. He took me to dinner when I conquered my fear and got my license. He texted me every holiday. He never saw me as a burden. He was the man who would've walked me down the aisle had my dad not been able to. He helped me accept and cope with my mental illness. He answered calls of panic at 3 in he morning even if he had work the next morning. I haven't had to deal with this much pain without having him help me through it. He's the only one I want to talk to. I'm heartbroken. I meant to send him pictures from my honeymoon last week and forgot. And now he's gone. I need some guidance. I'm crushed.

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2 comments

I'm so sorry, I know the kind of relationship you mean, I have a similar one with my highschool councillor.

1) I can't recommend counseling enough, you have lost a friend, and from the sound of it a parent figure. When I lost my Grandpa I went, it really helped me.

2) lean on your friends, that's what there here for they will understand. Just tell them how you feel

3) let yourself be sad, this will take time but you can learn to live with it.

I hope some of this can help, best of luck.

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Original Poster1 point · 11 months ago

This absolutely helps. Thank you so much! Take care.

Went on my honeymoon to Cork and Clifden in July and there was only about three rain showers the whole week! Best weather ever!!!

Happy birthday beautiful girl!

u/royalblue422
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