Budgeting Your Money

Many of us with chronic illnesses have had to either cut back hours at work or completely give up our careers altogether.  In doing so, I have had to learn how to really budget our money.  It has been hard for me because I like to spend money, always have.  I never used to shop on clearance or anything, never really paid too much attention to the price of things.  If I saw something I wanted, I would just buy it.  If I had to put it on my credit card it was no big deal because I knew I could pay it off in a month or two.  Not so anymore, and it hasn’t been like that for the past few years, especially since I quit my great paying job to do Mary Kay full-time (big mistake, I know!).  Please read on to find out ways that I have learned to budget and cut out extra expenses.

Sit down with your spouse, to through all of your bills and decide what things you can live without, or at least cut back on.

PHONE BILLS:

  • If you have both home phone and cell phones, decide if you can do without one or the other.  Or if you and your spouse both have cell phones, can one of you drop yours? 
  • I took the long distance off of our home phone since our cell phone plan covers nationwide long distance.  This alone saves us a great deal a month.
  • We also reduced our minutes plan on our cell phones.  We decided to keep our cell phones due to both of us having poor health.  It wouldn’t be wise for us to be out anywhere without the security of a cell phone to call for help.

INTERNET SERVICE:

  • Shop around to see where you can get the best rate, or drop Internet service altogether.  
  • If you have DSL or cable service, try switching back to dial-up.  Yes, it is slower but cheaper!

TELEVISION/CABLE:

  • I have just basic cable, no extras.  If you have the extra channels, DVR, etc. decide if you really need these things. 

ELECTRIC BILLS:

  • Try to become more aware of conserving energy in your home to reduce your electric bill.   Try these things:
  • Washing all your clothes in cold water and making sure you wash full loads and not several partial loads during the week.
  • Turn off the TV, radio, computers, any lights if you are not in those rooms or using them at the time.
  • Get your children involved in activities that do not use electricity.  Read stories instead of watching TV, etc.

GROCERIES:

  • Check sale flyers for grocery stores and use coupons.  But only use coupons for things that you would normally buy.  Otherwise you are not saving any money!
  • Go to bent and dent stores.  We started doing this and we are saving a ton on groceries!  I love it!
  • Avoid eating out or cut back on eating at restaurants.  A lot of people eat out several times a week and this really adds up!  If you are too tired or sick to cook, use a crockpot.  That’s how I make a lot of meals and it is very simple.

CREDIT CARDS:

  • Consolidate any and all high interest rate to a 0%/or low rate credit card.  If you have a line of credit with a good interest rate, you can consolidate on there and your interest will be tax deductible.
  • Do not use your credit card unless you know that you can pay it off when the bill arrives.  Start purchasing on a cash only basis.

SHOPPING:

  • I have started shopping using the clearance racks, and when items are on sale that I need. 
  • You can also shop at Goodwill, Salvation Army, consignment shops, and yard sales.  You can pick up a lot of nice items at any of these places.
  • If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!
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Comments

  1. Sandy,

    Great tips. We just have basic cable, and it sucks, but it saves a lot of money. Also, I just switched my cell phone to bf’s plan, so we share our minutes, and we don’t use a home phone at all. That probably saves us $30 a month or so, just getting on a shared plan.

    As far as thrift shopping goes, take some time to look your old clothes over, and determine what you can sell at consignment rather than simply donating all of it to a thrift shop. It takes some extra time, but you can make some money back when it sells at consignment. I have some expensive business jackets, etc. that still have the tags on them, so I’m hoping to get some money on them. Consignment is seasonal though, so you might have to hold onto some things for a few extra months.

    Final thought, and this is for you. Have you thought about putting together a crock pot recipe book? You would obviously have to credit any published sources you use, but I’m sure it’s pretty cheap to publish a book lately, and it could make you some extra money to help with those bills. “The Tired Mom’s Best Friend” or something like that. In your intro, you could put your personal story, and it would help to make people aware of the disease and find out how they can help, get checked, etc. I bet the CFIDS (?) organization may even front the publishing costs if you have the right pitch. Just a thought.

  2. Hey Leah! That is a great idea! Thank you so much for the suggestions. I will have to look into that.

    Back when I was a lot smaller I did put my clothes that I could no longer wear in a consignment shop and I made out very well.

  3. Now if I could only think of my own successful ideas. All I can ever do is give other people ideas. It is a good one though!

  4. What are we supposed to do? Those of us who have always worked but never made enough money to have a nest egg to last the year to two to see IF we can get disability?(and single) I drag myself to work. I come home and sleep. Weekends I do laundry, groceries and if I am really lucky clean . I go no where. I haven’t got the energy for a job AND a life. If I don’t work, I sleep on the streets. Tough choice. What happens the day I fall down and can’t get back up???????? 20 years of hell is what this is.

  5. I do understand, Sharon. Remember I have been there myself. I know what it is like to not be able to afford to quit working but in order to get disability you have to. It’s not fair, I know. But that is how the system works. If you are on your own and do not have a husband’s check coming in to rely on, you are even worse off.

    I can tell that you are still in the anger stage of this terrible illness and if you need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me anytime. Just go to my About page and down at the bottom is my email address. You can also come and join my forum at http://www.fightingfatigue.org/forum

    We are a small group there but everyone who posts is very caring and helpful.

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