Author Topic: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in  (Read 3131 times)

Redstone5

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Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« on: June 05, 2019, 04:34:03 PM »
 Topic Title: Single Mom, 42 Needs Financial Check-in

-are there things I could be doing better?

EDIT: I should note here that it's not my intention to retire early because I'm already living the life I love and would continue it even if I was retired. I'm just looking to be on a more secure financial footing.

Life Situation: Me (42, employed full time), shared custody of three kids (17, 11 and 7). I live in British Columbia Canada in a HCOL area.

Gross Salary/Wages:  $51,313 plus benefits and pension (8.4% contribution, matched by employer at 9.7% of earnings)

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions and benefit:

DEDUCTIONS       

Description    Amount (Bi-weekly)    

Canada Pension                $99.20    
Employment Insurance        $32.81    
Income Tax                     $273.09    
Municipal Pension              $167.75    
LTD    $51.73    
Parking       
United Way (charit                $2.00    
Total Deductions             $626.58    
      
BENEFITS    
   
Description    Taxable Amount    Non-taxable amount

Canada Pension       $99.20
Employment Insurance                     $38.75
Municipal Pension       $191.63
Basic Life    $13.03    
AD&D            $2.01    
Dependent Life    $1.81    
Dental - Family                            $58.16
Total Health Care -Family            $80.14
MSP - Family    $37.50    
WCB Premiums       $8.51
Total Benefits    $54.35    


Other Ordinary Income:

Child Tax Benefit (monthly) $540.00


Adjusted Gross Income: $42,846 annually ($1398.73/bi-weekly + $540 monthly=$3,570.58/monthly)

Taxes: see above deductions from paycheque

Current expenses:
    
Rent             1,625.00 *I live in a very HCOL city and can't move due to custody arrangements.
BC Hydro         50.00
Cable                 67.20 *this is internet only, I do not pay for cable or Netflix etc.
Phone (Me)         78.00
Phone (son)         64.00 *my oldest will be paying this himself after he graduates this month
Car insurance       132.00
Life insurance         31.00
house insurance   33.74 *I had to buy this in a hurry when I moved this month but I'm going to shop around for a lower rate.
Piano lessons        150.00 *For me and two of my kids, it's $12.50 per person per lesson and we all really value it.
Pet food          30.00
Child support          0.00  * Just got my ex to agree that since we have similar lifestyles and earning potential, I will not have to pay child support this year.
Kid allowance       160.00 *My oldest will begin to cover his own expenses now that he's almost graduated and will be working.
Eating out          0.00
Misc                98.64
Groceries      500.00 *for a family of four and a bunch of visiting teenagers.
Kid's misc      200.00 *clothes, toiletries, school field trips, birthday party gifts, crafting, etc. (It works out to $16.66 per kid per week).
hair cuts (kids)     30.00 *my ex has agreed to take over the cost of getting the boys hair cuts
itunes                 11.00
Budget app          5.00
Bank fees          5.00
Savings              300.00
Total            3,570.58
   
Income    
                            3,030.58
Child tax benefit       540.00
Total Income             3,570.58
   
Income                  3,570.58
- Expenses         -3,570.58
Total                           0.00

NOTE: I'm also supposed to pay my underemployed ex-husband $800 in child support per month (we share custody and I out-earn him considerably), but I'm currently negotiating with him to wave child support since my cost of living is so high and he does have the ability to earn more but chooses not to do so. So I'm in the crazy situation of considering asking my 17 year old to get a job to pay me rent so I can pay his father child support :(

EDIT: we agreed that I should not have to pay child support this year, given that he has private means from wealthy parents and went back to school last year. We both have similar education and skills and ability to earn but he chooses not to do so, so that he can have more vacation time and pick the kids up from school every day.


Assets: Amount & description -
2015 Nissan Leaf car -maybe $10,000 resale value?

EDIT: my savings were wiped out due to paying double rent last month to secure a new, cheaper apt, and for security deposit, utility deposits, etc.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 08:48:35 AM by Redstone5 »

reeshau

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 05:00:42 AM »
It sounds like you are in a tough spot.  The first thing I have to say, although I'm sure it's obvious:  you are paying 45% of your take-home income on housing.  Traditional (US) budgeting metrics would say it should be 30% or less.  And of course, the bar is even lower here.  But speaking practically, there is nothing you are going to be able to do around the edges to make up for this.  Whether you need to downsize, relocate further out or find some kind of house hack to reduce that.

Having said that, here are a few other things:

Kid costs:
Piano lessons       150.00
Kid allowance       160.00
Kid's misc            200.00
hair cuts (kids)     30.00

Monthly:  $540
Annual:  $6,480

Is this essentially a carry-over from your expectations when you were married?  You can't afford this, when you are trying to work out potential child support payments.  (in the US, they could garnish your wage for unpaid child support.  Is that a possibility?)  I am sure it is or will be difficult for you and your children, but they need to understand things have changed.  One way to pitch in is to adjust their expectations and demand less.  It would be easy to understand a level of "parent guilt" this might generate, but maintaining the illusion of normalcy is risking big trouble.

You also joke about asking your 17-year-old to pay rent to help make ends meet.  I would simply say they should pay more of their own way, and this should address the bulk of these costs; an 11- and 7-year-old shouldn't need a lot of allowance, or really the other things.

You say you have shared custody:  is that really a 50/50 split, or something else?  I would poke at the $500 food bill, but maybe not if he just has them some weekends.  (some may poke at this in any case)

You also register monthly savings, but don't list any accounts in your assets.  Do you have an emergency fund?  If it is adequate, then you could shop your insurance around, and look at higher deductibles (covered by your emergency fund) for savings.

Zamboni

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2019, 06:07:13 AM »
First, good job posting all of this. If those numbers are from actual tracking over a few months, then you are 99% ahead of most people.

I would cut the cable . . . unless that is actually internet. The older kids might be at a school which has an expectation they have access to 24/7 internet at home for homework. My children's teachers all seem to assume this. Cable is a waste. Get an antennae and Netflix or Amazon Prime if you must watch TV. We watch movies via DVD's from the public library. The antennae will stick to your window and pick up all kinds of channels, all for what you pay in one month for cable.

You phone plans are too expensive. My phone is $30/month, and it is an iphone that allows me to do everything needed. MMM has several threads about various phone plans, and IPDaley (IPDaily?) had a long thread about it.

I would not cut the piano lessons if it is a child's passion. I would cut it if it is something you feel like they should do, but they are not that into it and don't practice daily. It is worth paying for activities that children are passionate about. But a lot of parents kind of force kids to do that stuff . . . you don't have the cash to be in "stick with it and you'll learn to like it" piano lesson mode.

I'm assuming that Kids misc is stuff like clothes. They do grow. Just keep an eye on that amount and perhaps break it out more. Is it clothes, birthday gifts for friends, online gaming costs, toys? All of those individual items can be reduced, but breaking it out more would help. My daughter always wants to way overspend on gifts for friends and I've had to guide her to more reasonable amounts, for example.

You don't mention how long you have been single (perhaps it is in another thread somewhere?)

I'm not going to poke at your food bill because I now spend $900-1000/month on food for me and two teenagers. At my thriftiest when they were in elementary school I was at your level, and that was clipping coupons and never ever eating out. I don't think you can probably realistically shave much there while you are also devoting life energy to a full time job even if it is a 50/50 custody situation. So my advice is just keep tracking and don't sweat the food bill as a first priority.

Is the child support a court order? Or some other arrangement? How was it calculated? In general I believe people should pay the calculated child support regularly. In your case, that means you might have to move. He must make very little for you to owe that much.

freya

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2019, 06:09:43 AM »
Argh, the child support made me vomit in my mouth.  I'm so sorry you're stuck with that situation.   I hope the "unwilling to work" ex-husband's situation is officially recognizable.  What's going to happen when the 17 year old goes to college?  He should have a part time job to save up for that, if nothing else.

You're already pretty tight, but maybe you can trim a little.  If "cable" means more than straight internet, then cancel the extra services in favor of something like Netflix.  Find cheaper phone options, e.g. Google FI or prepaid plans.  And, your 17 year old's pocket money and phone costs should come from a part time job.  For hair cuts, let me suggest investing in a good pair of scissors and learning to do it yourself - especially for the younger two.

Car costs are very high, with an almost new vehicle and correspondingly high insurance costs.  Do you even need a car, in this day and age of easy access to rideshares?  Do you live in a walkable neighborhood, or would you consider moving to one?  At the very least, consider selling your car and replacing it with an older model, and reducing insurance costs by limiting coverage to liability.

Finally - with your low pay it may actually be easier to increase your income by developing a side gig.  Presumably your kids spend 50% of their time with their father, so you can make good use of that alone time.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 06:12:32 AM by freya »

Zamboni

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2019, 07:19:42 AM »
Ah, just rediscovered your journal. I knew I recognized your name from somewhere!

You keep moving in the right direction. Great job!

Edited to add that I see in the other thread that the piano lessons are for you. Keep them if you want to and if you can. Perhaps you can negotiate with your teacher for less frequent lessons if you need the cash? My Dad teaches adult students only and would definitely work with any long time student who needed to adjust their lessons if he could.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 07:35:50 AM by Zamboni »

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2019, 08:40:22 AM »
It sounds like you are in a tough spot.  The first thing I have to say, although I'm sure it's obvious:  you are paying 45% of your take-home income on housing.  Traditional (US) budgeting metrics would say it should be 30% or less.  And of course, the bar is even lower here.  But speaking practically, there is nothing you are going to be able to do around the edges to make up for this.  Whether you need to downsize, relocate further out or find some kind of house hack to reduce that.

Having said that, here are a few other things:

Kid costs:
Piano lessons       150.00
Kid allowance       160.00
Kid's misc            200.00
hair cuts (kids)     30.00

Monthly:  $540
Annual:  $6,480

Is this essentially a carry-over from your expectations when you were married?  You can't afford this, when you are trying to work out potential child support payments.  (in the US, they could garnish your wage for unpaid child support.  Is that a possibility?)  I am sure it is or will be difficult for you and your children, but they need to understand things have changed.  One way to pitch in is to adjust their expectations and demand less.  It would be easy to understand a level of "parent guilt" this might generate, but maintaining the illusion of normalcy is risking big trouble.

You also joke about asking your 17-year-old to pay rent to help make ends meet.  I would simply say they should pay more of their own way, and this should address the bulk of these costs; an 11- and 7-year-old shouldn't need a lot of allowance, or really the other things.

You say you have shared custody:  is that really a 50/50 split, or something else?  I would poke at the $500 food bill, but maybe not if he just has them some weekends.  (some may poke at this in any case)

You also register monthly savings, but don't list any accounts in your assets.  Do you have an emergency fund?  If it is adequate, then you could shop your insurance around, and look at higher deductibles (covered by your emergency fund) for savings.

First let me say how much I appreciate you looking over this for me. The kindness of the people on this forum just blows me away. Thank-you so much.

I realize that I should have also added to my post, it's not my intention to retire early. I'm just looking to make my current lifestyle work. I'm already doing what I love job-wise, and would live the same way if I was retired.

Ok, the housing issue. I live in one of the most expensive regions on the planet for housing, the Westcoast of British Columbia (near Vancouver). So yes, sadly housing here is outrageous. It's common for most people to be paying 50% or more on housing, and I actually live in a rent-subsidized apartment complex that mandates rent is 10% lower than market value for low-income families.

Sadly, 3-bedroom apts run about $2100 a month here, and you aren't allowed to rent a place that's smaller for my family due to something here called "national occupancy standards". The law mandates that landlords can prevent you from living in a place smaller than what they think you need. So you aren't allowed to have more than two children share a bedroom, and I can't rent a 2-bedroom, for example, and just sleep in the living room either.

I know I could move, but my children's father lives here and we share custody so they stay at his place for half of each week. The commute to drive them back and forth twice a week, and have to attend different schools would be daunting to say the least. Also, without a drastic move to another city, I'm already paying lower rent than comparable places within an hour of my current location. And I live right across from my work.

The $150 for piano is actually for me and two of my children and we all really love it. It works out to $12.50 per person per lesson.

Child support: Yes you certainly can face severe consequences for unpaid child support here, but luckily I sat down with my ex last night and came to an agreement that we would wave child support payments for this year and review next year if the circumstances change. The reason why he made only $15,000 last year was due to going back to school. In the future he will make a comparable salary to me. He also has wealthy parents and is taking the kids to Africa for a month this summer and he owns his own home.

Given these circumstances, he agrees that I shouldn't have to pay this year, and the law allows us to make this change to our divorce settlement in our Province.

He also has agreed to take over the kids' haircuts for me, and to take over paying my oldest's allowance until he starts earning his own money (he graduates this month and then starts working full-time over the summer). I agree, he needs to take over his own cell phone bill as well, so that will save me some money too.

No, sadly my savings were wiped out this month due to paying two rents for May (I had to snap up the new apt before I lost out to someone else and didn't have time to give notice to my old place), and the damage deposit, deposits for the utilities etc.  But now that I'll be having more wiggle room, I'm going to be able to start saving again.

The food budget is very high, but as I say I live in a HCOL area. I bought a 10kg bag of flour last week for $14 on sale!! Which feels crazy to me, but groceries on an island are very expensive. Also, that includes lunches for work and having my son's teenager friends over to the house too. In the future once my oldest is working I'm going to get him to chip in as well, so that will go down.

Thanks again!!

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2019, 08:55:56 AM »
First, good job posting all of this. If those numbers are from actual tracking over a few months, then you are 99% ahead of most people.

I would cut the cable . . . unless that is actually internet. The older kids might be at a school which has an expectation they have access to 24/7 internet at home for homework. My children's teachers all seem to assume this. Cable is a waste. Get an antennae and Netflix or Amazon Prime if you must watch TV. We watch movies via DVD's from the public library. The antennae will stick to your window and pick up all kinds of channels, all for what you pay in one month for cable.

You phone plans are too expensive. My phone is $30/month, and it is an iphone that allows me to do everything needed. MMM has several threads about various phone plans, and IPDaley (IPDaily?) had a long thread about it.

I would not cut the piano lessons if it is a child's passion. I would cut it if it is something you feel like they should do, but they are not that into it and don't practice daily. It is worth paying for activities that children are passionate about. But a lot of parents kind of force kids to do that stuff . . . you don't have the cash to be in "stick with it and you'll learn to like it" piano lesson mode.

I'm assuming that Kids misc is stuff like clothes. They do grow. Just keep an eye on that amount and perhaps break it out more. Is it clothes, birthday gifts for friends, online gaming costs, toys? All of those individual items can be reduced, but breaking it out more would help. My daughter always wants to way overspend on gifts for friends and I've had to guide her to more reasonable amounts, for example.

You don't mention how long you have been single (perhaps it is in another thread somewhere?)

I'm not going to poke at your food bill because I now spend $900-1000/month on food for me and two teenagers. At my thriftiest when they were in elementary school I was at your level, and that was clipping coupons and never ever eating out. I don't think you can probably realistically shave much there while you are also devoting life energy to a full time job even if it is a 50/50 custody situation. So my advice is just keep tracking and don't sweat the food bill as a first priority.

Is the child support a court order? Or some other arrangement? How was it calculated? In general I believe people should pay the calculated child support regularly. In your case, that means you might have to move. He must make very little for you to owe that much.

Thank-you so much.

Yes, it's just for internet. I don't pay for cable, netflix, etc.

The piano lessons are for me and two of my kids and we all really enjoy them.

I'm not sure where you live, but in Canada we do tend to pay much higher cell phone bills due to price gouging here. But yes, I will look into seeing if I can get a lower plan. The issue tends to be that I need tons of data because of charity work that I do so it's tough to lower this. But my oldest will be taking over his own bill next month so that will help.

The misc for the kids is detailed in an edit above. It works out to about $16 per week per kid for things like birthday party gifts, school field trips, clothes and shoes (but only for the oldest as I have tons of hand-me-downs), etc.

Yes, he only earned $15,000 last year. He has private means from his parents, he was a student, and also I was paying him $400/month last year for support. He chooses to earn less so he can be a stay at home dad most of the time. That's why I feels unfair and we've now agreed that I don't have to pay him this year.

The food is also for my work lunches and for hungry teenagers (my oldest's friends who visit). lol He will be chipping in next month when he starts work.

I got divorced about three years ago, but I've been living at my mom's house and only paying $800/month for rent, but now she wants to sell her house so I had to move and my circumstances have taken a huge hit. That's why I'm re-evaluating my financials. Thanks so much!!

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2019, 09:00:00 AM »
Argh, the child support made me vomit in my mouth.  I'm so sorry you're stuck with that situation.   I hope the "unwilling to work" ex-husband's situation is officially recognizable.  What's going to happen when the 17 year old goes to college?  He should have a part time job to save up for that, if nothing else.

You're already pretty tight, but maybe you can trim a little.  If "cable" means more than straight internet, then cancel the extra services in favor of something like Netflix.  Find cheaper phone options, e.g. Google FI or prepaid plans.  And, your 17 year old's pocket money and phone costs should come from a part time job.  For hair cuts, let me suggest investing in a good pair of scissors and learning to do it yourself - especially for the younger two.

Car costs are very high, with an almost new vehicle and correspondingly high insurance costs.  Do you even need a car, in this day and age of easy access to rideshares?  Do you live in a walkable neighborhood, or would you consider moving to one?  At the very least, consider selling your car and replacing it with an older model, and reducing insurance costs by limiting coverage to liability.

Finally - with your low pay it may actually be easier to increase your income by developing a side gig.  Presumably your kids spend 50% of their time with their father, so you can make good use of that alone time.

Thanks so much! Yes, the child support issue has been resolved (see edit above), and my oldest is going to take over his own expenses once he graduates this month, so that will be a big help. And my car insurance will be lower once he passes his test too (I have student driver insurance added to that right now).

I have considered selling my car but I don't live in an area with good bus routes and I do charity work which requires me to be very mobile. Also, it's electric and I charge it at work, so other than the minimal upkeep for an electric car, I don't even pay to charge it (I do it at work for free). Bus passes here are also $84 per person, so bus passes for my family of 4 would cost me more than $300/month.

I do have an unpaid side-gig with my volunteer work, and I am considering if I would rather quit and get a second job instead. But I really value what I do, so it will be a tough choice.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2019, 09:01:55 AM »
Ah, just rediscovered your journal. I knew I recognized your name from somewhere!

You keep moving in the right direction. Great job!

Edited to add that I see in the other thread that the piano lessons are for you. Keep them if you want to and if you can. Perhaps you can negotiate with your teacher for less frequent lessons if you need the cash? My Dad teaches adult students only and would definitely work with any long time student who needed to adjust their lessons if he could.

Good idea! She has also said we could reduce the length of the lessons for a lower cost too, so I'm going to consider that as well.

Zamboni

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2019, 09:06:12 AM »
Based upon what you've written, I'm so glad you got out of the child support. I saw in your journal that you and he made the same amount of money in 2017, so going from that to you paying him $400 a month in 2018 and then $800/month in 2019 is completely ridiculous.

Where I live, once the child support goes through the courts (which I had to do after my ex- didn't pay for 10 months straight), then they only allow the parties to petition for a change once every 3 years. Based upon that, which the court thinks is reasonable to avoid a constant state of child support calculation flux, you shouldn't be paying him a dime. At this point you have a signed agreement that you are not paying him child support? If that is a signed and sealed done deal, then just refuse to discuss it again if he comes back whining next year. As sexist as it is, the courts are not very sympathetic to intentionally unemployed or underemployed fathers, which is what he is, so I don't think he'd get very far with it unless you just cave on your own.

I think your food costs are perfectly reasonable. Your budget looks pretty balanced otherwise. Trying to get paid for a side hustle is probably your best bet, as others have mentioned. Good luck!

reeshau

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2019, 09:18:07 AM »
I got divorced about three years ago, but I've been living at my mom's house and only paying $800/month for rent, but now she wants to sell her house so I had to move and my circumstances have taken a huge hit. That's why I'm re-evaluating my financials. Thanks so much!!

Given your updates, I agree with @Zamboni , it seems like you need to turn up the income.  But given this comment, where is your mom going to?  If selling the house was the driver, would you otherwise tolerate or treasure continuing to cohabitate?  It may be too late, as you have signed on to a place.  But I'm not sure why changing the venue meant a change in living state, too, unless she is fleeing to warmer weather or needing additional care.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2019, 09:23:26 AM »
I got divorced about three years ago, but I've been living at my mom's house and only paying $800/month for rent, but now she wants to sell her house so I had to move and my circumstances have taken a huge hit. That's why I'm re-evaluating my financials. Thanks so much!!

Given your updates, I agree with @Zamboni , it seems like you need to turn up the income.  But given this comment, where is your mom going to?  If selling the house was the driver, would you otherwise tolerate or treasure continuing to cohabitate?  It may be too late, as you have signed on to a place.  But I'm not sure why changing the venue meant a change in living state, too, unless she is fleeing to warmer weather or needing additional care.

LOL It's because she's kind of a crazy person and isn't making rational choices. I'm moving out because I can't afford to pay for the counselling I need to keep living with her, and I'm not even joking. I've tried to make it work for three years because she was only charging me $800/month for rent, but some things you just can't put up with at any price.

I am still slowly working through school at night to become a counselor myself, so that will be a good side gig eventually. I also do a ton of volunteer work that I could possibly turn into a job. I'll have to look into it.

freya

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2019, 09:17:49 AM »
Redstone, that's great news about the housing & amicable settlement with your ex.  Phew!  You should have some breathing room now.

You mentioned you're on an island?  If so, your food budget is an accomplishment to be proud of.  My sister used to live on Bowen Island, and the food prices there were mind-blowing.  She spent close to $1000 a month for the same size family.  I was so shocked at that, I spent some time talking to neighbors and found out about a big box store (Canada's Costco equivalent) on the mainland close to the ferry terminal and went to check it out. I forget the name, but you might try going for occasional large stock-up runs if you don't already.  Another option is to start a vegetable garden and grow some of your own produce (and freeze/can/dehydrate for winter use). Bonus, that's a great thing to do with kids.  If you don't have outdoor access where you live, is there a nearby community garden?

Regarding side-gigs...you'd have to be careful not to screw up your qualifying for subsidized housing, so that's another reason maybe not to do that.

Zamboni

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2019, 09:29:42 AM »
It seems like suppressing your own paycheck in order to keep a subsidy is not cool, especially if you are young and can keep growing that income in a snowball effect.

I divorced 9 years ago and make more than double now what I did when we split. Intentionally shorting my income for any reason would have been a terrible move. For example, I just got a measly 2.8% raise this year, pretty much the company norm. I worked hard this year and could be annoyed that I didn't get a bigger percent increase, except it wasn't measly: 2.8% of what I make now is A LOT.

2.8% of what I was making when I divorced, not so much.

Suppressing income to keep an entitlement is THE recipe for the cycle of poverty.

freya

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2019, 07:59:13 PM »
It seems like suppressing your own paycheck in order to keep a subsidy is not cool, especially if you are young and can keep growing that income in a snowball effect.
...
Suppressing income to keep an entitlement is THE recipe for the cycle of poverty.

A lot of wisdom in the above.   Thank you for this.

However - I would be careful to give up the entitlement for all the right reasons, e.g. increased pay due to career progression rather than another dead end job.  And it also depends how much of a break the entitlement is.  Unfortunately the facts of life are that sometimes it's large enough you HAVE to plan around it...witness all the talk about staying under ACA income limits, for example.

debbie does duncan

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2019, 08:54:01 AM »
I know where you live and I know where you work. I think you are doing great!
I am absolutely shocked that you have to pay child support bc  X is to lazy to work.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2019, 03:13:18 PM »
Redstone, that's great news about the housing & amicable settlement with your ex.  Phew!  You should have some breathing room now.

You mentioned you're on an island?  If so, your food budget is an accomplishment to be proud of.  My sister used to live on Bowen Island, and the food prices there were mind-blowing.  She spent close to $1000 a month for the same size family.  I was so shocked at that, I spent some time talking to neighbors and found out about a big box store (Canada's Costco equivalent) on the mainland close to the ferry terminal and went to check it out. I forget the name, but you might try going for occasional large stock-up runs if you don't already.  Another option is to start a vegetable garden and grow some of your own produce (and freeze/can/dehydrate for winter use). Bonus, that's a great thing to do with kids.  If you don't have outdoor access where you live, is there a nearby community garden?

Regarding side-gigs...you'd have to be careful not to screw up your qualifying for subsidized housing, so that's another reason maybe not to do that.

I hadn't considered that about the subsidized housing, however, I can make up to $70,000 before I max out my allowable earnings and have to give up the apartment, so I think it will be a while before I have to take that into account :)

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2019, 03:17:47 PM »
I know where you live and I know where you work. I think you are doing great!
I am absolutely shocked that you have to pay child support bc  X is to lazy to work.

Thanks for the support!

I know, it's crazy, but I must be getting used to my ex's weirdness because I'm losing my ability to be surprised lol. And when I asked why he hasn't taken the full-time job they offered him, he said because he was worried about them wanting to limit his vacation days LOL  Did I tell you he's taking the kids on a vacation out of the country for a month this summer? Don't really know where he gets the money. Oh yeah...from me. I'm so glad I've kept my sense of humour about these things, otherwise I'd just cry :)


Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2019, 03:26:39 PM »
It seems like suppressing your own paycheck in order to keep a subsidy is not cool, especially if you are young and can keep growing that income in a snowball effect.

I divorced 9 years ago and make more than double now what I did when we split. Intentionally shorting my income for any reason would have been a terrible move. For example, I just got a measly 2.8% raise this year, pretty much the company norm. I worked hard this year and could be annoyed that I didn't get a bigger percent increase, except it wasn't measly: 2.8% of what I make now is A LOT.

2.8% of what I was making when I divorced, not so much.

Suppressing income to keep an entitlement is THE recipe for the cycle of poverty.

Thanks! I think both these perspectives have merit, depending on the circumstances.

Certainly when I was a struggling new mom I was working minimum wage to only take home $50 per month after I paid the daycare bill for my kid. So I figure I was working full-time to make about 30 cents an hour, and that was only 15 years ago, so a pretty bad deal LOL But it was only for a short time so it made sense. Within six months I was able to get a daycare subsidy and had received several pay raises at the job, so it was worthwhile to make the investment of my time that way.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2019, 03:52:34 PM »
Redstone, that's great news about the housing & amicable settlement with your ex.  Phew!  You should have some breathing room now.

You mentioned you're on an island?  If so, your food budget is an accomplishment to be proud of.  My sister used to live on Bowen Island, and the food prices there were mind-blowing.  She spent close to $1000 a month for the same size family.  I was so shocked at that, I spent some time talking to neighbors and found out about a big box store (Canada's Costco equivalent) on the mainland close to the ferry terminal and went to check it out. I forget the name, but you might try going for occasional large stock-up runs if you don't already.  Another option is to start a vegetable garden and grow some of your own produce (and freeze/can/dehydrate for winter use). Bonus, that's a great thing to do with kids.  If you don't have outdoor access where you live, is there a nearby community garden?

Regarding side-gigs...you'd have to be careful not to screw up your qualifying for subsidized housing, so that's another reason maybe not to do that.

My dad does have a Costco membership so I'll be asking him if he can pick up some things for me once in a while. In general, I've found that some things are cheaper going the Costco route, but it depends on your situation. I think most people over-buy, and some things are the same price as the grocery store, so you still need to shop really carefully.

I did have a home garden and a community garden in the past, but my experience has been that the time and money invested in trying to grow my own food is better spent just earning more money at things I'm already good at.

I am a halfway-competent gardener and I do enjoy gardening, but by the time you buy seeds and supplies and factor in the watering bills and the time, you're paying $20 a pound for carrots lol. Not to mention the heartbreak of having your pumpkins and roses stolen from your community garden, which has also happened to me before.

My number crunching in the past (and a very interesting study done by The Tightwad Gazette in the 80s) has convinced me that the real savings come from either growing high cost treats to augment your meals (like cherry tomatoes, salad greens, and herbs), or to plant a huge bed of dirt-cheap (haha) crops like carrots if you have abundant land and water available.

To really save on groceries, I generally stick to the usual advice which works ok for us. Buy what's in season, stay away from processed foods, and think about the cost per calorie, i.e. the nutritional value of the food compared to the cost. I also rely on the recipes from the Tightwad Gazette books to use up any leftovers. They are an amazing resource, for anyone who hasn't read them before.

Oh, I also find it a huge savings to make baking from scratch. If flour isn't too expensive, you can make tortillas, crackers, fancy bread, cakes, etc much cheaper and better tasting than at the store.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here lol, but this is the only group who will be interested that I found a new tortillas recipe and it was delicious, and I think I saved about $2 per batch over buying them pre-made. 


meandmyfamily

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2019, 07:06:31 PM »
I want the tortillas recipe!

mistymoney

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2019, 06:35:22 AM »
please include the cost of cleaning up in these cost calculations!

:)

flour and me = loads of cleaning, including laundry.

Think about Lucy and Ethel making tortillas.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2019, 01:30:17 PM »
I want the tortillas recipe!

It's this one here:

https://thecafesucrefarine.com/best-ever-homemade-flour-tortillas/

I used canola oil because I'm too cheap to use olive oil, and it worked ok too. That might be healthier though, so adjust accordingly :)

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2019, 01:31:04 PM »
please include the cost of cleaning up in these cost calculations!

:)

flour and me = loads of cleaning, including laundry.

Think about Lucy and Ethel making tortillas.

LOL so true! I try to bake everything the same evening so I only have to clean up once :)

meandmyfamily

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2019, 01:34:16 PM »
Yum thanks!

freya

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2019, 07:29:51 AM »
Redstone, you have really done your research!

Totally agree about the bread and the gardening - I came to those same conclusions.  I make my own bread too, including a meal-bar-replacement version with dried fruit, nuts, and things like flaxseed meal that I take on business trips and to work.  Given your high food prices, you might want to think about trying the gardening thing again and target those high yield items.  In my area, salad greens are much cheaper to grow than buy (and better tasting/more nutritious too), but zucchini is dirt cheap to buy when in season so it's not worth growing.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2019, 02:32:47 PM »
Redstone, you have really done your research!

Totally agree about the bread and the gardening - I came to those same conclusions.  I make my own bread too, including a meal-bar-replacement version with dried fruit, nuts, and things like flaxseed meal that I take on business trips and to work.  Given your high food prices, you might want to think about trying the gardening thing again and target those high yield items.  In my area, salad greens are much cheaper to grow than buy (and better tasting/more nutritious too), but zucchini is dirt cheap to buy when in season so it's not worth growing.

You might be right. I was very tempted recently by one of those "grow your lettuce on your kitchen counter" set-ups I've seen for sale on Amazon for $150, but I held off :)

I don't currently have any garden space but I might have some luck putting pots out on the deck of my new apartment. I was really big into container gardening at one time. I'm going to keep my eye out for free planters. And remind myself to ask for zucchini donations this summer from friends who always have extra. I love chocolate zucchini bread! And the zucchini freezes well too.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2019, 09:10:10 AM »
I had some friends over last night for the first time in my new place and had a wonderful evening. With everything that's been going on with the move, it's been ages since I've had a nice visit, and it was great to relax in my own place and have some nice conversations without my mom lurking in the background.

And I made scones with a new recipe and they turned out so well! I used lemon juice in the milk to make buttermilk to add (because I didn't have the recommended cream of tartar) and they rose really high.

Funny story:

I was grocery shopping for treats for the party last night and went to buy this goat cheese I really like to serve my guests. It's expensive (like usually $8 for about 1 and a half cups of product), but it's locally produced and, if I'm going to buy a treat, I try to splurge on local stuff that supports farmers here.

And I was in luck last night, I thought, because it was on sale for $7. But when I went through the till, the price of $17.89 came up! I was like, "uh, what did I buy that cost $17 dollars!", and it was the goat cheese!!

I told the cashier the price on the shelf said $7 so it must be a typo, but she REFUSED TO DOUBLE CHECK! I was so mad that I put it back. But I couldn't resist returning to the shelf to check if I was right in reading the label. And sure enough, the label said $7 but it was for another brand.

While I was looking, another store employee asked me about it and offered to honour the price as shown, but by then I realized I forgot to buy crackers for the cheese anyway, and I was already feeling guilty about the splurge, so I said no and made the scones instead LOLOL

So I guess I either saved $7 or $17 dollars yesterday at the grocery store, thanks to a rude cashier *grin*

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2019, 04:46:43 PM »
I was able to source an almost new microwave on Used.ca yesterday! All for the free price of just picking it up. So now I just need a set of dishes, an ice cube tray, and a cutlery tray and I'll be all set in my new place :)

lhamo

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2019, 05:02:59 PM »
No need to spend a ton of money on growing lettuce -- below are some photos of my arugula at 2 weeks (pre-fertilizer) and 3 weeks (post-fertilizer (Miracle Gro) and lots of watering during this recent bout of sunny weather).

The containers are larger, shallow ones I inherited from my sister.  The arugula ones at the front of the 3-week picture are plastic, the ones with lettuce at the back (just picked last saturday -- the leaves you see are all fresh growth during the past week) are real terra cotta.  The soil is a mix of potting soil and compost

freya

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2019, 09:12:01 AM »
Nice!   Sure wish I had outdoor space. I plant a garden at my mother's house, so all she has to do is water it and pick produce.  If I had a deck like that I'd do not only a container garden but also a worm compost bin.  The worm castings are all the fertilizer and soil replacement you'll ever need.  I used to have one that was nothing more than a plastic storage bin and a screen on top with wire mesh nailed to a wood frame.   Once it got going, food disappeared faster than I could add it!


Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2019, 03:38:45 PM »
No need to spend a ton of money on growing lettuce -- below are some photos of my arugula at 2 weeks (pre-fertilizer) and 3 weeks (post-fertilizer (Miracle Gro) and lots of watering during this recent bout of sunny weather).

The containers are larger, shallow ones I inherited from my sister.  The arugula ones at the front of the 3-week picture are plastic, the ones with lettuce at the back (just picked last saturday -- the leaves you see are all fresh growth during the past week) are real terra cotta.  The soil is a mix of potting soil and compost

These are very inspiring!! I'm looking out for some larger pots I can get for free to start some of my own.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2019, 03:39:42 PM »
Nice!   Sure wish I had outdoor space. I plant a garden at my mother's house, so all she has to do is water it and pick produce.  If I had a deck like that I'd do not only a container garden but also a worm compost bin.  The worm castings are all the fertilizer and soil replacement you'll ever need.  I used to have one that was nothing more than a plastic storage bin and a screen on top with wire mesh nailed to a wood frame.   Once it got going, food disappeared faster than I could add it!

Great idea! I know my boys would love to start our own worm farm. We couldn't have one before because my mom has a worm phobia.

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2019, 03:49:38 PM »
I got some good news on Friday! I've been called back for a group interview to do with a position relating to a side project I'm hoping to develop in my career.

Over the last year or two I've been pursing a career in community health by going to school part time, and I've narrowed it down to considering the counselling field. I wanted to see if that would be a good fit for me, before I commit more time and money to the education side, and found a fantastic volunteer opportunity where you train to be a peer counsellor providing free or sliding-scale counselling services to the general public. It's a very formal volunteer commitment of one evening a week for the next two years, so you get the training and experience for free in exchange for agreeing to the volunteer component during and afterwards.

And then, if I do choose to pursue my masters in counselling, I'd have the experience portion of the application already done. And even if I don't want to pursue the education part afterwards, the skills I learn would prepare me to offer a basic level of peer counselling and support that I could turn into a paying side gig.

I know it's a big time commitment, and I could probably work an evening a week at McDonald's and make more money, at least to start, but it's something I could see myself pursuing for the long term, and I get so much out of it personally, that it doesn't even feel like work. I'm really excited about it!

GreenToTheCore

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2019, 11:41:16 AM »
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
It's so great to hear when finances are going well and even better when progress is combined with personal fulfillment. Great job!

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2019, 01:32:49 PM »
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
It's so great to hear when finances are going well and even better when progress is combined with personal fulfillment. Great job!

Thanks so much!

I do feel like I'm learning so much about myself going through my divorce, and this stuff with my mom, etc over the last few years, and seeing things with new eyes.

For example, the other night I was reading through some of the books I got from the library about dealing with narcissist parents (I think both my ex-husband and my mother have narcissistic tendencies), and I realized I kept going into the kitchen for snacks, over and over again, and finally I'm standing in the kitchen licking a spoonful of Nutella chocolate spread off a spoon! LOL

And I'm like "Oh, so this may be why I've had trouble maintaining a healthy weight." Even just reading the books brought up so many painful memories of my childhood and previous marriage that I was trying to push them away with sugary foods.

Now that I'm finally free of those difficult relationships, I just feel so full of energy, and like I can start to give back. And lately so many people have been telling me that they see things in me that I've never seen before in myself, like the ability to create a safe and welcoming space for people to open-up, and I'm able to share new insights that they say have helped them. So, that's why the investigation into a career in counselling :)

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2019, 02:54:48 PM »
So I saved $20 bucks this weekend by cutting my 7-year-old's hair myself! Of course, my ex said he'd take over paying for the boys' hair cuts, but my son had been asking for one for weeks and my ex didn't take him, so I figured, I'd try it myself and if my son didn't like the cut, my ex could still take him to the barber to fix it.

It was an interesting experience. I think next time I'll try to put him in front of a more exciting video to help him stay still. On the whole, it wasn't too bad. I have an amazing set of Wahl clippers and a good pair of scissors, but it took about 30 minutes and my son was done before I was lol I think if I'd had another 10 minutes I could have done a really professional job on the top, but I was rushed and I cut his sideburns too short, so that looks a little awkward. My oldest said the cut reminds him of those androgynous fashion models wearing couture suits in Vogue ads haha. Besides that, it came out ok, if I do say so myself :)

I learned the basics of the technique watching youtube videos, and I've gotten lots of practice buzzing my own hair (I have a mohawk-type cut). I think if I had more practice I could get pretty good at it. Where can I find more willing victims? LOL

I also set up a new tangerine high-interest savings account online to start aggressively saving money. And I'm in the middle of setting up a paypap account that is connected to my bank, so I can pay for things online without a credit card. For example, I can sign up for a low-cost fruit/veggie co-op in my town but I have to pay for it online, so stuff like that is pretty annoying when you can't get a credit card without giving them a security deposit (which I can't really afford right now).

In the past, I always borrowed my mom's credit card to pay for my budgeting app and itunes memberships etc, so once I switch them over to paypal, I'll finally be completely financially independent from her. Yay!!

So, a pretty productive weekend!!

robartsd

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2019, 03:23:37 PM »
Piano lessons        150.00 *For me and two of my kids, it's $12.50 per person per lesson and we all really value it.
If your piano lessons are private one-on-one lessons, they're super cheap.

I'd look at how you might reduce any of these expenses:
Cable                 67.20 *this is internet only, I do not pay for cable or Netflix etc.
Phone (Me)         78.00
Phone (son)         64.00 *my oldest will be paying this himself after he graduates this month
Kid allowance       160.00 *My oldest will begin to cover his own expenses now that he's almost graduated and will be working.
Misc                98.64
Kid's misc      200.00 *clothes, toiletries, school field trips, birthday party gifts, crafting, etc. (It works out to $16.66 per kid per week).
hair cuts (kids)     30.00 *my ex has agreed to take over the cost of getting the boys hair cuts
itunes                 11.00
Budget app          5.00
Bank fees          5.00
Your internet is about 25% more than ours and your mobiles are about twice as expensive if those figures are for service only (fully paid off devices).

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2019, 03:32:57 PM »
Piano lessons        150.00 *For me and two of my kids, it's $12.50 per person per lesson and we all really value it.
If your piano lessons are private one-on-one lessons, they're super cheap.

I'd look at how you might reduce any of these expenses:
Cable                 67.20 *this is internet only, I do not pay for cable or Netflix etc.
Phone (Me)         78.00
Phone (son)         64.00 *my oldest will be paying this himself after he graduates this month
Kid allowance       160.00 *My oldest will begin to cover his own expenses now that he's almost graduated and will be working.
Misc                98.64
Kid's misc      200.00 *clothes, toiletries, school field trips, birthday party gifts, crafting, etc. (It works out to $16.66 per kid per week).
hair cuts (kids)     30.00 *my ex has agreed to take over the cost of getting the boys hair cuts
itunes                 11.00
Budget app          5.00
Bank fees          5.00
Your internet is about 25% more than ours and your mobiles are about twice as expensive if those figures are for service only (fully paid off devices).

Thanks, yes the lessons are private and I do think we're getting a fantastic deal because we've been with the same teacher for almost 5 years now.

Sadly, that is the cheapest internet available in my region (except for dial-up, which I'm not sure is even an option since we don't have a phone connection anymore).

The phones are paid-off. My understanding is that cell phone fees are much higher in Canada than are comparable in the US. My boyfriend lived in Colorado for several years and was amazed to find that in Canada his same basic plan that he paid $30 for in the US is over $60 here. :(

However, I think I could still reduce my cell phone bill. I'm with virgin mobile and apparently there are even cheaper options that I'm going to look into. The problem is that I use a lot of data due to phone conferencing for a volunteer position that I hold. I'm going to look into it.

Positive update, my home insurance is only $28 per month and I think I'd estimated in the budget that it would be $34 originally. So I'm up 6 bucks! :)

Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2019, 03:44:12 PM »
Current Budget   

Expenses   
Rent   1,625.00
BC Hydro   26.00
Internet   67.20
Phone (Me)   78.00
Car insurance   132.00
Life insurance   31.00
house insurance   28.84
Piano lessons   150.00
Pets   40.00
Child support   0.00
Kid allowance   0.00
Eating out   0.00
Misc   0.00
Groceries   500.00
Laundry   36.00
Clothes & beauty   0.00
Kid's misc   0.00
hair cuts   0.00
Spotify   5.00
Budget app   5.00
Bank fees   1.50
Savings   0.00
Total   2,725.54
   
Income   
Work   2,796.00
Child tax benefit   577.00
Total   3,373.00
   
Income   3,373.00
Expenses   2,725.54
Total   647.46

Here's a new updated budget with the changes I've made. Of course, I've reduced the miscellaneous categories by just not buying anything haha, so all those little life things for me and the kids aren't included, but also I haven't added the rent that my oldest will start paying me this summer now that he's graduated. I think I can start putting some money into savings this month. Hurray!

freya

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2019, 07:36:32 AM »
Great work Redstone!!!!!  Love all those new zeros!!!!!

Regarding the phone conferencing, could you instead use an internet app to do the conferencing?  Skype, zoom etc.  Also for home calls look into Obitalk or similar, where you pay a one-time fee for a device that hooks up to a phone for voice over IP service on a Google Voice number that is forever free.  Or you can sign up for a super-cheap plan, like $5/month.

Then you can switch your cell phone to a prepaid service, and use it only for calls made outside your home.

After that, can you do something about car insurance?  That is REALLY high.

For laundry, portable washing machines are the bomb, unless you're worried about running afoul of a building policy.  I can tell you that they are so common here in Manhattan, where buildings almost all forbid washers, that sellers make a point of advertising delivery in "discreet packaging".   I got a Laundry Alternative washer that stows in a closet, and I only use the building laundry for things like sheets and towels.  If you've got a faucet with a removable aerator, you're in business.



Redstone5

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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2019, 09:02:31 AM »
Great work Redstone!!!!!  Love all those new zeros!!!!!

Regarding the phone conferencing, could you instead use an internet app to do the conferencing?  Skype, zoom etc.  Also for home calls look into Obitalk or similar, where you pay a one-time fee for a device that hooks up to a phone for voice over IP service on a Google Voice number that is forever free.  Or you can sign up for a super-cheap plan, like $5/month.

Then you can switch your cell phone to a prepaid service, and use it only for calls made outside your home.

After that, can you do something about car insurance?  That is REALLY high.

For laundry, portable washing machines are the bomb, unless you're worried about running afoul of a building policy.  I can tell you that they are so common here in Manhattan, where buildings almost all forbid washers, that sellers make a point of advertising delivery in "discreet packaging".   I got a Laundry Alternative washer that stows in a closet, and I only use the building laundry for things like sheets and towels.  If you've got a faucet with a removable aerator, you're in business.

Thank you! I've been working hard to change my mindset, and think about every expense as less money going into my savings to earn interest.

The issue with the conferencing is that I'm not at home or the office. I have a super busy volunteer position where I'm often literally having conferences while I'm out and about running errands etc, and my laptop is on the blink so I can't really rely on other devices besides my phone right now.

It's the weirdest thing. Over the last few months, my laptop has stopped letting me use some of the keyboard keys. Not like they're sticky or broken, but like I have to restart it before I can type the middle keys T-U and V-M. Once I restart, they usually come back again, but it's so frustrating, because sometimes my password to open the laptop won't work because it has those letters in it! LOL

Is my car insurance really high? I think I'm paying about the average for the BC westcoast. I do have slightly higher fees right now because I'm teaching my son to drive. Our car insurance is mostly publicly owned here, and only the extra insurance is private (and more competitively priced).  I am going to get a quote from BCAA to see if I can bundle my care and renter insurance for a discount.

My dad is keeping his eye out for a cheap, secondhand washing machine for me, but he was pointing out that paying $3 for a large load is probably not that much more expensive than the water and power it would cost me to run my own machine. I do have hookup and space for a washing machine in my apt, so I'm keeping my options open if I can find one I can afford. And I air dry most of my laundry so it's actually more like $1.50 a load half of the time.

Thanks for the encouragement!!

reeshau

  • Bristles
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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2019, 09:06:10 AM »

It's the weirdest thing. Over the last few months, my laptop has stopped letting me use some of the keyboard keys. Not like they're sticky or broken, but like I have to restart it before I can type the middle keys T-U and V-M. Once I restart, they usually come back again, but it's so frustrating, because sometimes my password to open the laptop won't work because it has those letters in it! LOL


You probably have a short in the keyboard; either a broken circuit or--ahem--foreign material of some sort.  Keyboards, of course, are exposed on the outside of the case, so it's not killer to get it replaced.  I would expect the problem to get worse (i.e. affecting more keys) over time.

Redstone5

  • Bristles
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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2019, 09:28:24 AM »

It's the weirdest thing. Over the last few months, my laptop has stopped letting me use some of the keyboard keys. Not like they're sticky or broken, but like I have to restart it before I can type the middle keys T-U and V-M. Once I restart, they usually come back again, but it's so frustrating, because sometimes my password to open the laptop won't work because it has those letters in it! LOL


You probably have a short in the keyboard; either a broken circuit or--ahem--foreign material of some sort.  Keyboards, of course, are exposed on the outside of the case, so it's not killer to get it replaced.  I would expect the problem to get worse (i.e. affecting more keys) over time.

That's actually a relief! I thought maybe it was just me LOL

The laptop is about 3 years old. I guess that's the lifespan for them these days :(

reeshau

  • Bristles
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Re: Case Study - Single Mom needs a financial check-in
« Reply #44 on: Today at 03:09:35 AM »

It's the weirdest thing. Over the last few months, my laptop has stopped letting me use some of the keyboard keys. Not like they're sticky or broken, but like I have to restart it before I can type the middle keys T-U and V-M. Once I restart, they usually come back again, but it's so frustrating, because sometimes my password to open the laptop won't work because it has those letters in it! LOL


You probably have a short in the keyboard; either a broken circuit or--ahem--foreign material of some sort.  Keyboards, of course, are exposed on the outside of the case, so it's not killer to get it replaced.  I would expect the problem to get worse (i.e. affecting more keys) over time.

That's actually a relief! I thought maybe it was just me LOL

The laptop is about 3 years old. I guess that's the lifespan for them these days :(

To be clear, the laptop is fine--you can just replace the keyboard.  Depending on the laptop you buy, it might still be a significant percentage of a purchase price.  It's very DIY-able, if you are or know someone who would not be intimidated to crack open the case.