Saturday, March 15, 2008

By the numbers

Not too baby related...sorry.

I've been doing some number crunching because we NEED to get out of debt and it looks like we have a "drum roll please" whopping $50 a month to play with! WOW...Eric makes that alone. I'm not counting my not-so-usual payments, so that will be more play money if we need it. (Or perhaps go into a little savings cushion.) WE have two high APR credit cards of Erics that need paying off. Mine has a fixed 4.99 percent, so we can put that on the backburner with minimums. Then we would pay that off. Then we could paydown the medical bills. Then work on the bigger things like student loans and the car. I know it will be along process and the most important thing RIGHT NOW will be to avoid late payments.

Get this...if I make the minimum on my credit card LATE...I pay $50 but get charged late payment fee of $39 so I'm only paying $11 a month! Just paying on TIME will help reduce that much faster. Imagine what that would do to a credit card with a 20 percent'd probably end up owing more than you used in the first place! We averaged about $400 a month in groceries, so I'm going to see if we can STICK to it. Baby formula is a given, you can't fudge it. But for us...I'm going to see what I can do to reduce it.

Any suggestions on getting the grocery bill down? That's the one place where I really think we have the power to make strides. You can't do much about gas when Eri needs it to get to work. You can't do much about oil and electric really either. Sure, shut off lights. I could go the extra mile and unplug everything at night to save a penny or something...but groceries are key I think.

All right, enough rambling. We are trying to do our taxes now, and hoping to get $2,000 or so back (yah right....) That's why we started thinking about debt reduction. And if we can do it ourselves, why pay someone to do it for us. I thought about calling to see if I can negotiate something witht he medical bills. Maybe I can, who knows. (I dont' see pigs flying, so that's probably going to be a wasted call!)


Yes, my name is Arizona said...

Oh, I hate medical bills. Hate, hate, hate them. I made late payments on my credit cards, too, when the twins were little and of course they sock it to you with the late fees. One card even jacked my APR up to 26% so I called and asked them to put it back to 10.9% and they did. I told them about having twins and how hard it know the story! It worked, so if you have any high rates, try asking for a lower rate if you haven't already. I don't know how to lower grocery bills. I use coupons for diapers and butt wipes, but when it comes to food, there aren't many coupons for vegetables and that's mostly what I buy. I think the only canned stuff we have is soup. Do you read Debra's coupon blog? SHe posts great deals. Its at It takes a little effort at first to get the hang of couponing, but after a month or two you'll feel like a pro. I bought 26 tubs of butt wipes from Target for .29 cents each thanks to Debra's method.

Kate said...

Hmmm. I might have to seriously type couponing again. I started to, but I wasn't unsuccessful because I went with the kidsa nd Eric and that is ONE STOP shopping! Maybe if I go alone and hit many stores I can make some headway! I'm not the best cook, so I'm still sort of can dependant. I do things with cream of mushroom, chicken, potatoes, etc. Once I get up and running I might be able to do more.

Just wondering, where do you live again? Cuse you seem to post when it's like 2 a.m. here. (Right now it's 3 a.m.)

From the Board said...

I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend the Book by Dave Ramsey, Total Money Makeover. It is the best debt reduction program!!! LOVE IT!

Also, check out my blog for couponing. Defnitely do not go with the kids and hubby. You will save so much money! I got our grocery bill from $1000 a month down to $600. Now with prices going up I am at $650 and that includes going out to eat once a week with 5 kids. Ok.. we usually eat at Sams Club with pizza and a drink at $1.70 each but we are still eating out! LOL I am stuck like Arizona, I use a ton of fruit and veggies so most of my bill is that. Literally... $75 a week is chicken breasts and frsh fruit and veggies. Another thing that would be really fun with your girls is plant a garden this spring. Start off small and plant what you eat. My older 3 are picking two things to plant. They are in charge of them. I will supervise. I am really excited as this will cut down my bill a TON!

good luck! I hear ya about debt. It SUCKS. We had paid off all our debt 6 months before we had the twins. With their formula bills, hiring a part-time nanny, and the $ we had to pay on our house we sold in FL, it is going to take us 4 yrs to pay it all off. SO frustrating!

Laura said...

Debra and AZ have a lot of good tips. I think the biggest thing you can do is pay off the highest interest first and go from there. I also think Dave Ramsey's book is good (not that I have read it). I highly recommend calling about medical bills and asking for a break, same with credit cards if you can. My friend made headway doing this.

Jocasta and Wayne said...

My only suggestion is to write every thing down that you spend and see if there are any surprises - mainly things that when you look at it aren't that important you you.

Good luck - contacting your credit card companies and medical bills seems like a good idea - I mean what do you have to lose!

Erin said...

Debt- we'll always have it.. its the American dream isn't it? LOL
Seriously though AZ had a great idea about calling on the rates, work on paying off one and pay the minimum on the others- then as soon as that one is paid off (yes it takes time) take the amount you were paying on that one and add it to the next card with the minimun you were paying on it. (now almost like a double payment) and so on and so on! We have two cards left to pay off and one will be done this next month hurray! (we don't use credit cards anymore- if we don't have cash for it, we don't buy it!)
OMG I'm terrible at the start, I see this then ohhh thats on sale I should get it! Now I make my list and stick to it! I check the circulars for sales and see whats good deals and when we have a chance to get to Costco I buy bulk fruit there (we have a juicer so we go through mass oranges!)
My mom always told me to plan out the meals ahead of time then you know what you will need.(and keep your staple items on your shelf so you can always make something in a pinch) We have a deep freezer and I go huge meat shopping and get the large family size meats then go home and split them up and vacuum seal the amount I need, then write everything I have on a whiteboard attached to the front of the freezer and don't go huge shopping again until that sucker is almost empty ;)
(granted you still have to make small trips for milk and eggs and veggies..) Ok Ok so I don't have it down to an exact science but I figure my oldest has a couple years left until his teens.. then I'm screwed... Hello!! Can you imagine what my food bill will come to with four teenage boys in the house! *gasp* breathe Erin breathe! LOL