Like everyone else, we're looking for ways to "get by"... · Ryder Family Farm- Southern Illinois
We to a big leap of faith, quit our jobs are moved to the the heart of the Shawnee National Forest to follow our dreams of self sufficiency and to make a go of living off the land… Can we help you feed your family?
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Like everyone else, we're looking for ways to "get by"…

Like everyone else, we're looking for ways to "get by"…

Normally we don’t complain or share the financial situation with others but I am pretty sick of hearing about how “lucky we are” from people who THINK we are living the high life. I am not going to rant on and on about this though…

We’ve got less than 3 months to save up the $4000 to pay for Tater’s birth. Combine that with the double rent we are paying in April and the $4300 we just put down on our new place and we’ve got nothing left in the bank account. Certain non-essential bills aren’t getting paid on time this month and sometimes I wonder exactly where we are going to find the money to finish paying for Tater’s birth.

You see, things were all worked out several months ago budget wise. We wouldn’t have committed to forking over thousands of dollars upon move in for the new place if we knew about all the unforseeable crap in the future!

We found out the useless prenatal care with the OBGYN is NOT 100% covered by our insurance. Also, the chiropractor that was supposedly covered 100% by insurance is actually not covered at all. It was covered back in 2008 by our policy but now that a new year has started the policy now provides LESS coverage and we missed the memo on this.

The unexpected medical expenses have pretty much tapped us out and quite frankly I am pissed. If I knew we were racking up all these expenses that insurance wasnt going to cover I surely would have thought twice about going to the OBGYN and the chiropractor. Heck we would have kicked the OBGYN to the curb long ago.

Now we are getting these bills and claim letters from the insurance company that we are having to find the money for which pretty much throws our entire budget off. Instead of focusing on how bad things suck I am trying to focus on how we can cut back and get through this.

We’re prioritizing things and are not spending any money right now. Every cent we have goes to a bill of some sort. When we have a few dollars left we look at the grocery ads and try to find the best deal on meats and other essentials. Thank goodness we normally buy things in bulk. This means we have plenty of dry goods like pasta and vegetables to live off of!

The only problem is finding the money for Tater’s birth and for all the baby stuff we’ll need once she arrives. My mom joked that she can sleep in a dresser drawer if she needs too for a while… Ugh, not funny at all.

So, I am trying to keep the anxiety at bay and am always looking for more and more ways to cut back and save money… So what are you doing in these hard times to get by? Please share your secrets!

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  • I never thought you were rolling in clover, don’t know why anyone else did. I know tough times, and I know that they will pass, so keep on keeping on.

    witchypoos last blog post..Eighty Clicks Around the World

    April 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm
  • Gardening, and lots of it. I freecycle, so I picked up seeds, dirt and containers. I’m also working in conjunction with a couple of neighbors to trade gardening skills on her land in exchange for food. We do a lot of veggies in the household, and that gets expensive quick.

    I’m biking to work (or will be, as soon as the snow quits falling here in Michigan!). We stay in and entertain ourselves in other ways.

    I hope you’re budget works out in the end. I know you’re going to the FARM — do they have a payment plan in the event that you don’t get everything saved up in time?

    MIchelles last blog post..South Park, Feminist?

    April 6, 2009 at 8:31 pm
  • jenner
    Reply

    i was astonished when my step-sister’s second baby slept in a plastic bin for his first couple of months. especially that his engineer grandparents would condode it! but he did. it was lined with 3″ foam and the whole thing was only about 2′ by 1.5′ by 6″. there wasn’t room for a crib anyway.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:53 pm
  • I’m with witchypoo – whoever said you were living the high life?

    Of course, I don’t know enough about your lifestyle to get into details, but these are things that have worked for me in the past:

    1. Sell stuff. Maybe the motorhome? A garage sale doesn’t seem like a good idea right now, but individual items on Craigslist might work.

    2. Look into reducing utilities. This is for long-term gain, but my husband and I recently reduced our cable bill by $40/mo. He gave up some premium channels and I gave up some internet speed.

    3. Just get plain stingy. Question every purchase. Rethink needs/wants, etc. This is also long-term, it won’t get you a bundle of cash right now.

    4. Ask for deferments on any debts that you can, and set up payment plans for the unexpected medical bills, perhaps with an escalating payment – low now, increasing later. Key is keeping the debt “in-house” and not referred to a collection agency.

    Addendum to #3 – rethink what you really need for the baby. A brand new crib mattress is a must, IMHO, but it doesn’t have to be a brand new crib, especially for a newborn. Maybe you already have a piece of furniture that could double as a changing table for a while?

    I know that it is hard for the first baby to not have all the good stuff. Really, I do. I also know that a lot of it ends up useless after only a month or so – a bassinette is one of these things. I got an adorable rocking cradle (bassinette size) that my daughter was only able to use for 4 weeks. While I treasured it, it was so not worth the price.

    You must spend money on a good car seat (or get one given to you) as safety is paramount. You can’t scrimp here! But it doesn’t have to be one of the $$$ ones that clamps into a fancy stroller and doubles as a ping-pong table.

    Be careful buying stuff for the baby. Especially clothes. Concentrate on sleepers and onesies. They outgrow things so fast! And, there’s just so much cute stuff out there that this is really, really hard to do.

    My son-in-law occasionally puts my daughter on Target restriction because they have so much cute baby stuff and she can’t resist it. This works well, until the son-in-law goes to Target to get something supposedly necessary and comes home with cute baby stuff, because he can’t resist it either. (This is one of the reasons I love my son-in-law so much!)

    Again, I feel like I’ve overstepped boundaries in giving advice. I’m not Tater’s grandma (although I truly feel a baby can’t have too many grandmas…)

    But… YOU asked! LOL!!

    Donna B.s last blog post..A Culinary Error To Avoid

    April 6, 2009 at 10:08 pm
  • The problem with a bassinette is that it is too small to last for six months. And the ones I’ve seen lately are almost as expensive as cribs!

    Co-sleeping – now there’s a can ‘o worms for ya! Personally, I wouldn’t do it because I am a very sound sleeper and might not be awakened when I needed to be. I’ve been known to dream that I got up, dressed and went to work. I’d hate to think I dreamed I fed the baby!

    That, of course, is tempered by the extra sensitivity to every sound and movement a new mom has to her baby.

    One of my grandchildren slept for the first month in a “Moses basket” which was extremely portable. She was a smallish baby and the designer basket cost as much as some cribs… but it’s an example of alternate sleeping arrangements.

    Donna B.s last blog post..A Culinary Error To Avoid

    April 6, 2009 at 11:59 pm
  • melissa
    Reply

    Everyone is having hard times these days. I would definalty talk to The Farm to see if you can work something out in payments if you aren’t able to scrape up all the money.
    Most Insurance companies don’t cover any Chiropractor services at all but I am suprised that you have to pay some for your USELESS OB!! Most insurances cover that kind of stuff.
    As far as the carseat goes, I am going to send you my infant carseat. I’m thinking Probably the end of May or beginning of June. I also have a box of clothes for you. There alot of cute clothes in it and I think they vary from Newborn to 6 months.There are alot of clothes in yellow and green so they can be for a boy or girl. I will try to send the box with Adams next payday which will be like the 15th of April. They are denying his re-enlistment as of right now, which sucks, and we don’t don’t what we are gonna do as far a job wise.We will both have to get jobs and one will have to work days and the other nights for the fact of the kids, which won’t give us much time together, but we gotta do what we gotta do…
    I’ve actually heard alot of older people tell me that they had their babies sleep in a drawer or something like that. They just put padding on the bottom and on the sides and the babies loved it because it felt so secure. Newborns don’t roll or anything right away , so they didn’t have to worry about the baby rolling over.
    Now that you have all this extra expense, are you still going to be able to go out to Az for your babyshower? You will get alot of stuff at the shower that will help you guys out.

    April 7, 2009 at 10:17 am
  • Ah, the joys of pregnancy hormones. Talina has been having a lot of freak out sessions like this lately and I definitely chalk it up to the oodles of chemicals pulsing through her veins right now. Things are tight and will be tight until little Tater has arrived and we know that. We already don’t eat out or go to the movies or spend frivolously and we have plenty in the pantry to scrimp on dinners. Sure, it won’t be what we want but we can do it and we’ve done it before.

    As soon as our frost date passes in a couple weeks, we’ll get the vegetable garden going in the back yard of the new house. The chiropractor and the OBGYN can get $20 payments here and there and the hand-me-down crib we got will work just fine until we can get something else. We’ll just need to buy a mattress for it.

    You’re juggling the finances and juggling well and we’ll make it work!

    Ns last blog post..Homemade for Baby part 2

    April 7, 2009 at 10:33 am
  • Oh, N is the best!!

    I think what you’re doing is right on. You didn’t mention using several credit cards to over indulge yourselves and go into a lot of debt. That’s a good thing!

    Calling most physician offices and setting up a payment plan usually works. If you DON’T call them and tell them you won’t be paying in full, that’s when they get mean. Most are willing to work out a finance plan so they know you’re trying.

    Hyphen Mamas last blog post..Because I’m 3 rolls short of a picnic. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m not 3 rolls short of ANYTHING!

    April 7, 2009 at 10:41 am
  • Re: the discussion of cribs above. Wynnie had a BRAND NEW crib that went unused for weeks and weeks. Mack had the same crib that went unused for over 6 months!! We had a pack ‘n play (ours was the inexpensive $75 model that sell for $35 at consignment shops) that had the “bassinet” set in at the top. Both my kids slept in them for naps and bedtime the first few months. Mack slept in it until he was over 6 months. It’s big enough, it slides right in next to your bed and it’s perfect at a very reasonable price. I just sold mine at a 2nd hand store, or I’d send you mine. Watch Craigslist or find a 2nd hand store in town…. they don’t wear out very fast and paying top dollar for a brand new one isn’t necessary. BUT a few weeks ago I noticed that Walmart is now carrying them.

    THEN, we built our own changing table. We had a smallish 3 drawer dresser from my husband’s childhood. We spent about $25 in materials and with some screws and wood built a “tray” that screwed to the top. I used webbed netting and those plastic clips to make the straps to hold baby tight, and 3″ foam cut to size that I got at the fabric store. I used a pillow case to cover the foam, then used those changing pads. The whole thing was washable. Lasted 3 years. Another option: at my MIL’s house, she kept Wynnie for days at a time. We just used the 3″ foam padding–cut to an appropriate size) tucked into a pillow case and that’s where we changed her for a long time. HEY… you could even pull a cushion out of the motor home and cover it in a cute pillow case and be done. REALLY… you’re handling poop on the thing… it doesn’t have to be CUTE.

    Hyphen Mamas last blog post..Because I’m 3 rolls short of a picnic. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m not 3 rolls short of ANYTHING!

    April 7, 2009 at 10:56 am
  • First of all, everyone is having a hard time right now. Heidi and I agree to not pay our hospital bills. The imagrents dont when they have babies here, so why should we?

    Second, I have a bassinett and a ton of other stuff that I have been saving for you. Some new some used all in great condition! Plus you’re going to get stuuf from your shower too!

    Third, Does the farm have a payment plan? I dentist makes his clients sign up for this “care credit” thing, but we didnt qulify for it. He was nice enough to set up a payment plan for me. Maybe you could explain this to the Farm and they can do the same?

    Krystal McCarthys last blog post..The Mean Girl in Me

    April 7, 2009 at 11:33 pm
  • My son was too large at birth (10.5 lbs) to sleep in his bassinette for more than two weeks. He slept in a cardboard box for about two months after that. yeah, I was a good mom! But all three of my children, all of my nieces and nephews and all of my grandchildren have slept in that bassinette. I understand why you want one.

    I know from experience that if you pay at least $10 per month on the medical bills they will not send you to collection. NEVER put medical bills on a credit card, because the doctors don’t charge interest and will accept the small payments. If you put it on a credit card the interest will accrue every month.

    Krystal: the reason you will want to make arrangements and pay on your medical bills is that the next time you want to buy something the will be those negative entries on your credit report. Eventually you WILL try to buy a house or a car or furniture, and not paying your medical bills will effectively deny you that privilege. $10 a month is an acceptable payment to make. Just because someone else doesn’t pay their bills is no reason for you not to. We have been paying on a $6500 hospital bill since July 2005. It will be paid off sometime this summer.

    Talina: when my daughter in law was pregnant the first time, they were living in Texas and all the relatives on both sides were in Georgia. I held a baby shower for her anyway. I sent out invitations, with a wish list, and explained that they lived in Texas (he was in the Air Force). The gifts were to be dropped off at Mail Boxes Etc. in our town, and on a certain date I would pay for postage to ship the gifts. It worked great! People dropped off gifts at their leisure for the “FabGrandma Baby Shower” and signed a baby shower registry. The people at MBE packed them and prepared for shipping. I just went and paid the postage.

    When she opened the gifts, my son video taped it and sent the tape to me, and I shared it with anyone who wanted to see it. That was in 1996.

    Karens last blog post..Forbidden Rice and Sauteed Kale

    April 8, 2009 at 10:25 am
  • I am so sorry you’re going through this. I just found at that I need to call my insurance and make sure they will cover the HOSPITAL that I am going to. Who would have thought!

    Janelles last blog post..Ode to the Old Coop

    April 8, 2009 at 12:35 pm
  • Things have been terrible financially for a lot of people, and we are just now being hit by this recession. I had to do the unthinkable and cancel the email/internet plan on my Blackberry! I also have been selling my clothes, including my prom dress that’s been hanging in my closet for 6 years. I just got hired at Sony, and was offered a summer internship today, so this summer I will be working 2 jobs (so much for summer vacay!). It sounds like you guys are really smart about money, and as long as you keep it up you should be fine!

    PS- Update your feed on my blog! The URL is now femreflections.blogspot.com 🙂

    April 9, 2009 at 7:13 pm

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