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Posts tagged with: living on less

Converting to Cash

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Going back to my recent post on The Cost of Convenience – Snack Time, I am finding the temptation to overspend or spend in situations where I don’t need to has become more of an issue as my debt load and monthly obligations continue to drop.  I have more available income and carrying plastic around…well, I have found myself making some bad decisions.  So effective immediately, I am converting to an all cash system.  I’ve cut up two of my cards and put the others away.

I will still pay my monthly bills online using either my debit cards or bank bill pay.  But for any “spending money” I will be withdrawing the money at the beginning of the month and sticking to it.  This money will be my grocery money and the money I would pay the kids for work (since they no longer get an allowance.)  And I’m debating the car money.  Obviously I have to get gas at least twice a month, and paying with a plastic is most convenient.  Not to mention maintenance, etc. that is not always predictable.  I’m considering opening a car only account (checking, that is, not credit) and using that card only for card related expenses.  Thoughts?  But since on most months there are monies left over for that budget item, I really want it in an interest bearing account.  So I’m still figuring that one out.

But essentially I am taking away all possibility of over-spending on a whim or giving into the temptation of convenience or acquiescing to the kids’ “mom, can I have this?”  And when the money is gone for the month…it’s gone.  The kids are used to this on a smaller scale as I’ve been trying it out on a weekly basis…and I’ll just tell them, we are out of  spending money for the week, we have to make due with what we have.  And they are getting that.

Teaser: New monthly budget coming soon as we have cut back on some other expenses to keep us on target for our 6 month credit payoff goal!


Update on Child Support

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Just a quick update on the loss of income in regards to my younger two child support that I wrote about in mid December. At the time, he was going to miss his car payment that is in my name and didn’t know when he’d be able to provide any support for our kids.  To be clear as I know this issue is dear to many people’s hearts due to their own history. Let me clarify a few points up front:

1. No, we do not have a formal child support agreement and no, I will not be pursuing one.  I chose this for two reasons, one, I wanted full legal and physical custody of the kids. Two, I didn’t ever want money to be a reason for him to bail on them or become just another issue in our already rocky relationship.  He has ALWAYS come through when they needed something and has voluntarily paid half of anything I asked, sometimes more.  From what I hear from other parents in my situation, the court ordered payments are 1) hard to get and 2) not close to the amount he has voluntarily provided through out the years since we split.

2. The car was purchased in my name for him while we were still living together. He has not been able to refinance it.  It IS in our divorce decree that he is solely responsible for the car financially, the debt, the maintenance, the insurance, the taxes, etc.  As soon as it is paid for, I will sign it over to him and be done.  Only one other time has he had trouble making payments on it, and then I asked for it back, sold my car (my dream car Honda Element that was paid off) and drove it and paid for it.  I did not want the car, and when he was able to take it back over, he did so.  If I had wanted to keep it, he would not have fought me on it.  But it was just too much car for me and the costs to drive it were high.  This was also a major bad decision area for me, because instead of buying a reasonable used car, I bought a new sedan (the twins were with us but supposed to be going home at this point.)  This is one lesson I have DEFINITIVELY learned now.

So now we are here, 6 weeks after the announcement that I would not have any support going forward while he got his new business off the ground.  He did catch up on the car payment, a week late, and I was able to refinance the loan to buy his a 6 week break from payments, get him a lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment.  All around a win in both our eyes.  The first payment on that loan was due yesterday…and he paid it on time!

So no, child support to date, but his new business is up and running and I know he’s working as hard as he can to catch up.  The kids call him regularly to see if he’s going to come see them…he hasn’t.  I took them to his new shop once and to hang out for a while with him.  (No, I don’t go out of my way to do this, but I had to be that way for the twins and then had a couple of hours to kill before picking them up and it wasn’t worth driving home, so this was a good compromise.)

Every one’s divorce, separation is different. I know mine is unusual but it works for us.  And I think for as unhealthy as our marriage was, our divorce is very healthy.  I am grateful for the tough love the last year.  As a result, I’m in a place that the missing funds don’t hurt so much.  I am now NOT dependent on the little kids child support.  Now to break that reliance on the twins adoption supplement.