Skip to comments.America’s ‘cheapest family’: ‘We are hope and change’
Posted on 10/02/2010 7:09:35 AM PDT by Immerito
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I'm with you, Panaxanax. Yard sales ROCK.
It took a year's worth of "series of unfortunate events" to put my family under. First my husband, then my son, then my daughter, then me. The medical bills were stunning.
Thankfully, we had nest eggs to fall back on (all but two are gone now) and very little debt to begin with. But I had a long road to recovery so we weren't able to get back on our feet again until recently.
My parents always found a way, so we found a way. Whining never helps anything. Buckle down, accept your situation, and fight, fight, fight to overcome it.
We only asked for help from one source; my parents - a loan that we quickly repaid. It was very humbling to ask them for help, a big blow to my pride. We had never asked them for anything before, but they were happy to help and we are still grateful for it.
I wouldn't know. I only buy solid wood furniture (desks, end tables, etc.).
That's my unwritten rule for anything second hand (yard sales, church sales, etc.).
“Yard sales ROCK.”
Here’s a tip that I can share with you. I have home-made business cards that indicate what I like to buy. Leave them with the seller at every sale, no matter how crappy it was. also take a handful of dog cookies for their dog that comes out to greet you. They love that! Quite often I will get a call a couple weeks later when they find something that they think I would like to buy (guns.gold,silver, hunting knives, old pocket watches etc.
It works, try it and you’ll be amazed at the response.
Stay out of my stomping ground! Just kidding, of course. There is a negative stigma about people that go to yard sales. We’ll have the last laugh, guaranteed!
The key to keeping your head above water is simply to live below your means. Good rule of thumb is 20%. So if your family income is $50,000, live as though your family income was only $40,000. If your family income is $100,000, live as though your income was only $80,000 - and so on.
You should set up your automatic deductions in such as way that you never see that 20%. Have it go directly into a 401(k), a money market account, bonds, savings accounts, whatever you are comfortable with - but the key is to always have that 20% come out of your income no matter what. This takes discipline but once you adopt that mindset, it becomes easier as time goes on.
I'm talking pre-tax income by the way.
So what does that 20% get used for? Things like college tuition, a down payment on a new house, getting the roof repaired. But make the money hard to get to, so that you are not tempted to dip into that money for frivolous things like vacations, going out to eat, etc.
The good thing about this is that you don't have to necessarily eat Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and wear other peoples discarded clothing. As your income rises, your disposable income also rises. At the same time, that 20% you are putting away also rises. I think it is too depressing to adopt a mentality that you will always live as though you were poor (but certainly that is necessary from time to time if you keep to a strict budget).
Living below your means and saving/investing the rest is the easiest way to build wealth, however, without discipline and an honest marriage (in which both spouses are on board with the plan), it will be nearly impossible to pull off successfully.
Good strategy at Super Target. I see discounts on meats about to expire all the time. BTW, you also see "manager's special" discounts at Winn Dixie. I just ask the meat manager to place the discount tags on meats that I want. Once got a discount on bacon not even due to expire for 3 weeks.
Excellent suggestions! Thanks for the tip, and happy hunting!
Why don't you just buy a vacation package for Las Vegas? Great bargains nowadays plus they give you free play.
How about shrimping? That's what I am planning on doing. Get my own shrimp directly from the sea. Of course it depends on where you live but it is doable down here. Don't even need a boat. Just from a water outlet leading to the ocean plus a lantern and net.
I bet their book doesn't have a tip on how to buy a BRAND NEW laptop computer for FREE! That's exactly what I did. And I don't plan on writing a book about that because I don't want stores to know how I did it or they might change their coupon policies.
p.s. Posting this via that very same FREE laptop.
6 vacuum packs of Chock Full 'O' Nuts coffee
2 liters extra virgin olive oil.
4 liters Canola oil
3 large bottles Ajax dishwashing liquid
4 A/C filters
150 oz automatic dishwasher liquid
I also got a bunch of other stuff for almost nothing like 50 oz bottles of Whisk laundry detergent for just a buck each. Oh, and yesterday I picked up a bunch of Pledge anti-allergent cloths for FREE!
I picked up a HIGH QUALITY T-shirt with a Yamaha design a couple of days ago for FREE with Kohl's $10 coupon. I have about 40 more of those same coupons and plan to buy up about a years worth of wardrobe cheap. Oh, also got a great pair of bathing suit with the same coupon. My wife bought several pairs of socks with that coupon as well. Tonight we return to Kohl's and buy a whole bunch of other stuff for free or near free with those coupons.
We have a family of 6—dh, me, and our four children, ranging in ages from 12 down to 3 years old. We have no debt other than our house payment. After taxes and benefits, dh brings home a grand total of $3600 and some change a month. That pays the mortgage, utilities, gas and insurance for our 10 and 13 y.o. cars, life insurance on dh and me, food, clothing, private school tuition for 3 of the kids, plus their lunches and other fees. We also manage to put some into emergency savings and another slush fund we use for the house, pets, cars, and Christmas.
We were doing this before the economy went south, because living below your means is the right thing to do, and debt is dumb (ala Dave Ramsey). Our kids already know this lesson at their young ages...if we don’t have the money, we don’t get it. No one’s starving, going naked, or doing without toys.
So while my kids don’t suck up tax dollars for their schooling (no free or reduced lunches—dh makes ‘too much’), I get to listen to people sneer at my choice of more than 2 kids and living on only one income, even on FR (how many people have told me that you can’t live on one income and you MUST have a credit card to survive!) At the end of the day, my car is mine and not the bank’s, and I know how I’m paying for Christmas.
I forgot to mention the Target coupons for FREE Chef Michaels for dogs. I don’t have a dog but I “bought” a couple of hundred of these for my sister-in-laws dog and to give to friends. Hey, it was free so I could afford to be Mr. Generosity.
We have little ones (4 to 10 year olds), so the museums were a perfect fit of educational and fun. Plus, Oklahoma was within driving distance.
We also did 4 days in Austin and spent only $80 on entertainment. More museums and parks.
I don't gamble, so Vegas really isn't for me; nevertheless, I've been there on business and it's a lovely city. Lots to see and do, with some wonderful shows!
It ain't gambling when you use FREE play. I don't even want to talk about this too much out in the open but FREE PLAY is widely available. Research and learn.
BTW, I just took a shower break and the stuff I used demonstrates my massive amounts of freebies. I used Infusium 23 shampoo and conditioner. Each costs about 6 bucks but for me...FREE. Then I washed down with FREE Gillette body wash. Also in the shower was FREE Nivea Body Wash for Women which my wife uses. Then I brushed my teeth with FREE Crest toothpaste and a FREE toothbrush. Washed my mouth out with FREE mouthwash. Oh, and also cleaned my teeth a bit with a FREE dental pick.
We need to start a “Yard Sale” ping list forum....?
I hear you there! We are in the same income bracket and we just had our fifth child. Unlike you, we do have debt...but not a credit card :) We homeschool, a year of curriculum for the for 4 kids (Kindergarten-5th grade) is under $1,000. That's less than a month of tuition at the local Christian school.
I love this quote:
God calls children a blessing and debt a curse. Today we reject blessings and sign up for a curse.
Congratulations! Since you get no tax subsidies I guess you don’t claim any child credits and 6 personal deductions on your federal taxes so you won’t miss them when obama cuts them. We never qualified for them.
I gather you live in Indiana, a low cost of living area? Here in suburban DC $3600 “might” cover the private school tuition for 3 kids, that’s about all. We do parochial school for one at $7K a year (that would $21K for 3) and homeschool the other. Our property taxes on a middle class house are $400 a month and rising. Water trash and sewer another $100 and rising. Our cars are also 13 and 14 yrs old and starting to rattle ominously. But I figure our 2012 taxes are going to increase by the amount of a car payment - so no cash for my clunkers.
I bet obama and meshell never had this conversation about pinching $100 here and $400 there, did they?
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