Member Questions

Ask a question

How do you make it through life when every time you turn around you are hitting a roadblock? For example, our AC/Heater is broken, we are going to owe the IRS, and we just can't seem to get ahead.”

8 replies so far...

  • It would sure be nice to say I don't understand your frustrations and emotions, but unfortunately I've been there. More than once. Things start going good and then wham! you're back in the "how will I pay for this?" blues.

    It's a cycle and it continues throughout your life. It's a rare family that doesn't hit these times, no matter whether they're childless, parents of gradeschoolers or teens, empty-nesters, retirees... The good part about cycles is when things are down, you know the next swing will be up. Waiting for it can be a bear, but it's always the next move.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JulieS on 17th March 2010

  • By the way, did you look into payment plans with the IRS? If you won't have the cash by 4/15, they will work with you.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 3rd March 2010

  • I've been there and in worse places too. For me, the answer was simple: You do it because you have to. No magic. You really have no choice but to keep moving forward and to deal with the obstacles as they come. Knowing that I have to made it easier to do.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Phe on 2nd March 2010

  • 1) Ask yourself, what's the worst that could happen? Chances are, you'd survive it, whatever it is.

    2) Do your best to change your lifestyle to consume as little as you possibly can. Mother Teresa was my inspiration. A lot of things we think we need really are extras. And a simpler life can be more enjoyable if your mindset allows it.

    3) Keep track of absolutely every penny you spend. After 1 month of watching the spending, put together a budget that cuts out everything you don't absolutely need. Extend the budget out until you can see "light at the end of the tunnel" and then some. (I used to extend mine out until I had enough money to live without a job.) As often as possible (but no less than monthly), check how closely you are adhering to your budget, figure out ways to do better, and see if there are any budgeted amounts that you can cut even more. Chances are, with a comprehensive focus on penny-pinching, you'll find new ways to save every month.

    4) Be very careful to avoid fines and fees. Never drive fast enough to get a speeding ticket (actually you'll save a lot of gas if you stick to 55-60MPH on the freeway). Never pay a bill late. Never risk an overdraft. Those unexpected but avoidable penalties can really throw a wrench in your budgeting goals. If you do screw up and end up paying a fee, cut your lunches until you make up the difference. Don't dwell on past troubles, but learn from them.

    5) Revisit your W-4 to make sure you are not having more tax withheld than necessary. Why should the government hold your money at zero interest, when you have a better use for it?

    6) Don't buy anything to put in your mouth that doesn't enhance your health. Pack your (healthy) lunches if you don't already do so.

    7) Take good care of your teeth, sleep enough, and exercise regularly. You don't need a gym membership to get moving. Diligent housework is one of the best types of exercise. Playing physically with your kids (or someone else's kids) is another great choice.

    8) Aside from your budgeting sessions, take one day at a time, as suggested above.

    9) Don't watch TV. It's depressing.

    10) Perhaps most important, GIVE. The more you give, the more room you have to receive bounty. Trust me, this works. When you can't give much money, donate services and/or tangible goods. But don't wait until you have a bunch of savings to start giving money.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 2nd March 2010

  • I've been there and I've learned to not take anything for granted. We make it through life by realizing that our life is bigger than the problem at hand. All we can do, is do the best we can to anticipate and prevent. Sometimes, no matter how disciplined we are. . . life happens.

    I allow myself to feel the feelings that come up, take a deep breath and ask "What can I do now?". Then I deal with what comes up, solve the problem to the best of my ability and move on. In the process, I look around and see all I can be grateful for and try to keep remembering that.

    I've learned that what I'm facing in the present moment will change tomorrow. Change is the only certain thing. But who I am and what my life is all about, are much, much bigger than the crisis.

    I remember, in the early years of our marriage, my husband and I would often wonder "How are we going to ever get ahead?" One day, I found this post note that showed two little bears in the rain - all wet under a not-so-sturdy umbrella - that said: "One day we will look back at this and laugh." I bought it for us and looked at it every day. It all happened that way. I still think of this when things don't go exactly the way I want them to.

    Chin up! Onwards!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Yota on 2nd March 2010

  • Hi, I have lived every day of every year for the last three budgeted to the last cent. The only thing I can say is learn to stop wanting. Thats it simple really but oh so much will power involved to get you through the addiction stage. Everybody these days is addicted to wanting and then financing themselves into bankruptcy to get what they want. I have finally learnt that just because I want it doesn't mean I need it.
    And honestly, go read or watch or listen to (best to do all three for optimum saturation) The Secret.
    If I really want something and if its something that I really need then when I make sure I ask properly it just simply turns up.
    Like a dishwasher, which just happened to be a pay it forward gift from someone else.
    Really, please, just do it. And every time someone smiles at you, smile back.
    I feel your pain and I live with it, take it as a life lesson and run with it. Sometimes the learning curves are steeper than others but they are never bigger than what you can handle.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kaybeejaenq on 1st March 2010

  • Thank you Meredith. Actually, it's nice to hear that it's not just us. Like you, I try to be positive. There are a lot of nights that I cry myself to sleep and no one in the house knows. I keep telling myself "1 year, 8 months" (that is when we will pay off both vehicles and save $1000/month). We have already cut off our land line phone, gotten rid of our Direct TV, and at this point, there isn't another bill that we can cut.

    I guess right now, a lot of people are having hard times.....I just wish I could find that "magic" fix all and again, don't we all. = )

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by CHoward190 on 27th February 2010

  • One day at a time...I know it's so cliche, but as long as you stick together, try to make responsible decisions, and find the good in each day, you'll surely make it through. My husband and I have felt like we've gone through very tough times in the last 2.5 years. I'll spare you the details, b/c the list goes on and on. My friends at work ask me how I can stay so positive, how come I'm not through the roof or more impatient with people or 'on edge,' but I've really toughened up and learned to put it in perspective...I see my silly challenges (the dumb life happenings that I'd just assume avoid--med insurance debacles, home selling problems, broken refrigeraters, no bed to sleep in, barely able to afford our monthly bills) as just part of the ride.

    The economy and our housing situation hasn't helped in the least. I've had some really bad moments/hours/days...I feel like I'm drowning and I just can't get up for air. I sit in the bathroom and talk to myself and cry sometimes and feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Actually, this is how I felt when the stress and changes in our lives started years ago, but now, I just do live 1 day at a time. I know what our family goals are (financial, fun, etc), and I keep those in mind when I'm making important decisions each day. My husband has grown into my greatest support and I look to my children for carefree joy. I'm sorry I can't offer anymore profound advice...but if you can find a moment to breathe out and simplify your life....focus on the good and hang in there, you will see...time will change things.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Meredith on 27th February 2010