I live on s.s.i. and with my folks

cloudsgreyDecember 23, 2013

I am looking for tips on ways to save my 900 dollar s.s.i. check I get a month. I need to move out of my folks house really bad and try to put 200 to the side, but tap into it at the end of the month. I have not been able to save anything for years. I am going to quit smoking. I have a limit I need for weekend city spending with my boyfriend. I tried handing the money to my parents but I flipped out on not having a hold of my own money. Anybody good at saving little quantities of money?

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If you are looking to move out, you will need roommates to split expenses with. Less then $700 will not get you far. No need to go out every weekend to the city. Have you BF come to your parents house or when you get an apartment and just hang out there. Watch movies, play cards, make your own snacks. Have friends over and have then bring snacks/drinks too. Quitting smoking is an excellent way to save money. You will be doing your personal health a good deed too. Good idea. Use coupons for items you use frequently. Go when your store doubles up on them. Shop at quality thrift stores. You never know what comes in the door to be sold. You can find some fantastic deals and items there. Just some ideas that were off the top of my head. HTH NancyLouise

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 10:33AM
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I don't know a lot about disability payments, but my son is on one and the organization found him an apartment in a new complex and he only pays $100 a month. Evidently his utilities are paid also. He asked how much the elec costs if he paid it. It was a small amount so he pays it himself to get a credit rating. His disability comes from a branch of the Catholic charities. You might check into that for getting an apartment. The last time I read about things like HUD housing if you were in an emergency situation they would move your name to the top of the waiting list.

As far as savings go, don't buy anything that you don't absolutely need to survive until you get the amount you want saved. My son lives on less than $900 a month in a part of the US where living is very expensive.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 4:06PM
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I'm a big Dave Ramsey fan, and you can go to his web site (www.daveramsey.com) for lots of information, and you can listen to his radio program there, which is full in instruction and inspiration from real people. You should also find his book "The Total Money Makeover" at your local library and read it; and many churches hold his "Total Money Makeover" classes.

"The Total Money Makeover" book is a quick read and a proven method for controlling your money. If you want to save money, you have to get your budget down on paper so you know where every penny goes. As Dave says, you have to give every penny a name, whether that name is savings, groceries, vacation, housing, clothing, transportation, retirement, utilities, gifts/Christmas, giving, insurance, fun money (we call it walking around money at our home), etc. - and you also need to prioritize your needs first (food, clothing, housing, transportation), and then your wants. It really works best if you have a plan.

Even though we are completely out of debt and own our home, we still stick to a strict budget. It's the budget (controlling our money) that got us there - spending less money than we make. My food budget for 2 adults is $125/month - I spend no more than $10/week for meat, and I'm contemplating reducing that amount to $100/month for 2014. But we also have home food storage we can utilize. I only purchase food with the food dollars. House and beauty aid comes out of my "walking around money", which is also a budgeted amount.

I save all our $1 bills all year long and put them in a savings account at the end of each month. I've always saved at least $500 (which amounts to $1.37 per day) just doing that one small thing - but we use cash, not credit cards, so we actually HAVE $1 bills to save.

Another way I save is to cut my own hair, but I also budget $20 for a hair cut. That amount also goes into the savings account, so there's another $240/year I save.

Any "found" money also goes into this account. Found money is money you get from a rebate, birthday/Christmas gift, collecting aluminum cans or scrap metal and turning it into ca$h, having a garage sale, selling something, taking on a job like babysitting, dog walking, house sitting, shoveling drives, mowing lawns, raking leaves, etc.....

I call this account my Christmas/Emergency Account. We have other savings and investments, but just starting out, you really need to start with a small Emergency Account before you leave home - at least $500 (that you only use for an EMERGENCY - and new shoes, make-up, and having your hair highlighted, are rarely "an emergency"), and then get it up to $1,000 as quickly as possible.

Good luck...


    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Grain lady, I don't know how old you are, do you still have to live on a budget? If you are secure financially, well insured and your home is paid........do you go on trips, cruises, etc.. Isn't there anything left out there that you want to do? Most heirs will spend it quick enough.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 11:55AM
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Did you shout "We are debt free!!" on the telephone to Dave?

We got rid of all our debt except our mortgage, and we're working on that, Cash IS king!

Like Dave says: "My credit score is probably around 400, and I don't care!" Probably the same with Dr Phil, as he doesn't have any credit cards either.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 7:09AM
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We are in our early 60's and are still going to keep to a budget no matter how things are going financially, although we're doing very well. A budget worked in 1971 to keep us out of debt when we were first married and literally had nothing while hubby attended University, and it works even better now. Even trips are a budget item.

Our children were raised well and are very levelheaded, so I don't have to worry there.


Didn't do the debt free scream, but the grass does feel better under your feet (lol). I had a sheet with the "baby steps" on a corkboard in my office many years ago (when all we had left was our home debt) and our daughter asked me for a copy of them and used them as guidelines because they just made sense to her. She never heard of Dave Ramsey. Her husband took the Money Makeover class when he was stationed in the middle-east, for something to do, and said they had been following the baby steps and didn't even know where they came from.

Merry (paid for) Christmas


    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Thanks Grain lady for not taking offense. I tried a budget one time it didn't work for me. I am very smart and I knew without a piece of paper what we could and could not spend. All I wanted to be when I thought about my future was to be responsible adult, grown up and independent. That meant not depending on any one else. We have never really had a debt problem. When we retired it didn't take long for me to realize we were going to be okay. After my husband died I started spending freely. I joked about my goal was to spend it all, well almost all of it. I have my own library of books and movies and have traveled a bit, quite a bit. I have done everything on my bucket list except canoeing. Hopefully I will get around to that one day.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Learning to live on a budget takes time and dedication. You need to start small, take it one thing at a time and make it a habit.

I think the most important thing to do to get started is to keep a list of EVERYTHING you spend money on for at least a month. It is very difficult and time consuming but so very important. This will show you what you spend your money on. It is amazing how eye opening this one thing will be.

After you know what you spend your money on, look at the list and divide it into things you need and the things that are nice to have.

We need food (healthy, eat at home, make it yourself food), transportation, a place to live and utilities.

Nice to have is eating out, going to the show, buying new clothes/shoes (unless what you have is worn out), having a really nice, new car versus basic transportation etc.

Once you get your lists together (remember this will take a long time to get to this point, at least a month), you can then decide where you can save money. Whittle down on the nice things to have and start to save the money.

Learning to budget takes time, dedication, planning and the desire to get yourself into a different way of living. I was once homeless, sleeping in a tent while pregnant and had a 6 month old as well. I am now able to live in a nice home which is my only debt. I still look at every penny I spend and decide if it is something I need versus want. I do allow myself to get some of those wants but make it a point to decide if the money is better spent or saved.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 12:03AM
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--Where many people have difficulty when just starting out is having too many bills that come due all at the same time, and not enough money to pay for them that pay period. That's where a budget showing the entire month will help. That's where having an emergency fund will help until things get normalized. It usually takes 3 or 4 months to get a budget working smoothly - and that's perfectly normal.

--Another problem - bills that come due every 6- or 12-months and not setting aside a portion of that amount each month so you have that amount covered when the bill comes due - things like car insurance, taxes and tags, Christmas.....

--And the ever wise, but usually ignored - pay yourself first. If you can get an amount automatically drafted from your pay and added to a bank or savings and loan savings account, that's a good way to pay yourself first. It would be wise to allow this amount of savings to accumulate to 3-6 months worth of expenses as the "rainy day" fund should your job be terminated. This money will also help smooth the way when inflation happens and prices go up -- but you don't get a pay raise.

--Another area of the budget people should consider - a cash amount for food, which is spent only on food. Too many times people spend their food budget on too many NON-food items, and wonder why they are living on popcorn by the end of the week.

And keep in mind, wasted food is the most expensive you purchase, so plan your meals around leftovers. You can get at least 4 meals from one whole chicken, and I've read articles making even more. If you buy a head of lettuce, plan meals that will include it during the week rather than letting it die of loneliness in the crisper drawer.

--With that budgeted amount for food, include a portion for stockpiling. Even if it's as little as $5 per week of your food budget gets used for stockpiling, it will pay you dividends in the long run. If a food staple that you commonly use is on sale that week, use your $5 for buying ahead. Try to accumulate a wide variety of foods from all the food groups (meat/meat alternatives, fruits, vegetables, breads/starches), and try to get ahead enough for at least 3-months.

--Buy ingredients (staples like flour, sugar, spices, dried beans/grains/seeds) instead of ready-made, and your food dollars will purchase more food. Choose whole foods over highly-processed foods, which are generally less expensive and better for you.

As mentioned above, learn how to cook from scratch and learn how to make your own "convenience" foods, such as a Bisquick-type baking mix, pancake mix, gifts-in-a-jar type recipes are a good example of making your own "convenience" foods from ingredients you have in the pantry.

Here's an example: ingredients to make pancakes - milk, salt, sugar, baking powder, egg and vegetable oil. With those same ingredients you can make cookies, cakes, waffles, biscuits, quick breads.....

--An inexpensive way to purchase frozen vegetables is to buy the biggest, and least expensive, bag of mixed vegetables you can find and afford. With a little extra work you can quickly separate the bag into the individual vegetables for much less than buying them each in individual bags.

--How much for utilities? This is harder to budget because it changes throughout the year. You can check with the electric/gas company to find out how much the highest bill was for where you are living. When it comes to budgeting an amount for utilities, use the highest amount and add $10, and put that amount in an envelope for utilities. When the bill comes due pay the actual amount, and allow any extra to accumulate in your envelope as a cushion against late payments, cost increases, and that record hot or cold spell. After 6-8 months, you may need to adjust your budgeted amount.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 8:02AM
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A vegetable garden (call your city parks system regarding community gardens or plan one at your parents) really helps as does finding native or non-native trees and collecting the nuts/fruit. Pickling or freezing from your veggie garden, as well. Thru the winter you can eat delicious food for snacks/meals that took 10 minutes to microwave pickling liquid and pour into recycled peanut butter screw on lid containers/jars or glass pickling jars, or whatever you want to use with a twist on lid. They'll store for 6 months in the fridge. Pickled beans, peppers, carrots, garlic, dill, cucumbers; get creative. Spend nights in cracking walnuts or hickories or pecans or whatever you may find; store the kernels in the freezer; You can dry apples in a humidifier for pennies as the last apple crops are sold, the rejects that are just fine; dry all kinds of fruits; read up on how to store each one. : )

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 8:34AM
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Without knowing how you spend $900 per month, it is hard for us to suggest ways to spend less. Do YOU know how you spend that amount? Get a small notebook and write down every penny you spend from Jan 1 - 31. If you come back on Feb 1 with the results, we can better suggest what to do.

Quitting smoking would be a great idea.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 2:06PM
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I agree with the earlier statement, if you're on SSI, isn't there help with housing, i.e. rent based on your income?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 10:01AM
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thanks a lot everybody

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 7:23PM
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The best and most effective way to save money for the future is to pay your future self first! Get an online savings account. Decide how much your goal to save each month ($50, $75, whatever you want). Set up an automatic deposit into the on-line savings account to happen right after you get your monthly deposit. Make it a realistic amount and you can increase it over time, but the most important thing is to just start saving. I say an on-line saving account, rather than the one at your normal bank because it's too easy to transfer money back to checking from a savings account at the same bank. With the on-line account, I can get my money out with just a few clicks, but it also takes several days for the transfer to complete, so I have to plan and think about breaking into savings.

Saving money on food, budgeting, etc is a good thing, but you won't really see progress in savings unless you can get your money to someplace you won't easily spend it. It's just human nature for 'expenses' to somehow equal funds available. If the money is in a not readily accessible savings account, you'll get used to not having it. If you have money for smoking and going out to the city on weekends, you definitely have room to set some aside for savings, and if you make sure you put it aside first, you won't miss it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:27PM
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I highly recommend the book "How to Get What you Want with the money you already have." I started saving a lot of money after reading it. More than I ever thought possible.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:53PM
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