Our kids are 10,9,6 and 4. So we are staying until the oldest would start middle school. We are looking to buy out of the city so the $ would be less for a bigger house, We live in less than 1200 sq ft now. The girls room is about 10×12. I made their beds to fit in the angled celing…no bunk bed unless it would be in the middle of the room(the room is on the upper level no dormer).
Our basment has low celings so no doing anything with that but storage, and laundry. We are making do with the house and I have added my “home made” charm to it! It is mainly for the kids to go to a better school and for us to get out of the city. We shop at aldi and I make menues(from flylady and saving dinner) We do not go crazy with “things” for the kids….
We don’t have room for all that stuff!! I will say their grandparents spoil them more then I’d like, but they know when they get somthing they need to give up somthing. We are trying to show the kids that spending time together is better then owning tons of stuff and not having anyone to play with.
You don’t need the paid service (who needs to spend any more money to save money) but there are lots of public available articles that have great info. Like making your own laundry soap for 1/3 of the price of the cheapest 40lb bucket at Costco. With 4 kids I bet you do a lots of laundry!
Please don’t think it is bad for your girls to share a room. This was customary 30 years ago and kids grew up just fine (probably better). Bunk beds with a trundle underneath works fine even in the tiniest of rooms. Your house is too small is your perception. It’s your attitude that your kids will pick up. They are a mirror. If you have a positive attitude about your life and everything in it including the need to economize your kids will too. Kids who share a room are very much better prepared to deal with sharing in the future. It is actually good for them.
Think of how much easier it will be for them to share a closet with their husband when they get married if they have done it all their lives. My oldest was an only child for 15 years and now that she is an adult she has serious relationship issues because she does not handle compromise and is horrible at letting go a bit because she always had everything to herself. The media including TV pushes us to a standard of living that is well beyond what any child needs to grow up healthy and happy.
There are 20 years between my oldest and youngest. With the oldest Christmas was 4 presents 1) something you want, something to read, something your need and something to wear. She felt she got a lot for Christmas. These 4 presents came from me and her grandparents so that was pretty much all she got. Now my current batch of girls has entirely different expectations about Christmas and we don’t even have TV! With TV access I don’t see how parents today can even come close to meeting kids expectations. The amount of marketing done to kids over the last 20 years has exploded putting ridiculous amount of pressure on parents.
If you ignore these pressures and happily go on with your life your will find your kids are far better off then those Jones down the street in there 1500 square ft house with 3 kids, 3 TVs and 120 channels of 24 hour brain washing which they pay $60 for the privilege. BTW those Jones also pay $100 a month to store things they don’t need and will never use and they still can’t get more then 1 car in there 2 car garage.
I agree with the pay minimum on everything but 1 and then put your entire extra towards that. With a little work and excel you can work out what would be the best payment plan for you. Do Google search for Snowball Payment excel spreadsheet. This is a tool that can really open your eyes to whether your timeline is on track and your payment style is optimal. On some you can put calculate saving by putting it in as a negative interest rate rather then a positive. Both Mary Hunt’s Debt-Proof Living and Dave Bailey have good information on Snowballing payments and how it benefits you.
I don’t think they said down size they said down grade which means purchasing a van of the needed size but a little older or a little less fancy so the cost would be cheaper. Moving in two years is important because of schools and usually in the long run a better idea then private as the cost with 4 kids will be huge. Depending on the ages of your kids better schools might not be a big concern until they are moving toward later 3rd grade where they stop concentrating on the basics and enrichment starts to be a big advantage.
That being said if your timeline slips a bit you can always add enrichment until middle school which peer pressure gets to be big and making sure your kids are in a peer group mostly bound for college is important. Also consider the move more important for schools then it is for house size. You might be able to move sooner to a similar size house on a larger lot which you can add on later when you have save the money for the addition. Sun rooms are cheaper additions then bedrooms and the girls can share a bedroom for sleeping and use the sunroom for a playroom or finishing a basement is another option.
As already was said, there are a couple ways to pay off credit cards, and either one is good. The key is to pick a method and stick with it. When you pay off the one credit card, apply that same payment to the next card, essentially creating a “snowball” effect of larger payments each month – more info on this method here.
With total debts of about $40,000 and at relatively high interest, I would consider applying all extra money–including the extra payment on the mortgage–to your credit cards first, then your car loan. Moving in two years sounds a little aggressive for being that deep in the red, so you might consider waiting longer than that. The suggestion of downgrading your van is a good one as well.
Keep tracking those expenses. Keep your savings intact if you can. Only use it for big-ticket emergencies that you can’t pay with your monthly income, like a big car or home repair. You’re doing all the right things…it will just take some time and you’ll be on much better financial footing!
Thanks for all the imput, Downsizing the van is not an opp. since we have 4 children, and the move is important to us to get the kids in a better school dist. and our house is too small for us.(the three girls share a room) My DH is looking into selling his truck and getting a car to save $ on gas…this is a big step for him. He is in the military and got a bonus, I was able to pay 1,000.00 to one card! I will keep reading and working on our debt.
Most will suggest that you pick one and pay it off as fast as you can while making minimum payments on the other credit. Which one you pick is where there is always a discussion. Some say the lowest balance to get it out of the way (snowball effect) and the other is the higher interest rate to save on interest. I will not stand and say either is right or wrong. I actually chose to pay off my wife’s car with an extra three thousand that came in that was owed to me. I chose the car, because that freed up $400 a month in cash flow that I can use on other credit.
Whichever you decide, stick with it and good luck!
You will find this is a great blog with numerous amounts of different experiences and advice of being in debt, getting free of debt and finding ways to make ends meet without going into debt again. Being debt free (especially without credit card bills) is the absolute best feeling in the world. I can relate – I was almost $14,000.00 in credit card debt. I wasn’t a homeowner then, my car was almost paid off (then it got stolen) but that’s another story. I had a savings account accumulated too (not as hefty as $3000). I did use some of the money for car repairs after my car was recovered (very rare occurrence) but other than that I left that savings account alone. I chose not to add the savings while paying off my credit card debts- they had more in interest rates than my savings account. Because of my debt to income ratio, I was basically broke at the age of thirty. I was determined to change, because I was miserable with all those bills. I downgraded my spending to the bare minimum to live for about 3-4 years in order to ramp pay my credit card bills. I had like eight to start of with.
Later I consolidated them slowly or had a few of the smaller balance ones paid off and canceled quickly. I was so determined to get rid of those credit card debts, I made a decision to live without cable TV, no cell phone and use only all generic very cheap products to survive for awhile. I lost weight because I put myself on very strict and limited daily food intake everyday, to save money. I stopped buying new clothes PERIOD. I learned to live with what I had, which is still a hell of lot more clothes than I ever feel like I really wear. If you have kids – there are other ways to spend a very little bit of money on clothes for them. If you have extra money left over each month, use it toward paying off those credit cards first. Get rid of that as fast as possible.
Continue to pay the regular payment on the vehicle. Once your credit card debt is almost or nearly gone you can pay more to get rid of the vehicle payment sooner. Or downgrade to a lower cost, more fuel efficient vehicle. Although I had a van for awhile and it was nice for the room! We went camping in it and had the ability to haul stuff while we refinished our basement.
Well, I could go on forever about getting out of debt. You’ll probably hear more from me later. Their are others that you will gather great info from too.