recently laid off from my job

hogan_njJanuary 6, 2010

i am a construction worker in NJ and just got laid off today, I am in a union and I am going to be out of work for about a year or so.

I need some basic tips on saving money on everyday stuff. I have the house pretty well insulated and cutting back on cable tv and where ever I can.

Can you help with some ideas of where I could cut back?


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Oh by the way, todays my birthday.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 7:52PM
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Hi, Hogan
Happy Birthday. Sorry about the lay-off. There are lots of ways to cut back. Sounds like you are not too worried about meeting the mortgage payment, so I'll focus on the small stuff.

You can get cheap internet access for $15 a month. It's slow, but cheap. Cut cable entirely. Buy veggies, fruit, and basics - reduce your use of processed food as much as possible. Instead of the sugary cereals, buy oatmeal and cook it. (The real stuff, not the instant.) Find someone who has a Costco or BJ membership and ask to go to the store with them, but ONLY if you take a list.

The big thing people overlook is developing healthy habits. Now is the time to try different (free) sports like walking, jogging, basketball, etc. If you aren't working, you don't want to be sitting around all day. That will cause you to lose those muscles and gain weight or develop other health problems. If the weather is too cold, try aerobics tapes.

If you record every cent that you spend for a month, you should find other ways to save.

PS Your "My Page" says your birthday is January 1.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 8:08PM
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I don't know why it says Jan.1 but its today. Ask my mother.

As far as the weight goes, just lost 25lbs in the past 6 months and now its gonna be hard to keep it off. I am very active at work,on my feet all day,up and down ladders. Its been a bad 4-5 years for construction, before this layoff I was out of work for eight months(gained all that weight). Hope this economy gets better soon my waist line can't take it.

Thanks for the tips. One thing I do is unplug all un-used electronic equip. you know the phantom voltage.

Well I guess I just needed to vent also, pretty frustrating.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 9:03PM
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If you live in a house and can plant a garden try to decide what you and your family will eat and plant it. Normally in January, at least here, drugstores, hardware stores etc have a rack or two of seed packages that they do a sale on where seeds are real cheap, like 10 for $1.00. Not many seeds in packet but if uncertain about gardening can be a cheap start.

Am concerned where you mention "I am going to be out of work for about a year or so." Does this mean you will not be looking for a different job until your unemployment runs out or until your recent employer starts a new project since most would not put a time frame on it. You may have to move to find work.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 11:33PM
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Beans! Buy dried beans and be creative! They are very cheap and delicious. Simple recipes abound on the internet, lots of cookbooks available just for beans. If you are "sensitive" to beans, you will develop a tolerance for them in no time and will have no problem at all. Really.

Another thing: Shop at Aldi, if you don't already. It's amazing how much cheaper they are than the "regular" grocery chains. Skip couponing and shop at Aldi. You can't buy everything at Aldi so you will still need your regular grocery. I am an excellent cook and have no concerns about quality, taste, nutrition or any of the other things people say they have concerns about. Really.

Resale shops are great places to shop for everything from clothing to dishes to small appliances, especially if you have kids who grow out of things.

Good luck to you.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 11:49PM
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I like the planting seed idea. Do i start now inside or wait closer to spring. Never planted from seed before.

As far as Aldi goes how do they keep prices so low, I assume the products are off brand. I did a search and found an aldi in my area,unforntunely its in a very bad neighborhood.
My wife clips coupons and never seems to be a substantial savings. I laugh when I watch these news shows about saving money with coupons. The one where this women bought an entire cart of groceries for $5.

As far as moving goes right now it's not an option, at least for now. My entire family and support system is here in NJ and as far as construction goes we have the most work(in relation to rest of country) and work on the books. I been in construction for 20 years and barely missed a day until the past 2-3 years. Its a very scary and uncertain time.

I am an electrician, I really need to get my contractors license to do any side work, unfortunately its given twice a year, next test will be in aug.-sept.
I cannot look for work in my field outside of the union since it would be conflict of interest(could get fined,kicked out or both)but I can do small residential jobs but I need that license to legally do the work also insurance.

Thanks for listening and also those tips.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:46AM
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You are wise not to try to circumvent your union. I hope you are able to get your contractor's license.

As for off-brands at Aldi, yes, you would never recognize the brand names, but what difference does it make? I don't buy many boxed foods anywhere (never did) but you can't tell the difference in the basics, like flour, milk, sugar, butter, cheese, eggs, condiments, fresh produce, pasta, dried beans, frozen chicken breasts, Jenny-O turkeys, etc. The savings are enormous - but I don't know if I'd risk a bad neighborhood for it. But, then again, maybe I would, in the daytime. Take a quarter with you to "rent" a shopping cart! And take your own bags, too!

Anyway, start cooking from scratch. No more boxed or prepared foods, so coupons won't help. Once you and your family get used to the difference, you'll prefer it. It really doesn't take very long to peel and slice potatoes, etc. Of course, I love to cook and experiment with different foods and techniques.

I have a pound of pinto beans in the pressure cooker right now (six minutes under pressure) and a chuck roast in the slow cooker. We'll eat well during this snow storm!

Oh! And another thing! If you have Hostess/Wonder Bread resale shops in your area, shop there! They sell more than bread for less than 1/3 the price in the grocery - Home Pride Whole Wheat in my bread store is .89, at the grocery it's $2.89 - same day, same loaf, same freshness date. A box of 10 cupcakes or twinkies is $1.29. They sell cookies, breads, rolls, gravy mixes, cereal, all things Hostess, snacks, and much more. I hope you have one nearby.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:22AM
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Thanks again for those suggestions we do have a wonderbread store in our town.

Noticed you are from Wisconsin, I am a huge Packer fan always was, since Bart Starr back in the 60's-70's. I hope they win this weekend against Arizona and end up in the Superbowl in feb. Still cannot believe what Brett did to us,hope the vikes go down in the first round.

Anyway you have some good ideas and will give them a shot.

Thanks again, Brian

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:00PM
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Hoo boy! Actually, I'm a transplanted Chicagoan, so a Bears fan at heart, even after living in Milwaukee county for the past 15 years. You'd do well in Wisconsin...people here decorate their homes in Packer colors, devote whole rooms to the Packers, and also to the Badgers. Personally myself, ahem, I insist that the dandelions that are so prominent in my lawn are really Packer colors.

As for the Arizona game this weekend, well, hubby graduated from Tombstone Union High School, and still longs for the desert and mountains. He is hoping with all his heart that Arizona beats the Packers, though he knows they won't. Wisconsin will be ecstatic if the Packers win.

I agree: The Packers are fun to watch, but I admire Brett's amazing abilities. Plus, I think management did him in...he still wanted to play, they wanted to go in a younger direction. But I am almost alone in my opinion.


PS - Try Aldi!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:32PM
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The best way to solve your problem is to get out of the house and "work" 8-hours a day trying to find a job, rather than waiting out a year of unemployment. Where my husband works (VP of a major manufacturing company in the area), they won't hire people who have been on unemployment for extended periods of time because they figure they have very little self-respect, and don't have a good work ethic, but enjoyed the extended government-paid, union-paid, "vacation" watching TV all day.

After that, do a budget and drastically cut your life-style. A budget means you write the amount of money you have to spend at the top of the page and then spend it on necessities first: shelter, food, utilities, transportation. Then you can pay as many other bills as possible. If you can't afford your vehicle, sell it.

You don't need to cut back on cable TV, you probably need to GET RID OF IT because I doubt it fits in your budget. Find a new appreciation for the radio, public library, and those hundreds of DVDs you have at home. Better yet, spend your unemployment time educating yourself, attend some classes, read some trade books - there are always lots of free things if you look around. Daytime TV is for losers who need a babysitter.

If it is just you (no family), you should be able to get by on $25-$30 a week for food if you plan wisely and cook from scratch. I just reduced our food budget by 25% to $75 every two weeks for two adults, and that includes putting food in storage. I just added 200-pounds of wheat to storage from leftover grocery money at the end of 2009.

I try to spend no more than $10/week for meat (for two adults). Meat is the budget buster so go to the store early in the morning and look for the discounted meat area. I recently bought a $35 spiral-cut ham that had been discounted because the bag of glaze (attached to the outside of the package) was leaking (which I would have tossed in the trash anyway). It was reduced to $12.50, PLUS I had a $2 off store coupon, so I spent $10.50 for the ham.

Check at the store deli counter and ask if they discount their food at the end of the day. Ours sells their deli sliced meats and whole broasted chickens at 7:00 p.m. for 1/2-price. You can make all kinds of meals and recipes with deli meat and whole broasted chickens. There's enough meat on one chicken for a week for one. You can even use the carcass, after you remove most of the meat, for making chicken soup. Watch those portion sizes... Over-eating is wasting money.

Learn how to make your own tortillas from scratch, and you'll always have "bread". See link below.

I try to keep to $2 (or less) a pound for meat. ALWAYS figure the unit price. That 5-ounce can of tuna at $1.29 means you just paid $4.13 per pound. A 5-ounce can of tuna that costs .59 means you paid $1.89 per pound, and not that many servings of protein. You could do a lot better with frozen ground turkey or a bag of frozen chicken leg/thigh portions.

You can combine higher-priced meat and lower-priced meat substitutes (beans, eggs, gluten/seitan, TVP, etc.) to get your daily requirement of protein. I mix 1-pound homemade ground gluten (aka seitan, or fake meat made from the protein portion of wheat flour) with 1-pound of ground beef, turkey, or sausage.

We have 1 vegetarian day (Friday) and I use meat substitutes that day, several days where we use a combination of small amounts of meat and meat substitutes (stir-fry, homemade pizza, lots of Mexican dishes with beans/rice/shredded meat or ground beef...).

You need at least one serving of food high in vitamin C per day, and frozen 100% orange juice is an inexpensive way to get that. When it comes to juice, don't get the ready-to-serve stuff in the refrigerator case, or juice boxes, get the least expensive frozen kind where you add the water yourself. It's less expensive per serving. BTW, a serving of orange juice is 3/4-cup. If you are thirsty, quench it with water.

Frozen veggies are generally a good bargain. Avoid purchasing individual-sized foods because they are more expensive when you figure the unit price.

Don't purchase food that doesn't have any nutritional value - like junk food - that's wasted money. Snacks are now popcorn (a whole grain), which is least expensive when you purchase a large bag of it and pop it in an air-popper. Microwave popping corn is expensive stuff. As usual, you pay for convenience.

Circumstances like yours are the very reason we have more than a 1-year supply of food in storage and 6 months of expenses in savings. You just never know.... The other interesting thing is, we didn't have to find ourselves in dire circumstances to learn to live on less. We do it all the time.


Here is a link that might be useful: Native American Tortillas In A Bag

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 5:41PM
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Yay Packers!

Couldn't resist - my parents were both born in Green Bay, so I grew up hearing about the Packers and seeing them when we went back during the summer. I still go back once/year. The whole Packer-mania is amazing. Even little old ladies in Green Bay are football-crazy.

Hogan, I totally understand that you can't buck the union. I think grain-lady must have overlooked that part. Wish you were closer to where I live - would hire you for a job on my house. Can you do volunteer work at places like Habitat for Humanity? (Doing something other than electrical if necessary) That would keep you busy without costing you anything beyond the commute. After the financial issues, The hardest part of being laid off is dealing with the boredom without spending money.

The seed packets will have instructions when to plant. Go to the GardenWeb side for detailed info, and tell them you need to do it on the cheap.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 7:44PM
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I don't understand not being able to do work outside of the union. Does the union limit you to where you can't work a temporary job or contract out of state?

My suggestions for saving and making money:
-Close off rooms and vents in rooms that you aren't using so you don't have to heat and cool them.
-Dress in layers and turn the thermostat down.
-Stock up on basics when it's on sale. Everything has a season when it's cheaper, buy it then.
-Shop the loss leaders from the local grocery stores and plan your menus around that.
-Cut out subscriptions/membership to magazines/clubs/etc. unless it is something you need for work.
-Some people like to barter for what they need. For example you could do your work in exchange for haircuts for your family.
-Make lists and plan your outings such that you aren't doing a lot of unnecessary driving and wasting gas.
-If you have a hobby that doesn't compete with your work, you could possibly do that for money.
-My realtor in my old neighborhood put out a flyer every month. He would list people in the neighborhood who wanted to do babysitting, lawn mowing, house sitting, dog walking, etc.
-Rent out a room in your house.
-Cut out soft drinks and any beer or other alcohol.
-I don't know how you are insured and someone else may be better able to answer the rules on this. If you still have insurance, you may want to call and ask to get in immediately for this year's dental, eye, and physical exams out of the way while it is still paid.
-I'm not sure I would jump out and take just any job you could get right now. Once again, I don't fully know the rules, but my understanding is that taking a job even at a fast food place could end your unemployment benefits. Someone else may be able to step in and explain this better.
-Depending on the age of your vehicle, you could possibly drop your collision coverage.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 9:41PM
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The unions that I am aware of you can do any work other than craft work. This means you can work at a convenience store but can not lay bricks. Unemployment varies state to state. Some allow you to work and reduce your benefits by the amount you bring in. Others if they find you have worked cut all benefits. I did wonder about contracting out of state since to a midwesterner the other states in your area are not far away.

Things that I have done to save money. Try the dollar stores for basics esp the everything for a dollar type. Our grocery has a dollar section with good buys. If you worry about your food coming from China look at the packages before you buy. I shop several stores depending on what I need. One store of the same family ownership has what used to be high end brands on their dollar shelves the other has very little on their shelves.

Shop the bottom and top shelves of your stores for bargains. If on sale buy several if possible. Not terribly good for you but box/bags of seasoned rice/noodle products are on sale here about every three months. You can add veggies and a little meat to the product as an occasional treat.

Depending on where you live some of the vegetarian suggestions such as the gluten/seitan, TVP mentioned above are much more expensive than meat serving for serving. Sometimes cooking from scratch costs more than purchasing the product. Many will suggest making your own bread and other things but by the time you purchase all of the ingrediants needed you could have bought the product many times over. Some ingrediants you only use a small amount of at any time but they only come in large costly containers.

Look in the produce section for herbs and spices in cellophane bags. They are normally in a corner or under one of the stands. Here average $1. Learn to use them by the sniff method. Sniff and if it reminds you of something try a little in what you are making. Some chains have small containers of herbs and spices in their regular spice isle for around a dollar. Get used to them as they are a fairly cheap way to add flavor.

Check out any of the programs available for the unemployed. Several business courses would help if you ever decide to set up your own shop.

I purchase roasts and chop them up into stew, soup, steak, and small roast size pieces. This week round roast is $1.79 a pound with member card at regular store. Hamburger at 80% is $2.48. You can add a lot of strips of roast to most hamburger and other meat recipes. Plan on a lot of soups made by tossing odd pieces in a pot adding water and flavoring. Go to the library or on line for recipes that you can use. Library or used book stores are better for cookbooks.

When I was young we lived in the country with no electricity or water. A cup or two of potatoes with a medium sized onion cooked in water until tender then a can of evaporated milk was an alternate with fried potatoes and onions. Onions have a lot of vitamens and so do most of the cabbage family. A orange is more satisfying that orange juice. It can also be divided amoung more people as a treat.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:42PM
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As an educator and newlywed, I can understand the urge to cut back. What we have found that works best for us is to follow an envelope system (have to give credit to Dave Ramsey here). We set up our budget and literally have an envelope of cash each month for our grocery, gas, eating out, and "blow" money. The "blow" money is a set amount of money we allow each other to spend on anything throughout the week. Of course, your envelopes can be set to your specific needs. For example, maybe you aren't eating out and therefore will not have that envelope. If you have children, even they can have their weekly envelope (for lunches, etc.). This has truly blessed our life and allowed us to cut back on our spending greatly. When the cash is gone, the spending stops. It almost becomes a challenge. I have lowered my grocery spending simply to see how much money I can have in my envelope at the end of the month to place into next month's grocery envelope.

Also, look around the house. What can you do without? We place items in a local antique/flea market. That brings in some extra cash. If you have a Half-Price Books or some other used bookstore, take old books and magazines you don't need anymore. They will give you cash right there for what you bring in. I also take our clothes to consignment stores. I made over $50 on my winter clothes so far this year. Yes, to some $50 isn't much. However, you can make $50 go far when you only shop for deals!

Bottom line...make it simple and make it work for you.
Blessings to you as you work through this challenging time.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:12PM
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When I got laid off years ago I spent all my time being depressed about the situation rather than getting out there and trying harder to find work. One thing that I finally did that helped alot was make myself get up and get dressed and get out of the house at the same time everyday just as if I had a job. I went for long walks. I went to the mall and walked around. I spent a lot of time in the library. Keeping the routine of getting up and out of the house made a big impact on my self esteem - I don't know how.

I don't have cable and probably never will. Most of the hit shows are available for free either on the internet or at the public library.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:41AM
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Hogan - good luck to you. My husband is also a laid off union worker. From what he tells me, he can work in another field but not do any work that would have gone to his union. So he can work at a restaurant or store, but not as a carpenter. I don't know if that helps or not - it hasn't for him, because he can't even get an interview at one of those places! I guess they figure he'll quit when his union calls him back.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 1:56PM
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Thank you for all the great idea's and tips. I agree it is important to keep busy. I am going to have some business cards made up and pass them out where ever I can.

I am allowed to do residential electrical work,no commercial/industrial work,basically I can do anything that does not conflict with my local union. I have done side jobs through out my career with no repercussions. It would be mostly what you would see a handyman do,nothing too big because of liability and insurance issues.

As far as applying for other jobs in other area's, right now I think what unemployment pays and also we get a supplemental fund from our union hall it would be hard for me to find a job that pays as much. Work is hard to find and I would take a job tomorrow if the amount was the same or more. I am not happy about taking money for doing nothing but I have to pay bills.

i do think I will look into volunteer work in my area, at the very least to have some structure or routine in my life. i am leaning towards maybe something at a homeless shelter or food kitchen.

On the bright side, I will have plenty of time to play with my 10 year old son.

Thanks for listening.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 6:11PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

You can always inquire about bartering too. Maybe your dentist would like some work done at his house in exchange for dental work for your family. The same with automotive people.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 6:54PM
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Although popular in some areas I am not a fan of bartering because unless IRS has changed bartering is still supposed to be reported as income. Most do not. But if you happen to be audited be prepared to pay taxes on the bartering. Not likely to happen but the rules have not changed on this since the 50's.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 9:53PM
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One more question,does it pay to buy a deep freezer or extra fridge to store in bulk? Also if so where could i get one relatively cheap.

I am also going to get an energy audit for my home. Set the temp at 62 degrees on my programable t-stat for most of the day,except when my wife gets home then back up to 65. What is it with you women and the t-stat, she can never keep her hands off it, I am jealous of the t-stat

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 8:25AM
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Hi Hogan-
I feel your pain my position was eliminated at the beginning of last summer. Volunteering is great. I volunteered at a state park 3 days a week and helped with a local lunch program for the needy a couple times. The park really kept me sane while I job hunted.
Everyone here has really good ideas- it just depends on what will work best for you.

There are a couple books you might try as well.
The Cheapskate Monthly Money Makeover and The Cheapskate MonthlySimple Tips for Living Lean in the 90's by Mary Hunt (Ok, they are older but still give good info)
Your Money or Your Life, Vicki Rob & Joe Dominguez
Your library is a great source of information as well.

As for gardening that is a good idea if you have the time and space to donate to it. You can log on to Garden Web's forum for your area and there is also a "frugal" gardening forum. You have plenty of time to put together a plan for a spring garden.

As for general household tips:
* We shop loss leaders and use coupons only on what we normally use.
* We shop farmers markets and can or freeze if the item is something we use a lot of.
* We try to shop the perimeter of the store as it is healthier and much less processed.
* Laundry is hung to dry inside in a spare room in all weather. (I have allergies so outdoors is not always a good idea.)
* I make my own laundry soap. Vinegar is a great fabric softener.
* We crock pot meals and reuse left overs - Crock Pot Chicken with potatoes and vegetables day one became Chicken and sausage Jambalaya on day 2, day 3 was Chili, then day 4 was Chicken and Chili Mexican Lasagna. Oh, and a quart of chicken stock to freeze.
* We buy meats in bulk on sale and freeze.
* Thermometer is set on 80 in the summer and off in the winter ( we are in SW Florida- though right now it is 36 outside and the small space heater is cranking the heat next to me).
* Clothing is from the thrift store or clearance racks. Sometime clearance at Target is cheaper than Goodwill around here. Go figure!
* Research what you are going to buy. Compare prices and warranties etc.
* Take advantage of free entertainment in your area- Library Videos, Hiking trails, etc.
* Most of all we see it as a challenge. How can we live the best life possible on as little as possible.

Oh, and tell you wife she doesn't have to turn up the heat because you can warm her up then give her a big hug. :)

Good luck!!!!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 9:45AM
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Hogan -
Can you pick up some part-time work doing home repair and small projects without getting in trouble with the union? If you can, put an ad in Craigslist or in some local bulletin boards.

Next: Stop buying things! Cut your expenditures to the bone NOW! The morning crappucino, the after work beer, the order out for pizza because you are too tired to cook are all budget wreckers.

Most people can survive for more than a year without buying new clothes.

If you smoke, stop or cut way back. That's a total waste of money.

Saving money consistently takes consistent planning, which takes time.

Do not buy fast foods and prepared things unless they are cost effective. Cook your own meals from fresh ingredients ... you have lots of time now, and it can be fun. Buy a bread machine from a thrift store and make your own bread.

Don't throw food out. If you consistently use your leftovers you can save a lot of money. For example: a few scraps of chicken, some leftover veggies and some rice = Chinese stir fry. Leftover mashed potatoes = latkes in the morning.

Don't buy in bulk unless it is something you know you will use, and you have a plan for safely storing it. A freezer is a good idea ... craigslist has deals on them. Upright is better than chest freezer, BTW.

Cancel the Cable TV, or at least cut down the special channels right now. Use the Library for DVDs and books. Develop a reading habit.

If you are going out with friends, take what you plan to spend in cash and stop when you run out of money.

Craigslist and thrift stores are your friend. I got a freezer from Craigslist for $75, then sold my smaller old one for $50. Bread machine: $15 for one that retails for $120.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 10:02AM
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Hogan - As long as you actually use the product, and the coupon makes it cheaper than the generic, a coupon is a discount off the price, even if it's only 10 cents.

Calculate coupons as if they were an hourly wage ... assume you spend a minute per coupon to clip, store and redeem it. Multiple the value of the coupon (in dollars) by 60 (the number of minutes in an hour). Example, a 30cent coupon is 60x0.3 = $18 an hour.

Spend time to save money: Spending an hour to plan a menu, check the grocer ads, and clip any useful coupons can save you $50 or more that week in food costs. It's like someone gave you a one-hour job that paid $50 in take-home pay.

Should have read the whole thread first - the whole family has to go on a money diet. Not starvation, but making choices and trade-offs.

Make out a BUDGET with the fixed expenses first and go back through your bills from last year to see what the others were. Lay it all out on the table, and as a family decide what's important and what can be traded around ... does the kid want cable enough to give up going to the movies?

Be up-front with the kid about the money situation, and encourage him to figure out ways to do things with the least possible expense. My nephews had no idea thrift stores existed, or used book stores, or used CD/DVD places.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 10:22AM
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A freezer is a good idea ... craigslist has deals on them. Upright is better than chest freezer, BTW.

Yes, a freezer is a good idea. I disagree that upright is better. I can't make the links work. Google "upright or chest freezer?" for lots of info. Chest is more energy efficient, upright may be more convenient.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 11:51AM
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I hear you, hogan. I was laid off from my job roughly a year ago. My family and I have cut back on a lot. We do without some, but the frugal family you find here always have lots of ideas. You would be amazed at some of the ways you can save money. Being creative definitely helps. We frequently take on the challenge of trying to do a normal activity, but as cheaply as possible. My husband gets a real kick out of me heading for the clearance section of any store we go into. I figure, I already have an idea of things we need, or will, if I can find them on clearance- bonus!

One of the things I would like to recommend is freecycle. There are groups everywhere. You may not think you need anything right now, but sometimes it really helps. Like when our one chair arm got loose to the point of nearly falling off. We got a free one on freecycle. Many times you will see people requesting things they need, and you feel good helping them with some of your "junk".

With saving money on food, the best thing to do is what works for you. Sometimes, it is better to buy something that will save you money, but no matter how cheap something is- if you don't use it, it is money wasted. I tried that with some things and let's just say I learned a quick lesson. One of the things that really helps, and I heard someone else mention it, was making a menu. For example tacos one night can be chili the next. A beef roast with sides of veggies can become beef veggie soup the next. Roast chicken can become....what ever your imagination can come up with. And don't be afraid to look on the internet for recipes. Sometimes the food you have right there in your fridge can take on a new life with a few odds and ends you never thought to add.

Another thing is that when you are laid off, is that some states offer pretty good training. Free. All you have to pay for is the gas to get there. Depending on where you live it might be worth your while to look at getting some kind of bussiness training to advance you in your union. It would help you a lot when you went back to work.

Good luck and keep coming back. New ideas roll in here all of the time.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 4:51PM
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I walk to my local,library every weekday and read the newspapers and magazines for free. Cut my own hair (I'm female).

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 8:14PM
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I get laid off from my job on my birthday and my team Green bay lost in overtime by a freak touchdown. 2010 is not my year and I am just 10 days into it.

Sorry off topic.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 9:10PM
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I learned how to can last year and ended up putting up alot of vegetables along with tons of applesauce. We debated getting a freezer, but ended up deciding that increasing the amounts canned was a better option for us.

You mention that you are worried about weight gain. How about walking places instead of driving? Walk to get your errands done, walk to the library etc etc. With gas now close to $3/gallon again, walking saves money pretty quickly. 10,000 steps per day is a good target according to the Mayo Clinic.

Volunteering is huge - you help others, but you also contribute and help your self-worth.

Our friend is a union electrician and faces the same union constraints that you do. He ended up getting side jobs, some as far as 2 hrs away, and ended up keeping pretty busy. He's been laid off by his union for nearly 2 years now and union work won't be coming soon for him - in Detroit - but the side jobs are big for him. He's also gotten training in installing green roofs and does some side work in that area, too.

Consider changing jobs fields, too.... Healthcare is an industry that is hiring, at least according to the US Dept of Labor monthly stats.

If you play your cards right, this layoff could be a very good period for you note mentioning time with your son.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 5:08AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

There are great ideas on saving money here. One thing I can add is assume this lay off will be longer than expected. Dh went back to school after the birth of our first child and when he graduated we moved to another state. He assumed he would get a job quickly. We moved in March and he was not hired until December. Because he always viewed his status as temporary and that it would be short-lived there was no real money management and we are still suffering the effects of it.

Assume the situation will last a long, long time and make part of your new job description discovering as many ways as possible to stretch the money you do have.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 10:00PM
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Grainlady, on your comment "The best way to solve your problem is to get out of the house and "work" 8-hours a day trying to find a job, rather than waiting out a year of unemployment. Where my husband works (VP of a major manufacturing company in the area), they won't hire people who have been on unemployment for extended periods of time because they figure they have very little self-respect, and don't have a good work ethic, but enjoyed the extended government-paid, union-paid, "vacation" watching TV all day."

It caused me to walk away from my computer to regain a sense of balance so that I could comment on it with a little grace.

That is one of the most hurtful things IÂve read in a long, long time. And the fact that you say it with something like pride and contempt, well, itÂs doubly abusive.

You obviously havenÂt been in the position to know that when a person is laid off, for whatever reason, itÂs a terrible blow to their esteem and their self-respect is already hit hard. They walk into every job interview with a burden of knowing that there are people out there who are going to judge them wrongly. And with the economy in the shape itÂs in, every job opening has a multitude of applicants, narrowing your odds. The longer this recession goes on, the worse it gets. Temp agencies are overflowing with all of us "vacationing" folks. They donÂt have enough orders for placements to get us in even a temporary position. It goes on and on.

Your husbandÂs company and their attitude shows a complete lack of compassion for another human being and a total lack of awareness as to whatÂs happening in this country right now. If I were you, I wouldnÂt be too proud of them. May God bless you and your husband and hopefully, you wonÂt have to find out how bad it is out here.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 11:21PM
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Thank you, dirtgirl, for your post. I felt exactly the same way about grainlady's post, but was unable to compose myself to write a response. You said what needed to be said.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 9:23AM
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dirtgirl07 and shermann, IMO, I think you are shooting the messenger. What grainlady said does hold true in many fields. I don't believe she was saying that to hurt anyone's feelings. She was just trying to warn the OP about that possibility.

I don't believe that this opinion necessarily holds true for the OP and his line of work. My oldest brother is also an electrician. His system may work a bit different than the OP's, but my understanding is that my brother's work system, you take on a job and work until the job ends and then you sort of get back in line behind other electricians in the Union or company whose jobs have ended. As new jobs come in they are handed out to whoever is next in line. If the OP is sticking with his union/employer, then he is not at a disadvantage compared to other electricians.

However, if the OP is attempting to switch to a new employer. He is probably subject to the opinion that grainlady expressed. The OP is in the construction business which is way down. Employers realize this and will accommodate it to an extent. However, they will probably also look to see what gaps are in his work history. If the OP can show that he was productive during that time then they will consider that too. The more substance to fill the gaps, the better the chances of getting a good job.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 11:40AM
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Oh adellabedella, I don't think I misinterpreted anything! That's why I walked away from it and came back. I've reread it several times and it still comes across nasty and mean spirited.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but even in written form you can pick up certain nuances of a person's attitude in what they write and the way it's worded. There was no doubt here. You can hear the snear or disapproval in someone's written word, just as surely has you can hear the joy and good naturedness.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 3:06PM
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The best way to solve your problem is to get out of the house and "work" 8-hours a day trying to find a job, rather than waiting out a year of unemployment. Where my husband works (VP of a major manufacturing company in the area), they won't hire people who have been on unemployment for extended periods of time because they figure they have very little self-respect, and don't have a good work ethic, but enjoyed the extended government-paid, union-paid, "vacation" watching TV all day.

There is nothing kind to be found in that statement. I don't think dirtgirl misinterpred anything. Perhaps grainlady was having an off-day, but the fact is her post is what it is...not nice.

Perhaps there is very little unemployment where they live, but for the rest of the country, it stands around 10%, and that doesn't count underemployed and those who have given up for a while. If that is indeed the rule at her husband's company, it is one heckova mean-spirited prejudice against the unemployed, who may in fact be people laid off by that very company! Call me naive, but frankly, I don't believe it.

To state that those who have lost their jobs because of this economy are enjoying themselves - on a vacation! - is outrageous and ridiculous.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 5:27PM
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You can it mean spirited if you want, but that opinion is a reality if an employer feels that way. Our area is starting to receive more layoffs. I've heard via the grapevine that some of the potential employers are not hiring the laid off employees in a specific industry. The laid off employees are considered the 'dead weight' that the other companies cast off to make themselves more profitable. You might think that is mean spirited too. However, if that opinion is the potential employer's opinion, then that is also the harsh reality. If an employer can afford to be selective about who they hire, then they will. Grainlady didn't sugarcoat her comment, but it was legitimate. It may be a piece of advice that the OP will need if he has has to go outside of his current employment system.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 6:34PM
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I've just been lurking around here recently limiting my posts to the CF while I recover from a serious medical issue the past few months. Grainlady's post bothered me enough to make a 30 minute effort to type this response. I feel badly for the OP.

Perhaps, grainlady, was 'off her feed' with this post but I certainly agree with dirtgir107 & sherrmann with how it came across.

I found this line to be offensive...

"Daytime TV is for losers who need a babysitter."

It's mean spirited serving no useful purpose for the OP...just a harsh, judgmental, & self-righteous statement.

Interjecting her grocery budget, living in Kansas, has absolutely zero relevance to the OP living in New Jersey.

A couple other statements in her post I found that rose to the level of discourteous & likely offense...

"BTW, a serving of orange juice is 3/4-cup. If you are thirsty, quench it with water."

Really, grainlady! Was that last little dig really necessary?

"You can make all kinds of meals and recipes with deli meat and whole broasted chickens. There's enough meat on one chicken for a week for one. You can even use the carcass, after you remove most of the meat, for making chicken soup. Watch those portion sizes... Over-eating is wasting money."

Gads! What a presumptous dissertation. Makes me want to go fix a snack even though I just ate din-din. :)

No, adellabedella, I don't think all three of us misunderstood anything.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 6:57PM
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Thanks Sherry and Tricia. I've been unemployed for about 8 months now. It's a huge battle, both to get a job and to keep depression at bay.

And Adellebedella, I've been working for 41 years and am well aware of harsh realities. And laying off dead weight in a company is wise business and has nothing to do with this. Maybe you should go back and reread grainlady's post. I think you missed something.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 8:00PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

An interesting read from the link below. I would think that getting any sort of a job, no matter how lowly, would increase one's chances of getting a better one later.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 12:00AM
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I agree with Dirtgirl, Sherry, and Tricia. That is why I made the comment to the OP saying she must not understand unions. I was trying to be polite. Most people on these forums bend over backward to be nice - when someone is not nice, it is jarring, but I don't want to alienate anyone else by being unkind in return.

Dirtgirl, I'm sorry to hear that you are laid off. You can email me any time. I have dealt with depression since I was 16.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 8:29PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

triciae, You have been missed. I hope that your recovery is swift.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 5:56PM
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Hogan, I've read through this thread and the follow-up thread you posted and I see that a lot of people have given you some very good advice.

I would suggest that you also read all the previous threads on this forum. That's what I do whenever I find a forum that interests me. It keeps me from asking questions someone else has already asked and had answered, and it lets me get to know people. There is a lot on the Internet that will help you.

It sounds like your wife just doesn't get it, but then again, it also sounds like the two of you are just a couple of raw nerves right now because of the situation and that is not that unusual. But let's back off and think about this for a bit. She may be throwing up a smoke screen because she doesn't know HOW to manage money any better than she does. You're home full-time now, right? You may have said, and I missed it, but does she work? If so, it's not really fair for her to have to carry a job and all the shopping, etc.

My Hubs was home for several years because of some medical issues and I had to go to work. I had to take the first job I could find that included health insurance and it was a horrible job where people cussed me out on the phone all day over things I had done nothing to cause, and usually could not do anything about. I would come home every day and cry, I was so miserable. It really helped that when I got home, Hubs had supper ready. He did the grocery shopping and the laundry so I didn't have to spend my weekends doing that. It was a real load off my shoulders. Money -- we hardly had any. His insurance premiums and his prescription costs ate up almost everything I made. We had no debts and our home was paid for. But we were dipping into savings. I'm ashamed to admit, I resented my husband just a little, even though I knew he couldn't help it, for putting us in this situation. Our son didn't realize how thoughtless he was being when he brightly said that if worse came to worst, we could sell our house.

I would advise you to have a heart-to-heart, LOVING talk with your wife. Tell her that you love her and that you don't want this situation to damage your marriage (if that's how you really feel). Men are notorious for pulling all their emotions in during times of stress, leaving the wife to imagine all kinds of things that are always a lot worse than the truth. This is not the time to let her do that. If you're scared, you need to share that with her. Now is not the time to be macho. The fact that she is using coupons to buy things says to me that she is trying. I do agree that coupons are not the way to go now, because they are usually on things you can do without, such as chemical cleaning products (ammonia, cleanser, vinegar and bleach are cheap and do just as well - not mixed together though), junk food and convenience food. Tell her that you need to keep busy to keep yourself from stagnating and that you'd like to take on the grocery shopping and the cooking. Don't tell her it's because she's doing a crappy job of it. She will learn some things accidentally, by seeing what products you buy and what you do with them. Ask her what she can do to help in other ways. Maybe she will offer to curtail her shopping. If she doesn't, then the time to ask for her credit cards is not now, but may be required later. She probably WOULD be able to get another credit card, because those credit card people are vultures. Laws have changed now and maybe there are some things they can no longer do, but they can charge huge amounts of interest and I think they can still increase the interest they charge based on what your credit score is. This sort of thing will eat you alive, whether you have work or not.

A man and his wife need to be a team. If, after your discussion you find out that she is determined not to even try to change her spending habits, then there is something else going on. Maybe it is that she is immature and selfish, which is the kiss of death for a marriage. Or maybe she has some anger issues that need to be dealt with. When I was younger, if Hubs was particularly hateful and unreasonable, I'd retaliate by going out and buying myself something. I really hate to admit that. And it was stupid because I was the one who had to figure out how to pay the bills. He never worried about things like that.

Right now, you're going to have to "hunker down", but when you start work again, one of your first goals should be to curtail spending and get out of debt. If your wife can't get on board with that then your marriage is at risk. I find that when a man resents something his wife does, it tends to come out in other ways. Bear in mind that when there is a child, a divorce can be extremely costly to the man because of child support. I know a teacher whose wife has his kid in every expensive athletic program she can find, and this kid has straighter, whiter teeth than anyone else. Why? It's not for the kid. It's because it's in their agreement that he's supposed to pay for things like this. An angry ex can really put it to you when a kid's involved.

I might also point out that, sometimes when the man is suddenly at home all day, it makes the woman feel "infringed upon". I had a lot of trouble giving up my kitchen when I went to work. Things got put where I couldn't find them. I could never find anything in the deep-freeze. He bought things I would never buy, like those boxes of Hamburger Helper. I did manage to get him to compromise by buying the off-brands or waiting till they went on sale, and then to stretch it by adding extra pasta when he made them up. Sometimes you just have to take baby steps.

One of the problems that you face is something I see often in the construction industry. When you work, you make very good money. But you spend it all. The thing to do, during these times, is to try to live on less and put some of it back for those times when you'll be off work. Pay things off. Get things done that will save money in the long run, like insulating the house -- but work hard to get it paid off first because it doesn't matter to you how well it's insulated if the bank takes it away from you. It's a blessing that you do have Unemployment benefits. While that's not nearly what you were paid when you worked, it's at least something.

Please DO get your certification when you are able to do so. It has been said that luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and I believe that's true in everything.

That's good advice for you to get up every morning, get dressed and make plans for your day. Do take walks, visit with your neighbors. Strike up conversations with people wherever you go. You might even consider volunteering your services to Habitat for Humanity. If you belong to a church, does your pastor know of people who need a volunteer to work on their house? You'd be surprised how many of these old houses have everything wired into one breaker. Now is a good time for you to be a blessing for someone. Not only will you keep busy and feel alive, you will make contacts with people who might know of an opportunity. This is what networking is all about and they say that's the best way to find work when things are tight.

It's heart-wrenching to me to read of so many people who are out of work now, losing homes and everything they worked so hard to buy. To those who still have jobs, get out of debt now. You don't know what might happen tomorrow. Pay off those credit cards first. That's where the big bucks are, is in the interest you are being charged. When the credit cards are paid off, start saving money, ear-marked for paying off your cars. Now is not the time to double/triple payments because if you lose your job and end up losing your car, it won't matter where you were on the payment schedule. It'll delay it a bit, but that money is better being saved up. Call and find out how much it will cost to pay off. That number changes every day but it will give you an idea of how much you need to save to pay it off. Same for your house. During ordinary times, when people are not losing their jobs right and left, it IS better to double/triple payments because you'll save more on the interest. I don't recommend selling things if you're just going to end up buying something to replace what you sold. But if it's something you'll not need to replace, yes, now is the time to sell it.

To all the others who post here, I feel like I have made friends here and I hope not very many, if any, enemies. Sometimes I accidentally upset someone by writing something that comes out differently in the printed word than I meant. My mother and my oldest sister used to feud all the time and a fight would always get started because my sister would write something in a letter that she didn't mean the way my mother took it.

I have lurked on forums where they are fighting all the time. Fighting on a forum draws people who like the fight, not people who want to add anything useful to the discussion. Before you know it, the personality of the whole forum changes. I do sometimes see someone say something that raises my eyebrows, but I have found that the best way to handle this sort of thing is to try to take it with a grain of salt, ignore it and pretend you didn't notice. Go on being helpful to the original poster. If something's already been said in retaliation, it's best to change the subject back as quickly as you can. We all have a right to our opinions, we come from different areas and different walks of life. What works for one person may not work for another. But in every post, you can generally find a little something you can use. The key is to look for that. This forum is a "think tank" of sorts.

When someone is TRULY trying to cause trouble or to bully someone, they will get bored with it and go somewhere else if there is no reaction. If anyone feels someone has been bullied, then put on a post full of encouragement for the person you think got bullied and leave it at that. We have to accept that there will be some people who post on the forum that we will like better than others, just as in the world.

Grainlady has shared a lot of good advice over the months and years she has been posting, and I appreciate that. Whether she meant for what she said to come across the way it did is only for her to say. But there was useful information in her post. And I do believe that those of us who have control of our finances tend to lose touch with how overwhelming it is for those who don't. Those who have jobs lose touch with how it is not to have one. Those who have never worked in a union may not understand how they work. And those of us who live in the midwest (I live in Oklahoma) often have no idea how expensive some things can be in other parts of the country. What most of us have in common is that we care enough about each other to take the time to post advice and encouragement. Let's hang our hats on that. We are living in troubled times. This is not the time to be scrabbling amongst ourselves. Hugs to ALL of you....

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 8:36AM
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I could not have said it better myself. We are all here to help each other in these increasingly tough economic times. Having had my position "eliminated" after two previous pay cuts was devastating to me and it affected how I perceived everyone and everything. This forum helped me to focus on other ways to improve my situation and slowly move ahead.
Each of us has our own unique viewpoint of life and how to best live it and we share that here to help others. We are not going to agree on everything or how things are said but the intent right now is to help Hogan (and anyone else reading this thread) regain control of his financial situation.
So Hogan keep us posted on how it is going and if anyone has anymore ideas keep them coming because it looks like we are going to need them for a while yet.
Best wishes to all-

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 9:38AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I really appreciated your post Ilene!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 10:23AM
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Ilene your post as always shows how wise and caring you are.

I don't always agree with Grainlady but she always has valuable information and is a wise person with a lot of experience and is unusually generous with sharing her experience and knowledge. I couldn't match her budget but some could and most could learn something from her if they wanted to learn rather than look for ways to be offended. I respect people who can be blunt when need be. I saw no criticism for others who were equally blunt. Why pick on only one?

I agree that daytime TV stinks. What attraction is that to stay and watch? Her point is clear, there's better things to do. Volunteering is great. The other thing is utilize the library. There's a lot of great books on being frugal and I'd add the Tightwad Gazette series to must-read for the OP.

Another thought I had, especially since you've mentioned weight, is if you have a newspaper delivery route available it can give a supplemental income, something to do, exercise and don't overlook the possibility of some time with your son doing this together. The lady who used to deliver my paper would deliver them with her two daughters. Time together and also giving the kids some idea of responsibility and the value of work.

At the library, utilize the computers there for researching what you need to do for the tests for certification. Prepare now and keep studying. Learn some new things while you're at it. Research resume writing and cover letter writing. Work on it.

I disagree with the idea of getting a freezer, at least right now. Until you get control of your budget an additional expense, and freezers can take a lot of electricity, is not a benefit. Are you really ready to deal with buying 1/2 a cow? Start small and work up. Plan some meals. Become more frugal. Find what WORKS for you and your family.

Also a night or two out with your son, maybe throwing a football, shooting some baskets, a walk or whatever is great exercise and quality time. Don't hesitate to take him to the store and let him help search for bargains! Teach him the value of saving, frugalness and quality time.

I agree that a night for movies at home is great. Don't hesitate to teach your son to cook, wash dishes, do laundry, essentially be able to fend for himself. That's not depriving him of anything, that's teaching him to be ready for the real world.

I would immediately cut cable/satellite if you have it. Broadcast has many good programs on now. Also if you have cell phones, that you can get out of, do it. Prepaid phones are cheap for emergencies. Your son might well need internet for school, I don't know, but you can get internet as cheap as $5/month for dialup. For major projects, head to the library. How many vehicles do you have? How many do you really need? You could drop your wife off at work and pick her up and save on insurance and maintenance.

An expenditure I'd suggest is CFLs. Home Depot sells them for 98¢ each and for lights that are on a lot, you'll recoup the costs quickly. Right now I have one 13 watt CFL on next to me while I'm sitting here and it's plenty of light.

A frugal life can be as enjoyable as you make it. The family playing a game of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit can be a great time and quality time. Have some friends over. Don't splurge too much. Pop popcorn, maybe make some homemade cookies and coffee. Generic Kool-Aid for the kids. Often people would like to bring something, let them. Just tell them it's fun time only so snack type stuff.

Other ideas: Do neighbors need sidewalks shoveled? Driveways cleared? Lawn mowing & trimming? They could always hire your son and you could help him and technically not have unemployment issues. Check on the unemployment though. Maybe it's better to get a part time job and extend the benefits.

Showers instead of baths for water conservation. Maybe you can wear your clothes more than one day and not have to wash them so often. MEASURE your detergent! Don't just pour it in. Often 1/2 the recommended amount will work just as well as a full dose. I don't use fabric softener at all. Wash full loads. Hang some clothes to dry to save drying costs.

Best advice to avoid spending? Stay out of stores.

Good luck to you buddy. Even though your a Packerbacker, you still sound like a good guy. I've been in similar situations and good friends have been in nearly identical situations (though he had 2 kids in college). It's not easy, but you know what? Things work out. Don't let things get you down. Look for something good every day. When your wife comes home ask about her day then tell her what good things happened to you. Time goes by too quickly. Enjoy your time with your son but don't let your marriage suffer either. Do what you need to do.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 1:25AM
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Sorry I disagree about driving wife to and from work just to do away with one car. That might help if the car is paid for. However unless her work is on your way to somewhere you would be making 4 trips on the same route each day. It may lead to more marital problems if your wife values the private time that driving to work provides.

There is also the idea that you would be monitoring her every move. It may save some money for the divorce attorny's bill.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:21PM
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I kind of agree with maifleur in that the wife might get the idea she is being monitored and feel like the loss of her own transportation would be a way of "pinning her down". Especially since things are already kind of rocky at home.

When I retired, I sold my car. Hubs and I are both retired and we share his pick-up. We live close in though so don't have to drive far to do anything really. He goes to his workout center three times a week. During that time I have no transportation. But I plan my day. And I don't go out a lot, by choice, because I am a homebody. I like to cook, garden, sew, quilt and write on my blog. Once in awhile I will go out and visit the flea markets. I grocery shop only about once a month. If some of the stores have specials on something in between shopping dates, I just have Hubs stop by and pick some up while he's out on his work-out days.

But if I still worked, I might like to run out and do errands on my noon hour, and I couldn't do that if there was no car out on the parking lot. Still, there are some conveniences with having Hubs take me back and forth. We used to share a ride when his work was near mine. We had teenagers who seemed to hear everything that was said at home. So we had time in the car to discuss things that we didn't really want them hearing... Even little pitchers have big ears, truly. And big mouths in the neighborhood. If you've ever casually said that your neighbor's daughter is a slut you'll know what I'm talking about. Heh.

Also I have worked places where the parking lot was a couple of blocks away. You really haven't appreciated a drop-off at the front door till you've walked two blocks in the cold, blowing rain.

There are more expenses to a car than just the gas. There's the maintenance, insurance, tags, and the depreciation. There's the payment, if you didn't pay cash for it. Some places where people work, they have to pay a fee for a parking space. So there are a lot of things to consider. But if the two of you have to go in two different directions at the same time, having only one vehicle can be a big problem. If you're at an interview and it's time to pick up the wife from work, it's not like you can cut the interview short. Not knowing where your next job will be would be an issue too. You wouldn't want to get rid of the "extra" car and then land a job that would have you having to leave earlier and arrive home later than your spouse. Whatever you saved in the short time you didn't have a second vehicle would be eaten up by the expenses related to buying another. You have to weigh all the options that are particular to you.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 10:37AM
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Just would like everyone to know I went back to work on July 7th and on a long term job.We made it through a long hard layoff and I think we learned a good lesson about saving money and preparing for the worst.

Thanks for all your support and advice.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 9:57PM
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I'm happy you were able to make it through the layoff and things are going better now. I hope you were able to enjoy the time with your son.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 11:13AM
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I did enjoy the extra time I spent with my son,thank you. I am not a big religious person but I think this was Gods way of letting us know things have to change, we are becoming too materialistic and we need to get back to the basics and enjoy the simple things in life,I know I will.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 7:26PM
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Great news on the new job! So glad you posted to let us know. Your last message (8/17 @ 19:26) says it all. Continued good blessings.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 3:55PM
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Glad to hear it. Did you plant a garden and are you and your family enjoying the experience or is it a pain?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 9:04PM
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I'm so glad to hear you're back at work. I wish you & your family the best going forward &, like you, believe that God will teach us things we need to learn if we listen.

Take care.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 7:49PM
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Paper Towels, - I noticed I was using a lot of them, (2 kids), so I bought 18 wash clothes at WalMart, 4 bucks, in a bundle and I use them now. Just toss into the washer.

- Turned off a/c at night (In florda) and use ceiling fans.

- Don't use dryer. Hang clothes in garage with door open.

- Use craigslist if you need furniture, etc... hit the garage sales, but don't waste alot of gas. Just the near by ones.

- When you shop, think twice about what you buy. I was in the service so I know what it is like not to have money and got used to not spending.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 4:19PM
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Hi, Hogan
Congratulations on the new job. Looking back, the "time off" will seem like a vacation!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 6:51PM
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tricia, long time-no-see...Hope all is well


    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 8:28PM
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Hogan, You and your family have been in my thoughts since you first posted. Thanks for sharing the wonderful news. It sounds like this was a life-changing experience in a good way. Best wishes going forward.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 9:33PM
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It has changed my life,and for the better. Life is too short, things are not what makes you happy, its family and friends, and the simple things.

This happened for a reason, its a wake up call. I will not drag this thread on forever but thanks for your support and your time to give me your thoughts and ideas.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Congratulations Hogan! Wishing you and your family tons of love and happiness.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 9:01AM
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I noticed the last post here are 2 years old. Is there anyone here looking for grocery tips to save?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Nylasmom, start a new thread with an appropriate title, like "share your grocery tips" or something similar. If you are looking for more grocery shopping ideas, don't forget the Cooking forum, too.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:50AM
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