Author Topic: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.  (Read 7349 times)

dycker1978

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Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« on: June 08, 2015, 12:56:46 PM »
Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.

Hello Everyone.  First of all thanks for taking the time to read this and give me some much deserved face punches.  I have been reading and soaking in the MMM blog for about a year now.  I came in because of an article on commuting by bike in the winter, like the writing style and then fell for FIRE.
Where I came from:
I started 18 months ago with about $90,000 in credit card debt, vehicle loan, and spending about 25% more than I made every month.  Me and my SO have made some huge strides over that time, but am now starting to allow spending to creep back up.  We are still living within our means, but debt reduction and savings is not where I want it to be right now.  I have analyzed our budget, but being a compliany pants… need a face punch or two to help me finish with this hair on fire debt and get on with my life.

We have 2 kids for information – they are 12 and 16 both boys.

Salary(yearly gross):
Me  - Gross $71087.98(aprox 3700/month take home)
SO - $28800 (aprox 2100/month take home)
Other - $2880 – This is government child tax credit.  Received a raise this year and will probably be reduced to about $1500/yr.  Right now - $240/mnth will be $125/mnth starting July 2015. 
Expenses(monthly):
This is a little embarrassing… but there will be no change if I don’t come clean…
CC payments – $450 Min payment for all cards
Car Loan - $760.98 – I know this one will get face punched.  We are in the process of selling it so that we can pay off this mistake and start over with something that is a lot more practical.
Student loan - $170
Utilities - $ 405 – Gas, power and water
Mortage - $1342.94
Taxes(house) - $201
Groceries - $900
Life insurance term policy – $88
Cell bills - $125 this is 4 cells and shared data.  Cheapest I could find in Saskatchewan for all of us.  Any thoughts on this.  Contemplating getting rid of mine and sharing SO.
Home phone and internet - $125 – will be downgrading speed of internet – home phone is needed for home alarm
Car plates and package policy- $126
Entertainment - $200
Bus – $75
Gas - $100
Haircuts - $50
Clothes - $30
Alarm – $9.95 – saves us $400 a year on insurance
Softner - $25
Home insurance - $51.75
Total – 5235.62
Income - $6040
Difference – 804.38 – this is going to debt reduction($300) and sadly eating out(the rest)
I know that we NEED to stop sitting on our ass well someone makes us supper and cleans up after us.  We are working on it.

Assets:
House : $300000 – Owe $274000
Car – Net Value $0 – should be able to get out of it… hopefully for no additional cost.
RRSP savings - $65000


Liabilities :
Mortage - $274000 @ 2.99% five year term amortized over 25.
Car(please be gentle I know I need to get rid of it) - $50000 @ 2.29%
CC 1 – $12000 @ 9.9%
CC 2 - $8900 @ 8.74%
CC 3 – Aprox $500 paid monthly
Student Loan - $11500 @ 7.99%
So that is it in a nut Shell.

Let the face punches commence.  Help me out of this mess!!  Keep in mind when critiquing this I am in Canada. 
Thanks.






AnnieO

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 01:16:00 PM »
You're spending $900 a month on groceries and another $500 on eating out?  Sit the whole family down right this minute and come up with a much better food plan.  YOU ARE SPENDING MORE ON FOOD THAN YOUR MORTGAGE!  Ah!  The bright side is that this is something you can work on together, you'll teach your kids to cook, budget and eat healthy all at once, and you should see some immediate successes.  Find a way to celebrate each milestone without spending money. 

Ways to save on food:
1) Cap how much you will spend per month eating out, and when it's gone nobody can buy food out until the next month.
2) Plan meals for two weeks at a time and grocery shop once, no trips back to the store in between.
3) No cheating by buying take-and-bake pizza and calling that cooking.
4) Give up as much grocery-store junk food and processed foods as you can. 
5) Don't buy in bulk unless you're absolutely sure it's much less expensive and you would actually have bought and used the same quantity in the regular size.
6) Pack lunches.
7) Make your own coffee.
8) Try the less expensive brand. It might not be that bad.
9) Dig in the cupboard and freezer and find out what you own -- chances are you've got eight weeks of food on hand.
10) Hold each other accountable.

Jeddy

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2015, 01:32:57 PM »
Your grocery bill can certainly be optimized - add on the fact that you're eating out $500+ per month and your food bill is outrageous.

I would think you could cut down/cut out the restaurants to free up an immediate $400-500 per month. Optimize your groceries and you could probably save another couple hundred right there.

Might I ask why you have both a car and a bus expense? Does one spouse drive while the other takes the bus? Can that be remedied in any way? (Both take the bus, carpool, etc.) - many times it cannot, but I'm just digging for more information right now.

You spend $500+ on eating out but there is another $200 for entertainment - how do these differ? Can we eliminate one (or both, for the time being)?

You've already hit the big one - getting rid of that behemoth vehicle loan. That will also cut down your monthly gas expense as you should be picking up a much less expensive fuel efficient vehicle.

Make some big (easy!) cuts and get those credit cards eliminated and you'll be well on your way

AJ

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2015, 01:37:40 PM »
Home phone and internet - $125 – will be downgrading speed of internet – home phone is needed for home alarm
...
Alarm – $9.95 – saves us $400 a year on insurance

How much is the home phone? If it is more than $23.38 a month, you are coming out behind.


Car Loan - $760.98 – I know this one will get face punched.  We are in the process of selling it so that we can pay off this mistake and start over with something that is a lot more practical.
...
Car(please be gentle I know I need to get rid of it) - $50000 @ 2.29%

Holy hell! That will almost double your savings rate right there! Sell it faster!!


Cell bills - $125 this is 4 cells and shared data.  Cheapest I could find in Saskatchewan for all of us.  Any thoughts on this.  Contemplating getting rid of mine and sharing SO.

I don't know what cheap plans are (or aren't) available in Canada, but at the risk of sounding old and out of touch, isn't a 16 years old enough to start paying for his own? And does the 12 year old really need one?



AnnieO

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dycker1978

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2015, 01:41:37 PM »
Your grocery bill can certainly be optimized - add on the fact that you're eating out $500+ per month and your food bill is outrageous.

I would think you could cut down/cut out the restaurants to free up an immediate $400-500 per month. Optimize your groceries and you could probably save another couple hundred right there.

Might I ask why you have both a car and a bus expense? Does one spouse drive while the other takes the bus? Can that be remedied in any way? (Both take the bus, carpool, etc.) - many times it cannot, but I'm just digging for more information right now.

You spend $500+ on eating out but there is another $200 for entertainment - how do these differ? Can we eliminate one (or both, for the time being)?

You've already hit the big one - getting rid of that behemoth vehicle loan. That will also cut down your monthly gas expense as you should be picking up a much less expensive fuel efficient vehicle.

Make some big (easy!) cuts and get those credit cards eliminated and you'll be well on your way

To clarify:  I ride my bike to work, and my SO takes the bus.  The car expense is for misc things, like trips to Costco, appointments, and such.  We have a big heavy SUV... that is why it costs so much.  But after all it is safer right(said with tongue planted in cheek).  I wish I would have found MMM before I bought it.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2015, 01:45:10 PM »
Do you really need a home alarm system? They seem completely useless from all accounts I've seen.

dycker1978

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2015, 01:46:24 PM »
Home phone and internet - $125 – will be downgrading speed of internet – home phone is needed for home alarm
...
Alarm – $9.95 – saves us $400 a year on insurance

How much is the home phone? If it is more than $23.38 a month, you are coming out behind.


Car Loan - $760.98 – I know this one will get face punched.  We are in the process of selling it so that we can pay off this mistake and start over with something that is a lot more practical.
...
Car(please be gentle I know I need to get rid of it) - $50000 @ 2.29%

Holy hell! That will almost double your savings rate right there! Sell it faster!!


Cell bills - $125 this is 4 cells and shared data.  Cheapest I could find in Saskatchewan for all of us.  Any thoughts on this.  Contemplating getting rid of mine and sharing SO.

I don't know what cheap plans are (or aren't) available in Canada, but at the risk of sounding old and out of touch, isn't a 16 years old enough to start paying for his own? And does the 12 year old really need one?

The phone portion of the bill is $12.95 for the rest of the year.  Then it goes to $17.95, at which point we will be re-evaluating if that makes scense to pay and save the $23 a month. This is a net savings of $6.00 so I am not sure.  The majority of the bill is super duper high speed internet, that I "needed"  The contract runs out July 1 where I will be downgrading to a much more reasonable 5 meg per second down speed for about $40 a month(compared to the 115 I pay now for 50 down)

dycker1978

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2015, 01:47:40 PM »
Do you really need a home alarm system? They seem completely useless from all accounts I've seen.
I agree but the saving on home insurance.  The savings is more than the output for it.  At the end of the year, phone service prices increase, so I will re-evaluate this.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2015, 01:53:42 PM »
Got it. Worth checking if your municipality requires a permit for your system, which you might not have. I know some people who got burned on that when their system did call the police to their house (for no particular reason) and they hadn't permitted it with the city.

Missk

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2015, 02:56:00 PM »
Eating out/Groceries New Plan:

Eliminate all of the liquid calories (with the exception of milk, I suppose). Drink water. Just no more "drinks". I do struggle with my hubby on this - he loves to have "ready to drink" drinks. My opinion on sports drinks is that I think they are useless. Anything else is just bad for you. I'm sure your teens love  their drinks. Eating out? ALWAYS order water or sparkling water if the water is not good.

Entertainment:

Get a newspaper and read. Look for free events. Go to library. Heck, go to the local fire department and ask if there are any classes on first aid, fire prevention, etc. Go look!

Killerbrandt

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2015, 11:46:20 AM »
Who do you have for Home Security? Because I have ADT and they can put in a Cell phone tower device, so you don't need a home line for it. They did ask me first if I had a home line, but because we have only cell phones, they will use a device that will hook up to the cell towers for free. Also, I only pay like 28 bucks a month for the alarm system. I had to negotiate over the phone for them to drop it from 50 a month.

Opps!! just saw that you only pay 9.99! But still ask if they have that Cell Tower Device they could use. Then save even more! :)
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 11:49:04 AM by Killerbrandt »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2015, 12:01:16 PM »
I agree with what others have said. Getting rid of the car will have a huge impact on your cashflow situation, as will reducing your food spending. Those two things should be your main focus. Other easy but less impactful wins could include buying a universal men's grooming device to reduce the haircut expenses, and not buying fabric softener (clothes get perfectly clean and wearable without it, I promise).

Keep in mind that 18 months ago you had $90k of credit card debt, and now it's down to $20k. You have made some nice progress on this. Get rid of the car and you could be debt free by the end of the year!

dycker1978

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2015, 12:08:34 PM »
Who do you have for Home Security? Because I have ADT and they can put in a Cell phone tower device, so you don't need a home line for it. They did ask me first if I had a home line, but because we have only cell phones, they will use a device that will hook up to the cell towers for free. Also, I only pay like 28 bucks a month for the alarm system. I had to negotiate over the phone for them to drop it from 50 a month.

Opps!! just saw that you only pay 9.99! But still ask if they have that Cell Tower Device they could use. Then save even more! :)

Thanks for this.  I just made the call to the company.  They can do cell system.  It would cost $150 to install a new module and then it would cost $34.95 a month.  So not worth it for me.  Maybe next time I can get a win like that :).  Like I said I will re-evaluate when the cost of the phone service and alarm service increase, and see if increased insurance rates, or the alarm system is a win.  For today it is saving me a few bucks a month.

Killerbrandt

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2015, 12:11:12 PM »
No problem! and I am glad you checked! :)

MustacheNY

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2015, 12:44:41 PM »
Car, and food are huge savings opportunities others have already touched on.

But 400+ for Utilities?  I know I am in NY and the weather might be a bit more moderate here than in Canada, but you might want to see if you can keep a wider range of temperature in your home before you turn on the A/C or Heat. 

Read this article on Stoicism and expanding your comfort zone.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/

Also, look into what you are doing on the electrical side that is driving things up.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/03/25/cut-your-power-bill/

Finally, read
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/10/15/when-energy-saving-becomes-an-emergency/

Also, you have a hair on fire debt problem.  $200/month for entertainment should be looked at carefully and replaced with the plentiful entertainment opportunities that exist all around us.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 01:07:03 PM by MustacheNY »

dycker1978

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2015, 01:41:17 PM »
Car, and food are huge savings opportunities others have already touched on.

But 400+ for Utilities?  I know I am in NY and the weather might be a bit more moderate here than in Canada, but you might want to see if you can keep a wider range of temperature in your home before you turn on the A/C or Heat. 

Read this article on Stoicism and expanding your comfort zone.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/

Also, look into what you are doing on the electrical side that is driving things up.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/03/25/cut-your-power-bill/

Finally, read
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/10/15/when-energy-saving-becomes-an-emergency/

Also, you have a hair on fire debt problem.  $200/month for entertainment should be looked at carefully and replaced with the plentiful entertainment opportunities that exist all around us.

I know utilities are high.  We do our best here.  Last winter we did not turn on the heat until we reached 67 F during the eve and 53 F during the day/overnight while we sleep.  We don't turn the AC on here unless the house is over 85.  I think we have maxed the savings we can get here.  Water costs something like $80 just to have service.  Gas and Power total something like $125 before we use any.  Water bill is $110-125 a month, Gas is equalized at $80 which gives us big deficits to what is actually used in cold months and equally big credits in warm months.  The Power ranges between 90-100.  Typing this out I realize I have an extra unaccounted for $100.  That is odd.  I will have to find that. 

The biggest contributor to the power bill is my 16 year old PC.  He uses it a lot.  He turns 16 on June 17th so he knows that he will be required to pay for power to help out for its use and his cell bill starting July 1. 

I agree with the entertainment.  I think that we shall axe that until CC debt is gone(all but the netfilx anyways).  it is summer here so lots to do outside anyways. 

Thanks for the great ideas.  I love getting other perspectives. It makes me think outside of where I was thinking.

smilla

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2015, 02:50:21 PM »
You're spending $900 a month on groceries and another $500 on eating out?  Sit the whole family down right this minute and come up with a much better food plan.  YOU ARE SPENDING MORE ON FOOD THAN YOUR MORTGAGE!  Ah!  The bright side is that this is something you can work on together, you'll teach your kids to cook, budget and eat healthy all at once, and you should see some immediate successes.  Find a way to celebrate each milestone without spending money. 

Ways to save on food:
1) Cap how much you will spend per month eating out, and when it's gone nobody can buy food out until the next month.
2) Plan meals for two weeks at a time and grocery shop once, no trips back to the store in between.
3) No cheating by buying take-and-bake pizza and calling that cooking.
4) Give up as much grocery-store junk food and processed foods as you can. 
5) Don't buy in bulk unless you're absolutely sure it's much less expensive and you would actually have bought and used the same quantity in the regular size.
6) Pack lunches.
7) Make your own coffee.
8) Try the less expensive brand. It might not be that bad.
9) Dig in the cupboard and freezer and find out what you own -- chances are you've got eight weeks of food on hand.
10) Hold each other accountable.

Your family might find it a lot easier to not do this all at once.  Choose 1 or 2 items to work on (I would start with 1 and 6).  Once it starts feeling less like a hardship and more like a habit, add on another.

klystomane

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2015, 03:12:16 PM »
At the risk of also sounding like a dinosaur, what do a 12 and 16 year old need data on their phones for? pr0n?

Data is the most expensive element of a phone plan these days...if they need a phone for emergencies, a $10/month prepaid plans should be plenty.

Good call on the car...ditch it, especially since you already have alternate means of getting to work. If you sell the car, I would maybe not buy a car until you've achieved a certain amount of debt reduction (i.e. 50% of existing non-mortgage debt)...sort of like "until I get rid of 50% of my debt, I won't have a car." Your means of transportation for all basic needs are all covered (going to work and school). You'll survive, and it will motivate you to pay down that debt.

Food has been covered...pretty much a combination of what everybody else is saying. If the kids want to bring a lunch to school, have them make their own. If they want to buy lunch at school, then they should be using their own money.

Is the haircut expense for you? Not too sure how the female body works, but I think my wife cuts her hair once or twice a year. I think haircare for the husband and the two boys needs to be at $0/month right now; buy a set of clippers and clip away.

What is softener?

Honestly, if you didn't have the debt, your expenses really wouldn't be that bad; your household income is high enough that you wouldn't need to fine tune absolutely everything in your budget.

Focus on getting rid of the non-mortgage debt. Throw everything that's leftover at it.

I don't think you're in bad shape at all, good luck.


dycker1978

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2015, 03:47:33 PM »
At the risk of also sounding like a dinosaur, what do a 12 and 16 year old need data on their phones for? pr0n?

Data is the most expensive element of a phone plan these days...if they need a phone for emergencies, a $10/month prepaid plans should be plenty.

Good call on the car...ditch it, especially since you already have alternate means of getting to work. If you sell the car, I would maybe not buy a car until you've achieved a certain amount of debt reduction (i.e. 50% of existing non-mortgage debt)...sort of like "until I get rid of 50% of my debt, I won't have a car." Your means of transportation for all basic needs are all covered (going to work and school). You'll survive, and it will motivate you to pay down that debt.

Food has been covered...pretty much a combination of what everybody else is saying. If the kids want to bring a lunch to school, have them make their own. If they want to buy lunch at school, then they should be using their own money.

Is the haircut expense for you? Not too sure how the female body works, but I think my wife cuts her hair once or twice a year. I think haircare for the husband and the two boys needs to be at $0/month right now; buy a set of clippers and clip away.

What is softener?

Honestly, if you didn't have the debt, your expenses really wouldn't be that bad; your household income is high enough that you wouldn't need to fine tune absolutely everything in your budget.

Focus on getting rid of the non-mortgage debt. Throw everything that's leftover at it.

I don't think you're in bad shape at all, good luck.

Thanks for that.  I am looking into phone plans here prepaid. the cheapest I have found is $20 a month/prepaid.  This does represent some savings... I will have to investigate the cost of cancelation. 

I have spoken to my SO on the car.  We have decided, I think, that we will go car free, permanently.  There are 3 or 4 times a year where we need one to go see family(about 400km away) or for our tenting camping trips that we take out of the city.  We will rent a car for the weekends when we do, this will save a huge pile of cash, as well as enable us to rent the vehicle we need.  For instance if we are going to mom and dads for the weekend a small econo cars is perfect, but if we are going camping for a week, we could rent a mini van to haul all of our stuff out there. 

Haircut expense is for all of us.  I will suggest the clippers and see how it goes over.

My So get an extreme case of dry skin with our super hard, minerals filled water.  The softener fixes that.   It also doubles the amount of washing we can do with the laundry soap, I am not sure why but this is true.

I agree, I would be quite comfortable without the debt.  Thanks for the help.

smilla

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2015, 03:57:20 PM »
I agree that $600/year for haircuts seems high.  There are several threads on MMM about cutting your own hair and lots of videos on youtube. 

You and the boys can easily do your own or each others and, unless your wife likes a very geometric cut (or works in a very posh environment), she will be able to do very well also, regardless of texture or length.  It might take some courage but once you find the right video (similar hair, similar style), you realize how doable it is. Besides, if it's a disaster, you can always get a professional to fix it and you'll only be out what you would've spent in the first place. 

If the $600 includes colouring, there are ways to get great results at home for that too.  Look for tips online and consider natural options, such as henna, indigo and cassia obovata, which are actually good for the hair & scalp. 

There aren't any personal care tasks that can't be done as well or better at home (with the right tools* and a little practice) saving time and money.
 
*on top of the trimmer mentioned above, the upfront cost of a decent pair of hair scissors is about $35 on amazon.ca - try tweezerman which are apparently BIFL.

smilla

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2015, 04:04:07 PM »
Soft water also makes the sinks, toilets & showers easier to keep clean.  It's a must for me too but watch for sales on the salts and stock up when it is 40% off.  Also be sure you have no water leaks.

Chrissy

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2015, 04:08:55 PM »
By age 8, my sibling and I were cooking one meal a week for the family (Wednesday & Thursday nights).  We were taught to cook enough for 2 meals, which we would eat again later on the weekends.  My folks said this was to teach us "life skills."  Friday, my mother called in for pizza, and I picked it up around 6p, on my way home from my after-school job (age 15-17).

My mom cooked Monday, and my dad cooked Tuesday, and I think they ate leftovers from that for lunch 4 days a week.

Looking back, it was a pretty sweet set up:  low expense, low labor per person.  Your family might try it to cut down on eating out.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 04:13:32 PM by Chrissy »

dycker1978

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2015, 04:18:16 PM »
By age 8, my sibling and I were cooking one meal a week for the family (Wednesday & Thursday nights).  We were taught to cook enough for 2 meals, which we would eat again later on the weekends.  My folks said this was to teach us "life skills."  Friday, my mother called in for pizza, and I picked it up around 6p, on my way home from my after-school job (age 15-17).

My mom cooked Monday, and my dad cooked Tuesday, and I think they ate leftovers from that for lunch 4 days a week.

Looking back, it was a pretty sweet set up:  low expense, low labor per person.  Your family might try it to cut down on eating out.

I like that... Alot

Spondulix

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2015, 10:00:26 PM »
Can you refinance your student loans?

Could your boys find summer work? (even just mowing the neighbors lawn) This could help with the food habits, actually - if they started paying for some of their own entertainment (even in a small amount) it might give them some perspective on when you all spend money as a family. Who suggests going out to eat?

Your CC rates aren't bad, but would you qualify for one that's 0% for a year?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Reader case Study – Help me finish fixing this mess.
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2015, 04:35:15 AM »
By age 8, my sibling and I were cooking one meal a week for the family (Wednesday & Thursday nights).  We were taught to cook enough for 2 meals, which we would eat again later on the weekends.  My folks said this was to teach us "life skills."  Friday, my mother called in for pizza, and I picked it up around 6p, on my way home from my after-school job (age 15-17).

My mom cooked Monday, and my dad cooked Tuesday, and I think they ate leftovers from that for lunch 4 days a week.

Looking back, it was a pretty sweet set up:  low expense, low labor per person.  Your family might try it to cut down on eating out.

I wish my family had done this when I was a kid. I still have very little gut instinct around the kitchen. Ate horribly in college until I got with my now-wife.