Author Topic: No savings till now, found MMM last week, would like to alter my lifestyle  (Read 34328 times)

Sibley

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General stuff:


Track every penny that you spend for several months to make sure that you plug any holes. Mint, YNAB, excel, Quicken, pen and paper, whatever you have and free options only.
No clothes buying. Free entertainment.
Do you and your wife have separate insurance policies? I'm not clear on that. Every insurance company I've heard of gives discounts for multiple policies.
Look at Dave Ramsey's stuff for getting out of debt.
DIY home repairs and energy efficiency efforts. There's a lot of little things you can do to tighten up a house that are easy and cheap but pay off.
Turn the heat down and wear proper clothes. (You're cold, put on a sweater.).
Ask your wife to help keep you honest here, then when she calls you out don't get angry, thank her and fix it. It'll help show her you're serious and will help you change your habits.
Meal plan. Don't waste food. Make sure to eat what you have instead of buying more food.

Keep at it, it'll become habit and you won't miss the old spendypants lifestyle.

HairyUpperLip

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Do you eat daal?

Daal and rice makes a cheap lunch and your wife can make daal in bulk.
I don't want this thread to digress, but the above sentence really grates on me (and I'm a guy).  Why can't he make daal in bulk for both of them to take for lunch? 

Sometimes following culture and traditions is good, and other times not.

We share all household work. My wife is awesome at cooking. I clean up after, do the dishes, mop the floors etc., I sometimes cook too, when she is tired or doesnt want to cook but I am a below average cook and can only cook a few items :-)

Making my spouse feel inferior or making her to do designated household work basing on gender was never a part of our culture or tradition.

I am always more than happy to take work load of her and do all the house hold work, whenever I am working from home and she does the same when she is working from home.
I did not imply so. I was responding to the different poster above..


lol - well the culture I originate from actually holds women as equals and gives them rights that are equal to men. Also we regard them highly for being the givers of life.  I just assumed the guy wasn't good at cooking, honestly. :)


mm1970

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Thank you Everyone!!!!

1) I brought leftovers for lunch and will continue to pack lunch. I am inspired by the above posts (packing 3-4 lunches/for kids etc.,) and thought I can do it and will do it.

2) I will pay off my credit cards first, then part of my car loan required to sell it and then to my cousin. My cousing is okay with me paying $100 a month from now rather than $1000 a month. He wants me to pay $100 a month, so that I will not forget about him, sounds like a good plan to me.

3) I am planning to be debt free by the end of this year (except for mortgage) and then start saving for my future.

Thanks again for your wonderful comments and suggestions. If anyone is interested, I will update this thread as I progress and also ask for more suggestions.

I was going to come here and harp on you on eating out. Seriously.

I wasn't going to harp on you for helping your mom though. One of my best friends sends money to her parents in China.  It's definitely a cultural thing and I'm glad you are helping your mother out. 

I also don't blame your wife for not loaning you money.

On the lunches thing - always remember peanut butter sandwiches.  I pack lunch every day for myself, 4x a week for my 3rd grader.  I make sure that we have leftovers, or lunch makings for my husband (he packs his own).  But sometimes I run out and there's ALWAYS peanut butter sandwiches.  I had an Indian coworker here who was even more frugal than me.
1.  He didn't drive.  He rode his bike or walked.  He didn't even have a driver's license!  He learned to drive at 31 and bought an old Camry.
2.  He was a vegetarian and ate peanut butter sandwiches every day for months.

Oh, and you can learn to cook.  My husband did ALLLL the cooking for our first 9 years together. I  didn't learn until I was almost 32.  It's worth it to learn how to cook just a few things.

One other thing - 1100 sf house - 2 BR I assume? I'd consider getting a roommate to bring in rent money.

intirb

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Thank you for taking time to respond to my post. I should have been more clear in my previous post. It is my decision not to borrow money from her till I change my lifestyle. She packs her lunch, while i eat out everyday. She bought a preowned car, (though it is 2013) for almost 5k less than KBB value, while I bought a flashy new car which can accomodate 2 grown adults (scion fr-s) and doesnt even work in New England winters due to its RWD.

She shares all the information about her 401k, savings accounts and motivates me to save atleast half of what she is saving. I used to nod and forget about it. That is why I do not have any idea about her savings. She provided for both of us when we were dating back in 2011 for complete one year, when i was unemployed. So, I want to change my lifestyle, clear off my credit cards, cousin debt and sell the car this year and then discuss about our finances together.

Your wife clearly understands how to manage finances - why not just give her control of your income and let her set you a budget?  If she's good at money and you're not, then it seems to me that you should both take advantage of her skills in this area.

wrangler05

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Thank you Everyone!!!!

1) I brought leftovers for lunch and will continue to pack lunch. I am inspired by the above posts (packing 3-4 lunches/for kids etc.,) and thought I can do it and will do it.

2) I will pay off my credit cards first, then part of my car loan required to sell it and then to my cousin. My cousing is okay with me paying $100 a month from now rather than $1000 a month. He wants me to pay $100 a month, so that I will not forget about him, sounds like a good plan to me.

3) I am planning to be debt free by the end of this year (except for mortgage) and then start saving for my future.

Thanks again for your wonderful comments and suggestions. If anyone is interested, I will update this thread as I progress and also ask for more suggestions.

I was going to come here and harp on you on eating out. Seriously.

I wasn't going to harp on you for helping your mom though. One of my best friends sends money to her parents in China.  It's definitely a cultural thing and I'm glad you are helping your mother out. 

I also don't blame your wife for not loaning you money.

On the lunches thing - always remember peanut butter sandwiches.  I pack lunch every day for myself, 4x a week for my 3rd grader.  I make sure that we have leftovers, or lunch makings for my husband (he packs his own).  But sometimes I run out and there's ALWAYS peanut butter sandwiches.  I had an Indian coworker here who was even more frugal than me.
1.  He didn't drive.  He rode his bike or walked.  He didn't even have a driver's license!  He learned to drive at 31 and bought an old Camry.
2.  He was a vegetarian and ate peanut butter sandwiches every day for months.

Oh, and you can learn to cook.  My husband did ALLLL the cooking for our first 9 years together. I  didn't learn until I was almost 32.  It's worth it to learn how to cook just a few things.

One other thing - 1100 sf house - 2 BR I assume? I'd consider getting a roommate to bring in rent money.

I am learning to cook and can cook specific dishes, but somehow they all end up below average if my wife is not around to suggest.

1100 sf house - 4 bed , 2 bath - I thought of getting a roommate, but My wife is not willing to share our house with a stranger(m or f). If I clear off my debt and live a mustachian lifestyle, I think a roommate would not be necessary.

wrangler05

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Thank you for taking time to respond to my post. I should have been more clear in my previous post. It is my decision not to borrow money from her till I change my lifestyle. She packs her lunch, while i eat out everyday. She bought a preowned car, (though it is 2013) for almost 5k less than KBB value, while I bought a flashy new car which can accomodate 2 grown adults (scion fr-s) and doesnt even work in New England winters due to its RWD.

She shares all the information about her 401k, savings accounts and motivates me to save atleast half of what she is saving. I used to nod and forget about it. That is why I do not have any idea about her savings. She provided for both of us when we were dating back in 2011 for complete one year, when i was unemployed. So, I want to change my lifestyle, clear off my credit cards, cousin debt and sell the car this year and then discuss about our finances together.

Your wife clearly understands how to manage finances - why not just give her control of your income and let her set you a budget?  If she's good at money and you're not, then it seems to me that you should both take advantage of her skills in this area.

frankly, I didnt realize how deep I am drowned in debt untill a few weeks ago. I lived from pay check to pay check.

Now, I want to change my lifestyle. I want to do it on my own, if I fail then I will do as you suggested. But first, I want to give it my best to alter my lifestyle and spending habits

Cookie78

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Thank you for taking time to respond to my post. I should have been more clear in my previous post. It is my decision not to borrow money from her till I change my lifestyle. She packs her lunch, while i eat out everyday. She bought a preowned car, (though it is 2013) for almost 5k less than KBB value, while I bought a flashy new car which can accomodate 2 grown adults (scion fr-s) and doesnt even work in New England winters due to its RWD.

She shares all the information about her 401k, savings accounts and motivates me to save atleast half of what she is saving. I used to nod and forget about it. That is why I do not have any idea about her savings. She provided for both of us when we were dating back in 2011 for complete one year, when i was unemployed. So, I want to change my lifestyle, clear off my credit cards, cousin debt and sell the car this year and then discuss about our finances together.

Your wife clearly understands how to manage finances - why not just give her control of your income and let her set you a budget?  If she's good at money and you're not, then it seems to me that you should both take advantage of her skills in this area.

frankly, I didnt realize how deep I am drowned in debt untill a few weeks ago. I lived from pay check to pay check.

Now, I want to change my lifestyle. I want to do it on my own, if I fail then I will do as you suggested. But first, I want to give it my best to alter my lifestyle and spending habits

I think it's not only awesome, but imperative that you try to figure this out on your own. And as a bonus, you have your wife's moral support and knowledge to rely on if you stumble.

dodojojo

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Sruvari, congrats to you.  I have a family member who is lifelong mooch and in debt up to eyeballs and never learns or changes.  So what you are doing is admirable.  I wish you the best.

wrangler05

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I think it's not only awesome, but imperative that you try to figure this out on your own. And as a bonus, you have your wife's moral support and knowledge to rely on if you stumble.

Sruvari, congrats to you.  I have a family member who is lifelong mooch and in debt up to eyeballs and never learns or changes.  So what you are doing is admirable.  I wish you the best.

Thank you!!!

dodojojo

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He has less than zero dollars to support his parents with. Every dollar he sends them has an opportunity cost of paying down debt. It can be justifiable to borrow money and pay credit card interest on it for your parents but if you can reduce or delay it at all then it would help a lot.

He and his wife earn a good living. As other posters have pointed out, he has many, many ways to cut his spending and trim his debt.  He's in a bad situation now but not one that can not be solved with some sensible adjustments to living and spending standards.  My point is if he has 15 ways to do all of this, maybe support to mom should be option #15 rather option #2 or 3.  Maybe cutting off his MOTHER should be pretty low on the priority list.  But as I pointed out in my original post, cutting mom off was mentioned pretty much right at the beginning of the thread as the first 2 or 3 options.  My brain has a problem processing that.

waffle

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Didn't see it mentioned anywhere else yet, but why doesn't your wife pay off her credit cards now? between her monthly surplus and her large savings there is no reason for her to carry a balance especially not for 4 more months. Its just costing her interest. Unless she just got the card and is in a 0% period then disregard my comment here.


DW bills:
car payment: $300 ( 2013 VW Jetta, she will pay off her car in another 4 months)
car insurance: $100
credit cards: $100 ($5k total credit, $2k debt, she will pay it off in another 4 months)
parents: $400 (same as me)
phone : $65 (she is project lead, and also needs unlimited talk, data with good network coverage)

total: $965


wrangler05

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Didn't see it mentioned anywhere else yet, but why doesn't your wife pay off her credit cards now? between her monthly surplus and her large savings there is no reason for her to carry a balance especially not for 4 more months. Its just costing her interest. Unless she just got the card and is in a 0% period then disregard my comment here.


DW bills:
car payment: $300 ( 2013 VW Jetta, she will pay off her car in another 4 months)
car insurance: $100
credit cards: $100 ($5k total credit, $2k debt, she will pay it off in another 4 months)
parents: $400 (same as me)
phone : $65 (she is project lead, and also needs unlimited talk, data with good network coverage)

total: $965


Yes, She just got her $2.5 Credit card and it is 0% APR for next 12 months.

Write Thyme

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I'd love to see more updates from you. I'm glad that you have taken everyone's advice and are working your way out of your hole.

And I want to apologize if I offended you in any way in suggesting cutting off support to your mother. I didn't know the background behind it. I think what you're doing is very admirable. My mother is very bad with money, and she doesn't feel bad taking money from her children. If she just made some changes she could support herself on her own but refuses to. From now on I'll take cultural differences into account before suggesting cutting off financial support to parents before knowing the entire story.

N

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Id like to say that I dont think there is nothing wrong with sending money to parents, or tithing, or charity-
the problem is when youre hair is on fire and you are essentially borrowing money to do those things. If you dont want to cut something parental support, you better cut everything else. nothing that is totally unnecesary. thats the sacrifice. if and when  you get out of debt, then the rules change.

I think most people in the thread are not objecting to the idea of parental support. Its the situation that the OP is in, overspending, debt emergency, etc.

you might consider keeping a journal on the forum. its a great way to get encouragement and support. There is a real community there.

wrangler05

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I'd love to see more updates from you. I'm glad that you have taken everyone's advice and are working your way out of your hole.

And I want to apologize if I offended you in any way in suggesting cutting off support to your mother. I didn't know the background behind it. I think what you're doing is very admirable. My mother is very bad with money, and she doesn't feel bad taking money from her children. If she just made some changes she could support herself on her own but refuses to. From now on I'll take cultural differences into account before suggesting cutting off financial support to parents before knowing the entire story.

No, you did not offend me. You shared  your opinion. I am really amazed with lot of valuable responses I got in very less time on this forum. I am very happy that all of you took some time, read my post and gave your suggestions. Some suggestions might work, some might not depending on my personal commitments/preferences.

Please keep sharing suggestions, I really got a starting point by joining this forum.

BTW, this is my second consecutive day packing lunch and DW is really surprised today. Thanks @MrsPete for giving that extra push :-)

wrangler05

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Id like to say that I dont think there is nothing wrong with sending money to parents, or tithing, or charity-
the problem is when youre hair is on fire and you are essentially borrowing money to do those things. If you dont want to cut something parental support, you better cut everything else. nothing that is totally unnecesary. thats the sacrifice. if and when  you get out of debt, then the rules change.

I think most people in the thread are not objecting to the idea of parental support. Its the situation that the OP is in, overspending, debt emergency, etc.

you might consider keeping a journal on the forum. its a great way to get encouragement and support. There is a real community there.

Yes, you are right. lot of people objected parental support as diverting that amount towards credit cards or car payment will get me out of debt in less time. I really appreciate their concern and suggestions. So, I cleared again in another post that my mom really needs that money.

Can you please tell me how to keep a journal on this forum? I will search in other posts too as to how to keep a journal. Thanks!

HairyUpperLip

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Just make a thread in this section -

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/

wrangler05

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Retired To Win

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It would be better if you and your wife could work together as a married couple.  Recommend combing yourselves financially and working towards your goals as a family instead of separately.

+1

Crazy situation that would be even crazier if you have children together... yet not only don't have combined finances, but don't know what the other person has as far as money/assets? Yikes.

Now, lookee here!

My wife and I run our finances EXACTLY as the OP explained in his original post.  We've done it that way for 23 years.  It works.

Just what state do you think the OP's marriage would be in now if they had combined their finances at marriage and he had continued to spend money like a drunken sailor while his wife pulled her hair out by the roots and resented him more and more and more???

THINK!

wrangler05

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It would be better if you and your wife could work together as a married couple.  Recommend combing yourselves financially and working towards your goals as a family instead of separately.

+1

Crazy situation that would be even crazier if you have children together... yet not only don't have combined finances, but don't know what the other person has as far as money/assets? Yikes.

Now, lookee here!

My wife and I run our finances EXACTLY as the OP explained in his original post.  We've done it that way for 23 years.  It works.

Just what state do you think the OP's marriage would be in now if they had combined their finances at marriage and he had continued to spend money like a drunken sailor while his wife pulled her hair out by the roots and resented him more and more and more???

THINK!

+1

Megma

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I also want to note my approval of supporting your parents.  In America, we have it ass-backwards.  Kids living at home and leeching off of their parents well into their 30's.  It's almost more acceptable to borrow money from your parents than it is for parents to get money from their grown children.  As if the parents haven't given them enough already.  hell, parents support their kids for at least the first 18 years of their lives.  Why in the world would they not pay it back when they are working and supporting themselves.

I have twins and a younger child.  The twins are 11 years older than the younger girl.  I am completely paying for the twins college education.  I demanded in return that the twins begin contributing small dollars to their sister's college fund so that she has money for college when she's ready.  I mentioned it in passing and you would have thought I asked them to give up an arm.  I got so much backlash for that on finance forums.  "You can't make children pay for their sister's college!"  ....the hell I can't.  I just paid for each of them to get college degrees, paid cell phones, cars and car insurance for 22 years.  You think I can't make them take a few bucks each month and put it towards their sister to pay it forward.  And for the record, the twins didn't even blink.  But then again, I didn't ask.  I pretty much told them how it would be. 

there is just no sense of family in this country.

I would hope that you mentioned this to them as a condition before you paid for them to go to college and not after they graduated? I think saying I have X amount for college for kids, you can have Y share (a third?) if you want Z share you will need to contribute back to the fund for your younger sibling to be able to get a fair share when it's their turn to go go school. I see no problem with that but if my parents freely gave the money and told me they wanted it back essentially when I started working that is a loan imo and it would have been nice to know about in advance because I might have decided to make other arrangements.

For the record, I paid for my own college and grad school.

Also, sravuri2710 it's nice to see you trying to turn things around! I look forward to updates on your progress!

wrangler05

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I would hope that you mentioned this to them as a condition before you paid for them to go to college and not after they graduated? I think saying I have X amount for college for kids, you can have Y share (a third?) if you want Z share you will need to contribute back to the fund for your younger sibling to be able to get a fair share when it's their turn to go go school. I see no problem with that but if my parents freely gave the money and told me they wanted it back essentially when I started working that is a loan imo and it would have been nice to know about in advance because I might have decided to make other arrangements.

For the record, I paid for my own college and grad school.

Also, sravuri2710 it's nice to see you trying to turn things around! I look forward to updates on your progress!

Thank you Megma. I am thinking of starting a journal (as suggested above) to share my updates and also that I will get constant inspiration. So far, I am packing lunch daily, rejected an offer to go to NY autoshow to save money this weekend(Wife doesnt like autoshows, I love autoshows).


rpr

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I would hope that you mentioned this to them as a condition before you paid for them to go to college and not after they graduated? I think saying I have X amount for college for kids, you can have Y share (a third?) if you want Z share you will need to contribute back to the fund for your younger sibling to be able to get a fair share when it's their turn to go go school. I see no problem with that but if my parents freely gave the money and told me they wanted it back essentially when I started working that is a loan imo and it would have been nice to know about in advance because I might have decided to make other arrangements.

For the record, I paid for my own college and grad school.

Also, sravuri2710 it's nice to see you trying to turn things around! I look forward to updates on your progress!

Thank you Megma. I am thinking of starting a journal (as suggested above) to share my updates and also that I will get constant inspiration. So far, I am packing lunch daily, rejected an offer to go to NY autoshow to save money this weekend(Wife doesnt like autoshows, I love autoshows).

sravuri2710 -- I am impressed. Look forward to your journal as well. Good Luck on this journey.

wrangler05

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for those who might be interested, I made a small progress. I sold my car. I had to pay $2k out of my pocket to pay the difference between selling price and amount I owe, but I got rid of a $600 per month burden. I will never take an auto loan again!!!

mozar

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Congrats!

terran

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I know you're focused on paying down debt right now, and that's what everyone has focused on so far (and rightly so), but something I noticed from your original post is that you mention you're an independent contractor without a 401k. Assuming you're 1099'd (not w2) this could actually be a great thing in its way in that you're essentially self employed so you can open a solo 401k which can mean even higher contribution limits than a regular employee plan.

HairyUpperLip

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for those who might be interested, I made a small progress. I sold my car. I had to pay $2k out of my pocket to pay the difference between selling price and amount I owe, but I got rid of a $600 per month burden. I will never take an auto loan again!!!

good job man!

wrangler05

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for those who might be interested, I made a small progress. I sold my car. I had to pay $2k out of my pocket to pay the difference between selling price and amount I owe, but I got rid of a $600 per month burden. I will never take an auto loan again!!!

good job man!

Thank you!

Megma

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for those who might be interested, I made a small progress. I sold my car. I had to pay $2k out of my pocket to pay the difference between selling price and amount I owe, but I got rid of a $600 per month burden. I will never take an auto loan again!!!

good job man!

Thank you!

I think that is a big progress, not small! 600/month is huge when it comes to debt reduction/savings.

Mother Fussbudget

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Suprabhat, Sravuri2710:  (or Kahli vanakum, or whatever your local dialect is)  Namaste!  All the best to you, your wife, and family in India.  I’m originally from the South… (Alabama) where family is also a strong tie-that-binds-for-life.

Good work so far - but there is more you can / should do.  Comments here have (correctly) focused on the debt - a Hair-On-Fire-Debt-Emergency - make no mistake.  But after a month, you might see the light at the end of the HOFDE tunnel. 
Sounds like your 'stashe is starting to GROW...  Congratulations!
I hope by now you're:
1) 'Brown Bagging' your lunch EVERY DAY. (saving $50/week - assuming $10/day)
2) Taking public transit or riding your bike, or driving a used car to work. (now that the car has been sold - congrats!)
3) Selling excess junk / things you haven’t used in 6 months on CraigsList/Ebay.

Now for the face punches:
You're still spending too much on monthly bills.  People have been focused on the Credit Card debt - correctly - but there's room for savings in the routine stuff.  You may already be doing some-or-most of this.  If so… GREAT!  If not, here are some ideas to help you (and other lurkers who are in the same situation but don't want to admit it).

Electric bill:
LED lights - cost $4/bulb Amazon, 60w/800 lumens - each saves $11.07/year vs incandescent.  The old advice was move to CFL's (Compact Fluorescents), but CFL's save only 20% over incandescent, and are currently MORE EXPENSIVE than similar cost LED bulbs.  Concentrate on 'color' and LUMENS when bulb shopping - a display at your local home store shows bulbs compared.
Start small - try out bulbs, 1-per-week until you find a bulb/brightness you like, eventually replacing all the bulbs in the house.  If you get 1-2 that you don't like, put them in the garage, or outdoors where they're not used that often. 
Power Strips - 'vampire power' is the trickle of power that's used every minute of every day by devices waiting to be used, or laptop transformers constantly converting 120v into 12v for laptops even when the laptops are OFF.  Switch OFF power strips to computers, TV's, everything but the refrigerator (and perhaps DVR) at night, and when not at home.  You may lose a few seconds of 'instant on' for the TV, but you'll save on power as most laptops, computers, monitors, etc. use some small amount of 'vampire power'. 
Make it a game - Set A Goal:  get your power bill down to $30/month.
Kill-A-Watt P3 - a handy device to measure each plug-in-device's power consumption watts/hour to find your 'power hogs'.  (Refrigerator, dryer/washer, dishwasher) There are expensive kill-a-watt power strips, but you can plug any strip into a Kill-A-Watt, and measure them that way until you understand how much power draw you've got.
Wash dishes BY HAND:  Saves on both water AND electricity.  Best to wash-as-you-go, and don't let them pile up in the sink.

Natural Gas Bill:
Thermostat timer - you don't mention this, so you may already have a timer on your thermostat, it's a basic thing, but you never know.  Here are my settings: (your hours may vary)
Winter:  turn heat UP to 65@ 6am.  DOWN to 50 @8am, UP to 65 @ 5pm, DOWN @10pm to 60@ night.
Summer:  OFF - use window fans, vent hot air to attic. (but I'm in the NW, not AT ALL familiar with Vermont).
Hot Water:  set your hot water heater at 120-degrees.  Investigate getting a water heater timer (easy for electric hot water, not so easy - but doable - for gas).
Laundry:  Dry clothing on a drying rack or outdoor clothes line instead of using the dryer.

Phone Bill:
I'm in the same situation as you - I'm a senior website management consultant with a 24hr potential on-call capacity, and make extensive use of conference bridge calls.  For this, I extensively use...
Skype - $3/month for unlimited US calling.  You can set Skype's callerID to show as your cell number.
I'm unsure of the calling plans for Skype to India, but I'm sure it's cheaper than the cellular carriers. 
Use Skype from both your laptop, and your cell phone.  I'm assuming you have access to WIFI at home, and WIFI at the office.  If you're currently taking public transit, you *may* have wifi access there also.  For everything else...
Google Voice:  FREE.  WIFI calling, like Skype, and this may work for you - I use it infrequently but I’m willing to pay the $3/month for Skype.
AirVoice wireless - $10/month pre-paid plan.  This is a 'workable if you get accustomed to it' plan.  2˘/text, 4˘/min. voice calling, 6˘/Mb data.  I've been on this plan since Sept 2014.  You can pre-pay more at any time.  Start with $10, add $10 more if you need it.  It seemed hard at first, but now that I learned to TURN OFF 'cellular data' on the iPhone, and use WIFI almost exclusively, I don't miss it at all.  I use a FreedomPop free 500Mb WIFI hotspot for travel ($45 on eBay).
Or, if AirVoice seems harsh, use...
Republic Wireless.  A little more per month, but less than you’re paying today.  And can seem like less of a 'sacrifice'. 
My thinking on cellular data / cell phone plans... it's not sacrifice, it's breaking an ADDICTION
We lived almost our entire lives WITHOUT cellular data.  Why are we paying thru the nose for cellular data today?  Because we *can*, and habits are hard to break.
[Disclaimer:  my day job is in the 'cellular industry']

Bottom line:  Keep at it, and all the best.   And please UPDATE your original post (OP), or create a new post, and update your OP to say - see current numbers from May 1st - to show your CURRENT budget / usage.  Have a great weekend - find something new & free to do this weekend (street fair, movie showing, etc.)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Wash dishes BY HAND:  Saves on both water AND electricity.  Best to wash-as-you-go, and don't let them pile up in the sink.

I don't think this is actually true.

apricity

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Sravuri2710, this post and your enthusiasm are inspiring to me!

Best of luck to you :)

Mother Fussbudget

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Wash dishes BY HAND:  Saves on both water AND electricity.  Best to wash-as-you-go, and don't let them pile up in the sink.

I don't think this is actually true.

I'm frugal with water when hand washing, and my dishwasher is older, so I think I've got the machine beat.  For more reading...
http://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/built-in-dishwashers-vs-hand-washing-which-is-greener.html

Bracken_Joy

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I look forward to following your progress! At this point, a key thing is to not make your situation WORSE. Don't borrow any more. Don't feel like you should "reward" yourself for every small milestone.

Be sure you're taking full advantage as your position as an independent contractor. You can set up an Independent 401k or SEP IRA. Be sure you're keeping track of all your expenses and getting the appropriate write-offs for business expenses. You can find lists online (search things like "tax advantages for small business owner/self employed"). There's a lot of overhead you're swallowing if you aren't doing your taxes properly.

Jeremy E.

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If I were you...
1. I'd start renting your house out (assuming you could get enough to pay the mortgage), and move closer to work in an apartment that is more efficient and not to expensive.
2. Sell your car and buy something like a 2005 Corolla or similar (sounds like you are already planning on this, good job)
3. Since it seems you and your wife have fairly separate finances, I'd separate the clothing budget so her clothes don't come out of your budget.
4. Make your new utilities bill in your new apartment significantly cheaper, $345 spent on utilities is ridiculous, try to get it down to $150
5. Search for cheaper car insurance for your new car, get a bunch of quotes and get the cheapest option.
6. You'll use much less gas because you'll be closer to work
7. Switch to Republic Wireless for your Cell Phone Provider, they are cheaper and offer great coverage and have plans for unlimited everything.
8. Cook more at home, less restaurants and take out. Especially while your hair is on fire and you still have credit card debt, a huge car loan, and other loans.
9. Pay off all of that debt... quick!
10. If you can afford to help support your mother while also getting rid of your debt, then go for it and good for you. But if you start amassing more credit card debt, then that means you can't afford to support yourself, let alone another person. So choose to reduce your spending or stop helping.

That's what I would do in your situation.... You should do whatever fits you best. If you just decide to change your car, you'll still be way ahead of where you are now. Good Luck!

wrangler05

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Suprabhat, Sravuri2710:  (or Kahli vanakum, or whatever your local dialect is)  Namaste!  All the best to you, your wife, and family in India.  I’m originally from the South… (Alabama) where family is also a strong tie-that-binds-for-life.

Good work so far - but there is more you can / should do.  Comments here have (correctly) focused on the debt - a Hair-On-Fire-Debt-Emergency - make no mistake.  But after a month, you might see the light at the end of the HOFDE tunnel. 
Sounds like your 'stashe is starting to GROW...  Congratulations!
I hope by now you're:
1) 'Brown Bagging' your lunch EVERY DAY. (saving $50/week - assuming $10/day)
2) Taking public transit or riding your bike, or driving a used car to work. (now that the car has been sold - congrats!)
3) Selling excess junk / things you haven’t used in 6 months on CraigsList/Ebay.

Now for the face punches:
You're still spending too much on monthly bills.  People have been focused on the Credit Card debt - correctly - but there's room for savings in the routine stuff.  You may already be doing some-or-most of this.  If so… GREAT!  If not, here are some ideas to help you (and other lurkers who are in the same situation but don't want to admit it).

Electric bill:
LED lights - cost $4/bulb Amazon, 60w/800 lumens - each saves $11.07/year vs incandescent.  The old advice was move to CFL's (Compact Fluorescents), but CFL's save only 20% over incandescent, and are currently MORE EXPENSIVE than similar cost LED bulbs.  Concentrate on 'color' and LUMENS when bulb shopping - a display at your local home store shows bulbs compared.
Start small - try out bulbs, 1-per-week until you find a bulb/brightness you like, eventually replacing all the bulbs in the house.  If you get 1-2 that you don't like, put them in the garage, or outdoors where they're not used that often. 
Power Strips - 'vampire power' is the trickle of power that's used every minute of every day by devices waiting to be used, or laptop transformers constantly converting 120v into 12v for laptops even when the laptops are OFF.  Switch OFF power strips to computers, TV's, everything but the refrigerator (and perhaps DVR) at night, and when not at home.  You may lose a few seconds of 'instant on' for the TV, but you'll save on power as most laptops, computers, monitors, etc. use some small amount of 'vampire power'. 
Make it a game - Set A Goal:  get your power bill down to $30/month.
Kill-A-Watt P3 - a handy device to measure each plug-in-device's power consumption watts/hour to find your 'power hogs'.  (Refrigerator, dryer/washer, dishwasher) There are expensive kill-a-watt power strips, but you can plug any strip into a Kill-A-Watt, and measure them that way until you understand how much power draw you've got.
Wash dishes BY HAND:  Saves on both water AND electricity.  Best to wash-as-you-go, and don't let them pile up in the sink.

Natural Gas Bill:
Thermostat timer - you don't mention this, so you may already have a timer on your thermostat, it's a basic thing, but you never know.  Here are my settings: (your hours may vary)
Winter:  turn heat UP to 65@ 6am.  DOWN to 50 @8am, UP to 65 @ 5pm, DOWN @10pm to 60@ night.
Summer:  OFF - use window fans, vent hot air to attic. (but I'm in the NW, not AT ALL familiar with Vermont).
Hot Water:  set your hot water heater at 120-degrees.  Investigate getting a water heater timer (easy for electric hot water, not so easy - but doable - for gas).
Laundry:  Dry clothing on a drying rack or outdoor clothes line instead of using the dryer.

Phone Bill:
I'm in the same situation as you - I'm a senior website management consultant with a 24hr potential on-call capacity, and make extensive use of conference bridge calls.  For this, I extensively use...
Skype - $3/month for unlimited US calling.  You can set Skype's callerID to show as your cell number.
I'm unsure of the calling plans for Skype to India, but I'm sure it's cheaper than the cellular carriers. 
Use Skype from both your laptop, and your cell phone.  I'm assuming you have access to WIFI at home, and WIFI at the office.  If you're currently taking public transit, you *may* have wifi access there also.  For everything else...
Google Voice:  FREE.  WIFI calling, like Skype, and this may work for you - I use it infrequently but I’m willing to pay the $3/month for Skype.
AirVoice wireless - $10/month pre-paid plan.  This is a 'workable if you get accustomed to it' plan.  2˘/text, 4˘/min. voice calling, 6˘/Mb data.  I've been on this plan since Sept 2014.  You can pre-pay more at any time.  Start with $10, add $10 more if you need it.  It seemed hard at first, but now that I learned to TURN OFF 'cellular data' on the iPhone, and use WIFI almost exclusively, I don't miss it at all.  I use a FreedomPop free 500Mb WIFI hotspot for travel ($45 on eBay).
Or, if AirVoice seems harsh, use...
Republic Wireless.  A little more per month, but less than you’re paying today.  And can seem like less of a 'sacrifice'. 
My thinking on cellular data / cell phone plans... it's not sacrifice, it's breaking an ADDICTION
We lived almost our entire lives WITHOUT cellular data.  Why are we paying thru the nose for cellular data today?  Because we *can*, and habits are hard to break.
[Disclaimer:  my day job is in the 'cellular industry']

Bottom line:  Keep at it, and all the best.   And please UPDATE your original post (OP), or create a new post, and update your OP to say - see current numbers from May 1st - to show your CURRENT budget / usage.  Have a great weekend - find something new & free to do this weekend (street fair, movie showing, etc.)

sorry for the late response. I was tied up with work and didnt visit the forum regularly

I really appreciate forum members like you taking time and responding with great advices.

I am packing lunch, replaced all lights to LEDs. Now as this is spring/early summer our gas bill came down to $50 per month and we reduced our electric bill to $60 per month.

I have a contract with sprint for two years and I have to pay $500 if i break my contract. I am trying to sell my phone and pay off the contract with that money and get republic wireless.

wrangler05

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If I were you...
1. I'd start renting your house out (assuming you could get enough to pay the mortgage), and move closer to work in an apartment that is more efficient and not to expensive.
2. Sell your car and buy something like a 2005 Corolla or similar (sounds like you are already planning on this, good job)
3. Since it seems you and your wife have fairly separate finances, I'd separate the clothing budget so her clothes don't come out of your budget.
4. Make your new utilities bill in your new apartment significantly cheaper, $345 spent on utilities is ridiculous, try to get it down to $150
5. Search for cheaper car insurance for your new car, get a bunch of quotes and get the cheapest option.
6. You'll use much less gas because you'll be closer to work
7. Switch to Republic Wireless for your Cell Phone Provider, they are cheaper and offer great coverage and have plans for unlimited everything.
8. Cook more at home, less restaurants and take out. Especially while your hair is on fire and you still have credit card debt, a huge car loan, and other loans.
9. Pay off all of that debt... quick!
10. If you can afford to help support your mother while also getting rid of your debt, then go for it and good for you. But if you start amassing more credit card debt, then that means you can't afford to support yourself, let alone another person. So choose to reduce your spending or stop helping.

That's what I would do in your situation.... You should do whatever fits you best. If you just decide to change your car, you'll still be way ahead of where you are now. Good Luck!

Thanks for the advice/comments Jeremy and sorry for the late response.

1. We can not rent another apartment as this is my wife's dream house and Also, If we have just one month gap between renters, we will end up paying an extra $1500 per month. (mortgage is $1600 and rent near work will be > $1500).

2. I already sold my car. Both me and my wife now drive a 2013 VW Jetta which we bought for 5k less than market value and it is paid off now. We intend to keep this untill it dies on us.

3. Clothing budget is separate, other than occassional gifts from me to her :)

4. We got down our gas bill to $50 (summer no heater usage), electric bill to $60.

5. I am trying to get cheaper quotes, but I was in an accident recently. A drunk driver hit my car and he has no insurance. My insurance has to pay for my car damages. Though it is not-at-fault, my rates went up.

6. Same as 1

7. I am trying to sell my iphone, pay off the contract and switch to republic wireless

8. My wife is amazed as I stopped eating outside and started cooking at home. I am worst at cooking but got better in the recent weeks (though I cook very limited variety of dishes)

9. Got rid of the car, paid half the credit card balances, paid $7k to cousin out of his $8k debt.

10. I am trying to better my financial situation. I will never stop supporting my mother. Sorry if it is un-mustachian, But this is the only thing, I will not change no matter what my condition/situation is.

wrangler05

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Sravuri2710, this post and your enthusiasm are inspiring to me!

Best of luck to you :)

Thank you Avalanche. There are huge amount of inspiring posts here that make you think 'what the #%$@ am I doing with my life and money'

I realized how much I would saved and lived life without tensions if I had followed atleast 10% of mustachianism (if i can say so)

people over here, their posts inspire me to better my way of life and be happy now and LATER too

wrangler05

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sorry to dig up my old post. I just want to share my progress. So far I sold my car, paid off my cousin, paid off half of the Credit card balance. We are planning to rent out a room in our house for extra income (~$500 per month)

though I am eating out occassionally, it came down to 4-5 times a month compared to 4-5 times a week.

my bills updated as of today :
car payment: 0
car insurance: 0
credit cards: $3k out of total $6k (i am paying off $500 permonth or more)
parents: $350
phone: $65 looking at metroPCS plan, but have to sell my Iphone and pay off the contract first
hospital bills: $100
loan from Cousin: paid off Hurrayy!!

Cassie

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Awesome! You are doing great:))  Some people just don't seem to understand that in some countries there is not a safety net for people so your Mom probably needs that $ you give her to live & I think it is awesome that you are doing this & even have a plan to provide for her if you die. I don't know why people can't wrap their heads around the fact that mom lives in India-not America. 

cautiouspessimist

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Good work, keep it up!

2Birds1Stone

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The level of proud while I reread this entire thread is tremendous!!

You are making leaps and BOUNDS!!!

Just wait till interest is on your side of the court earning you money vs having to pay it to someone else .

All of these small steps and debts paid off, plus the extra income will add up to so much extra cash flow sooner than you can imagine.

Congratulations and keep it up!! You just changed your life profoundly for the better.

Mother Fussbudget

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The level of proud while I reread this entire thread is tremendous!!

You are making leaps and BOUNDS!!!

Just wait till interest is on your side of the court earning you money vs having to pay it to someone else .

All of these small steps and debts paid off, plus the extra income will add up to so much extra cash flow sooner than you can imagine.

Congratulations and keep it up!! You just changed your life profoundly for the better.

+1.  Way to go sravuri2710!  That's an ENORMOUS amount of progress in a very short time - you're ahead of 90% of the rest of the people in the US.  Stay strong, and wear that 'stache with PRIDE!

dsmexpat

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You're making it look super easy with your progress. While I'm sure it wasn't easy and it's an awesome achievement you are smashing this. Congrats.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 04:25:07 PM by dsmexpat »

Rosy

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WOW you are doing great - fabulous job, your wife and your mom can be proud of you, and I bet your cousin is very happy with you too right now:).

So maybe now would be a good time to take a deep breath and shift gears.

Start a journal towards FIRE in the journal section of this forum. Play with spreadsheets and dream a little and make plans for your future together.
Start saving for an emergency fund, start reading the section on Ask a Mustachian and of course the section on Investor Alley .....

As far as the finances, we have ours separated too and it suits us fine. As far as your mom, as soon as you paid off everything but the house send her an extra $50 a month, it is the least you can do. Don't forget to give her a raise once in a while:) She raised a great kid, a son who is finally coming into his own, you has become the man she always knew you could be. (I know these things, I'm a mom too).

Kudos to your wife for hanging in there, time to celebrate and move on. As for having children - I'd say you are right to wait at least two more years, give yourself a little more time to become financially stronger. 

HairyUpperLip

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Great job yaar.

NoWorries

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Congratulations! Doesn't it feel great to be in control of spending? You will look back and kick yourself for what you spent, but please don't. Just look forward and be SO PROUD of yourself and your new good habits! Your wife must be so happy!

I'd look into eventually combining your finances. Hubby and I do that. One account for house bills, one account for him and one for me. It works out great. Working together on a budget, and spending money, is good too. You are a team now, and she can see that you are now grown up and trustworthy with money.

You really should be so proud of yourself!

Erica/NWEdible

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You are doing SO AWESOME!!! Please keep updating - we are all cheering for you!

2Birds1Stone

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Hey OP, I saw your other thread. Congrats on making such impressive changes since you orifinally posted here.

wrangler05

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Hey OP, I saw your other thread. Congrats on making such impressive changes since you orifinally posted here.

thank you! I needed that push and suggestions on how to save. I am glad I found MMM before its too late.