Budget?

money tree - I wish this was real!
@ebsharer (5517)
United States
July 10, 2008 9:29am CST
How do you budget when you don't make enough to pay your bills? If your bills are about $2000.00 a month but you only bring home $1800.00 a month what do you do? How do you deal with it. In our house we have enough to pay our bills and have a little extra for spending. But I am seeing soo many people that don't have even enough to pay bills let alone go to McDonalds for a monthly treat out with the kids. So which postion are you in: Not enough to even pay the bills Just enough to pay the bills Bills are paid and have a few extra Bills are paid and we are eating steak all week Please add from there! Thanks for sharing!
9 people like this
26 responses
@Wizzywig (7859)
10 Jul 08
I'm assuming you are including grocery shopping and fuel for the car in 'bills'? Well, at the end of last month I got a tax rebate so that put me in the 'just enough' category but, this month I have had to take 2 weeks sick leave so have missed out on weekend enhancements and the chance of overtime so that will put me back in the 'not enough' bracket when I next get paid.
3 people like this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
10 Jul 08
Yeah I budget for X amount in groceries and X amount for fuel but any thing over that has to come from the 'extra' money. Needless to say we are eating a lot of pasta these days!
1 person likes this
@snowy22315 (54269)
• United States
10 Jul 08
I dont have enough income to pay the bills at this time,but since I have money in savings that's what we use. It's concerning though and I want to find a regular online job to defray costs. I dont spend alot of money. I usually shop at Aldi and dont really go out to dinner much anymore. Most of my money seems to go into the gas tank.
3 people like this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
10 Jul 08
I hear you with the gas! Its horriable. I have a compact car that gets about 28 miles to the gallon but its like my car EATS gas these days!
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17924)
• United States
10 Jul 08
Right now we fall into the Bills are paid and have a few extra category but, as the cost of everything continues to go up, it's getting tighter and tighter. My husband is on disability and I don't have overtime available unless I can explain why I stayed late so we're not in a position to increase our income by very much to compensate for the rising prices.
3 people like this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
10 Jul 08
I understand that! I have been trying every thing to increase some income. My husband is working 7 days a week right now. They are minus a few guys right now so he offered just for the money. Believe me he doesn't WANT to! I have been trying to sell on ebay but that seems to be costing me more then making me. I am having a yard sale in hopes we make enough to go on a short camping trip over Labor day weekend. Thanks for sharing!
1 person likes this
@saundyl (9690)
• Canada
10 Jul 08
Well...I have to say I'm in the position where in general the bills are paid and i have "extra" but then theres surprises like car repairs that set me back. However as i get my beef from my parents who raise cattle...steak is pretty cheap. Its things like chicken and pork i go omg you have to pay what for this???
2 people like this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
10 Jul 08
I know the feeling as soon as I think all my bills are taken care of I get a suprise bill or some thing breaks! My husband and I are lucky enough to have fairly new cars but for us its always some thing in the house! Some times I wish I rented again!
2 people like this
@saundyl (9690)
• Canada
10 Jul 08
Its always a surprise when something breaks or...they raise the prices on you bill (i hate that!) Or the propane price goes up again.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 08
As prices continue to rise on just about everything, you'll realize that many people are in the same situation that you're in...or about to be. This is what we did to get a better grip on our finances. Make a list of every single cent that you spend. Carry this list around with you and enter each time you spend money and what the expense is for. Take a look at the list at the end of each week and see what you might be able to cut out of your weekly expenses (things like buying coffee outside the house, buying lunch or a soda or 3, etc. can all be cut out of your weekly spending. I would keep track of daily expenses for at least 2 months. Other ways we've cut down on our expenses are... we have cell phones, so we drop our long distance cover on our home phone (along with all the "extras" like call-waiting) and we now pay around $14 a month for our land-line phone. During the day, we turn our air conditioner off in the summer (same with heat in the winter) We plan trips in the car to include running errands in the area we are going. Later today for instance, I'll be taking my boys to their Aunt's for the day, we'll also drop off their videos and books at the library and I'll make my trip to the Post office and stop at the grocery store on the way back to pick up the food we are going to need for the next few days. If you have children, visit the local library. Our library has events for children of all ages scheduled throughtout the summer. They're all free and my boys take out videos and books to keep them occupied. It beats going out to the store or Blockbuster and spending money. Plan on running any type of errands in the area, so you don't need to make several trips. Make money online! I have a handmade jewery store online and I make money with several free online programs. I get paid by many of them each month and the money I make pays for the internet bill and a few extras. Like one of the posts above already mentioned, it's time to tighten your financial belt. Watch where every penny goes, cut back on every single expense possible, do activities without having to use your car (board games, wiffle-ball games, etc)You don't have to be unhappy about cutting back. Our boys are having as much fun as they've had during any other summer...maybe even more fun and trying to not spend has sort of become a game for them. We've gone from a family that didn't make enough money to cover our bills, to a family that now has the money to pay the bills. Our income, other than online income, hasn't increased at all. But we are aware of our spending and getting smarter about trying to save each month. Good luck to you...I know you can do it!!!
2 people like this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
10 Jul 08
Your tips are great, but for others. As I said my house at this point is in the bills are paid there is a little extra catorgory. The question was what catorgory is YOUR household at? So its great to see that you are in the bills are paid there is a little extra catorgory. Every thing you said is greatly helpful! I do a lot of the same and some more. When I say my bills are paid I have a few extras included in there. Like one of my bills is to pay myself and pay my husband. So we at least have SOME THING in our pockets. Also included in our bills is X amount for fuel and groceries. We also have a bill called SAVINGS. Over that comes from our pockets. We have 2 bank accounts one for need and one for wants. It works out great. We know that we have to put X amount in the need account each pay check to pay our monthly bills the remainer goes in the want account for the occasional out to eat night or a holiday that requires a present. Since we started this we have had extra money each month. Anyway thanks for the helpful hints!
• Philippines
10 Jul 08
There are more and more people who are encountering financial problems. We are always told to tighten our belts. But that is easier said than done. In my case, I get to pay all my bills on time and still have extra money. I must admit though that it's getting more difficult to do this as time goes by. While it is important to remember our obligations, we should also think about other necessities.
2 people like this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
10 Jul 08
Perfect! Yes I agree with you 100%! Some times even when there isn't much money you need to buy your self some thing otherwise you can end up WAY stressed which can lead to even more issues! Thanks for sharing!
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 08
Well, shuffle the less important bills around and pay one one nonth and another one the next. If you have credit cards, call them and tell them you simply CAN NOT aford the interest rate you ahve and ask nice for them to lower your interest or get rid of it. They will usually be noce and work with you and..they would rather get OSME payment that none. CUT UP your credit cards then and never use them again. You need to learn to live IN CASH off what you make. What can you cut out? INTERNAT service for a while unitl you can aford it again? How about cable for the TV? Cel phones? Let them go. A "land line" can be gotten for 28-32 dollars a month , if you don't get long distance. (Get a phone card for long distance and use that, instead.) You have to down size. Forget the steaks! You need to think more along the lines of weenies and hamburgers for a while. It won't kill you. It does not have to be for long and could bring down the food bill until you are more fiinancially stable again. (Trust me..the kids will love oyu for it abyway! HA!-It does not have to be for long.) Here's anohter thing..can you cut out more entertainment? Like..no movies for a while? Instead, get out for more walks and garden or ride biles for entertainment. If oyu have a basketball hoop or board games, pull those out instead. And NO trips on the car (gas prices are too high) except to get food or to go to work and back. These are all good ideas to use until you get back on track. AHve a yard sale and get rid of your old stuff you won't use or need again and ut it toward your bills. You might be suprised at how much you could get out of that old junk! Time to tighten the belt! We did here and finally ahve a little left for savings. It was HARD and we felt bad at first..but now are used to it and are happier as a family without the stress. Good luck! GO for it!
2 people like this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
10 Jul 08
Okay thanks for the 'tips' as I said I am in the bills paid with a little extra catorgery right now. I know how to be thrifty so thats not an issue, but I'm sure others can learn from your response. The question was what catorgory are YOU in?
1 person likes this
@Barb42 (4216)
• United States
15 Jul 08
Right now, we fall into the bills are paid and a little extra. But things could get bad. My husband had retired, bought a big truck and was leased out. The jobs began to get slack and he had to park the truck because of the gas prices. Didn't pay enough for him to do a job and buy gas. So he got another job. I don't worry right now about paying bills or eating. But the prices are going to get to the point that nobody is going to be able to buy gas to drive to work. Then, what do people do? Those of us that live a long way from work are the ones who will be hurt more. We can grow some food, but we can't grow money.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
15 Jul 08
I was looking into taking a bus to work. And if I were to do that not only would it take me an hour to go 15 minutes but I would have to walk a quarter mile too! So it makes more sense for me to drive the 3 miles to work for now. I hear gas is going to be around 7 a gallon I guess I'll have to take the bus at that point!
@Barb42 (4216)
• United States
15 Jul 08
When you live in the country and drive to the city, it would be hard to walk or take a bus. And you can't car pool because nobody works the same hours or at the same place. My husband drives 45 mins to work and the gas prices are terrible. My daughter used to drive 35 miles each way to work. She just recently quit that job after 18 years to take a job within 5 miles of her house. The gas had gotten unbearable. She has really saved with the move although she had to take a big cut in pay, but it has paid off for her.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
16 Jul 08
I understand your daughter taking a pay cut to take a job closer. A friend of mine is looking for a new job for the same reason. She drives about 40 miles one way and it costs her about 200 a week just to fill up! She had tried to get a differnt car but no one wants her SUV as a trade in. She is totally screwed right now. If she didn't have dogs I'd offer for her to stay at my house just to help her out at least for the summer while her daughter is out of school.
• United States
13 Jul 08
steak? what's that? i fall into the not enough.so,i have learned to juggle like a madwoman,and take extra part time work when i can get it.our utilies keep voting themselves rasies,and the state is doing nothing to stop it.they just approved a ridiculous 22% raise at one time to power.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jul 08
voting themselves raises,i mean. man,i wish we could edit.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
14 Jul 08
Its okay I knew what you ment. I understand I am having the same issues. Every bill keeps going up even though I am doing every thing to get them down! During the winter my gas bill is outragious during the summer my electric is outragious. I am on the budget plan for both. It seems like I never get a break! Even my water just went up! I keep my air on the least amount possible. I don't have central air I just have window units. The ones in the bedrooms are turned off in the morning and the one on the downstairs floor only gets used when we are on that floor. I turn lights off all the time - some thing I never used to do! I actually went out and bought the energy bulbs they were expensive to buy but have helped on my electric bill. I also bought these window curtains that are surpost to keep heat during the winter and keep heat out during the summer. I know they helped during the winter I haven't really noticed them helping during the summer. Anyway I hope things get better for all of us. It seems like most are just making it.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jul 08
exactly.you try to save energy,then they just get an increase,and it wipes out the savings,so you're back to square one. i have some of the bulbs too-i love them,my hallway bulb has lasted years as compared to months,like the old type.
1 person likes this
@4ofmyown (1119)
• United States
11 Jul 08
That is a coincidence ...I just redid my budget yesterday. We have just enough to pay our bill, buy gas and groceries. That is it!!! nothing else...anything else goes on a credit card..unfortunately. I am trying to cut back on groceries and put my clothes line back up so hopefully that will help a little. I honestly do not know how people are living because the way I see it most of us aren't living we are surviving!
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
14 Jul 08
A lot of people are using credit cards just to get by these days. I know that we use them but also try to pay them off right away. The key to using a credit card is not to pay the minunm amount but as much as you can. Otherwise it will never get paid off. If you can pay $50 a month on a $10 minunm card your not only paying it off quicker but you are getting less intrest charges. Groceries are EXPENSIVE these days. We are eating more pasta. You can make any thing from pasta and it is cheap and filling.
@4ofmyown (1119)
• United States
14 Jul 08
I agree....we have been eating a ton more pasta. It seems to be buy one get one free more often so we stock up on it. I hear people say that this can't last forever but I don't think it is going to get any better anytime soon.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
14 Jul 08
I agree that things aren't going to get better any time soon. I have a feeling they are going to get a lot worse before they get better. I am hopeing that rasies some soon!!
@chertsy (3804)
• United States
16 Jul 08
Our bills was over $2,000.00 a month, luckily we finally paid off our truck. We are lucky that my husband is in the guard, an extra 200 once a month. We have enough to pay the bills and have a little left over. When we get extras left over, we put it in our savings to build interest. Now if something pops up and it costs money, we are screwed. I'm hoping now that the dentist under our health plan will work with me on a payment plan when I take my kids to see them. Ugh, when are things going to get better. Won't be long we are going to have to take out a loan to get gas and food.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
16 Jul 08
I know and getting a loan will only make things harder. We are all in about the same position. Just making it with a few extra.
@chertsy (3804)
• United States
18 Jul 08
My husband always jokes that he has to trade the kids in for gas, makes you wonder if people will actually start trading things in for gas. Before we paid off our truck and a credit card, we where in the boat, omg, how are we going to pay the bills and be able to afford food. We are hoping to slowly get out of debt. We will have to take out a loan, when my daughter goes to the dentist. We can't get better or upgraded insurance until this Nov, I found out, we have to wait for the new year starts, ugh. So dental, food, gas, school supplies, we will end up right where we started from.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jul 08
In our family we have enough to pay the bills and a little extra. I think the trick is to not get more bills then you can afford. I see so many people buying large houses and brand new cars then complaining about the bills. Sometimes what we want isnt really what we need.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
22 Jul 08
I agree - its just like credit cards. People that max out one credit card after the other are living beyond there means. We use credit cards but we also pay them off or very close to each month.
@redkathy (3375)
• United States
17 Jul 08
Used to be we had plenty to pay the bills and eat steak too. Today we have the money to pay the bills but never know what we will or won't have next month. Very nerve racking! So, I pray for my daily bread and get it, sometimes on the last day, non the less I get it. Praise God!
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
17 Jul 08
The power of prayer. Its helping a lot these days.
@taface412 (3176)
• United States
13 Jul 08
Just enough to pay bills, but having to play cathcup with past bills which couln't pay b/4....lol but still make sure I get a few extras...little ones that is.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
14 Jul 08
Just enough to pay bills seems to be where most are at this point!
@dvschic (1796)
• United States
11 Jul 08
we're the lucky ones, both of our industries are thriving and we just bought a condo. right now, i have a lil left over after bills, but thats cause i'm trying to pay down credit card debt so the big chunk of my money goes towards that... anything left over goes toward the mortgage.. try doing the lil things, recycling gets us about 50 a month, saving our change gets us $200 a quarter, coupons save us about $350 a month.. yes we're only a family of two (plus two cats) but we only eat out with a coupon, i only buy something if its on sale and i have a coupon, my mom just got laid off as did my girlfriends mom.. so we know people are struggling..
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
11 Jul 08
Our family is a family of 5. We do a lot for being a family of 5. The bills are paid and there is extra. We have a pretty good budget going. As long as things like electric and water stay about the same we won't have to change too much.
@dededede (21)
• United States
11 Jul 08
Pray. That's what you do if you are having trouble paying the bills. We are at the bills are paid and have a few extra, but sometimes it's just enough to pay the bills. Usually right right before payday it get's like that.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
11 Jul 08
I understand that! Waiting for pay day is some thing I have done for a while. I right now am a little more then a paycheck ahead so doing better then some.
@cathylmg (283)
• Singapore
11 Jul 08
Well you may considering renting out your common rooms to collect some rental so as to lighten the loads a bit. Children nned not have a room of their own. I didn't when I was young. You can also take up some partime work like for example giving tuitions or provide nanny services. Whatever you do, please do something about the bill. Do not let it roll until such an big amount, then start to act on it. It will be too late. Act now!
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
11 Jul 08
I guess you didn't finish reading the disussion either. My bills are paid I have extra money. The disucssion was about you. Where are you in this crazy economy? You you have just enough or are you fine?
• United States
10 Jul 08
We would be a "just enough to pay the bills" with a side of "sometimes things come up and we do not have enough to pay all the bills". We are a paycheck to paycheck household as most people are. I really just stopped worring about it and if things get really tight I will pay in order of precedence.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
11 Jul 08
We are lucky enough right now to be a couple paychecks ahead. I had received a bonus at work and it really helped us to get every thing paid early. So now our bills are basically paid as soon as we receive them. We know if there is one thing over our budget we will be right back to paycheck to paycheck so I am hoping that every thing is okay till the next bonus. Then I will have a little bit for an emergency fund and be able to breath releif!
@Winter08 (441)
• Canada
10 Jul 08
I'm in the "enough to pay the bills with a bit extra" ... but only if nothing breaks down. I was in the "bills are paid and we are eating steak" (except I don't really like steak). For me the "steak" was being able to buy books, books, and more books. Love my books!!! I has been very interesting and self-educational, this transition I have been making between "lots" and "not so much". But the trade off has been worth it. I am learning what really matters for me. And I am enjoying puttering in my yard and around the house. I will be increasing my cash flow as I get back into work mode. But, for the time being, I am enjoying my luxury of doing whatever the mood moves me to do.
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
10 Jul 08
Well I understand your if nothing breaks comment I am pretty much the same way. Just a little hint you have to do some thing for your self every once in a while even when things are hard. Check out your local dollar stores for some new books. I always find one or two for a dollar. Can't go wrong there!
1 person likes this
@applefreak (3131)
• Singapore
30 Jul 08
well i'll reduce my bill to $1,800. that's the logical thing to do right? there must be something that i can do to reduce my bills. for example, i can start getting generic brands instead of good brands. i can also cancel my cable subscription or change to the lowest plan. if i've done everything i could and i still can't afford my bills, i'll take on a second job to make ends meet. i'm grateful to say that i'm under the third category. the bills are paid and have a few extra. not much but at least i won't stress out too much worrying about the bills. it's not an easy journey and i've been through days that i worry a lot about the bills. i'm frugal just so that i can have the few extra to prepare for rainy days. cheeres ;p