Y’All Said You’d Help...So Here’s My Problem!


New member
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.
We want to get pregnant this year but I refuse to do so until I’m financially stable.

That ... is a really good idea. You would really want to start a pregnancy when you're out of debt (except mortgage), when you have roughly $10k in savings, and when you have like $500 or so extra money in your budget that you can then later use for the expenses that come with having a child.

Also, this may be a motivation for you to really get your shit together, so that you can actually become a (responsible) parent at some point.

Finally: please research whether your physical problems or the medication that you use for it will cause problems for your child due to it being exposed to it while in the womb.
@marcod It is difficult to find quality studies on marijuana in pregnancy, partially due to the fact that you need a cohort of pregnant marijuana users and partially because when you find those people there are a lot of confounders, like tobacco use. That being said, marijuana does cross the placental barrier and is found in breast milk. It is believed to be associated with pre-term birth, stillbirth, and birth defects. There is also evidence that would support a negative impact on brain development but again, research on that is hard to come by.

One study

The good news is that a pelvic floor disorder is most likely not an indication for medical marijuana and there are probably more efficacious medications you can have that will be okay during pregnancy.
@resjudicata I keep telling people about my Virgin Mobile plan. Paid for my phone outright, currently using a Galaxy J7 ($200) which is not fancy but good enough. Unlimited phone, text, and data ( throttled after 1G/ month) for $35/month. I thought that was great until I got my wife a Pixel ($800 outright) and Google Fi for about the same or less price per month. I really don't understand why folks pay so much for cell phones if they have wifi at home.
@majid500 Yeah, Fi user here. You can find a used 5X for less than 200 if you look hard. Then sign up for 2GB/mo plan and they refund you for data you don't use. It's pretty freaking amazing. Wife and I usually pay between 50-70/mo combined. They recently added USC as a carrier so coverage/performance is usually awesome. They also give an xmas gift every year :)
@bradleycoleman2 I strongly advise against buying LG 5x or Nexus 6P. Both have a lot of problems and unreliable.(5x had not loop problem with almost every unit and 6P had horrible battery). I would recommend Nexus 6 or pixel first generation.
@majid500 You had me at 1Gb/month for $35

No thanks I’ll stick with my 7Gb/month for $40 (AT&T).

Some people don’t work in places that don’t offer wifi.
@majid500 Yea, crazy to think their phone payment is a mortgage payment and a half...

But when you accept that you don't need the newest iPhone (buy a 6S for 200 on swappable) you can still have a nice iPhone and pay way less on an mvno.
@resjudicata I pay $30 ($33.13 with taxes and fees) a month with T-Mobile for 100 minutes, unlimited texts, 5gb of 4G internet (Netflix, YouTube, etc don't count toward this). Get a Google voice number and the minute limit doesn't even matter. This is a prepaid plan that I brought an outside phone to.

I don't see any reason to pay what OP is paying.
@sloopidyboop Set the term end-date on your calendar and do not renew. The credit card debt you have will be there for at least a year, so you'll need to be findings ways to cut costs for years to come.
@sloopidyboop You can still call and ask them to lower your bill. There are some carriers that will reimburse you the early termination cost if you switch to them. Point out to the rep on the phone what other carriers are charging and politely ask for a discount (politely but firmly)
@sloopidyboop Ok. Deep breaths. This is something you can handle.

This is a tough spot but very doable to climb your way out. The biggest thing will be figuring out where your money is going. Your budget looks like a surplus of $500 every month but your credit cards say you are spending far more than that. If you were just breaking even, credit cards would be st zero. Obviously there are expenses you are not accounting for.

Most important first step. Either pen and paper, some kind of app, or a shared Google doc, you and hubby need to start writing down every single penny you spend so you can actually see where your money is going and where you can save.

Do y'all usually get much of a tax return? If you do, two things. One, use that money towards debt, not some luxury for the household. Also, change your withholding so that you bring home more every paycheck and won't get a return next year. A little more each month can make a big difference.

It would help to know the debt and equity on your home and how the deal is structured with your father in law. I know you said you would not give up the house. This is still a very large part of the equation and must be looked at. Perhaps there us some savings possible while keeping the house.

It would also help to know the kbb value of your car that you owe 7k on and if your family has a second vehicle.

If you can make a couple cuts and either you, your husband or preferably both find a way to bring in a bit more each month you will climb out of this quickly. You just need to keep better track of your expenses and the way out will become clear.

Make a plan and stick to it and soon you will be financially stable, a child in your arms, and a secure retirement in your future. You need to remember that when cutting luxeries such as eating out seems too painful or tracking spending seems too stressful. You have a bright, beautiful future ahead of you. There is just some assembly required.

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