Ah the bill, the one thing people dread getting in the mail especially, if you’re stuck in overdue nightmare. Many people will say they hate paying bills and so many have nothing left, it sucks the rest of any fun there might have been out.
Until November 2014, I wasn’t having to pay any bills except my cell phone. It felt good to have money to do whatever I wanted with it. I lived with in-laws and rent/utilities were never required. The problem with that was, you never heard the end of it anytime an argument started. Then everything changed, my husband, son and I moved into our first home that we own. We had put all of our money toward buying a house straight cash. No mortgages for us, we knew that’s an expense we couldn’t afford.
When we moved into our new home, we were thrilled with it. Finally a place of our own! A place that we were free to roam, turn the TV as loud as we want, play the radio, hang out, eat on the couch, stay up till whenever and just enjoying the space without anyone bitching. That freedom came with bills and boy are there plenty. Though we don’t have a mortgage, we do have cell phones, power bill, trash pickup, water, security system, internet, our son’s life insurance and car insurance. We do not subscribe to TV. We have Netflix and YouTube and that’s all we’ll need. We cannot see paying more than $60/month for TV service. It couldn’t be more difficult considering as of this moment, we’re bringing in less than $700 a month total. So here’s what we started out doing
For the first 5 months, we paid our bills as soon as they came in and we realized we had nothing left to get through the rest of the month. Well that obviously doesn’t work but, we also didn’t want to get behind on bills. So what do you do? Well, we just realized that we have to make it through the month and that these companies are not going to shut off your power, water and so on if you’re trying to make the payments. So the next month, we found out who is willing to let us pay half of the bill and that’s what we have been doing every since. It works out great, it gets us through the month or at least most of the way and we still have money for those unexpected expenses and of course all of the expenses associated with kids.
The key is to not let yourself go broke. These companies can wait! The only companies that aren’t that flexible are car insurance and cell phones (particularly prepaid cell phones) If you don’t pay that bill the day it’s due, you won’t have it. Though we barely have anything to get us through the month, I very much enjoy paying bills. I enjoy feeling like the adult I am, knowing that everything is getting paid and no one is helping us do it. It’s great because, you don’t have anyone running behind you, throwing it up in your face constantly about them paying your bills.
Now, I know this might sound strange to all of you but, it’s like this, for far too long I was in a situation where paying any kind of bill other than personal expenses was the norm and though it’s great and everything, it makes you just less of an adult and more co-dependent. The key is also determining what can you live without and what would you rather have instead. For us, we can’t see paying a lot of money for cell phone service. So my husband and I found the cheapest option available. We both have unlimited text, data and calls for $35/month (each). We managed to save up enough (while we were living with relatives) to purchase Samsung Galaxy S3’s and that’s what we have stuck with for the past 2 years. There’s no reason to get the newest and latest phones, it’s an added expense that many people can’t really afford.
When it comes to TV subscription, why are you paying satellite companies so much money every month? Some people are paying up to $200/month. Why? Just to catch a favorite show? Everything and I mean everything will end up on YouTube (sometimes daily) and Netflix covers all of your favorite shows and yes, you’ll have to wait a short time before they’re available but, it’s $7.99 a month. Imagine what you can do with the remainder of the money. Want to watch the latest sports game? Go to any bar or restaurant with a TV and watch it for FREE! Some even stream live from home if you look for the right websites on Google. I mean seriously, save yourself some money! These days people are going broke believing they must have the newest of everything or be the first to watch or do something.
When it comes to clothes, buy second hand. Don’t go wasting a bunch of money buying at over priced stores like the mall. You can get very nice clothing that sometimes still has the tags on it from Goodwill (ewww? NO it’s gently used clothing that can be washed). If you insist on buying from a store, many of the same items you would buy at 3 times the price at Macy’s or some store in the mall, can be found at Walmart, Target and TJ Maxx. Why overspend?
Ladies, your shoes, hair and nail expenses. Seriously? You don’t have to pay high prices. I know you’re going to snub at this but, have you seen the beautiful manicure design kits that you can do yourself? Did you know that they sell them at the dollar stores? Did you know that they are often made by the same companies that you pay twice the price for? Yes, dollar stores especially Dollar Tree, they sell name brand products too like Revlon. The same goes for many other items you might use such as notepads, pens, decorations for parties, all holiday and events cards are 50 cents each and they look just as nice. They also have shampoo’s, conditioners, hair brushes and many other self care need products. They even sell quality medicines like Ibuprofen, Heat/Cold patches for pain, arthritis cream, band aids, razors etc… They sell Betty Crocker cookware, beautiful glass drinking glasses, porcelain plates that are beautifully decorated, all your kitchen stuff such as aluminum foil, plastic bags, trash bags, sponges, toilet plungers, even cleaning products and much much more! Don’t overspend on things you can buy at the dollar stores that are seriously the same quality as the higher priced stores! It’s not all plastic junk like you think it is!
At some point, you have to decide that you’re tired of being broke. That you’re tired of not being able to afford that vacation that you always wanted to go to. That you need emergency money for those unexpected life surprises such as, an expensive car part for that car that just broke down. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you’ll take my advice on living frugal.
I want to talk today about a sensitive subject concerning people who are on Food Stamps and receive Welfare payments. The reason I’m bringing this up is because, I have seen so much discrimination against them. Too many people assuming that all of them have no jobs and are on drugs. I’m sure many of you have thought or said this a few times. Let me set some things straight.
Many people on Welfare are either disabled, lost their jobs (through no fault of their own) and have been unable to find more work because either their industry of expertise is no longer in their area or they aren’t able to compete with say someone who has more experience or a better education. Some people on welfare are working but, very limited income and qualify for it.
Many recipients on Food Stamps are the same and many of them do work but, still qualify based on income requirements. To assume that any of those people are just lazy and sucking from your tax dollars is ignorant. Also, if you would do the research, you would realize how little your tax dollars actually goes to these programs.
Let me give you facts about us. My husband has worked for 25 years paying taxes and we were doing just fine. After working 13 years at the same place, his job evaporated and we found ourselves stuck where he cannot find a job in the field he worked in anywhere. We were forced to move in with family and he was not able to find any job for over a year. He ended up on unemployment and when that ran out, we were solely dependent on family to help us. We were on Food Stamps during that time and did get some food stamps while he was working. Consider that his tax dollars all of those years paid for these programs too and when we needed help, it was available and we’re not ashamed of that. My husband finally got a job but, it’s only on the weekends and that’s just not enough and now that we have our own home and his job search is extremely limited because of us living now in a very remote area, plus his extreme lack of experience, we’re now on TANF payments (Welfare). Again, I’m not ashamed of it because all of those years he worked his ass off and paid for those programs. Now, he’s qualified for FAFSA so his school will be paid for, he’s going to school soon to get a degree so he can have a career and not have to worry about his previous job experience to get him a job. We won’t be dependent on Welfare or Food Stamps forever but, the point is to not assume that all people are just lazy. My husband isn’t lazy and he isn’t on drugs and we don’t sale the benefits that we get. We’re just struggling.