Author Topic: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles  (Read 9614 times)

qt

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Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« on: October 27, 2015, 01:17:14 AM »
I need idea's based on my current situation to put me in the best situation to move out in 6 months. I know within that time I can save enough for the basics. I currently live with my mom with my young daughter. I live rent free, but differences in how we view finances, parenting, and on going control issues have escalated to the point that I realize I am digging my own rut that I am no longer comfortable living in and if it keeps going I don't think I will ever get out of it. I have felt this for quite a few years, but I started dating and it's really opened my eyes to how deep my rut is and how many freedoms my daughter and I are missing out on. She also refuses to let me sit down with her and total up expenses including mortgage,utilities, and groceries so we can half them between us, but will complain that my daughter and I are the reason her bills are so high. Also I haven't learned to not ever mention needing to get something for me (BF, chocolate sauce to make my own coffee instead of buying it out, a newer used car, etc) or she will see it and her hand comes out or comments start look she could do this but couldn't do this for all of us or thinks of something I need to spend money on right then.

On with the case study. *cringed*
Life situation: single 34 one child. I claim zero deductions on taxes coming out of my check so more comes out. I had thought to live within my means monthly then this lump sum could be put towards paying down towards student loans and save. My mom does my taxes and finds ways to push me into spending every last cent of it. This past year that included lending her $2000, because she claimed she was behind on the mortgage. Then she got package after package from hsn.Back to case study.

Gross wage- $1603.52 biweekly (includes employee benefit/company paid insurance-$181.90 and Ltd/std company pay in of $10.42)
Deductions biweekly:
Roth-$80.16(company adds $64.14 and I am fully vested)
Insurance-$233.87 (includes health/dental/vision/std/Ltd- note company pays into gross to cover most of this)
Fsa-$38.46 ($1000 covers insurance deductible)
Dsa-$46.15 ($1200 should cover daughter's daycare for the year.first year I tried it. I heard getting reimbursement is a pain so daycare has the paperwork so I can start getting that money back or at least the largest chunk incase it's really bad.)

Taxes: Federal $164.02 state-$90.24 FiCA-$99.17

Adjusted Gross Income- $1704.58/mo


Expenses: $1,296.22/mo
Groceries-$500-600 (sometimes $100 of this is pizza Friday night/ this has reduced dramatically I used to spend almost my whole pay check to groceries literally every 2 weeks trying to keep peace. I finally put my foot down and put my mom on a budget for what I will spend. There is still a bunch of food spoilage and we have Tons of food in general.)
Gas-$60 (I used to spend $15 but since my BF lives 36 minutes away that has increased, but we take turns on who comes to see who.)
Daycare-$100
Internet-$48 with taxes and fees (My mom had dial up.. I couldn't deal so I priced it and got her permission to have it put in. She now uses it for her work and complains it's slow, but it meets my needs.)
Cellphone- prepaid US cellular $53 with tax and fees (I wasn't spoken to then ranted at when I got a smartphone and my own plan. After going on the website and pricing it it appears my mom was severely overcharging for me using the family plan with a flip phone I could no longer get a battery for. I had to pay for a phone upfront, but I am now saving money every month.)
Daughter's School Lunch-$50
Daughter's insurance-$53( this is cheaper, because they don't have a single parent and child package. I would have to bump up to the family plan.)
Student Loans-$243
The following expenses are frivolity, but I don't want to give them up.
Date night/lunches-$100 (My BF and I pretty much Dutch when we go out which is usually 1-2 lunches a week and every other weekend dinner or activity. Since we have gotten more serious we have gone out with the kids and when it's just us instead of movies out its now netflix on the couch at his house lol.)
Netflix- $11.99
Hulu-$11.99
Spotify-$9.99 - to me it's worth it instead of Pandora. I can download playlists from their huge bank of music while on WiFi then I can listen for 8hours at work. I don't have to buy music from iTunes or use all my data up steaming Pandora.)
Amazon Prime-$8.25
Misc.- $50 ( daughter gets hers cut every 6 weeks/ mine they are lucky to see me every 3 months)
(I pay car insurance of $500 by the year with money I keep from my income taxes, so I don't pay the installment fees.)

Liabilities:$21,935.70
Student loan1-$3,948.81 @6.75% fixed $40.67/mo for 142mo
Student loan2-$14,798.78 @6.75% fixed $152.41/mo for 142 mo
Student loan3 -$3,188.11 @3.5% fixed $50/mo for 78mo

Assets:
Roth- $14,157.67
Local Bank- $50 (rates .1%if you have more than $100-$5k)
Bank 2 -$500 (rates 1%/ had $3k before I mentioned a car ended up with $0 now I am building it back up)
2000 Hyundai elantra ( I am the second owner but I bought it at the end of 2000 for $7k... car prices, gas mileage, and all the major recalls makes me go eeek/ blue book mint $900 - most assuredly isn't mint.. I would be lucky to get $200 out of it.)

Credit: (I just recently talked myself into credit cards. I have never had them, because I had this feeling they were evil due to so many abusing them. I carry no balance on either card and there's no annual fee.)
Amazon Store Card-$800 limit - 5% back on Amazon as cash credit on statement for Prime members ( Added with the Subscribe & save program where 5 items gets you 15% off and free shipping that's 20%off)
Amazon Rewards Card-$2000 limit -3% on Amazon, 2% restaurants/gas,1% everything else given as points 100=$1 on Amazon.
I have a super walmart in town, so if I could find a card with better than 1% and no annual fees for them it would be awesome

Fico score of 730 (I attempted to get a car loan earlier in the year for a hail damaged 2013 Hyundai Santa Dr $10,000 that would be the same for insurance as my current vehicle, the bank said I would have to get a co-signer even though my credit was good. So I asked what my credit was. My mom said no to co-signing even though I let her know after a year I was planning to refinance in my name only after a year, because she said she will need a new car in a few years. I thought on it and took my car to the shop and asked them to make a few repairs $161 and asked them if in an overview they could see anything that would cause my car to break down in the next year.)

Before I moved back in with my mom I lived off less than my adjusted biweekly gross($851). Rent was a lot cheaper though with decent places for $300. Here the rental assisted apartments are $450/mo and cheap houses run $550 to $750.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 01:21:49 AM by qt »

former player

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 02:56:22 AM »
It looks to me as though your best option for a better relationship with your mother in the long term is to move out, so I think you are doing the right thing having that as your current goal.  Look for something to rent which is at the cheap end of acceptable.

Your biggest potential downside risk would be something serious going wrong with your car which means either expensive repairs or a new vehicle.  Could you manage without a car at the moment?  Could you find a new place to live where you could manage without a car?  If not, then 1) make sure you do what you (cheaply) can to keep your current car running, such as regular checks on oil, water, tyre pressure etc. - this minimal kind of owner maintenance is a no-brainer for you at the moment, and 2) build up your emergency stash both for moving expenses and potential car expenses.

Any chance of getting back that $2,000 loan to your mother?  It would be a good kick-start to your emergency/moving/car replacement fund.

What can you do to increase your income?  Promotion opportunities at work?  Side hustles?  Opportunities for higher-paying jobs?  Increasing income is just as effective a way to improve your finances as cutting costs.

Congratulations on the changes you have already made to your budget.  You seem to me to have some headroom for savings even in your current budget, but you could do better, especially as when you move out you will have rent and utilities costs which your mother doesn't seem to be charging you at the moment.  You are allowed some frivolities, but you seem to have several, and ones which overlap as well.  Do you really need Netflix and Hulu and Spotify and Amazon Prime?  How much of your life do you spend watching television? If you are getting value for money out of all of these I don't understand when you find time to work, to do housework, to parent and to have conversations with your boyfriend and daughter.   As you watch Netflix at your boyfriend's, try cutting that out at home.  Also try cutting out Hulu and doing something more creative with that time.  That still leaves you Spotify for music and Amazon Prime for movies, TV and "free" delivery.

Finally, take control of your taxes.  You are a grown-up, and this is one of the things grown-ups do for themselves.  By not adjusting your taxes your are giving an interest-free loan to the government.  You have better uses for that money - it needs to be going into your emergency fund, not the governments.

Good luck.

qt

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2015, 10:48:04 AM »
My car is the item that makes me the most worried. In this area you really can't go with out a car, because it is rural mountious. At my current location my work is 3mi from me, bikable eh yes the steep ups and downs would make it one heck of a ride that my current physical status could not handle. School, daycare, and grocery store are all 20-15 mi.

I know I can't  change the oil, because I can't get under the vehicle to release the oil. I have however done other things such as checking oil levels, changing wipers and bulbs. My next project is tackling the blower. I think it's either the relay or blower it's self. I found the parts and philips head screw driver I need on Amazon and watched a YouTube video on how to change it. Unplug the old blower unscrew 3 screws and replace blower. Last time I had it looked at they wanted to charge me $300 just for the blower and it would take hours dash of labor because they would have to tear out the dash!! I could tell they were trying to fleece me, so i said never mind. Then the mechanic said it was running again after he banged the dash. Convienient. Just because I am a girl it doesn't mean I was born yesterday.

I highly dout I will see the money ever again. She said she would pay me back slowly, but that's been well over 6 months ago. I have yet to see any of it and have been giving her money as she has whined and put on the guilt trip on that she used it for groceries we needed or gas to transport my daughter or took my daughter to burgerking while I went out or shes broke and needs one of the above. Last time she whined about gas money. I had made a comment that the cheapest gas station in town had run out of regular, so their mid grade was now $2.22, so I had filled up ( more than 2 weeks later still running on that tank). She made a big deal infront of my daughter that it must be nice to have the money laying around to fill up your car when she was running on fumes. I waited and asked her the next day when my daughter was not around  to meet me at the gas station and I would fill up her tank. (Figured I should atleast get the 2% lol) Amazingly she said she filled her car up the day before and hasn't asked for money in a few weeks.

Right now there are no promotion opportunities the reason I am also waiting until April is because of a possible lay off during this time. If work goes well there will be no interruption, but I will know by April if that will happen. I had an Etsy store for awhile, but once it broke even I closed it because I was putting to much time in to get properly paid for the effort aka $1 an hour or less was not worth it. Side jobs are hard to come by they want you to be avalible any hours, but I work 8-5. For the area I am at making good money at my current job. I am not pushing for a more significant raise until after April.

Cutting out frivolity..  I love hulu because most of the programs I like to watch are on it, but it's not as child friendly as Netflix where my daughter has her own profile which is locked to kids programing. My BF doesnt have Netflix, but he has a wii and internet, so I can login at his house to watch. I use spotify at work headphones and music is a must for me to create enough white noise so I am not distracted constantly by coworkers. If I were to choose between spotify and hulu. I would choose spotify. I usually watch a show or 2 or a movie after my daughters 8pm bed time to gear down, which BF is usually in bed by 9 or if he is off the next day still trying to rangle his 2 into bed then crashes shortly after from exhaustion shortly after 9.

 After moving we would have no tv, but we each have a kindle. Movie night for me and my daughter is usually a free movie on my kindle and a mini bag of popcorn. We have a Wii so eventually a tv would be in the plans, but not at first. And I definitely would not be getting cable or satellite.  My daughter has an extensive collection of books I bought on the cheap and I have a large tub of books of my own that I have yet to read(Myself xmas present 4 years ago was a huge lot of used romance novels from ebay, which I  sold the duplicates and any I was not interested in for $1/book and broke even. And since have been giving away the ones I read.) And there is a library in town if nothing else Lol.

As for Amazon prime, I live in a rural area and I price shop between Amazon and our local Walmart super center and a shopnsave. Even though I take advantage of the deal catcher app on Walmart, Amazon is much cheaper and some things I wouldn't be able to get or would have to travel an hour to maybe find what I need. I am 'churning?' for amazon points with regular purchases to save on Amazon purchases and then the Amazon store card I get an extra 5% off everything on Amazon. I definitely recoup the $99 a year for Amazon prime in just shipping. It's pretty bad when you can get things delivered to your house cheaper than you can by them in store.

Taxes: ding ding ding... you're a mind reader. I have bought the Turbo tax program the last 2 years and it's gotten sucked into the abyss every year. Last year I  got it then asked where it was so I could do my taxes, since my mom waits til the weekend before April 15. Why because she says she always  owes? Last year I got the mail when her tax return check came in the mail, so yeah not so true. I just put her mail back in the mail box and didn't breach that subject with a 10ft pole.

I was going to adjust my taxes for the upcoming year so that I would get more back. I also will do my own taxes so I get them back by Aprilish. That will probably start world war III with my mom, but I need to do this for my daughter and I. I could then figure out the difference of what I get now and the new pay and have the differenence deposited in my higher interest rate savings automaticly.

I also know that there are several ftho programs and deposit programs in the county ( 0% apr loans for deposit and there is a work to earn deposit program in county as well/ the program also has loans avalible for  3.7% i believe it was for homes up to $180k) I need to take the evening class they offer in community action. To see if this could be a viable option to continue to look at. I figure the information could be useful if nothing else. I know that there are a huge amount of homes for sale well below their market value. The one I have my eye on is in an okay neighborhood with a park close and has an attached mil which could be used as a rental. I haven't looked in the house to know the exact lay out, but it's 4br and 4.5 ba for $40k. My thought is if i can qualify for the 0%down 0% apr down payment or a work to earn downpayment the and  a decient loan rate, put in $1800 for property taxes $8k down 15 year mortgage without a renter payments would be $450. Only problem would be that it's appraisal is much higher so the property taxes would be for a house 4x what you would pay. Thats why in the calculations I increased the property tax from 1.5% to 6.5%.That is cheaper than renting around here. And depending on the layout I could rent out a portion of the place to someone else. Thinking out loud of options. I am a number person I like seeing numbers on paper that give loooots of wiggle room towards worse possible situation.

AZDude

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2015, 11:13:51 AM »
Am I misunderstanding the term Dutch? I always thought it meant the woman buys both meals/tickets. If so, then obvious the BF needs to start at least paying half. If it means splitting, then disregard.

For a single person making around $40K, with a child, you should be paying very little in taxes. Definitely need to adjust that. There is nothing terrible in your budget, but you certainly could cut back on the groceries, and then cut out the hulu, spotify, and amazon prime. You could also find a better deal for your cell plan. There is probably a couple hundred dollars worth of savings in your budget, but with that amount of student loans, you should be looking for a better salary.

$1704 a month is not great, but its certainly enough to live on, especially since its a lower cost of living area.


Argyle

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2015, 11:22:49 AM »
It sounds as if it's going to be hard to cut back while living with your mother, because she is second-guessing and guilting you, and that's stressful and difficult.  That said, cutting back and making more money are your two options, and both of them are desirable.  When you're on your own, particularly, you can cut back on food.  Get a breadmaker used through Craiglist or at Goodwill and make your own pizza dough for Friday night pizzas.  So cheap!  You might also be able to cut down by packing your daughter's lunches.  And maybe some homemade dinners/lunches for date night.  If you set an interim goal ("For two months we'll have cheap dates and I'll aim to save $XXX for my student loan") it doesn't seem so hard or never-ending.

qt

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2015, 11:36:16 AM »
 Dutch means the woman pays hahaha good one. No it's a splitting of costs, which usually means if we go to a game he gets the tickets and gas and I get the food which equals out pretty evenly or if it's dinner I catch it once then he catches it. It confused waitress staff to much splitting a check. I let him pay the first few dates, which drove me batty because I am used to paying my own way. It is akward for him because he isn't used to people paying Lol. Most of the time if I pay for dinner he still pays the tip (stinker).

I have yet to pay taxes. I usually get a healthy return at the end of the year from state and federal. Is there a calculator that maybe would show the amount put in so I could get a better idea of what deductions I should have on the w4 with out putting me into tax paying territory.

I looked up the top 100 paying jobs in this area earlier and my annual pay is about with the top 20 of that list. It goes from $60k to $19k, people making more than this are usually have some sort of business, rental, or stock dividends that are also bringing in money. Drs and lawyers around here usually own their practice.

CU Tiger

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2015, 11:37:48 AM »
On with the case study. *cringed*
Life situation: single 34 one child. I claim zero deductions on taxes coming out of my check so more comes out. I had thought to live within my means monthly then this lump sum could be put towards paying down towards student loans and save. My mom does my taxes and finds ways to push me into spending every last cent of it. This past year that included lending her $2000, because she claimed she was behind on the mortgage. Then she got package after package from hsn.Back to case study.

Iíve read through both of your big posts a couple of times. Have you read it and thought about what it says about the toxic money relationship you have with your mom? Not only are you and your mom not bringing out the best in each other, you are modeling bad behavior for your young daughter. You canít change the past or your motherís attitude, but you CAN change your future and your daughterís life by being strong and standing on your own, and showing your daughter how to live independently.


Gross wage- $1603.52 biweekly (includes employee benefit/company paid insurance-$181.90 and Ltd/std company pay in of $10.42) GET YOUR TAX DEDUCTIONS CHANGED RIGHT NOW. YOU NEED MONEY ON A MONTH TO MONTH BASIS TO PAY FOR BILLS, NOT A LUMP SUM THAT YOUR MOTHER CAN GET HER HANDS ON.
Deductions biweekly:
Roth-$80.16(company adds $64.14 and I am fully vested)
Insurance-$233.87 (includes health/dental/vision/std/Ltd- note company pays into gross to cover most of this)
Fsa-$38.46 ($1000 covers insurance deductible)
Dsa-$46.15 ($1200 should cover daughter's daycare for the year.first year I tried it. I heard getting reimbursement is a pain so daycare has the paperwork so I can start getting that money back or at least the largest chunk incase it's really bad.)

Taxes: Federal $164.02 state-$90.24 FiCA-$99.17

Adjusted Gross Income- $1704.58/mo


Expenses: $1,296.22/mo
Groceries-$500-600 (sometimes $100 of this is pizza Friday night/ this has reduced dramatically I used to spend almost my whole pay check to groceries literally every 2 weeks trying to keep peace. I finally put my foot down and put my mom on a budget for what I will spend. There is still a bunch of food spoilage and we have Tons of food in general.) SO, YOU ARE SPENDING THIS ON GROCERIES, BUT WHAT ARE YOU BUYING AND WHAT ARE YOU COOKING? WHY IS FOOD BEING THROWN AWAY? DO YOU PACK A LUNCH EVERY DAY FOR YOU/DAUGHTER? CAN YOU TRACK YOUR FOOD SPENDING FOR A MONTH AND SEE WHAT YOU ARE SPENDING, WHAT YOU ARE USING, AND HOW YOU CAN GET THAT DOWN?
Gas-$60 (I used to spend $15 but since my BF lives 36 minutes away that has increased, but we take turns on who comes to see who.)
Daycare-$100 PER WEEK OR PER MONTH?
Daughter's School Lunch-$50 WEEKLY OR MONTHLY?
Internet-$48 with taxes and fees (My mom had dial up.. I couldn't deal so I priced it and got her permission to have it put in. She now uses it for her work and complains it's slow, but it meets my needs.)
Cellphone- prepaid US cellular $53 with tax and fees (I wasn't spoken to then ranted at when I got a smartphone and my own plan. After going on the website and pricing it it appears my mom was severely overcharging for me using the family plan with a flip phone I could no longer get a battery for. I had to pay for a phone upfront, but I am now saving money every month.)

Daughter's insurance-$53( this is cheaper, because they don't have a single parent and child package. I would have to bump up to the family plan.)
Student Loans-$243
The following expenses are frivolity, but I don't want to give them up.
IF YOU WONíT GIVE ALL OF THEM UP, HOW ABOUT SOME OF THEM? CUT THE HULU AND THE SPOTIFY. SOUNDS LIKE YOU WATCH A LOT OF TELEVISION. HAVE YOU CONSIDERED SPENDING YOUR TIME READING SOME BOOKS ABOUT FRUGALITY, FINANCE, ETC? I GET THE NEED FOR THINGS TO LISTEN TO AT WORK. I PAY $0 A MONTH FOR AUDIO BOOKS FROM OUR LIBRARY. I LISTEN TO LOTS OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF BOOKS: HISTORY, MYSTERY, ROMANCE, FANTASY, ETC. YOU COULD DOWNLOAD FREE PODCASTS AND LISTEN TO THEM. I DONíT CARE WHAT YOU ARE INTERESTED IN Ė THERE ARE FREE PODCASTS OUT THERE ABOUT EVERY HOBBY AND INTEREST I CAN THINK OF, AND A LOT I CANíT BEGIN TO IMAGINE.
THE LIBRARY IS THE FRUGAL PERSONíS FRIEND. OURS HAS FREE MUSIC CDS, FREE DVDS, AUDIO BOOKS, DOWNLOADABLE BOOKS, AND REGULAR OLD BOOK-BOOKS.


Date night/lunches-$100 (My BF and I pretty much Dutch when we go out which is usually 1-2 lunches a week and every other weekend dinner or activity. Since we have gotten more serious we have gone out with the kids and when it's just us instead of movies out its now netflix on the couch at his house lol.)
Netflix- $11.99
Hulu-$11.99
Spotify-$9.99 - to me it's worth it instead of Pandora. I can download playlists from their huge bank of music while on WiFi then I can listen for 8hours at work. I don't have to buy music from iTunes or use all my data up steaming Pandora.)
Amazon Prime-$8.25
Misc.- $50 ( daughter gets hers cut every 6 weeks/ mine they are lucky to see me every 3 months)
(I pay car insurance of $500 by the year with money I keep from my income taxes, so I don't pay the installment fees.)

IF YOU GOT SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR SMALL LOANS, YOU COULD PAY THEM OFF EARLY. CAN YOU PRE-PAY? NOT KIDDING. FIND AN EXTRA $90 IN YOUR BUDGET (GIVING UP SOME OF YOUR EXTRAS) AND DOUBLE UP ON THOSE PAYMENTS.
Liabilities:$21,935.70
Student loan1-$3,948.81 @6.75% fixed $40.67/mo for 142mo
Student loan2-$14,798.78 @6.75% fixed $152.41/mo for 142 mo
Student loan3 -$3,188.11 @3.5% fixed $50/mo for 78mo


Assets:
Roth- $14,157.67
Local Bank- $50 (rates .1%if you have more than $100-$5k)
Bank 2 -$500 (rates 1%/ had $3k before I mentioned a car ended up with $0 now I am building it back up)
2000 Hyundai elantra ( I am the second owner but I bought it at the end of 2000 for $7k... car prices, gas mileage, and all the major recalls makes me go eeek/ blue book mint $900 - most assuredly isn't mint.. I would be lucky to get $200 out of it.)

Credit: (I just recently talked myself into credit cards. I have never had them, because I had this feeling they were evil due to so many abusing them. I carry no balance on either card and there's no annual fee.)
Amazon Store Card-$800 limit - 5% back on Amazon as cash credit on statement for Prime members ( Added with the Subscribe & save program where 5 items gets you 15% off and free shipping that's 20%off)
Amazon Rewards Card-$2000 limit -3% on Amazon, 2% restaurants/gas,1% everything else given as points 100=$1 on Amazon.
IíD BE CAREFUL WITH AMAZON CARDS. IT IS SO EASY TO GET SUCKED INTO SPENDING LIKE A MADWOMAN, TELLING YOURSELF, ďIíM ACTUALLY SAVING MONEY BY USING THESE CARDS AND GETTING CASH BACK.Ē WELL, ACTUALLY, YOU SAVE MONEY BY NOT SPENDING MONEY!

ARE YOU CAREFUL ABOUT NOT RUNNING TO THE STORE FOR THIS THING AND THAT? BUNDLING YOUR ERRANDS AND NOT JUST DRIVING AROUND WILL HELP YOU SAVE GAS.


YOU NEED TO GET OUT ON YOUR OWN. YOU AND YOUR MOM SOUND PRETTY TOXIC TOGETHER. NOT SAYING THAT SHEíS BAD OR YOU AREÖJUST THAT TWO GROWN WOMEN LIVING TOGETHER ISNíT ALWAYS POSSIBLE, WHEN ONE OF THEM CHANGED THE OTHERíS DIAPER. OUR PARENTS OFTEN HAVE A PROBLEM LETTING US BE GROWNUPS. YOU ALSO SOUND LIKE YOU HAVE SOME TROUBLE SAYING NO TO HER, OR YOU LET HER GUILT YOU INTO THINGS. RUN THE NUMBERS ON BUYING A HOUSE OR RENTING (IíD PERSONALLY GO FOR RENTING), BUT GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER AND MOVE, SOONER, RATHER THAN LATER.

Sibley

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2015, 11:52:30 AM »
You need to move out. For your daughter's sake if nothing else, because your mother's behavior is setting a terrible example for her. Not to mention what it's doing to you. That is an unhealthy situation for everyone, and you need to get away from it.

Regarding doing your taxes - you can do them online, possibly for free. The IRS has a free file option, and I think your income may be in that range. Many states have similar. Even if you don't qualify for the free file, there are multiple online programs (no waiting for things in the mail!) that you can use. The IRS has a list every year, pick one from there. The ones I've used often try to upsell you because it's "free Federal efile", so to make money they try to sucker you. Don't fall for it, you don't need that stuff. Just read everything carefully. Direct deposit is free, and faster (and safe from your mother's prying eyes). Don't do the refund anticipation loans. Your library may be able to help you with information here as well. If you get stuck, post on the forum! There are plenty of people who are willing and able to answer questions, from easy to hard.

For WWIII - just do your taxes in Feb and don't mention it to her. When she gets around to doing hers and demands your paperwork, look surprised and say "oh, mine are done. Guess I never mentioned it. Thanks for offering though." Then walk away/do something else and refuse to engage.

Cut your daughter's hair yourself, or she can get a job and pay for it herself. Kids are cute even with a bad haircut.

You can get many tv shows, at least recent episodes, for free online, you just have to find them, and maybe put up with some ads. You can probably cut Hulu that way.

Totally check out your library. Hopefully it's a great one, but even a so-so one can be helpful.

Hang in there!

qt

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2015, 11:58:59 AM »
It sounds as if it's going to be hard to cut back while living with your mother, because she is second-guessing and guilting you, and that's stressful and difficult.  That said, cutting back and making more money are your two options, and both of them are desirable.  When you're on your own, particularly, you can cut back on food.  Get a breadmaker used through Craiglist or at Goodwill and make your own pizza dough for Friday night pizzas.  So cheap!  You might also be able to cut down by packing your daughter's lunches.  And maybe some homemade dinners/lunches for date night.  If you set an interim goal ("For two months we'll have cheap dates and I'll aim to save $XXX for my student loan") it doesn't seem so hard or never-ending.
Before moving home I was quite the little queen of frugality. I got a second hand chest freezer for $75 delivered, that I kept full of bulk basics flour yeast ect. I shopped best prices, but the area had 20 grocery stores with in 10 miles if you counted the bulk surplus and ma and pa places. I knew where and what time to get things. I also had homemade  quick meals in the freezer along with homemade quick breads, cookie dough balls, preformed buiscuit dough, roll dough, homemade hotpockets, muffins, ect. Just pop it in the toaster oven to bake in the summer or turm on the oven in the winter to take the chill off and had fresh food on deck.

Around here its a different. There are 4 stores including a ding and dent and a bulk foods place. So savings will be harder to get and not as epic.

I can make bread by hand in a big bowl faster than a bread machine can Lol.  I can not cook or bake in my mom's house, another control thing. It is one of my favorite passtimes. Once I am out my daughter is going to be like wait mom you can cook? Lol

KCM5

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2015, 12:30:53 PM »
Och - do not live with your mother any longer. Find a new place. Next month. The other posters are right, you do not appear to bring out the best in each other.

GizmoTX

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2015, 12:32:31 PM »
You need to move out. For your daughter's sake if nothing else, because your mother's behavior is setting a terrible example for her. Not to mention what it's doing to you. That is an unhealthy situation for everyone, and you need to get away from it.

Regarding doing your taxes - you can do them online, possibly for free. The IRS has a free file option, and I think your income may be in that range. Many states have similar. Even if you don't qualify for the free file, there are multiple online programs (no waiting for things in the mail!) that you can use. The IRS has a list every year, pick one from there. The ones I've used often try to upsell you because it's "free Federal efile", so to make money they try to sucker you. Don't fall for it, you don't need that stuff. Just read everything carefully. Direct deposit is free, and faster (and safe from your mother's prying eyes). Don't do the refund anticipation loans. Your library may be able to help you with information here as well. If you get stuck, post on the forum! There are plenty of people who are willing and able to answer questions, from easy to hard.

For WWIII - just do your taxes in Feb and don't mention it to her. When she gets around to doing hers and demands your paperwork, look surprised and say "oh, mine are done. Guess I never mentioned it. Thanks for offering though." Then walk away/do something else and refuse to engage.

Cut your daughter's hair yourself, or she can get a job and pay for it herself. Kids are cute even with a bad haircut.

You can get many tv shows, at least recent episodes, for free online, you just have to find them, and maybe put up with some ads. You can probably cut Hulu that way.

Totally check out your library. Hopefully it's a great one, but even a so-so one can be helpful.

Hang in there!
+1

Up your payroll deductions so that you get no refund -- you are letting the government use your money for free & it is a target for your mom. Use the "extra" money to pay off your high priority expenses.

My 22 year old son uses TaxAct online to fill out & file his federal income tax for free. It's easier than TurboTax. Just say no to everything it asks to charge you for. Do your tax return the minute you get your W2 & any other required statements. Have any refund direct deposited to your checking account rather than mailed. Since your mom knows your SSN, you may want to request a security code from the IRS to file with your tax return.

You need to be living on your own ASAP, but in a rental, for flexibility & without the money pit of ownership. A house is not an investment, especially in your situation.

If you do stay with your mom, pay her an agreed upon rental fee, period. Consider that $2000 to be rental. The money situation between you two is completely muddled & is not healthy, especially for your daughter.

Cut out some of the "entertainment" expenses -- you save money & have more time for communicating with your daughter & BF.


CheapskateWife

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2015, 12:37:29 PM »
I can not cook or bake in my mom's house, another control thing. It is one of my favorite passtimes. Once I am out my daughter is going to be like wait mom you can cook? Lol

This is not an LOL moment...you have to get out of there.   Stat!

Between the tax refund thing and the refusal to allow you to use the kitchen you are being prohibited from success.  Get out, get out, get out!

RetiredAt63

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2015, 01:06:53 PM »
Just an added comment - you are not living rent free.  You are giving your mother all kinds of money with no say in how it is used.  This whole arrangement is not good for anyone involved in it.

You are 36 mi (minutes? Miles?) away from BF. Where is work?  Can you move closer to work without messing up your daughter's daycare? And closer to BF?

Everyone is right about your taxes - go to your HR and redo whatever forms are needed for deductions at source.  This will be a triple win - no interest-free loan to the government, more money each paycheque, and not available to your mother.  She has your SSN?  Not good.  I have my daughter's SIN but I am not doing to her what your mother is doing to you.  Is it possible to get a new one in the US?  And do your own taxes.  You don't have to wait for her to do hers.  And arrange for automatic deposit to your bank account.

In fact, does your mother have access to your banking?  She shouldn't.  Change accounts if necessary.

And just to get some perspective, you might find reading Captain Awkward useful.  Her advice column has a lot on dealing with situations that range from awkward to down-right nasty.  http://captainawkward.com/

Good luck!

GizmoTX

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2015, 01:27:19 PM »
Recheck your auto insurance to make sure you are not overpaying your coverage. Also recheck "installment fees" -- we pay State Farm monthly without a fee. Don't depend on a tax refund to pay this -- automatically deposit a monthly amount in a savings account if you still want to pay this annually. An online savings account (Synchrony, Ally) pays 1% interest & you can transfer funds for free.

If your mom has access to any of your accounts, change this today!

RetiredAt63

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2015, 02:12:03 PM »
So Gizmo and I agree - if this is the case, fix it.  If you can't get your Mom's name off an account, then open a new one and transfer all your banking to it.

I know that often parents may be on a child's account, so not saying this should never have happened (if it even did) - my DD and I are both on her account, simply because she was a minor when she opened it and had to have a parent sign.  She needs to open a new account and switch her banking, not because I am going to raid her money, but because it was opened in Quebec.  If I die the account is frozen until my will is probated.  That is her banking, she does not want that!

If your mom has access to any of your accounts, change this today!

frompa

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2015, 02:35:46 PM »
You need to move out. For your daughter's sake if nothing else, because your mother's behavior is setting a terrible example for her. Not to mention what it's doing to you. That is an unhealthy situation for everyone, and you need to get away from it.
.......
Hang in there!



+++++++++1 You sound ready to go, now go do it!

qt

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2015, 05:47:03 PM »
RetiredAt63- At the moment I live 25 miles or 36 minutes from my BF. I live 3-5 minutes from work the opposite direction and my daughters daycare and school is also that direction about 17 minutes away.

You can't change your ssn in the US. And now that I am thinking about it I think my one account has my mom as an authorized signer. I don't think my mom would do anything negative, but would rather not put 100%trust in that. When things get ugly people don't always do things that are in their norm.

I will go up to HR tomorrow to see what I  can get done. Captain awkward is an interesting read.Thank you.

If I can't get her name off with out her permission I will close the account and open a new one if I have to. I rarely use checks, but I  would just need to order them again to pay daycare and school lunch because you can't track cash and they have no ability to use debit cards. I had to do that to get a new phone because I could  not transfer the number with out her permission. And in asking for permission I would have gotten guilted back in. By that point I had run the numbers and knew I was paying way more than I  should have been and that I  would be saving enough to pay for my new moto g smart phone phone with no contract in a few months then would have a $53 (with unlimited everything with 4g up to 2gigabytes then 1x after) bill instead of over $80 a month for a flip phone. I came home and let her know to cancel my phone off the plan

GizmoTX- I think your right. I pay more insurance every year than my car is worth. Since I do not have any lien on my car I shouldn't have to carry insurance. I highly doubt the insurance company would give me anything for my car. Although I do not have my insurance through my mom since the home has insurance through the same company so I got a discount. I have been told that if I moved out my insurance would go sky high.. definitely took that with a grain of salt.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2015, 06:54:24 PM »
If you must, alternate between Hulu and Netflix a couple months at a time. The one who is not getting their preferred service can watch library DVDs for the month. Otherwise, sounds like you know what to do to reduce your expenses when you get out on your own (especially groceries).

Get your apartment and start saving frantically for a replacement car just in case.

What you wanna do at HR is ask them for a new W-4. It will have instructions--just follow them carefully and Google any questions or post them in the tax category. If possible, see if you can get a copy of your existing W-4 so you can make sure that you are starting to take more exemptions.

You don't need a new SSN--just open new accounts if you can't change the old ones. In the meantime, at least change the online passwords and hide your checks!

Think of it as getting divorced from a partner you don't fully trust. Good luck!

Argyle

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2015, 06:55:07 PM »
Well, you have to have insurance on your car no matter what.  You just don't have to have comprehensive insurance.

Zamboni

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2015, 07:58:15 PM »
Yikes! You definitely need to get your own place! That is a top priority.

You bring home nearly as much as I do (I'm single with two children) so you can definitely afford it. Get rid of some of your frivolous expenses (Netflix, Hulu, AND, Amazon Prime? All 3? Good grief.)

If your credit score is 730 and the bank won't give you a simple car loan, then find another bank because that's ridiculous. Not that I'm in favor of car loans, though, you should save up and pay cash later. Invest $50 in AAA if you are worried about your car breaking down and then move on with more important things like getting your own place, getting your mom out of your financial life, and paying down your debts.

You need some serious help setting boundaries with your mom even after you move out. It takes two for this type of unhealthy pattern to persist, so you have to accept responsibility for your role in it. I recommend talking with someone about it. Perhaps your employer has an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP)? If so, then that's a free counseling benefit you should use. If not, then it still might be worth reading some books or websites about setting boundaries.

Good luck with everything!

GizmoTX

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2015, 08:18:15 PM »
GizmoTX- I think your right. I pay more insurance every year than my car is worth. Since I do not have any lien on my car I shouldn't have to carry insurance. I highly doubt the insurance company would give me anything for my car. Although I do not have my insurance through my mom since the home has insurance through the same company so I got a discount. I have been told that if I moved out my insurance would go sky high.. definitely took that with a grain of salt.

You do want to carry liability. Collision payout is limited to what your vehicle is worth, regardless of what you insure it for, so at some point you should drop this unless it's dirt cheap. Get quotes from several carriers, such as State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, Geico. Progressive may be competitive, but it sucks for claims.

GizmoTX

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2015, 08:29:25 PM »
If I can't get her name off with out her permission I will close the account and open a new one if I have to. I rarely use checks, but I  would just need to order them again to pay daycare and school lunch because you can't track cash and they have no ability to use debit cards. I had to do that to get a new phone because I could  not transfer the number with out her permission. And in asking for permission I would have gotten guilted back in.

If you are referring to a bank account, simply open a new account at your bank in just your name, have the bank transfer all your funds to the new account, & then close the old one. Much easier than getting your mom's approval. Just do it!


snuggler

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2015, 08:37:12 PM »
Adjusted Gross Income- $1704.58/mo


Expenses: $1,296.22/mo

Great! This means you have at least $400/month surplus already, for an annual total of $4,800.

Groceries-$500-600 (sometimes $100 of this is pizza Friday night/ this has reduced dramatically I used to spend almost my whole pay check to groceries literally every 2 weeks trying to keep peace. I finally put my foot down and put my mom on a budget for what I will spend. There is still a bunch of food spoilage and we have Tons of food in general.)

Pizza Friday night should be $50/month maximum. Preferably only $25 and make homemade pizzas. If that isn't an option, then buy frozen pizzas or fresh-made ready-to-bake pizzas at your grocery store. Savings = $50/monthly, $600 yearly.

Gas-$60 (I used to spend $15 but since my BF lives 36 minutes away that has increased, but we take turns on who comes to see who.)
Daycare-$100
Internet-$48 with taxes and fees (My mom had dial up.. I couldn't deal so I priced it and got her permission to have it put in. She now uses it for her work and complains it's slow, but it meets my needs.)

Cellphone- prepaid US cellular $53 with tax and fees (I wasn't spoken to then ranted at when I got a smartphone and my own plan. After going on the website and pricing it it appears my mom was severely overcharging for me using the family plan with a flip phone I could no longer get a battery for. I had to pay for a phone upfront, but I am now saving money every month.)

Check out the phone post on this blog and get this reduced even further. Switch to Republic Wireless and pay $25 a month for unlimited everything, or Ting if that works out better based on your usage levels. Savings = $28 monthly, $336 yearly.

Daughter's School Lunch-$50

Is this hot lunch or bagged lunch? Can you send her to school with a bagged lunch for cheaper? Savings = $10/month = $120 yearly.

Daughter's insurance-$53( this is cheaper, because they don't have a single parent and child package. I would have to bump up to the family plan.)
Student Loans-$243

The following expenses are frivolity, but I don't want to give them up.

I would re-think the above sentence. Without giving up some of these costs, you might not get where you want to be.

Date night/lunches-$100 (My BF and I pretty much Dutch when we go out which is usually 1-2 lunches a week and every other weekend dinner or activity. Since we have gotten more serious we have gone out with the kids and when it's just us instead of movies out its now netflix on the couch at his house lol.)

Reduce this to $25/month. If your boyfriend loves you, he will understand how important it is for you to get out of your mother's house.

Some cheap date-night ideas:
- have a picnic, bring your own food
- movie night at home
- take a hike somewhere local
- ride your bikes to the nearest ice cream shop or bakery
- pick out a new recipe to try and cook it together
- bake some cookies or something else yummy
- buy a few reasonably priced cheeses and a cheap bottle of wine, and serve it with crackers, fruit, jams, and nuts (homemade fancy cheese plate!)
- listen to a library audiobook together while snuggled on the couch
- play a boardgame or do a puzzle
- find free and local events: e.g., local sporting events (especially women's sports, as they tend to have free tickets even at the college level), events at your local library, churches, children's theaters, high school (plays, bands, and orchestras).

Savings = $75/month, $900 yearly.


Netflix- $11.99
Hulu-$11.99

Cut this. You know why the programs you watch are on Hulu? Because you have Hulu. Seriously. I just found new shows once I cut down to just Netflix. You can too. Savings = $12/month, $144 yearly.

Spotify-$9.99 - to me it's worth it instead of Pandora. I can download playlists from their huge bank of music while on WiFi then I can listen for 8hours at work. I don't have to buy music from iTunes or use all my data up steaming Pandora.)

Why can't you use your company's Wifi instead of your data plan and use the free versions of Spotify or Pandora? If that isn't an option, I would still cut out Spotify and spend $5/month purchasing mp3s and slowly building a library. Rent CDs from the library and your friends/family while you're building your music library. Savings = $5/month, $60/year.

Amazon Prime-$8.25

Cut this. Prime is great, but you can still get free shipping by just waiting until you have $35 worth of items to buy. If you absolutely need things shipped to you within 2 days, you are doing something wrong. Savings = $8.25/month, $99 yearly.

Misc.- $50 ( daughter gets hers cut every 6 weeks/ mine they are lucky to see me every 3 months)

Get your hair cut every 6 months instead. Cut your daughter's hair. Savings = $40/month, $480 yearly.


(I pay car insurance of $500 by the year with money I keep from my income taxes, so I don't pay the installment fees.)

Reduce insurance so you don't have comprehensive. Savings = unknown.

Liabilities:$21,935.70
Student loan1-$3,948.81 @6.75% fixed $40.67/mo for 142mo
Student loan2-$14,798.78 @6.75% fixed $152.41/mo for 142 mo
Student loan3 -$3,188.11 @3.5% fixed $50/mo for 78mo

Are they federal loans? If so, you might be able to reduce the minimum payments on these under the income-based repayment plan. However, if you are eligible for income-based repayment, sign up, but don't pay less than you already are each month. Instead, just pay the minimum on the 3.5% loan, and direct the rest of what you normally had to pay towards that loan towards one of your 6.75% loans instead. This will reduce the total amount of interest you pay on these.

Assets:
Roth- $14,157.67
Local Bank- $50 (rates .1%if you have more than $100-$5k)
Bank 2 -$500 (rates 1%/ had $3k before I mentioned a car ended up with $0 now I am building it back up)
2000 Hyundai elantra ( I am the second owner but I bought it at the end of 2000 for $7k... car prices, gas mileage, and all the major recalls makes me go eeek/ blue book mint $900 - most assuredly isn't mint.. I would be lucky to get $200 out of it.)

Total possible savings = $4800 + $600 + $336 + $120 + $900 + $144 + $60 + $99 + $480 = $7539 yearly ($628.25/monthly).

If I were you, I would:

1. Figure out the correct withholding amount you should be paying, and direct any extra income towards an emergency fund. (do this this week)
2. Save up for first month's rent and security deposit on a $450/month apartment. ($1000, goal accomplished in ~2 months). Use grocery savings from moving out and additional income from tax withholding to cover your and your daughter's grocery costs.
3. Then, save another $1,000 for your emergency fund. (goal accomplished in ~4 months)
3. Move out. (Yay!)
4. Save up ~$5000 more in your emergency fund. (goal accomplished in ~12 months, probably less based on tax savings you receive throughout the year).

That way, within a year, you would have your own place and $6,000 in your emergency fund. This will leave you with $4,000 to replace or repair your car when the time comes, and $2,000 in a rainy-day fund for anything else that might arise. 

Then, you could use next year's $7539 savings to get rid of 40% of your 6.75% student loan balance and eliminate your $40.67 student-loan payment.

Keep it up, and within 4 years you could be on your own, completely debt-free, and have a newer used car and a healthy emergency fund. Then the real fun will begin with intense retirement savings!

cchrissyy

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2015, 11:10:49 PM »
oh wow, you need to move out!

Go to HR tomorrow and change your W4 so that they don't withhold so much.

File your 2015 taxes as soon as you get your W2 so you get that refund check ASAP. That means January or February. Maybe that's where you get the cash to move out with.

I like the part about just doing your own d@mn taxes and not mentioning it to your mom until she asks months later. That takes back your power, your taxes are your private business and you handled it and there is nothing to talk about. It's an example of exactly the sort of boundary you NEED.  Honestly, you are too old to have your mom in your private business that much.  You should really figure out why that is and set boundaries while you are still living there.  I'm your age and my parents haven't ever laid eyes on my taxes.

Nobody has commented much on your $500-600 for groceries but it is much higher than what I spend and I have 3 big kids and don't cook much.  How old is your girl? I don't imagine she eats much if she's young enough for daycare.

 It sounds like you are
1)buying your mom's groceries 2)having to buy packaged foods because she won't let you cook 3)way over-buying

I think when you move out, your rent expense will go up but your food bill for just you and the child should be WAY lower. Especially since you say you used to bake from scratch and be so frugal. Like, your food costs should go down to half that figure without even trying.

It sounds like your mom is truly taking advantage of you, like the cell phone thing, except with the food it's also maddening because you have to see how much there is and how much is wasted.  Wait... how does that even work? You said you put your foot down about a grocery budget, but is *she* doing the shopping and you pay for it?! I'm confused. You need to get out of that house ASAP!
 

Amazon will ship to you for free after you cancel prime - it is just slower shipping. no big deal.

little kids don't need paid hair cuts. just do it yourself. it's so easy, just check youtube first if you're not confident
« Last Edit: October 27, 2015, 11:15:07 PM by cchrissyy »

mozar

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2015, 11:32:26 AM »
Congrats on finding this website! I recommend the book "Codependent no more."

mturn

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2015, 11:59:49 AM »
Well, I wrote a lot to you, but realized most of what I said others have already said. So instead of bombarding you with repeated info, let me just provide a few resources that I didn't see mentioned
1. Cut back that grocery bill! So expensive.  Review this free PDF of Good & Cheap; it's full of recipes and teaches you how to purchase food and use it all up so you aren't wasting. It's designed to be a resource for people who are on food stamps. There is also a book but please do not BUY it when you can just use the free PDF.https://8b862ca0073972f0472b704e2c0c21d0480f50d3.googledrive.com/host/0Bxd6wdCBD_2tdUdtM0d4WTJmclU/good-and-cheap.pdf [/color]

2. Get a rewards card for your gas, esp since you commute to see your BF. I have Speedway rewards. I have the credit card, too, and use that to buy Speedway gift cards (they give you bonus points for that). Then, I use the gift cards to buy my gas. With all the rewards, we get a lot of free gas. Right now, we have enough free gas that we won't need to purchase for 2 months. And this is with me commuting an hour twice a week.

3. Consider lowering your transportation costs - I know you don't think you can get much for your Hyundai, but who knows? No one really pays KBB value. The last 3 cars I sold went for much more than the KBB estimate. It might be worth it to get a new car, better gas mileage to use for your trips to see your BF and then otherwise, use the bus or bike. I have a 2014 Mitsubish Mirage and I bought it used for under $11k. Saves so much with commuting because of the 60 avg mpg. Also, I pay less than $500 a year for car insurance, and I have full coverage (unfortunately). Also - my new car provides peace of mind on car repairs. It comes with a 100,000 or 10 year (whatever comes first) manufacturer's warranty. On my last two cars, I was paying small repair after small repair, expense after expense, and it was so stressful. I love having this cheap, new car and not having to put money into every month just to keep it on the road.

4. I'm positive this has been said, but you are paying for like 4 services that do essentially the same thing. Amazon Prime includes music streaming and movies/ TV streaming for no additional charge. Why do you pay for the hulu, netflix, spotify? I'd strongly encourage you to cut all of that out and use the library for music, movies and TV. Our library even has a free streaming service. It's wonderful.

MsPeacock

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2015, 04:26:32 PM »
First off - hugs - being a single mom is *HARD*.

I didn't see mention of child support. If you aren't getting it, try to get it. There may be reasons that you can't and if that is the case you just have to soldier on. But otherwise, the state/county will have free services to assist w/ getting child support from someone who isn't paying.

Grocery budget is very high - I feed me, BF who is here a  couple days per week, and two giant children on way less than $600 per month. Food waste is a killer, as a packaged food. Come up w/a couple go-tos once you move and make that over and over again (honestly, one of mine has been nacho chips, refried beans, topped w/ cheese and salsa. - cheap and everyone will eat it. Prep time under 5 minutes, so perfect for the exhausted working Mom). Make pizza. Make scrambled eggs and toast. Make grilled cheese. Make pasta w/a can of sauce. Make microwave chicken nuggets. Even if you can't cook much of don't have time, there are ways to get food on the table. Worry about expanding your range when you have the time, energy, and money to deal with it.


Ok - going Dutch. IDK what the financial situation is w/ your BF. For a long time BF and I split the eating out bills. But, he eats at my house a lot. Finally, just said I can't afford this. We have to stop going out. We can sit home and watch Netflix and that's it. He has less income but more disposable money than I do - so now he pays when we go out (movies, dinner, etc.). Maybe this is something you can negotiate w/ your BF. I would say the same about the driving. If he has less financial strain, or no kids, or an easier schedule, let him pick up some more of the driving.

Cut all the streaming services back to Amazon prime and adjust. You'll be fine. You will save $30 per month! Youtube also has tons of shows and stuff for kids. Or check things out online electronically from the library.

Fix your tax withholdings. If you know how much you got back last year, and are earning about the same - adjust accordingly. E.g. if you got 6k back last year, you want $500 per month less withheld. I found it easiest to fiddle as best I could - see results in next paycheck, make adjustments. So much nicer to have that extra money each month!

qt

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2015, 04:40:26 PM »
I got my w4 changed. I will reevaluate it, towards the end of December. I basically set it up so I would not get much taken out until the end of the year.

I checked with my car insurance company and I am just on liability, but thinking it's odd that it's so high. I think I need to check other companies, but this insurance company although affiliated with a larger company has an office in town and I have never had any issues with them.

I am waiting on my DSA reimbursement to process.. I got the paperwork last night from the daycare lady. My mom picked it up and she informed her that I  can't put dependant cost on my taxes because I used DSA. It would make since that childcare would then not be used twice on your taxes.

Mturn- I have a sheetz card, which is 3Ę off a gallon. If you also get their credit card they were pushing you can save more cents. The 7-11 you can buy gas cards and save 5cents a gallon. Rite-Price which is closest to me regularly has gas for 7Ę cheaper than  regular price at sheetz and 7-11, so I  get gas there unless I am somewhere where it is cheaper. I get 2% at gas station with the Amazon card. I looked at my receipts and this month I got gas 3times between the 4th and today and spent $63.01.

qt

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2015, 05:40:52 PM »
MsPeacock- Thank you. No child support I looked into it before. There is no contact and I am ok with that.

I can cook. No problem there Lol. When I move I am going to take half of the groceries when I go. She will not eat some of the canned goods and things. Spices that I like and mom doesn't. So then I will not be starting from scratch.

He is in similar straights and has kids. We haven't done expensive things, but as we are spending more time together it adds up. We started watching a movie at his house, which I  like because it's more comfortable and cheaper.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2015, 05:55:08 PM by qt »

qt

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #29 on: October 29, 2015, 05:44:51 PM »
Ihamo- Huh...  when I had a wreck in a car when I was 19 I had the same insurance. They gave good service and came out and checked the damage. Totalled so I got the car I havr now.Things have definitely changed everywhere. It would make since it would have with insurance.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2015, 05:53:43 PM by qt »

qt

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2015, 02:28:46 AM »
I have been keeping my eyes and ears open for housing options around the area I would like to live. As it is getting close to winter the rental market tends to shrink as people don't normally move in the winter around here if they can help it. I have looked online and in the newspaper which has less than 1/4 of a page for rentals of which most are out of range and the ones in range are efficiency or 1 br or jump to $950. I know it's the season.

Keeping in line with keeping an open mind, I have also contacted the ftho program in town for their class. They have several programs avaible including 20% down payment assistance. But you have to take the class first. I have also browsed through properties in the area, just to see what would be avalible in the area I am looking and price(mortgage/ price per month on 15 year loan). One property has been standing out. It is $40k. Zillow has the property value ad grossly inflated, but based on similar size homes in the area they are all lower than their tax value. This is an in town location and sits on a little shy of 7900sq ft of land, so after the parking area there is not much yard. The property is zoned as residental/commercial with 3 units. There are no layout plans showing how the property is laid out and I have not seen the property inside other than pictures. There are 5 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths and a large stote front area. There are 2 apartments and "store front" which the entrance could use some work to make it look more business like in my opinion, but is comparable to that section of town. How it's sectioned I do not know, but how it would make since would be a 2br 1 ba , 3br 1ba and the store front with a half bath. there is also mention of a huge open room , which I would assume would be above the store front. And full basement. The pictures and description make the apartments sound very spacious. One kitchen is more up to date than the other with hardwood throughout, which is my preference. Completely ignoring the 2possible rental incomes, a 15 year mortgage $32,000(20%down of 8k through 0% interest program that if refinanced would be attached to the loan) at 4% rate , found a source that estimated property tax at $2300 and another that stated $900 was paid last year with $800/ yr property insurance( certain insurance would be higher if it was being rented.) This comes to between $385 and $495/ month. The rent around here for 2br and most appartments are not a huge square footage are $600 and up except for rental assistance places that are $450 and there is a huge waiting list and I only fit the guidelines for one location which the rent is $680.

 I would need to go to the ftho class and then take a hard look at the property with several different people looking it over. I worked with a guy who did property inspection and rental/landlord and his wife works for a property management company that I could give a call if I got to that point to give me a different set of eyes and experiences. If I went that direction I would get a real inspection as well if I didn't see any blaring issues and felt that it was the direct I would want to go.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2015, 06:56:20 AM »
or jump to $950.
  I do not know how hard you have looked, but even this two bedroom at $950 seems better than living one more damn day with your mother.

Groceries:  I have a family of 5.  I eat like a bodybuilder (lots of meat).  I spend less than you do on groceries.  I suspect your bill is so high because you cannot cook at home because your mom is a crazy control freak.  Did I mention that a $950 2 br apartment would be preferable to living one more damn day with your mother?

Insurance: Stop coming back with excuses when people give you advice.  Go online and comparison shop for your car insurance, as has been suggested.  Don't respond with some BS about having a local agent - it's liability insurance only.  What do you need a local agent for?

Frivolous crap: Cut out the hulu, netfliz, amazon, spotify, and holy crap whatever else.  Cut them all off today.  Do it.  Add back in one, whichever one brings you the most joy, once you are set up in your own apartment, which ought to be THIS WEEK.

Cut out all the other frivolous crap.  Pizza at $100 a month?  Dates, going dutch?  Stop it all right now, at least until you get situated in your own household with your daughter.  The BF will understand if he cares about you at all.  Just tell him you are not spending any money unless absolutely necessary for a while.  Nothing.  Not one penny.

People holding you back:  jlcollins likes to say that one of the rules for FI is to NOT have people anywhere around who are toxic to finances.  That includes your mother and your boyfriend (I do not mean that he is necessarily toxic to your finances, but you really should evaluate carefully how he is with finances for the future.  You hinted that he is living on the edge.  This will just drag you down over time, like a heavy anchor while trying to swim in the ocean).    Cut your mother loose.  Now.  I cannot believe you did not close your checking account and open another one before the bank closed yesterday afternoon.

Withholding: Adjust your paycheck withholding now.  Now means the next possible moment at work.  This should be accomplished by Monday at the latest.

Child Support.  This is a no-brainer.  Get the child support.  This could be an extra $1000 a month or more flowing into your household budget, which would really help with feeding, clothing, educating, and providing for a daughter, mom.  You are robbing her by not doing it.  Please do not respond to this post with an excuse.  You are a mother.  Do what is best for your child.  It is not best to forgo $12,000 or more of tax free income each year meant to support the cost of providing for your daughter.

Summary: (1) Cut out all the frivolous crap (you can reinstitute some of this later once you are situated).  (2) Close the checking account.  (3) Change your withholding.  (4) Rent an apartment.

These four are all things that can be accomplished within 48-72 hours.  The child support process can be started within 48-72 hours.

Get to work.


Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2015, 07:01:53 AM »
Oh, and write off the $2000 loan.  Do not tell your mother about it.  Just never mention it again.  If she pays, great, say thanks and deposit the check.  If she doesn't, then never mention it again.  If she brings it up, just nod, or shrug, and maintain your silence.

It is pretty clear from what you posted that your mother believes you owed her the $2000.  That is BS, of course, but in her mind it is justified.

Consider it a lesson learned.  You paid more for lessons in college (judging by your student loans) that were not worth half as much.  Do not loan money to your mother, or any other family member, or anybody at all until you are FI.

Do not borrow money for a car.  Do not cosign or get a cosigner.  If you think you can afford that car payment, then start putting that money aside each month in savings.  Build up cash.  I bet you can afford to buy a better car with cash before that Hyundai completely dies.

Jacana

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2015, 07:24:10 AM »
Wait, do you really need a 2 bedroom? I don't know how old your daughter is but you said daycare so I'm assuming pretty young. Think outside the box and take a look at the one bedrooms. Around here, those can be almost as much sq ft but cheaper. Make it work for just one year while you get sorted and build up an e-fund and pay off debt. Kids really don't need as much room as we tend to think. Look into living in big cities like NYC, Hong Kong, Europe, and they make it work. Split a large bedroom. Or use a sofa bed in the living space for your bedroom. Make a 'den' or office into a room. Use curtains or furniture to demarcate areas.

Do not buy a house or rent a house at this time, all your related expenses will increase as well as stress and risk! Think about the utilities, furniture, cleaning, maintenance. And then it will be harder to move in the future.

Zamboni

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2015, 07:29:22 AM »
^ and ^^ advice about car buying and living quarters are excellent advice! Jumping into a new car loan or mortgage right now are not really reasonable solutions. Get a road side assistance service like AAA and find a clean apartment in a safe area for you and your daughter (you should be able to go out and visit a half dozen rentals in a half day.) At that point, you'll have a year to regroup and save up money for buying a car or a residence.

Here are some hugs to hang in there. It is hard to be a single mom who is also giving money to her own mom!

One step at a time. Maybe make a list and mark things off as you go? But seriously keep considering every single piece of advice on this thread.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2015, 08:53:56 AM »
The advice to look at one bedrooms makes sense. My sis and her little girl shared a one-bedroom for a couple of years, and my niece looks back on it as a happy time.

Zamboni

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2015, 09:07:58 AM »
Yes, and my then elementary school-aged children shared a room when we had a small apartment. Rather than resenting it, as I thought they would, they loved it! When we eventually moved to a house where everyone had a bedroom, they insisted that they liked sharing a room.

iris lily

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2015, 09:57:53 AM »
Wait, do you really need a 2 bedroom? I don't know how old your daughter is but you said daycare so I'm assuming pretty young. Think outside the box and take a look at the one bedrooms. Around here, those can be almost as much sq ft but cheaper. Make it work for just one year while you get sorted and build up an e-fund and pay off debt. Kids really don't need as much room as we tend to think. Look into living in big cities like NYC, Hong Kong, Europe, and they make it work. Split a large bedroom. Or use a sofa bed in the living space for your bedroom. Make a 'den' or office into a room. Use curtains or furniture to demarcate areas.

Do not buy a house or rent a house at this time, all your related expenses will increase as well as stress and risk! Think about the utilities, furniture, cleaning, maintenance. And then it will be harder to move in the future.

This. Gold.

Singularity

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Re: Case study: Single mom needing to to build some MMM muscles
« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2015, 10:24:52 AM »
I got my w4 changed. I will reevaluate it, towards the end of December. I basically set it up so I would not get much taken out until the end of the year.

I checked with my car insurance company and I am just on liability, but thinking it's odd that it's so high. I think I need to check other companies, but this insurance company although affiliated with a larger company has an office in town and I have never had any issues with them.

Thank you for fixing your w4!  Another quick item is opening a new checking account in your name at a bank or credit unions (often offer lower fees, better rates, and better service).  Then just change the direct deposit to deposit to your new bank.  Are you using a FSA or HSA to to reduce costs for medical expenses?  i.e. get to use pre-tax money for medical expenses. 


Agreed that this living situation appears toxic.  What does you can't cook mean?  No oven or stove top only microwave you are allowed to use?

Saving money by cutting back and building an emergency fund with your first months rent and downpayment are really important.  Keep track of your monthy savings each money to improve.  Posting your grocery expenses for a week or money would also help us give you ideas.