I saw you mentioned STL.
Are you still in Missouri? If so, I am as well and might be able to give you a name of some.
I live near the Ark border, but have friends around the central area of MO and family/friends elsewhere in MO.
You can PM me if you'd like.
ETA-- Nevermind, I saw on another thread you are in AL.
Also, with gardening, you can make ketchup, salsa, bbq sauce, relish, pickles, etc.
Can you ask them to remove the text messages without changing your plan? I understand that it's "only $5/month" But that's $60 a year. I admit that I am not a fan of texting, and actually had the capability blocked on my phone so that my mother would stop texting me. I was getting charged 5 cents a message and that was 5 cents I didn't want to pay out. And before you ask, she only texted me about a few times every couple of months, so the amount I've saved doesn't even equal a dollar, but it's still less money going out. Texting is not a necessity. Assuming you don't go over your monthly minutes on your cell phone, and if I'm right most companies allow free calling within the nextwork and on weekends, cut texting out.
I found it was beneficial when I changed the way I was thinking. Instead of thinking "I'm only spending X a month on X" and starting thinking, "what else could I be doing with that $5?" Could that $5 being in savings earning interest? Could it be paying down on my debt which means I pay less interest on that debt?
I got mad at my bank because they put a hold on $91 in cash that I deposited because the hold caused me to make a car payment a day later than I wanted. I wasn't late on the payment, because I'm currently making extra payments in an effort to pay the car off as fast as possible, but I was mad that by paying a day later I'm paying more interest. In all reality it maybe cost me a couple of pennies, but it still made me mad.
Nearly 1K in groceries for 2 people plus pets, does seem like a lot to me. I know you said you're in a rural area, but is there a cheaper grocery store you could go to? I used to do all my shopping at Dominick's, because I was getting gas discounts, then it occured to me when I got the discount I was probably only saving $1 on gas, but was spending $10-$20 more on groceries at a time. So I started shopping at Meijer. Then one day while working I drove by a Super Wal-Mart and went into to get some medicine as I was sick, and found that some of the things I get at Meijer are cheaper at the Wal-Mart. So now when I'm in the vicinity of one, I stop at Wal-mart and do my grocery shopping there, even though I HATE Wal-mart. If there's something you eat a lot of, find ways to get it cheaper, or only buy it on sale. I spend a lot of money on reduced fat shredded cheese. When it goes on sale, I'll spend $40-$50 on it so that I'm not spending $80-$100 on the same cheese when it's not on sale. If meat's on sale, stock up.
If you buy something on impulse, don't open it right away. Wait a day or two, think about if you really need it, or if you really want it and can afford to want it, and then return it. I had nearly $30K in credit card debt, and when I began paying it off, there were many times I went and bought something and then regretted it the next day. I took it back and got my money back for it.
I know. Our cell phone bill is ridiculous. We don't have a land line, and because we are in a rural area there aren't very many towers so we use the Hot Spot at Home for a signal which means that we need the internet. Already have the lowest minutes package, and text messages is only $5/month. Luckily the contract is up in June, and we should be going back home to St. Louis in July or August. If we change our contract now it will restart the time of the contract.
Here is a simple solution for you, but it will take a little work on your part.
You have a computer and I would suspect you have a spreadsheet on it. Open a blank spread sheet and enter the following entries in Row 1:
Col A = Posting Date
Col B = Seq #
Col C = Due Date
Col D = Description
Col E = Tran Amount (Format as currency with negative numbers showing RED)
Col F = Balance (Format as currency with negative numbers showing RED)
You will only need to enter 2 formula's:
Cell F2 enter =E2
Cell F3 enter =F2+E3 Copy this cell down the sheet.
Now look at your bank statement and enter the last 3 complete months of transactions. All checks and cash w/d need to be entered as a negative (they will show red), you deposits will be entered as a positive(they will show black)
From that list, enter in your know expenses for the next 6 months Also enter in your expected cash expenditures.
From this, you will find out when you will go negative...is will be in red.
At least twice a week for the next three months, look at your online statement and enter a date the transaction cleared in Col A and begin column B with the number 1 and increment by 1 as a transaction hits the bank. This will reflect the order the transaction was posted at your bank.
This is an easy solution, very easy to maintain, I keep a small business using this method and you don't have to learn new software.
Caution: Never sort Col F the Balance Column.
I've been living like that for over 7 years. I burned all of my checks on New Years --- that's right no more checks. I changed my direct deposit to go to my bank and credit union - I get 500 every two weeks for an allowance (gas, nails, food, teenager expenses, etc) The rest of my check go to the bank account (no checks) - that is a bill pay account only - i use it to pay bills --- this has changed my life - I have a savings if you can believe it and i have money left over and my bills are paid ------ try it ---- it's not going to be easy trust me --- my partner helped me with this and if I didn't have her nagging at me i do not know that it would be changed so, just try it --- go thru the hassle to change your direct deposit and get a deduction to a different account.......it will help --- You can do it!! - make the change.........it's a great feeling once you look back after 3 months and see what you've done.
P.S. It was death by "bank fees" for me -- honestly - get away from paying the bank fees
Check out www.daveramsey.com. He changed our lives, we are now almost debt free (Went from owing $95,000.00 to $23,000.00) and just bought a house in December. We will be debt free by the end of the yea, except our house we just purchased which we will own debt free in 10 years.
Truly, he changed our lives.....
its the name of the capitalistic game. the middle class never makes enough to get rich. there is always more to buy, more to get.
you have to resist lifestyle inflation. you dont need alot to get along in life. you make alot of money! you can easily save $1000 per month with a 850 dollar mortgage. easily, unless there are other bills you dont mention.
Get into survival mode, seriously. I got serious at 27 and paid off my 20K student loan and 18K car loan in less than 2 years. I made 80K at the time and meant i wasn't going to turn 30 in debt.
im 30 now and debt free. I dont have any furntiure, no gadgets but my ipod shuffle and mac, and no TVs. I read alot.
i think i saw the recession coming down the pipe and buckled down before the ship sank.
Only get what you need. Be disciplined. Do what it takes to discipline yourself. It will pay off big time.
Dont be mad at yourself. Be grateful that you make 80K and have the ability to pay your debt off. Many are not so fortunate.