How are you all surviving with just one income?

Raylene - posted on 09/02/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I was laid off when I was four months pregnant with my fourth child. I delivered in october of 08, went through school to get my Medical Billing/coding cirtificate, (got it) now where are the jobs? I think ive done all I could to cut down. My husband is the only income coming in. It was working out great for a year (cant believe we made it) and all of a sudden we start getting disconnection notices and threats to take the truck away. Any ideas on what else I can do to keep my family a float at least till I get me a J O B.?

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Sherese - posted on 09/04/2009

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Kelly I fully understand the whole riding a bike to work thing. My husband started riding his bike to work and I only drive the car when I absolutely have to. Him riding the bike works double duty, he gets to and from work and he is getting in shape in the process. We are a military family, but we are not out of the woods on this whole recession thing. We learned years ago how to live on less. When my husband first joined the military he was not getting paid much, we decided then that we would learn to live on his little bit of pay and 10 years later we never have any bills that go beyond what he made when he first joined the military...the pay raises, etc. go straigh to savings. We have never seen the money and therefor do not rely on it. But we have been smart about our purchases. I buy meat in BULK, we have learned to love chicken, ground beef dishes. I make casaroles and my husband and I have whats left over for lunch the next day. We don't have cable, minimal phone plan, pre-paid cell phones for emergencies only and We rent movies for free from the local library. We stopped going to the movie theatre years ago. To cut down on electric bill and water bill we keep all curatins and blinds open during the day so we don't have to flip a switch everytime we enter a room and the kids alternate days on showers (every other day). We only do laundry on saturdays and since my kids are young, if they wear jeans they can get at least one more wear out of them before they go in to the laundry. When their pants start to rise up at the ankles, I turn my daughters old pants into carpis and my sons pants into shorts. This saves a lot of money on buying summer clothes. I buy their winter clothes in the summer while they are on sale and vice versa. I buy shoes at least 1/2 to 1 full size bigger that way they get as much time in them as possible. My daughter is a serious tomboy so when my son grows out of certain clothes they straight to her. My kids are no stranger to pants with patches, etc. I can't bring myself to pay for jeans that look like somone has already worn them out, so I go t the thrift store and buy pants and patch them up with nifty looking patches that the kids like. When they get a whole in the knee or the edges start to fray I Just say, hey they are in style - for free. We absolutely do not eat out, I can make chicken nuggets and burgers at home for way less. I don't order pizza , we make it at home and I don't buy soda or other unnecessary items like candy. My husband always jokes the as frugle as we are we could be Amish (lol). With the holidays coming up we always have friends and family over for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but instead of splurging and trying to host the entire event we always have a Pot luck style gathering. For Christmas the kids already know that they will be getting THREE gifts from mom and dad, and other items from grandparents, and aunts/uncles. They pick their top ten items and hubby and I pick what we are willing to buy from the list and then we pass the list on to family members. There are ways to make it work, just be creative and don't be afraid to ask for assistance....WIC was my best friend with both of my children. If you can not find a job in your field, try going to your local Mc'Donalds, Wal-Mart, etc. Just until you get caught up, I know some people don't want to work in these places, but when you have a family you have to what is best for them not your ego. Good Luck and I wish you the best.

Kelly - posted on 09/03/2009

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it could not have been working out if now you are getting disconnect notices. That is a tough situation. I say sell the truck and get something much cheaper and older. trucks are a bitch on gas anyway. maybe have your hubby ride a bike to work if the weather is good enough and he doesn't have to travel more than 10 miles. cut everything that is not a necessity. internet can be found cheap or free, check around with different companies to get the best phone and internet plan. stick with 1 phone, whatever is cheaper. either cell or home phone but not both. put a hold on the kids RESP and your RRSP. shop at stores that accept airmiles and use them so that when you ant a night out you will have enough airmiles points to pay for movie tickets or a dinner certificate. My partner and I have been doing this and it has worked out well. we went from spending $60 on dinner and a movie to spending $10-15.
Make as much stuff as you can at home. I make a universal baking called master mix and it keeps well in a sealed container, from it you cake make muffins, cookies, buns, pretty much anything. I also make my own mixes like sauces and dressings. I have some great mix recipes if you are interested and they actually will save you money because you will not be buying packaged cookies, muffins, Alfredo sauces, cheese whiz or anything like that. to cut down on milk try using half powdered milk with half fresh milk. Buy frozen OJ instead of prepared. take advantage of local produce programs. We have a program where we pay $17 and get 2 weeks worth of fresh fruits and veggies (for 3 people). If you do not have a slow cooker you should get one, you can buy the budget cuts of meat that are very tough and slow cook them so thy taste like tenderloin!
For household cleaners make your own from things like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.
If your children are needing new clothing and things like that check out sites like kijiji and freecycle where you can get things for free. I have gotten a playpen, swing, exersaucer and tons of baby clothing from freecycle and when I was done I passed them on to someone else in need.
Do you have anything you can sell? extra T.V, old kids clothing or baby gear? old furniture, books or movies?
Some ways you can make money is by baby sitting in your home. even 1 child on occasion brings in some extra cash. get a paper route and do it as a family. if you decide to keep the truck you can offer to haul loads to the dump or to help people move. Lots of students do that where I am from and they make a decent living from it.

Tamika - posted on 09/03/2009

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Try getting a job at a restruant as a server or hostess. We are in a recession but the food service indusrty has a 150% turnover rate, which means they are always hiring, especially now cuz the college students are going back. Its not a 9-5 but it will still feed the kids.



As for me Im a singal mother of two so I have been living Below the poverty line since I was 19. This recession has no effect on me. As for medical billing there are thousands of jobs for it at least here in NY.

Robbyn - posted on 09/03/2009

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A lot of what we do might not help now, but you may think about changing some things in the future.

Firstly, we bought our house for $40,000 and fixed it up for another $30,000. Because of that, or mortgage is way less than half of most people we know.

We don't have car payments. We saved and paid for our cars in full.

We cloth diaper.

I cook from scratch. Convenience foods, even a box of mac & cheese, cost WAY more than the basic ingredients to make your own. We don't drink anything but water and home brewed iced tea. I grow most of our produce in the summer.

Coupons, coupons, coupons.

We don't have cable. We watch our favorite shows online and borrow movies from the library.

All of our furniture, with the exception of mattresses, was bought second hand. It takes a little longer to pick and choose the good pieces, but our house looks GOOD.

We don't have a house phone, and we're on a family cell phone plan with DH's brother and sister in law. We pay $60/month for both of our phones.

DH makes only slightly above the average income for our area, but because we've never chosen to live beyond our means, we save quite a bit of money each month. He was laid off for 6 months this year, and we survived just fine with his unemployment benefits even though they were about half of what he normally makes.

Stacey - posted on 09/03/2009

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If you want to look for a job, post on monster.com. Check into temp agencies around your area, most are looking for temp to hire. As for money issues, coupons are the best thing in the world. And there are some things that are cheaper if you buy in bulk at sam's club or costco. And for my son's clothing, I shop at yard sales, goodwill, salvation army, any second hand store, and I also do a lot of clearance rack shopping. Layaways help for holidays, if the store offers it. Good luck!!!!

Jamie - posted on 09/02/2009

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Chantel makes a good point. WIC was a savior when I was a single parent. And get rid of what you dont need to survive. We are a 2 family income and we still keep things to a minimum. We havent had cable since February cause Im cheap and refuse to spend the money on it. DH got rid of his cellphone for a long time and we got a house phone. It was much cheaper and its just a basic line nothing fancy. He just recently got a phone when we got rid of one car and he bought a used truck out right, so no car payment.

Christina - posted on 09/02/2009

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i feel like im in your same shoes! we are living the same way after my boyfriend got a bacterial infection that almost killed him in oct of last yr & almost killed him. im the only 1 working, we have 3 kids, a lot of bills & it seems like they just dont stop rolling in. ive never had to live on a budget-ever. i have a great paying job & now ive learned to cut coupons in the sunday papers & go through the buy 1 get 1's in the papers. also based on your income & your household you should qualify for assistance. i found myself crying this afternoon because i cant shop & drop cash like i used to lol but i think everything happens for a reason. ive learned to budget & tell my kids no. good luck! :)

Chantel - posted on 09/02/2009

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I'm sorry to here a/b the great efforts made to only end up at square one. U might want to check into WIC it will help with food(eggs, milk, cereal, peanut butter, and juice). Shopping with coupons and calling the companies sending the disconnect notices and negotiating with them to put u on a payment plan or get what assistance they may offer I know that our power company gives us the option to donate a little xtra to help families who may be struggling. Also u might want to consider a budget . I have us on one first I plan out our meals until nxt paychk then I budget for meals leaving out extra snacks unless u end up w/ xtra. Factor in gas for the vehicles and of course electric and rent/ house paymt alot of times we're really tight but we make it and my kids are taken care of.

Ashley - posted on 09/02/2009

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I would cut down to the absolute essentials. My family lives on one income but by choice. I use coupons on just about everything we do. I don't buy everything name brand...usually everything is just about the same...you pay for a name...you could see if you could get government help as far as food stamps or anything if you are to that point. That's what it's there for...when there's no choice. Good Luck!!

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