First thing…find a way to get organized. You need to know how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out, where its coming from, when its coming and when your bills are due…
Second– figure out where you need to cut back…my husband and I are living on less and raising a 4 & 2yr old right now. We have the cheapest cable available (about $14/month), I shop for grociers that are on sale (by checking store ads in paper) or use stores like Aldi’s or Save-A-Lot, use coupons, etc.. I rebate for shampoo, toothpaste, etc. at Rite Aid and Walgreens- which means I usually get all my money back minus the sales tax.
Third– look into your options regarding your mortgage…can you, should you refinance? Should you sell and move into something more affordable?
Fourth– Unless they are physically or mentally unable to work or are still in school (and thats optional) your son and girlfriend should be contributing. It costs to live and they are living off you, right?
Fifth– you really need to try to find a way not to use those credit cards unless you can get them paid off monthly. Be careful about spending money on things you don’t need. I also buy my clothing and the kids clothing through Goodwill, Salvation Army, consignment stores, or great sales at dept. stores. You can get great brand name clothing in good condition at second hand places.
I do alot of researching on the internet for free help, suggestions to get things done. Type in a word and do a search for articles on organizing, bills, saving money, etc…and you may find a lot more ways to save than you can think of yourself.
I hope these suggestions help…they are only suggestions. We also have to keep finding ways to cut back. My husband just started a second job himself and I work from home so I can stay home w/ the kids.
Paying half your income on the house is eating you. I’m pretty sure DR would say “get rid of the house.”
Sounds scary. No car payments is good. Cable will need to turn into free Red Box rentals and the library video rack. Cell phones go away. Kids pay rent as soon as possible. I don’t know that the kids need to take on two jobs to help you, but if they were willing….. What is your food cost? Coupons, budget, food bank, garden, get creative…..
Husband is probably more stressed by the finances (given the fits he experiences over it) than anything else. The second job might not hurt (it might too – I don’t know). You can’t work at all? Babysit? Bake? Pet sit?
The bills…. forget the ones on the table. Pile them in a box for the moment so the table is clean. Breathe…. Every day when you go to the mailbox, open the bill on the way in, drop the extra contents (the ads, etc) into the recycle bin before you enter the house. Do not put the bills down out of your hands until you have scheduled a payment on them. Go online immediately, and schedule whatever amount you are going to pay to go out on DH’s payday. Then put the bill in a file folder that is marked for that bill. It will only take a few minutes. Then you can forget about that bill and move on. (My bills were every which direction and I didn’t pay anything because I couldn’t find it, or I forgot it – the late fees were eating me. This worked wonderfully!!!)
For bills that you sigh over because you have no idea how you are going to pay them…. schedule a $1 payment to go out on payday. Then, when you budget and there is money in that envelope, edit the balance to go out. Make it $5….
One babystep at a time……