Having a hard time this year

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11 years 4 months ago #445527 by Trace
Replied by Trace on topic Having a hard time this year
I notice that the two younger kids go to preschool. Are you at a fee paying preschool? Is it possible that they could go to a Kidsfirst Kindergarten - you get up to thirty free hours if they are over three years old. If you do your shopping at Rangiora there are two kindergartens up there - unfortunately there aren't any in Oxford or Cust which would no doubt be closer to you.

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11 years 4 months ago #445529 by Andrea1

swaggie;445532 wrote:
We are honest with E where the money is at and she has enjoyed the very good times and shared the lows. I think honesty is the best policy with kids although it would be hard to spring it on them ''all of a sudden'' if you haven't done it with them before.

I am amazed at the outpouring of sympathy, empathy, openness and honesty in this thread. It does hit close to home for us, too, as we've been there, and still recovering.

What swaggie said is SO true and very important, and I wish my parents had done the same for us when we were growing up. They hid everything, but yelled at us when we asked for $ for some school related thing or other, so I realised that we sort of grew up being afraid of money. We grew up on a shoestring, my parents are children of the Depression, and so it goes. I find frugality a bit of a challenge, in a good way, almost like a treasure hunt, and I love finding a good bargain, or squirreling away a find for another day. Wear clothes till rags, and then turn them into rags. Wear everything out, repair rather than replace. It's gives one a sense of satisfaction and then becomes a way of life.

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11 years 4 months ago #445531 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Having a hard time this year
I had another thought whilst showering. Up here, we get an annual rebate from the electricity wholesaler which goes to our retailer as a ''credit''.

We have every right to ask (and will do so) for this money to be refunded to our bank account as we don't receive any financial benefit by the retailer holding onto it for us.

this might make a big difference to your christmas. :)

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11 years 4 months ago #445539 by daerfamily
Thanks for your comment Swaggie.

RE pre-school, both chidren were at kidsfirst in Kaiapoi before we moved out here, and I couldn't justify the commute to Rangiora 3 days a week just to go to kindy, so we go to Oxford and yes, it's free, and they only do 15 hours each a week. My son will be at west eyreton school next feb with his brother .. and my daughter will soon enough be 5 though I am not wishing away those precious years.

I actually called our power company yesterday as we are on smooth pay, to see if they were going to adjust our weekly amount to reflect the credit we have accumulated, but apparently we are not enough in credit for them to do this! So we continue to pay $80/week. How much credit do you have to be in for them to drop your weekly amount? We are in credit only a small amount (maybe $150?). How do you get the rebate? I dont think trustpower do that??

DH is pretty terrible when it comes to running cars etc, like on Friday we went out for dinner (with vouchers mite I add!) and I met him there he went from work, then he decided to drink and couldn't really drive home, so I drove my car home, then the next day we had to go get his car which meant an extra trip in my car! He doesn't really seem to think very well at times lol.

I have thought about selling chooks as there seems to be high demand, and our girls are probably ready to be 'mums' ... they are 1 year old now, and we get consistently 4 eggs a day no problem. The chooks dont get my garden, they are not allowed into it, we have netted them out after they destroyed my lawn!

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11 years 4 months ago #445543 by llvonn
Replied by llvonn on topic Having a hard time this year

swaggie;445532 wrote: Feminine hygiene product pricings peeve me no end. they never seem to stop going up!

You could try mooncup/femcup. I haven't used them (they have a higher upfront fee) but are reusable.

1 Border Terrier, 5 hens, 5 chicks, an orchard and vege garden. All on 350 square metres.

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11 years 4 months ago #445552 by Andrea1

daerfamily;445548 wrote:
I actually called our power company yesterday as we are on smooth pay, to see if they were going to adjust our weekly amount to reflect the credit we have accumulated, but apparently we are not enough in credit for them to do this! So we continue to pay $80/week. How much credit do you have to be in for them to drop your weekly amount? We are in credit only a small amount (maybe $150?). How do you get the rebate? I dont think trustpower do that??

One of the things which has dropped out of our budget is $ for alcohol, except for the occasional bottle of wine. Not that we drink much anyway, but spirits are very expensive! We never eat dinner out anymore (we're not night people anymore either, so that helps... been there, done that). We do have weekly takeaway.

As for the electricity, $80/week sounds like a lot. We run a hot water tank at the barn for cleaning the milking machine every day, the milking machine, 3 fridge/freezers, 2 fridges & 4 freezers, and water pump in addition to all the usual household stuff, and our monthly average over the last 2 years is $230 for a family of 4. We only use our woodstove to heat the house, no heatpump or anything like that. We did run a dehumidifier daily this past winter, but it only cost about $7/month to do so, and the house was very much less damp and easier to heat well, so less spent on firewood. So looking at ways to cut electricity usage may be a way to pay yourself, too.

Sorry, just rambling now, this thread has really got me thinking - thanks for posting your rant! [8D] :p

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11 years 4 months ago #445556 by Kiwi303
Homebrew is a LOT cheaper than buying cans.

The kits can be cheap on trademe, and soon pay for themselves, plus the nice feeling of having made your tipple yourself.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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11 years 4 months ago #445557 by thevarneys
Daerfamily, you sound very similar to us (though we spend that much a fortnight for 7 of us) :D .

Fuel is similar,OH too has to drive 70km round trip to work, I go to preschool once a week (I work there), we have to go 6km up the road to get daughter to the bus (not every morning/afternoon though, mortgage is a bit higher, owe IRD, Vets, changed 3 engines this year (OH did it himself though), credit card for the washing machine and fridge which both packed in in the same month, new water pump, etc etc.

Heaps of excellent advice already given, and I only have two reccommendation not already listed.
If you are more than a certain distance from the bus stop (think it is 1.7km for primary aged, 3km for secondary aged) you are eligible for a Conveyancing Allowance from the govt. Go to their Min Edu website (think it is www.minedu.govt.nz ) and download the form, get your school to sign it - they may even hve the forms there.
We get only about $40 per term, but better than nothing. Friends of ours get $140 per term.

Another idea is to go online to the WINZ website and fill in the calculator to see if you are eligible for an accommadation supplement - if we lived 6 kms in one direction we would be in a 'more expensive area' and would be eligible for about $30 p/w, but are not eligible for anything worth applying for where we are.

Hang in there - I know the feeling of having a garden planted out but not big enough to eat yet, animals growing but not ready to kill, things that need fixing/replacing/building and no money to do it with!

Check out the seedbox on here - good way to swap seeds that you have heaps of for some you need, and let some of your plants go to seed and plant those next year.

Oh and another thing, make your own laundry detergent, I do and it works as well and only about 4c per load!

And I loved what Harry Potter said - Be thankful/blessed for what you have, your husband, your children, and your health.

Some people are so poor, all they have is money.

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11 years 4 months ago #445567 by SarahM
Replied by SarahM on topic Having a hard time this year
Loving reading this thread (not loving that some of you are having a hard time of it though).

We got a good financial shock when I went on maternity leave for the first time. All of a sudden we were down to a single income (& a little extra person to care for). Of course I knew we were going to a single income, but reality is a different story. Here's some of the things I did to get by without getting into debt:

* We limited alcohol, lotto, chocolate biscuits and gourmet food.
* I went through every single provider (Sky, newspaper, electricity) and wondered whether we indeed needed that service. We cut off Sky, stopped the newspaper, and shopped around for cheaper deals on electricity and other things like insurance - you'd be surprised how much you can save!
* I started making my own laundry detergent and dishwasher powder.
* We started a vege garden and ate homekill beef and lamb.
* We buy milk from a dairy farm at $1 a litre and freeze some too for later.
* I supermarket shop fortnightly.
* I do a menu before doing the groceries. I look for stuff piling up in the pantry that I can use. I get all the ingredients needed for the menu, minus what we already have - you'd be surprised how many cans of creamed corn you can buy before you realise it!
* Perfect the art of efficient use of the oven - today I baked a banana cake - did a double batch. Then while the oven was still hot I threw in a couple of huge pasta bakes - one for now, one for the freezer.
* Bulk out meals with pasta or rice. I worked out that tonight's pasta bake (double batch) cost $16 to make. They are enough for 8 servings - $2 a serve and yes there's chicken AND bacon in there. :)
* Buy as much petrol as possible when the supermarket has a petrol deal.
* Pay the rates by weekly or fortnightly deduction (however often you are paid). This way you don't get stuck with a quarterly bill.
* Set up a tyre garden for your veges - fill 6-8 old tyres with compost, add vege seeds - a free and easy vege garden.

Anyway these are just some of the ways we save money in our family. I hope these ideas may be useful. We don't deprive ourselves, we just live efficiently.

5 acres, husband, daughter, son, me, about 12 sheep and their lambs, currently no ram (yay!), 2 Galloways, about 35 chooks, 3 cats and 2 budgies.

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11 years 4 months ago #445602 by daerfamily
We hardly go out anymore either lol. We have a few vouchers that were given to DH as part of his coaching efforts for soccer this year, $100 left at monteiths we'll save it for the new year. I dont buy spirits or wine (I am not a big drinker) and only one box of beer a week for DH as I feel he deserves it after all he is the one bringing home the bacon and working his butt off then coming home and working around here all weekend!

The power is high, you're right. When we moved here from Kaiapoi, we had only been paying $50/week and they never adjusted it (and I never asked), anyway, we got pinged with a big bill as we didn't have a fire and the house we had was FREEZING so we used the heatpump. So they boosted the money to $80/week .. we are now in credit so through the summer it will go down I think. We didn't use the heatpump very often, as the fire was roaring mostly, though if you add in the cost of firewood ... I'm not sure if it's any cheaper!??!

We now have the added 'worry' that one of our steers is not breathing properly, raspy chesty breathing, so the vet will be out tomorrow .. and there is a strange smell coming from one of the toilets in the house .... and it's not the drain ...??!?

DH isn't so great at doing things efficiently either - he wouldn't think twice about popping up the road for some gas for the mower - like last week he ran out of petrol with about two strips to mow, I told him to leave it I would get some in the morning, but no, he couldn't leave it, so another 32km round trip in his car! Better planning to come from him I think lol.

I have shopped around for power, and we are getting a good deal, last month I reduced my telecom mobile to $30/month instead of 50/month by taking away some of my wi fi usage.

I might have to conjure up a scheme for money .... as I really would love to be at home after school to take care of my children .. at least until they are old enough to do it themselves. My mum always tells me they never really had any savings until us 4 kids had left home lol. She is so right!!

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11 years 4 months ago #445629 by cantabcook
Budgets are a buggar and it is getting more expensive to live. A couple of other things I've done to keep costs down (not mentioned yet I don't think)

1. use a kiaora card to make toll calls. I get a $20 card from the supermarket and make all toll calls through it. Costs 2.9 cents per minute and you just have to plug in extra numbers into the phone before making the call.
2. Use up loyalty card points. Our TV guide sub now gets "bought" via Flybuys. Hotpoints on the credit card get turned into vouchers from retailers for birthday and Xmas gifts
3. Preserve and freeze everything you can while its in season. When your beans starts cropping and you can't eat them all, blanch and freeze in airtight bags. Make jams, chutneys, preserve your fruit from your trees (I save a fortune with my wee fruit monsters doing that). Keep all your old jars and lids and wash them out to put your preserves in.

I have a great recipe for a gigantic birthday cake which uses just basic ingredients (and keeps moist for days and days) if you would like it. Our wee man turned 6 today and he had his party in the weekend. So like his Mum and into saving a buck. He decided not to go to Clip and Climb but to bike around McLeans Island bike park with some mates instead. We had a big picnic lunch with lots of ball games and they had a blast!

Chin up, you sound determined and focused and will come out of this!

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11 years 4 months ago #445641 by jimminette
with regard to paying off debt - sit down and list all the debts you need to pay and note what interest rate you are paying on each debt. As they have said above - go to the big companies and get repayment programs as they would rather do that than you not pay. Put little repayment programs in place yourself for the others (small businesses still may scream) but really, getting something regularly is going to please them more than getting nothing at all. It will also stop them going to debt collection agencies which will just result in bigger debts. Then any spare money or bonus money - put it towards the debt which is costing you the most interest each month. Don't give in to anyone that badgers you. It is your money and your debt - you keep control of it not other people. Their sob story is no different to anyone else's. It's just as genuine but no different. If you want to be really fair to everyone. List all the debts and then work out what percent of the total each debt is. e.g. debts total $20,000 then that debt for $2,000 is 10% and so on. Double check at the end that your percentages add up to 100%. Then you take what money you have spare to put towards all these bills and pay each bill their percentage of that money. e.g. 10% of it towards the $2,000 debt and so on.

What we used to do when we were both on wages was take all of our bills to an annual amount and then divide them by 12, then by 4 as there is always 4 weekly pays in a month. Because that equals 48 weeks and there is 52 weeks in a year, every 13 weeks you have a bonus amount to do something with. Sometimes what is left over each week seems hardly worth saving but we found that by making it tighter each week of the 48 it meant that we had 13 times that amount every 13 weeks. $5 per week is not much but times 13 is $65 which you can do something with. Anyway, these are tips I've picked up along the way and they may help. The other option could be to consolidate your debt and refinance you mortgage which is probably the cheapest interest rate of all at the moment and then throw away the credit cards as they cost you heaps in the long run.

Hang in there and know that there are others out there that are prepared to listen and offer suggestions. Best wishes

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11 years 4 months ago #445644 by katieb
Replied by katieb on topic Having a hard time this year

daerfamily;445616 wrote:

DH isn't so great at doing things efficiently either - he wouldn't think twice about popping up the road for some gas for the mower - like last week he ran out of petrol with about two strips to mow, I told him to leave it I would get some in the morning, but no, he couldn't leave it, so another 32km round trip in his car! Better planning to come from him I think lol.


maybe he needs to read this thread

does he know how tight things are or how hard you are finding it?

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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11 years 4 months ago #445653 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Having a hard time this year
Daerfamily, our rebate comes from the local wholesaler here who is Counties Power. Our electricity accounts are with powershop, but we received the rebate even when with Contact. Several other retailers are also part of the scheme.

I am not sure entirely how it works and really would just prefer cheaper power, but its an annual return this time of the year. We pre-pay to powershop as part of our buying power with them, but the rebate is based on our annual usage so its not based on being ''in credit'' which is a separate issue. Perhaps someone else down your way will know if your wholesaler does the annual rebate too?

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11 years 4 months ago #445678 by daerfamily
I know all the debts, I have paid the septic tank dude and the IRD will wait until Feb as I have written to them. But no doubt we'll get another one next year as DH seems to get taxed strangely every time he gets a bonus (which he does every year). So this coming year when he gets a bonus, I will put aside $500 of it for a potential tax bill!

The credit cards, well mine can stay around $2000 quite safely with no interest accumulating as I put everything on it (food, petrol, power, rates, phone, car etc) and pay off those things each month. It was the added extra this month of tyres that were unexpectedly needed and a few other things. DHs CCard has his car engine (or half of it) on there and his interest rate is very very low.

Our kids have been getting $10 a week since they turned 1 ... so I haven't done any wrong by doing that for them, even if I have to stop it for a while so we get back on track. The mortgage we are at 28 years and fixed at 5.49% for another year ... so not alot we can do there until Jan 2014! We dont owe anyone else any money its the high mortgage payments that make it hard ... but we knew what we were getting into.

We started the year with approx $27k in the bank (savings!) ... and slowly but surely it is whittled down to nearly nothing with all that has gone wrong (some of that was earthquake repair cash work etc). I wish the people we purchased the place from had looked after things a little better, but you know we do love the house so we choose the life.

And so what if my garden needs bark on it ... and it's currently just weedmat and a handful of plants lol.

I am honest here, my life is an open book currently, I dont give a toss who knows what is going on.

Great party idea cantabcook! Mcleans Island bike ride is a blast! We are going to have ours at home next Sunday, so as long as the weather holds fine, it'll be all good!

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