Author Topic: Laid off, 3 kids, debt  (Read 7906 times)

JBizzle

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Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« on: October 10, 2015, 11:42:44 AM »
Hi everyone! We are fairly new to MMM but have been on a path to financial freedom for a long time. We have paid off about $40k-$50k of my husbands student loan debt in the last 8 years and still have about $50k left. We live in in Cherry Hill, NJ which is so expensive. My husband works for a really good company making about 62k and for the last 10 years I've worked for my parents company. They allowed me to bring my children for the last 5 years but last Saturday laid me off. So right now we are on one income. We are trying to figure out how we will make this work. My children are 5, 3 and 1. The 5 year old is in Kindergarten but the other 2 are home with me. My husbands income alone is not enough to support us. He has actually applied for a job in Littleton CO within his company. If he gets it then the company will pay for relocation. However, that means being far away from all of our support system. Has anyone ever done this w young kids?  He also applied for a position here in NJ in the same company. Both positions would be a promotion and increase his salary around $13k. Our bill breakdown is as follows:

Mortgage: 1860
Student loan minimum: 535
PSEG: 250 (I budget this amount to cover the months where it's really cold or really hot)
Auto insurance: 117
Groceries: 800 (trying to figure out how to get this down as we eat a lot of produce)
Netflix: 8
Comcast: 79 (internet only)
Cell service: 95
Hair cut: 20 (husband)
Beer: 20
Diapers: 50
Birthdays: 20
Sewer: 27
Water: 80
Life insurance: 36
School: 100 (I am currently working on getting into an occupational therapy assistant program. I have a BA in psych and once completing the OTA program I am hoping to land a job w a company who will pay for me to get my masters degree to become a full fledged OT. Right now I have 4 pre reqs that I have to take and am taking them at a community college one at a time and am paying cash for them).

I think that's all. Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated!

MayDay

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2015, 11:56:07 AM »
What is your husband's monthly take home pay after health insurance is taken out?

I know NJ is expensive, so I am not surprised to see a high mortgage.  But that is really wayyyyy to high for his income level. 

How much did you used to make?  Did you have warning from your family about losing your job?  Have you applied for unemployment?  I wouldn't be in a big hurry to stick around family that lays me off.

What does your H do?  I don't know how good of a salary 62K is without knowing what he does.  That is enough to support a family of 5, but not with an expensive house to boot. 

JBizzle

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2015, 12:04:30 PM »
He nets about 3200 a month after health insurance. I was making $52k. Yes I filed for unemployment so waiting for that but that's only 6 months in NJ. Yeah.. I mean he's really pissed at my parents. But the rest of my family and his are around here also. No, no warning. My mom popped by my house last Saturday afternoon to tell me.  I was pretty peeved I wasn't give a couple weeks to try to figure something out. I mean it was really stressful bringing the kids and I do not want to do daycare but if I have to survive than I have to. He is a project engineer at Lockheed Martin. The positions he applied for are in quality which is the field he has worked in for the last 10 years. He feels more comfortable in quality. But both positions he applied for are more managerial.

Yeah.....my property taxes here are $7200 and only going up. 😳

MayDay

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2015, 12:10:24 PM »
I am in shock that an engineer with 10 years of experience is making 62K.  In a LCOL area let alone HCOL.  Unless he is Civil or Construction maybe, but I doubt it at LM. 

He should start job hunting immeadiately.  He should be making 20-30K more a year. 

FIRE me

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2015, 12:15:46 PM »
Your own parents laid you off from the company that they own?  Maybe they could give you part time work?

If you end up with different employment, you would have to make pretty good money (you don't mention your current skill set) to come out ahead on the cost of quality day care for your three children. For that reason, you might consider taking a shift job that is opposite your husband's hours so that no day care is needed.

It would be unpleasant for sure, but it would beat defaulting on you mortgage and student loans.

You might save a few bucks on you Comcast bill if you call Comcast with a competitor's advertisement in hand. Mention the competitor, their offer, and Comcast should reduce your internet to around $40. I do it every year with Time Warner Cable.

JBizzle

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2015, 12:19:40 PM »
He's not technically an engineer. It's confusing to me why the position is called that. His degree is in physical science w chemistry specialization. I believe what he does in this position is more of coordinating projects and making sure things are getting done when they're supposed to.

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2015, 12:20:45 PM »
I am in shock that an engineer with 10 years of experience is making 62K.  In a LCOL area let alone HCOL.  Unless he is Civil or Construction maybe, but I doubt it at LM. 

He should start job hunting immeadiately.  He should be making 20-30K more a year.

Wow, seriously! In a LCOL area I make nearly that much in a blue collar factory job, no degree required.

JBizzle

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2015, 12:24:35 PM »
I wore many hats at my job. I picked orders, processed credit cards, customer service, book keeping, accounts receivable, worked on the website (not coding), entered bills. Only thing I really didn't handle was paying the vendors, payroll and taxes. I didn't really enjoy it but it was good money and I didn't have to pay for child care so I did it so we could at least pay off my husbands student loan debt.
Honestly, with the way it was handled...neither him or I really want me working for them again.
Yes thank you for the Comcast advice! I wanted to try that but needed to look around for other company's that serve this area.

MayDay

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2015, 12:51:57 PM »
You should definitely look for some seasonal holiday type work *if it makes sense with unemployment*.  It may not be worth the stress.  If you can make it on his salary + unemployment, that gives you 6 months to find better jobs in tandem.

If he can;t find a better paying job, you may be best off working evenings or weekends so avoid childcare expenses.  I have worked weekends only at a distribution warehouse, and a friend folds sweaters at the Gap from 6-10 every night (she says it is colossally boring, like doing endless rounds of laundry folding, lol, but its money and she doesn't pay childcare). 

Do you have enough local family who is retired (in laws?) who could help with maybe 1 day of childcare each, enough to work PT without it being all nights and weekends?  That might be possible, too. 

ltt

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2015, 02:31:14 PM »
Can you put the student loans in deferment until this situation gets worked through?? 

I do like the idea of working opposite shifts, if at all possible, as to not have to have the kids in daycare. 

crispy

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2015, 03:28:12 PM »
Did your parents give you a reason? That was a pretty crappy way to handle the situation.

cchrissyy

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2015, 03:33:56 PM »
your husband sounds seriously underpaid to me too.  Has he been with LM all this time, and maybe missed out on the raises that come when people move employers?   Check glassdoor.com for actual salaries of his current job as well as alternatives.

I normally think "raising kids near family support" is a big positive thing.  but your family just fired you, and with no notice! yikes! Of course y'all are angry, and I don't think you should expect to rely on them for childcare when you find your next job.  Feel free to move wherever the pay is better and the cost of living is less.


If you can rent the house for more than mortgage, taxes, maintenance, etc,  cool, keep it and rent it out, if it sounds worth the hassle to you.  But, how much would you walk away with if you sold? Maybe the more helpful thing for you guys right now would be that lump sum, to support these transitional months before you land in a LCOL area

Giro

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2015, 04:24:20 PM »
100k + education and making 60k a year in NJ -  This is the problem.  Idk what to do with a Psych degree and I'm sure that's why you're going back to school.  Husband needs new employment.  I would search the country and move.  You will continue to struggle where you are.

bluejay

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2015, 04:39:13 PM »
You're brave and wise to share these details and to seek advice. I admire that! Some commenters have been harsh on how/why you were laid off. Life happens and reality can be harsh, but it's what you're doing about it that matters (as cliche as that sounds)!

Reduce variable spending and payments as much as possible. Groceries are a great starting place, cutting 200 per mnth in this area can go towards interest and loans. I've seen this done in a very similar situation. Begin shopping for any necessities for the kids (winter clothing, etc.) at thrift stores and on craigslist. Relocation is worth considering because of cost of living in the tri-state area. The http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/ has an encouraging story.

There are other families that are in your shoes and doing there best to pay down debt and treating it as the emergency it is. All the best to you and your family during this tough time.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 04:42:49 PM by Oliviaj »

Mirwen

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2015, 05:26:45 PM »
Here's how I would handle this:


First Steps:  Put this plan into action this month.  You will not get behind on your bills.
Apply for IBR:  Your payment should be around $320 per month on that salary and a family of 4.
Energy:  I have no idea what type of heating your house takes, but if you can learn to dress for the weather, you can be comfortable between 64 and 78.  Learn to embrace the seasons.  (-50 -100 per month.)
Groceries: Now that you are staying home, learn to cook from scratch.  I mean, make your own bread, the whole nine yards.  You can feed your family on $450 per month easily.  Most of the cost of groceries comes from convenience packaging.  Budget an additional $200 for non food purchases.
Phone:  Ecomobile costs $5 per month (Sprint).  Airvoice wireless costs $10 (ATT).  Are you stuck in a contract?  Calculate if it will be worth it to break it.  It was worth it for me.
Internet:  Call and complain about the bill, ask them to cancel.  Don't agree to anything more than $40 per month.  Have them turn it off if you have to.  You can call back 5 minutes later and get the new customer special, but it won't come to that.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease, etc.

Two to Three months:
Student Loans:  Take two classes in the spring instead of one, now you have no payment because you have in school deferment.
Move out of NJ asap.  You will never get ahead there.  I'm crossing my fingers that you get the job in CO. 

Notes:  I've been a SAHM for the last 6 years living on my husband's salary of $35k per year.  I just returned to work a couple of months ago.  I think you'll be surprised how much money you can save when you have all day to put in the effort to find the best deals.  You'll have some tax advantages at the end of the year too.  With so many small ones, it's probably not worth it for you to go back to work at the moment, unless it's just a weekend job as others suggested.  Personally, I would spend the time trying to save money in other ways without the stress of two working parents.  Clean out your closets and sell stuff on Craigslist and Ebay instead.



Juslookin

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2015, 06:15:36 PM »
If a move out of the area is required,  from your "support system" I am here to offer support.

DH and I raised our kids from day 1 out of state from family. We count on each other only and have always managed. It meant no date nights out of the house but we made due. We would put the kids to bed, light some candles and cook dinner just the two of us.

You can do it.

Christiana

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2015, 07:38:46 PM »
Find out about local food pantries and utility assistance programs, even WIC, in case you need them after unemployment payments end.

Long term:  consider transitioning to housing that is affordable on one income.  As you've found, a house that you need two incomes to afford makes you vulnerable, financially.

I'd consider asking for some severance pay, in this situation.



JBizzle

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2015, 07:57:28 PM »
Thank you so much everyone! I'm going to try to address everyone's comments, but forgive me if I miss one!

im not sure if he is underpaid. That is def something we will have to look into. He seems to think he gets paid well there. Especially coming from a managerial position at a Chem lab where they really jipped him. He got a 10k raise when he went back to LM (he was laid off from there in 2009 and got rehired in diff department in 2012).

If I remember correctly, he put his student loans in deferment when he graduated because he didn't make enough money to pay them and I thought you could only do that once?

They said that they were worried about my well being because I was always extremely stressed out having my kids there. My son is very hyper and very tough to deal with if I don't get him out. And he would mess w the baby and be very rough w her bec he was so bored. So while I get her concern as my mom, as an employer I think she could have handled it a lot better and maybe give me a couple of weeks to decide if I was going to do something w the kids or be laid off. I didn't even get to finish out the pay period so I am only getting half of a paycheck at the next payday. And unemployment does not kick in for a couple of weeks. I didn't really argue because honestly I was speechless. I didn't know what to say. My husband thinks they are bitter about CO bec we told them about him applying a couple of weeks ago.

@Giro, yup that's why I'm going back. Unfortunately, there's not really much you can do w a BA in psych. You have to have a specialization and even then you hardly make anything. These days you need a masters or doctorates. Physical therapy is a career I always dreamed about as well but you need a doctorate now and I found OT to be a perfect mix between psych and PT, 2 fields I really enjoy.

@bluejay aww thank you. Sometimes I feel like I get consumed by own thoughts and fears and feel that it's good to get objective insight from third parties.

The thing is.....we really don't buy much boxed items. We are very health conscious. Occasionally I will buy like a box of Ellios for nights where we are so busy and just tired but that's only here and there. Cheerios and nuts are probably the only other boxed good.  ive been shopping at Aldis. We buy our meat from an Amish market. I actually just did a whole month worth of freezer meals. I prepped them and froze them so I just have to throw in the crock pot in the morning.

@mirwen what is IBR?  My heat is gas. I've been putting the thermostat on 67 only at night bec the kids rooms get so cold. During the day heat is off bec it's still warm enough. I would love to get my groceries down to $450 a month! i guess $650 would be w all other household items. My $809 was inclusive of them as well. I told my husband I wanted to strive for $600/month. But so far don't think we are doing so good. Cell phones...I have to check my husbands plan to see what it would close to cancel his plan. Mine is under my parents company and they said as long as I'm under contract they will cover it I'm going to call Comcast tomorrow! (If I have a voice...I have a nasty cold and losing my voice lol). I used to always threaten to cancel when I had cable tv but since I just have internet now I thought they'd probably laugh at me.  It's funny you say that ..I actually told my husband we could consider me cutting our bills and finding ways to save money my part time job.

@juslookin..my only concern is that my kids have grown to become pretty close to their family members. My 5 yr old daughter and my 4 yr old niece are best friends and I feel awful ripping them away from that. But I guess if you have to you have to right?

Does anyone live in the Littleton area? Is it really a lot cheaper to live?

boarder42

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2015, 08:04:12 PM »
I'd be looking hard for a better paying job if I were your husband in kcmo a very low cost living area I started 5 years ago higher than that. And this year I'll push 100k. 62k with that title and that much education. That's a crime.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2015, 08:26:35 PM »
My husbands income alone is not enough to support us. He has actually applied for a job in Littleton CO within his company. If he gets it then the company will pay for relocation. However, that means being far away from all of our support system. Has anyone ever done this w young kids?

My parents grew up in Massachusetts, and when they were in their mid-20s, my dad got a business opportunity to open an office for his company in California.  My parents didn't have kids at the time and, even though almost all their family was still in Massachusetts, decided to do it.  A few years later, I was born and a couple years later my first brother was born.  I think, at times, it was pretty hard on them to be so far away from family, but it was great for my dad's career and they made plenty of friends, too.  I believe that my mom's mom came out to stay with us for perhaps a month after each birth.  Fortunately, my dad's income was high enough that my mom could stay at home with us.  Anyhow, when I was 3 1/2, my dad got another opportunity to open an office in a different area of Massachusetts, and they were very happy to take it.  All in all, I think they have no regrets about making the move out west.  That said, they were also glad for the opportunity to move back and be close to family again.

Villanelle

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2015, 08:55:55 PM »
My husband is in the military.  We are surrounded by people who raise their kids away from family, on the other side of the world.  And as I kid, I usually lived places 3-4 hours by plan from my grandparents.  Kids are adaptable.  If you treat the situation like it is normal, they will assume it is (and really, it isn't that abnormal).  I never once felt like I was missing out.  Grandparents were those magical people who sent me letters once in a while, and who I saw once every year or two, which made it special and exciting.

You will build a new support system and everyone will be fine.  And frankly, with parents like yours, you might even be better off. I know that's harsh, but they absolutely had to know they were handling it badly.  So I think your husband is right--there was more to this than a simple business decision and/or concern for you and your kids.  (Please!  They tried to spin firing you with no notice as something they were doing to help your family? Really?)  Whether it is the CO thing or something else, it seems there was almost certainly some ulterior motive and they did this punitively, and then didn't have the balls to be upfront about it and instead choose a passive aggressive "concern for you" justification.   

merula

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2015, 09:34:50 PM »
Whether it is the CO thing or something else, it seems there was almost certainly some ulterior motive and they did this punitively, and then didn't have the balls to be upfront about it and instead choose a passive aggressive "concern for you" justification.   

It was definitely handled poorly, but I would hesitate to assign that much malice to it. I mean, my mom does tons of stuff that to outsiders seems bizarre, but that's just the way she works.

BCBiker

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2015, 09:56:08 PM »
I'd be looking hard for a better paying job if I were your husband in kcmo a very low cost living area I started 5 years ago higher than that. And this year I'll push 100k. 62k with that title and that much education. That's a crime.

Ha! Try MD with 4 years of post graduate medical work at $55K in a med to high COL city. But that is Graduate Medical Education. Sorry to derail... This comment just struck me funny.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2015, 04:18:03 AM »
You don't necessarily need to look as far as Colorado. Even Pennsylvania has a much lower COL. Your husband should continue looking for more pay if this doesn't work out.

JBizzle

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2015, 05:44:37 AM »
He is trying to relocate within the company bec they pay for literally everything when relocating. Including if we take a loss on our house. They pay us the difference up to $25k.

boarder42

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2015, 06:01:37 AM »
I'd be looking hard for a better paying job if I were your husband in kcmo a very low cost living area I started 5 years ago higher than that. And this year I'll push 100k. 62k with that title and that much education. That's a crime.

Ha! Try MD with 4 years of post graduate medical work at $55K in a med to high COL city. But that is Graduate Medical Education. Sorry to derail... This comment just struck me funny.

Yeah medical is quite a bit different than the world of engineering.  But thanks for an apples to oranges comparison

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2015, 06:30:50 AM »
He is trying to relocate within the company bec they pay for literally everything when relocating. Including if we take a loss on our house. They pay us the difference up to $25k.

I understand that, but you need to be working all angles here.

boarder42

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2015, 06:33:43 AM »
He is trying to relocate within the company bec they pay for literally everything when relocating. Including if we take a loss on our house. They pay us the difference up to $25k.

many companies you switch to will pay relocation costs, its a norm for this industry.  given his title and experience he could come work for the employee owned company i work for in KC and likely make over 6 figures base(base would probably be more than he is expecting including the raise with the move) plus bonus, plus be a part of one of the most profitable ESOPs in the united states. 

Setters-r-Better

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2015, 07:30:59 AM »
Offering in-home child care might be a good way to supplement your husband's income. This would probably be easier to implement if you stay put, people know you and you could more easily network to find people who trust you.

Goldielocks

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2015, 11:10:44 AM »
Hi, to briefly reply to your original question...

In order to stay you need a lot more income.  Can you get a job that would allow you to easily afford a nanny?  This is in addition to hubs getting a raise..

Moving and being a SAHM for 5 years, in CO is pretty straight forward.  This would be very common there...Then, you can move back closer to parents, and both work... But in the meantime, you need to move to a low COL area.

I moved back when my youngest was in Grade 1.  It took the SAHP a year or two to get a decent job, but is making 60k now.  But maybe your parents could help you get work in that first year.  Grandparent bonding is awesome and they are in high school now.

Also, trying to work with a 1and 3 y.o. plus leaving to-do the school pickups..  Likely you were very stressed, kids were therefore stressed, and you were most likely not able to provide top quality work.  A bit sudden to end it, for certain, but some parents aren't good at giving bad news to kids. 


jbizzleshub

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Re: Laid off, 3 kids, debt
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2015, 07:21:22 PM »
Hi All! I'm JBizzles Hub and would like to thank everyone for the suggestions and kind words!  I believe someone earlier stated something to the effect of being laid off happens but it's how you choose to deal with life's curve balls. As discussed with JBizzle, I am not allowing myself any contact for a little while with her parents for the sake of preserving the relationship between all parties involved. This situation hurt the both of us on a few levels but at the end of the day, they are her parents.

Anyways, we would both really like to relocate to CO because of the Lower COL and it's seemingly awesome quality of life. A lot of folks on here have been offering some great words of encouragement for us so in keeping with that spirit, I'm hoping I may be able to network a bit and persuade someone to act. I do feel that I'm underpaid and have been looking for other jobs both inside and outside of LM for the past few months. If anyone knows of a great company or owns a great company and is in need of someone with 10 years of quality control experience, 2 of which I spent managing a Chemistry lab, I'd really love to speak with you. I'd be more than happy to send my resume, provided the opportunity is legit. We mustachians need to stick together!

Thanks again everyone for the support and encouragement you've shown us!