Maybe re-evaulate the wife's "low paying" job. It appears she is putting the majority of the miles on. It might be that driving all those miles for a low wage is running a negative balance. At least make sure she is driving the better gas mileage car. I think the Goodwill suggestion is a good one.
OP: Can you take your bike and ride for an hour afterwards? Combine your trips. No sense in driving to work, back home, then back out to the trail. Take a pair of clothes to change into before you leave work and go from there. On days you don't work, ride close to home - Don't be discouraged by the hills, they will only make you stronger!
As for saving money...
A vegetable garden is a good idea, if you have a green thumb. I've attempted planting one 3 times in the past 10 years and every time I've been unsuccessful. Now I just ride the bike to the farmer's market every other weekend. A small percentage that I save on gas goes to supporting the local farmers.
As for clothes, don't be ashamed to shop at Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You'd be surprised how many people donate brand new clothing for whatever reason. Some people just refuse to return things of the wrong size and will just donate it. I get all my work clothes from there, paying 90% less than if I went to a store in the mall. Pay $2 for a pair of secondhand jeans vs. $30 brand new, take your pick. Just don't forget to wash the clothes before you wear them.
If you're still concerned about your finances, maybe you need to re-evaluate your budget.
I live in the middle of nowhere as well, about 7 miles from the nearest town/10 miles to the nearest grocery store. The only routes are busy rural highways with lots of rolling hills and cars zooming by at 70 miles an hour. I live a pretty simple life. I do laundry once a week, and usually hang them outside to dry if its not too cold/damp. I only drive my car to/from work and to the store on wet days or if I need to go out of town for anything. Usually in combined trips. I'm nearing 950 miles on the bike and maybe 300 miles on the car so far this year.
Last edited by MikeRides; 09-05-13 at 01:28 PM.
"Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"
The garage sale idea is very good. I recently picked up 4 Carhart Shirts and a Carhart Jacket for $5
I love Carhart clothes but Im too cheap to pay retail. Each item was a dollar!
I think you're over-thinking a very basic issue. Goodwill, eBay, and garage sales are your friend. I had a great paying career prior to my daughter becoming ill in 2010 (I had to leave home, job, and all behind to relocate to Seattle for a prolonged transplant and chemo battle) and I had to re-adjust my thinking from then on (I'm now making a third of what I used to make, and my wife does not work). I haven't bought a new, non-under-wear, article of clothing in the past 3 years. Sure, the GW's (Good Wills) in Seattle were better than the So Cal ones, but nonetheless, I find good deals on jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and even dress shirts at the GW. Bicycle clothing has all come from eBay, and at a fraction of the cost of of new.
Ride more, enjoy your weight loss, and be "hip" in your "re-cycled" clothing...
"I had this baby hand made in Tuscany, from titanium blessed by the pope. It weighs less than a fart, and costs more than a divorce..."
Yes, there are a lot of not practical suggestions. Spend money on a new car for better gas mileage? Never pays off unless your current car is at the end of it's life and you're buying one anyways. Did just that when she rolled her vehicle in January, got rid of 20 mpg average for 27 mpg average. Got rid of my 20 mpg average a couple of years ago at the end of it's life for 30 mpg.
Someone suggested tuning up my car. How is that practical? I'm averaging 30 mpg in a car rated at 28 highway. Someone linked a search to the stupid hypermile sites. Nothing new there, they suggest coasting down hills, rolling to stops rather than slamming on the brakes, yadda yadda. Well, duh! How else do people drive? I guess I'm not like all the city folk who that is targeted too who drag race from light to light flooring the throttle and slamming the brakes on. As for always the suggestion to slow down to below the speed limit, that is precisely why we average close or over the highway miles.
Example is, before my wife worked, she was very cautious on the road, drove slow, never over the speed limit, etc, etc. Averaged 20 mpg in her Mazda. When my 200k mile car was broke down sitting in the driveway while I worked on it, I took the Mazda to work with me. I was getting 23 mpg out of the thing. What was the difference? I didn't know at the time. Low and behold the kids are both finally in school and she felt she could go back to work. What happened when she went back to work? She became a very aggressive driver. She now is rarely not over the speed limit, she doesn't lollygag when merging lanes or when she has to stop or slow down for cars turning ahead of her, basically she became as aggressive as I am. What happened to her average fuel mileage? She went from 20 mpg up to around 23 mpg just like I got when I drove her car for extended periods of time. Why is that? I am guessing because of the hills around here. Instead of granny driving around and having the throttle at 3/4 down every hill she encounters, she is already cruising at a pretty good clip and hardly using any throttle heading up the hills. It's the same concept as getting as much momentum on your bike that you are halfway up the hill before you need to start gearing down. I am definitely not a believer in the hypermile concept. Maybe it works for city people because of how they drive, but I have my own MPG data that says it's bogus for driving around in hills out in the country.
I do apologize as I did post a bit of a rant here on the forums. Like I said, depression is real and it's not something that can easily be fixed when it is financial depression. It was partially spurred by my email notice that the kid's lunch account is due some money. I haven't even gotten a next paycheck yet. I really do truly not understand how everyone else does it. How everyone else has so much more than I do and do so much more than I do. I do know per my position and the tight pay scales we have that I make more money than 99% of my coworkers (not much, but they all think I'm rich because they also know my range, just not my actual figure, as I know their range) along with we all are married with relatively the same tiny houses, the same kids, the same insurances, mostly all live out in the middle of nowhere because only rich people and poor scummer druggies live in this town thus it's either expensive McMansions or the slumhole, yet they are going on multiple expensive vacations every year, buy motorcycles and jet ski's all the time, yet I'm wondering how my daughter is going to eat on her $3.15 for the next week and a half until I get my next paycheck. I really truly don't understand it all.
Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!
Hmmm.... you say you live out in the boonies on what sounds like a large space? DIY bike track? May need to clear out some dead wood but it is easy enough to do. Did it as a kid living in the boonies. We rode little BMXs all over the place. Check craigslist for free/cheap bike if needed. Our BMXs were out of someone's trash.
Re-sizing your clothing is 100% practical and do-able. All you need is a machine that can sew a straight line. I do it. I'm cheap/poor and I'm loosing weight too. Like you I cannot afford a new wardrobe. For a tee shirt you simply put it on inside out and pin it up under the arms so it isn't so big. Sew up sides. Done. Money saved. Jeans you do more or less the same way. Put on, pin where you want and sew it up. (Yes you can get a lot fancier and tailor everything but with jeans and tees there isn't much point. Unless your wife is wanting her tees to hug her curves.. then you sew to match the curves. It will look great afterwards.) Who knows, you may find you like it. I do. Then there are thrift shops. On half off day I can take 10 bucks to the thrift shop and replace the jeans and tees my fiance ruined at work every few months. He isn't picky about slogans for work shirts though.
Veg gardens. I love them, I have one. This is my first year in a long while so I stayed small. Even so, I have barely bought fresh produce all summer. I grew lots of spring ripe stuff like lettuce and radishes.. and early summer foods like zucchini and summer squash.. and now I'm eating and giving away masses of tomatoes and okra and peppers. Soon the squash will ripen for fall. Next year I learn to can! People did it in the past, people do it today.
As for heating oil. Plastic up windows. See if you qualify for help winterizing your home too. We hang pretty curtains up at the doorway to each room come winter so we are only heating the rooms we use. I put cloth hangings up on exterior walls. Throw rugs, lots of them. Oh, and throw blankets are on every bit of furniture. We wear sweaters.. even the dog. And this year we are getting an electric blanket for the bed. I keep the house just warm enough the pipes don't freeze. I, however, am not that cold. I prepare.
Edit. I forgot. I Mechanical Turk for a bit of extra cash. It isn't much but I'm up all night on a computer anyways.
Do you want ideas or do you want people to tell you, you are right and there is nothing you can do, and that you are right for wanting to give up? You are not going to find that here. When life challenges you find a way to overcome it. It can be done, as you have stated yourself others who make less than you are making it, so you can too. It may not be easy, or enjoyable. Yes you can ride around your house. Don't try to tell me that, "that's okay for you city guys" because I live on a one lane, narrow, curvy, hilly road in the middle of nowhere West Virginia and ride my road every day, you can too. Ride the hills, it will make you stronger, you can do it that is why your bike has gears, use them. There are affordable options for clothes that many have already covered. I understand poor too, grew up very poor myself. We ate a lot of beans and bologna and wore hand me down clothes, may not have been fun but we made it. Live inside your means it can be done. Step up and quit making excuses.
I've never seen what you look like but i can't imagine you'd look any goofier than 1/2 the young kids around the university where I work... that wear size 38 pants for a size 28 butt and a 2xl shirt for a size s torso.
Environment at work. High Temps and poor ventilation. Lack of a lunch period. I hear you - You can't do much about that.
Shorts at home most of year? What's the temperature in the house? Ok in the summer but winter? Maybe make the kids suffer by making them wear sweaters and long pants to keep the heating bill a bit lower. Heat gets turned down (or off) to 63deg at night. A good blankets on every bed.
Lights? Everybody in the house gets 1 low wattage CFL bulb in their bed room. Good lighting in the living/family rooms to allow homework to be done. All lights/TV's/appliances off by 9PM.
Are you on a water well? Low flow shower heads work. Shower timers for everyone. Love a good three minute shower. Water temperature can be reduced. Big difference if you reduce temperature and quantity of hot water you use. Dish washer or hand wash? A full dish washer every other day will use less hot water than hand washing three times a day. I don't have kids at home. My hot water heater is 'on' only 15/30 minutes a day. There's enough hot water to last the day for a short shower(s) and washing clothes/dishes as needed. Having a tank of hot water kept at a high temperature all day is wasted money.
Second hand underwear - I don't think so. Work clothes might be hard to find second hand. Mine always made good rags when not suitable for work. On the other hand cheap Wally world or Kmarket should be considered. Second hand clothes are better than no clothes.
Can a car pool work for either you or your wife? Two people in a car reduces the commuting cost in half. You got to get the kids to activities but can you car pool to them?
Improve your skill set, go make more money. Get on it now.
I have a saying: Everyday I get out of bed, I have a choice. Am I willing to do what they want me to do for what they're willing to pay me. The day I say no, it's time to take measures to make something better for my family and me.
I agree that if I were in your shoes, I'd look for an opportunity to increase my knowledge, skillset, or whatever so that you can promote within your company or find a better opportunity.
If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!
As Wally's go, Mongoos ain't the bottom of the pile. Discounting weight and finish and component issues, the only real problem I have seen with wally's that is cause for concern is brake cables rotting through an breaking. I have seen that a lot on Magna and Next, not so much on Mongoose Diamondback and Schwinn. (wife got her Dimondback from the big box she works at-a military base exchange)
If there are no serious mechanical issues, keep the 'Goose.
As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.
I can tell you this for certain.... if I was wondering if my kid had enough money to buy food you would not see me spending one dime to pay for gas to go ride my bike. All my energy would go towards fixing my financial situation and I would ride my bike from my house and do jumping jacks out in the driveway if I wanted exercise.
Find a safe place to park your car during your work shift, three to five miles from work, and ride your bike to and from work. The gas savings are small, sure, but they do add up over time. You get two birds with one stone -- you ride so you don't have to drive to the trail, and you save gas. That also frees up your time to go to the supermarket for groceries on the trip home.
I wouldn't worry about what other people do. Often, they are putting their holidays and bikes on finance of some sort.
I am surprised, however, that you are having difficulty in coming up with a little over $3 to ensure your daughter is fed. Have you and your wife considered packing lunches for the kids? And you say your wife has cut back on the crap snacks and such, but is she still buying them for the kids?
And if you are living on a farm with the in-laws next door, you should not be wanting for food of any sort.
Plus one on GoodWill and other secondhand clothing stores. Half my own wardrobe has been from places like that. I find that country Op Shops have better pricing, too.
Also, do you have a budget? You seem to be living from pay to pay without any real idea of what is in store in the next week or month.
But I do agree with some of the critics -- there does appear to be a resistance to make changes to suit the circumstances.
Dream. Dare. Do.
Change can be scary even if the change is likely to have a positive outcome. Fear of failure could be at play here.
Right now you appear to be feeling overwhelmed by the many suggestions. I suggest making a list of the various suggestions in this thread and determine at least one to give a legitimate try. Often those of us trying to make changes make too many at once, overwhelming our ability to adapt and we revert to our old ways as a way to avoid that uncomfortable feeling. Give the new "way" a real opportunity to become part of you and your family's way of life. Then pick another one to add to the mix once the first one has been incorporated.
This often works with folks in therapy who are seeking changes in their lives....one change at a time rather than a less successful shotgun approach.
A budget? Yes. Budget or not, when you have $300 income and house payment is $100, electric is $100, heat is $100, insurance is $100, there's nothing you can do with a budget for that. They are all necessity bills (obviously numbers are for example purposes.)
Suggestions? Well, it seems that I am the only one in the country who never started living wastefully I guess. These are always the suggestions, turn the lights out. We never leave the lights on. Turn the heat down. Well, 62-65 is pretty cold, but we both do like the cold. We never turned the heat up. It's always been between 62 and 65, we like it cold and yes, I do still wear shorts other than when I'm out clearing the driveway. Make my own clothes? Really? I wear t-shirts and shorts, cheap. I buy clothes for the kids thus don't buy clothes for myself. How do you make your own clothes for less than $3 for t-shirts? Some of the suggestions are pretty silly.
And my daughter got home last night and said she needed to print up a bunch of stuff for one of her classes. Well, there's another $80 or so for a printer we had to buy because we don't have one. Heck, we don't have a computer that works well either, it's tough to work on an ancient machine. Their laptop is a hand-me-down with half the keys missing, my 8 year old desktop can't even load most of the internet sites for her to search on because it is running IE6 or a very old version of Firefox. She's started Jr. high school now and needs a computer more now. It's stuff like this that never stops. Luckily my wife made an extra $100 on her pay to cover that. She's part time and is quite variable in her hours.
Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!
So what outcome are you looking for from this thread?
CSA's can be great alternatives as well for cheap produce (some of them, others are for yuppies looking for organic or heirloom everything).
My biggest savings is probably from not having a cell phone. We have a pay as you go tracfone that we keep in the car (only have one) for emergencies so that's like 80 bucks a year. I think our landline is $20 a month or something. My students laugh when they find out out don't have a cell phone, but my thought is I'm at work or at home, there are phones at both places, so what more do I need? Why do I need people to be able to track me down every second of the day?
Even if you live paycheck to paycheck the budgeting exercise really can help. I used to volunteer to help people on public assistance budget their money and many found it helpful. The first thing to do is spend a month writing down every penny you spend. People are often surprised at what they can cut out or modify once they review what they spend. They could figure ways to spend more efficiently. It is worth the exercise.
Given the way the world works today with cheap imports, you are right, making clothes is silly. I sew for fun and what I make would cost less to buy. But, if you have a machine around some alterations are possible. Even if you just have a needle and thread. I did that when I was losing weight. For example, if the waist of a pair of pants or shorts was too loose I would grab an inch on the back or sides and sew down a couple of inches. Then just wear longer shirts with those clothes.
I grew up really poor and my mother died young. Before I learned to sew my dad used to take a stapler and staple up legs of pants on us kids so they would fit.
I agree with those who say take a step at a time. Life can be overwhelming. You have taken a major step already; eating better and exercising. There is some evidence that being under financial stress can leave strain your abilities to make good decisions so keep it simple to the extent you can.
Last edited by goldfinch; 09-06-13 at 08:28 AM.
Hey, like I said yesterday, I apologize and this was sort of a venting thread. Shouldn't have even made it.
Green beans the deer just eat, I think we had just a handful of green beans this year. Same with the snap peas. This year I finally have corn. Haven't produced any corn in quite a few years.
We eat a lot of spaghetti. My wife always tried to make sauce and it never turned out. Read that Roma tomatoes were the ones to use. I bought 3 Romas this year. The rest I bought the regular Big Boy plants. They produced just fine, only they were marked wrong. They were cherry tomatoes. Do you know how many cherry tomatoes you get out of 9 plants? I have cherry tomatoes coming out of my rear, LOL.
Had 5 peach trees. They are all about gone now. We don't get very many peaches any more, most of them have died and I've cut them up for picnic fires. We started out with 12 apple trees. Lost 3 to storms and 2 to an idiot of a dog. Still have a bunch. You can only eat so much applesauce though. Lost all the pear trees, which I don't care, hate pears. The 2 cherry trees are about done too. Fruit trees don't last very long.
So, yeah, I garden. This year I changed up and marked out several 4x4 beds instead of the old 30'x40' garden. This year is the first I've gotten anything. So much easier to take care of. Like I said, now I have tomatoes coming out of my rear, finally have corn again, but the deer ate the peppers the first night and the green beans. The peppers did come back, but we have only gotten some ready to pick this week. Lettuce on the other hand, was horrible.
I really don't understand the fascination of cell phones either. We all have GoPhone prepaids. Costs me $5 each per month as all we do is text. They are regular Android phones without a data plan or a calling plan (calling is $0.10/minute, very useful when my wife was upside down in her car calling me last winter, so have calling available when needed, but don't pay monthly for minutes.) We did the trading a single Tracfone for a while trading off when I got home from work and she left. We eventually got 2 Tracfones and found out we communicated during the day more than we thought we would. When I found the GoPhone, we could get 3 times the texting quantity for about $2 less/month and went with those. I wouldn't have gone with GoPhone had I not washed my wife's phone with the clothes. I don't know how people can pay $200/month for cell phones. Not only that, but everyone who calls me on my home phone is on a cell phone and I can never tell what they are saying. I end up just disconnecting the call because I can never hear them. I don't think it is signal, cell signals are pretty good these days. I think they work like a speaker phone and the mic turns on when it senses you are talking. Problem is, the first half of what you say on a cell phone isn't tranmitted because the stupid things can't keep up with the talking.My biggest savings is probably from not having a cell phone. We have a pay as you go tracfone that we keep in the car (only have one) for emergencies so that's like 80 bucks a year. I think our landline is $20 a month or something. My students laugh when they find out out don't have a cell phone, but my thought is I'm at work or at home, there are phones at both places, so what more do I need? Why do I need people to be able to track me down every second of the day?
Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!
I agree with others that it can be overwhelming. Do as suggested and start in the one month of tracking every penny and attack a few issues at a time. Nobody lives in your house and knows your unique situation so we are all making suggestions the best we can with what we feel we do know.
A suggestion I have is to find a different way to print your daughter's papers. Though I do have a printer one of my daughter's friends in the neighborhood often prints hers at school or at my house. When she prints something out at my house (just here and there) she brings a few dollars (depending on the size of the printout) and leaves it even though I tell her I don't want it. It's her family's way of saying thanks and ensuring they are not a burden. In the long run they could buy their own printer but just that volume doesn't justify it. It's a "pay as you go" type thing rather than a purchase if you want to think of it that way. Will that work for you? Don't know. I'd check and see what resources your school has for printing things out.
I'm like you in that I am horrible at gardening. My brother is better and I suspect if we did the same thing on gardens side by side his would do great and mine would do horrible.