Category Archives: Saving advice

I know exactly how you feel

savingsI know exactly how you feel! We married and started a family early and had 3 kids by the time we were married 10 years.

We were independent from the start, living in towns far from any close relatives. I saved a little $$s in a 401K (about 6K in 3 years) and we bought our first home. The only way I could save that money was to have it automatically taken out of my check so I never saw it. So that’s how we bought our first home.

Now after 25 years and a divorce 🙁 I look back and realize that we made a lot of money but working and having kids at a young age and having to pay for child care is costly. I remember lamenting that I didn’t have any really nice furniture and I shopped for clothes at thrift stores and yard sales. We also invested heavily in the kids sports, travelling extensively as part of elite club teams.

Cha ching. It all adds up. And the debt!! Well that’s always been in the picture. We paid off credit cards three times using our home equity only to run them back up. Now that I’m dealing with half the income, there’s no hiding from it. I have to turn and face the debt and careless spending monster headon and just stop the madness. I feel encouraged and optimistic about the future, and feel that I’ll be in control of the finances. I think the key is learning to live within your means and not spend more than you make. As the kids grow up and leave home, AND you remain debt free, there’ll be less stress on the marriage and more $$s in the bank.

As far as buying stuff, I’ll never buy furniture, cars or any other similar big ticket item new again. It takes some work to find, but there are bargains out there to be had on beautiful possessions and in the future I’m committed to staying away from “payment plans” by finding these deals.

One way to think of how much you pay for things, is to divide the cost of the item by the amount of money you get paid on an hourly basis. Then, you realize how many hours you work just for that particular item.

When you realize that if you make $10 an hour and you just have to have a new pair of Jordan sneakers at $250 a pair, you worked 25 hours or just over 3 typical workdays just for those shoes.

P.S. I use these as an example, as I saw people on the news recently sitting outside stores waiting for them to go on sale for that price. His newest ones.

I just thought of something. Near where I live is a second-hand store. It’s connected to a pawn shop. People who need money sell their furniture and appliances to this place and they clean it up a bit then put it up for sale. They also go to auctions. Have you tried auctions? My dad’s bought a lovely couch at an estate auction (elderly man moving out after wife’s death) for only a dollar. Nice couch just nobody wanted it. Sure, it’s used but quite often furniture goes cheap in auctions unless two or more people really want a particular thing.

How does your dad know when these auctions occur? I’ve tried to find out about them in my area but have had little luck.

My dad gets flyers in the mail. Often they’re listed in newspapers. Look for auctioneers in the phone book. Call them up and ask if they have any sales coming up. I bet they’d give you all kinds of info because they get paid a percentage of the sales. To register to bid you’ve got to provide ID and I think most places use your address to mail you flyers about upcoming sales. Sometimes we’ve gone into restaurants or stores and they’ve had flyers up by the register or posted on a bulletin board. Hope this helps.

Recently I heard a man asking Dave Ramsey how to get sofas while paying off debt.

Apparently the man asking had sofas that were falling apart. Dave told the caller to hit garage sales in the upscale neighborhoods in his city – and to get a very high quality sofa that way for a few hundred dollars.

I usually find auctions in the local newspaper. In the summer they are listed with the garage sales. The estates sells are usually the best, they sell everything from a lawnmower to the house itself! Good luck!

Re: No assets – please help!

old furnitureI’m living on old furniture and painted concrete floors. I run some paint over the worst spots every six month or a year, have washable bath mats. I can’t get new flooring or tiles until I have paid off a lot of my debt.

The furniture, short of 2 desks, a flat TV and a fourteen year old sofa-sleeper and love seat are all from my folks. When I rented and lived in a flat overseas in the UK, I got crafty:

Headboards: Go to a notions/crafts store get One 8″-12″ diameter ring, can be wood or metal. Hang the ring about 2′ above your bed. Running sheer coloured or white fabric through and around the ring, to leave about 6′ hanging’, then, with thumbtacks, affix the bottom of the fabric splayed out behind the bed itself. if you want, 2 small artificial nosegays can be stuck to the wall at say the mid-point above your pillows.

Depending on the kid’s ages and genders, a large piece of felt, any colour, can be stuck to the wall with thumbtacks or ‘blu-tack’ which will not put holes in your walls… going from about 2-3 feet above their pillows to a foot behind their bed, and you and they can cut out shapes of animals and so on for them to have a felt board play land above their own beds. They can take the shapes and set a new scene every day/week/month/etc

Hitting the thrift store for a small dinette set and later, getting some fun paint and metallic pens etc, you can dress these things up. Hey, we call it all ‘Retro’ now!

If you lived close to me, *I* have a table and chairs you could have. Nothing wrong with ‘hand me downs’ call it recycling ! In our ‘disposable society’ many decent, good pieces are simply turfed out and they would so be loved and cared about by others.

But, Shay, one more thing if I may, many folks with all those nice things do NOT have a happy family. Their kids are usually left to their own, both parents working and there’s really not a lot of happiness in those nice places. Look at what you DO have, embrace them all hard and realize you may in fact be richer than many. I do have some nice things, but no mom and dad, no sisters or brothers, no kids. Just me, my fella and five dogs. Those dogs bring me a lot of joy. Your endeavors to trash the debt will hold many rewards for you in due time.

No assets – please help!

I’m frustrated!

I’ve been married 10+ years w/3 children. We rent and have no “good” furniture. We eat off of a card table and fold up chairs. We have a free stained couch. Our mattress is 12+ years old. We have no headboards and the dressers are hand me downs. We have old do it yourself put together desks, dressers, and entertainment center. There isn’t one thing in our house that I would consider a nice piece of furniture. You would think we made terrible money, but we make six figures! We are working very hard to pay off our debt and not use credit cards.

In addition, when I look at the things we do have, I can hardly find one thing that we actually bought ourselves. Christmas presents, birthdays, and wedding gifts are what surround me. Our families are generous, but when I realize all we’ve ever bought were a toaster oven and computer equipment, it frustrates me.

How do others budget and purchase things for their home? What priority is this in your life? Do you have a special category for home furnishings, household items and furniture?

In the past I would have just thought about putting it on a credit card, but no more. I just don’t know how to pay off debt and somehow make our surroundings more pleasing and not embarrassing.

I am just amazed when I go to others homes and see lots of furniture and even more amazed when it is beautifully decorated. Please, somebody tell me how everyone but me is able to decorate their homes. I’m clueless…

used furnitureMy hubby and I have been married almost 10 years. We just bought our home last summer. Before that, we rented apartments (ugh).

ALL of my furniture has been purchased (with cash) from thrift stores, garage sales or off of Craig’s List. You’d be amazed at what you can find.

Just a couple weeks ago, I got a nearly new sectional with two recliners – that have built in massage – and a queen size hide a bed off of Craig’s List My cost? ZERO! Some woman had bought it then didn’t like it so she bought something else. The power of credit cards, I’m guessing. So, instead of selling the set she didn’t like, she gave it away.

My dining room table – a beautiful oak set with tile inlay on the top came from Craig’s List. $75.

All my furnishings are like that right down to the curtains. In fact, I don t think I’ve bought anything new for my house now that I think about it. Yet, everyone that comes over comments on how beautiful it is.

It takes time to do it this way. But, start looking and thinking previously owned.

Good luck!